Channel partner programs, Content

Microsoft Inspire 2019: Live Blog Days 1-4

Microsoft Inspire 2019, the technology company's annual worldwide partner conference, wraps up today in Las Vegas.

The conference arrived at a key time for Microsoft and its partner ecosystem. The cloud services and software provider caused a firestorm last week with proposed partner program changes that would have ended certain partner perks. But Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster ultimately backtracked in a bid to quell partner concerns ahead of the conference.

Microsoft has been working overtime at Inspire 2019 to stay on message and assure partners that the company's Azure cloud services, Office 365, Microsoft 365 and cybersecurity efforts remained aligned with partners.

Stay tuned to this live blog tracking day-by-day, hour-by-hour updates from the conference in Las Vegas.

Here are the updates from Day 1, Day, Day 3 and Day 4:

1. Microsoft Co-Sell Momentum: The program has generated $9.5 billion in annual contracted partner revenue since launching roughly two years ago.

2. Cybersecurity Training: The Microsoft Security competency is now generally available.

3. Azure Cloud Migrations: Microsoft is promoting competencies and tools to drive customer workloads to Azure. The effort includes:

  • Windows Server and SQL Server Migration to Microsoft Azure;
  • Linux and Open Source Databases Migration to Microsoft Azure;
  • Data Warehouse Migration to Microsoft Azure;
  • Modernization of Web Applications in Microsoft Azure; and
  • Kubernetes on Microsoft Azure.

4. Partner Marketplace Tools: More pricing models will surface in Microsoft's marketplace starting in July 2019. Key efforts include:

  • monthly and annual SaaS billing;
  • custom-metered billing options; standard contracts; and
  • free SaaS trials that convert to paid engagements.

5. Azure Cloud Management: A new tool called Azure Lighthouse gives partners a "single control plane to view and manage Azure at scale across all their customers." It sounds like a solid step forward. But let's be honest. The Azure cloud service launched nearly 11 years ago -- way back in October 2008. Lighthouse should have launched far sooner.

6. Azure Migration Program. The new Azure Migration Program (AMP) offers proactive advice and tools to help partners move customer workloads to the cloud.

7. Dynamics 365 ISV and Vertical Market Milestones. The business application and automation platform now features a so-called Dynamics 365 Nonprofit Accelerator and two new integrations for Dynamics 365 that address the automotive and financial services industries. In addition, the Business Applications ISV Connect program is generally available.

8. Microsoft Teams: New integrations include support for contact centers, compliance recording and cloud solution providers.

9. Access Control: Nucleus Cyber's NC Protect solution now utilizes MIP labels to "enhance conditional access and data security controls in Microsoft platforms to guard against insider threats, sensitive data misuse, unauthorized sharing and exfiltration," the company asserts.

10. Office 365 and Email Security: Vade Secure, the email security company backed by Datto founder Austin McChord, has announced availability of Auto-Remediate for Vade Secure for Office 365. The new feature extends Vade Secure’s AI-based threat detection and mitigation capabilities, providing MSPs and small businesses with comprehensive, continuous, and automated protection before, during, and after the attack, the company claims.

Continue to page two of three for items 11 through 20.

Welcome to page two of three, featuring news updates and chatter from Microsoft Inspire 2019.

11. Distribution - Office 365 Data Protection: Ingram Micro Cloud Marketplace will list AvePoint’s solutions to migrate, manage and backup data in Office 365 and Dynamics 365. MSPs that qualify under Ingram Micro’s new Modern Workplace Accelerate program can receive discounts.

12. Microsoft Azure Networking MSP Program: Yes indeed, a new MSP partner program for Azure Networking has surfaced. Key partners include Aryaka, the  SD-WAN provider.

13. Data Protection: Carbonite has launched Carbonite Endpoint 360, which offers automatic backup for desktops, tablets and mobile devices, and protects data across the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Exchange and Teams.

14. Azure Cloud Migrations: Device42 now integrates with Microsoft Azure Migrate to provide cloud migration assistance to customers.15. Azure - Desktop as a Service: IGEL and CloudJumper have partnered to ease the deployment and management of cloud workspaces, including Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) on Microsoft Azure.

16. Adobe Consulting Services: Avanade, the IT consulting giant backed by Accenture and Microsoft, has launched an Adobe practice.

17. Cloud Firewall Services: Barracuda announced new capabilities enabling Barracuda CloudGen Firewall to further improve connectivity to Office 365 and the Microsoft Azure cloud. The new features enforce Office 365 local breakout policies in Microsoft Azure Virtual WAN. As a result, Barracuda's customers can optimize their Office 365 user experience while increasing security and reducing network costs, the company claims.

18. Ingram Micro Startup Competition: Ingram Micro on August 1 will launch its latest Comet Competition, which seeks to find and fund B2B software innovators whose products have clear applications and potential implementations in the channel. The top finalist in each region will receive $100,000 in-kind go-to-market funding. The three runners-ups in each region will be awarded $50,000 in-kind go-to-market funding. The overall competition winner will receive $1,000,000 cash at Cloud Summit 2020.

19. Microsoft Azure Management: Ensono, a Microsoft Azure Expert MSP, has embraced Microsoft Azure Lighthouse -- the new management tool for the public cloud platform.

20. Azure Expert MSP: Atos has achieved the audited Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider designation from Microsoft.

Continue to page three of three for items 21 and beyond.

Welcome to page three of three, featuring news updates and chatter from Microsoft Inspire 2019.

21. Managed Print Services: ThinPrint has launched the ThinPrint Partner Program for Microsoft CSPs. Also, ThinPrint’s ezeep cloud printing solution was selected as Microsoft’s preferred printing approach for Windows Virtual Desktop.

22. Office 365 Integrations: Dynamic Signal, an employee communication and engagement platform, has launched a suite of new integrations with Microsoft Office 365.

23. Deep Security: Trend Micro's Deep Security as a Service is now available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace. The SaaS offering supports consolidated cloud billing and usage-based, metered pricing.

24. AT&T Partnership: AT&T will tap Microsoft's Azure cloud service for its computing needs and provide Office 365 software to much of its 268,000-strong workforce, Reuters notes. Under the deal, Microsoft and AT&T will also work together on so-called edge computing, which will see Microsoft technology deployed alongside AT&T's coming 5G network for applications that need extremely small delays in passing data back and forth, such as air traffic control systems for drones, Reuters says. The multi-year deal is worth more than $2 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter, the report states.

25. Microsoft Azure - IoT Developer Tools: Avnet is giving away 20,000 free Azure Sphere starter kits. Avnet also is planning webinars, lectures, road tests and design contests to help developers leverage the Microsoft’s Azure Sphere Ecosystem.

26. Microsoft Expert Azure Networking MSP: Megaport made the list...

27. Password Management - Microsoft Active Directory: The latest Enzoic for Active Directory meets NIST 800-63b requirements for real-time blocking of unsafe passwords at set-up and provide continuous monitoring of those same passwords to ensure they don’t become vulnerable later, the company says.

More: Keep checking back for more hour-by-hour updates. Also, send me your Microsoft Inspire 2019 news tips - [email protected].

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.