The latest Worldwide Partner Conference hosted by Microsoft was held between July 7th and 11th in Houston, Texas. There was an amazing turnout and cloud computing was all of the buzz was once again, but this time the cloud buzz was fully Microsoft focused around Azure and the Cloud OS (Windows Server, System Center and Azure). Many people are aware Microsoft has three cloud offerings, including Platform as a Service (Paas), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Shared cloud hosting offering Windows Azure Websites.
What many people don’t realize is that Microsoft is very much a partner-centric company has been so for several years. Through the Applied Innovations family of products, Awesome Cloud Services leverages membership in the Microsoft Partner Network to deliver the cutting edge cloud solutions to each of our partners.
For example, Microsoft’s IaaS offering is not a top-secret Microsoft solution. Their IaaS is built using the same Microsoft solutions that we use to build our each of your Hyper-V based cloud servers. If you’re wondering why we offer solutions that are so similar to what Microsoft is offering on Azure, it boils down to providing a tailored managed services with a level of support that Microsoft can’t offer.
Feedback from Partners
While at WPC I had the opportunity to talk with a number of our Awesome Cloud Services partners, including BCG Systems, as well as a number of ISV’s, MSP’s, SI’s and VAR’s to really understand their needs for the cloud in 2013 and beyond. What I found most interesting is the number of these vendors that have shied away from solutions like Amazon’s EC2 and Azure for solutions like those provided by Awesome Cloud Services. What I heard time and time again is that the solutions from the largest cloud vendors are simply too wide in breadth and, thus, not built for the resellers that need to provide customized solutions to their clients.
The other issues our partners mentioned relate to the lack of a defined SLA, technical support, and compliance. The largest cloud providers simply are losing deals and opting for either self-hosted or partner hosted instead. You see, these partners are very much like the AppliedI / Awesome Cloud customers of today who are looking for a partner to deliver best in class services that they can build on top of to avoid reinventing the wheel.
As one partner explained it to me several years ago:
“Jess, I hire you to do what you do, so I don’t have to do it and I can focus on my building value for my customers doing what I do.”
Of course this doesn’t this mean that Azure and EC2 should pack it in. There’s always a place for a commodity service offerings that are focused on delivering the lowest possible cost solution, regardless of how they cut costs.
This too is a ‘which shoe fits best’ scenario. Are you focused on the lowest cost solution possible and willing to take on those added duties and tasks that come with a low cost solution or are you looking for a more full service solution that Awesome Cloud offers as part of their partnership program?
At the end of the day, I believe the work Microsoft is doing around Azure will benefit all of us and that Awesome Cloud Services (and Applied Innovations) will leverage Microsoft cloud solutions to deliver even more value for each of our partners, regardless of where it’s hosted.
P.S. I found out after my return that Lone Wolf McQuade drank Pearl Beer. I guess that was my shortcoming, I guess it’s Pearl that gives you superhero powers and allows you to jump your bronco out of the dirt. Just FYI in case you find yourself in Texas trying to decide which beer.