Azure is growing at a phenomenal rate and Day 2 at WPC made clear that the platform is becoming the backbone to Microsoft’s entire business strategy.
According to Gavriella Schuster, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Group, Azure is gaining nearly 120,000 new subscriptions a month. The platform is increasing over 100 percent in both revenue and user base annually.
In the race for cloud supremacy, Azure has a couple of distinct advantages. While Amazon’s AWS currently has the lion’s share of the IaaS market, the truth is that providing infrastructure is a commodity business. The real value lies further up the stack, in the application building layer. It’s what CEO Satya Nadella refers to as ‘Intelligent Cloud’.
Microsoft has decades of enterprise experience, and therefore, an inherent understanding of organisational needs. This deep knowledge of the enterprise has been applied to the Intelligent Cloud. It’s not just about providing the infrastructure for cloud applications; it’s about providing the tools needed to ensure that those applications meet the needs of businesses today – and this is where Azure shines. As Satya Nadella said at WPC: “The most transformative thing is the data — the fact that you have the leads, orders, shipments, inventory, field service orders, everything represented in the cloud, exposed in the cloud, for others to build, extend, is what’s going to make the difference.”
One only needs to consider that 80% of the major US big banks are Azure customers to recognise that Microsoft has struck a chord with enterprise clients.
From the Dynamics 365 application suite, which combines current CRM and ERP cloud solutions into one cohesive cloud service, to AppSource, a search engine, app store and sandbox for Azure applications, Microsoft’s commitment to Azure was plain to see at WPC this year.
The vendor also announced general availability of Azure SQL Data Warehouse, which delivers the promise of cloud elasticity to data warehousing.
Even more traditional offerings, like Windows Server and System Center, are currently being redesigned to help customers succeed in a cloud-first world.
“It’s very difficult to see another third party displacing Microsoft in its ambitions around machine learning and the scaled intelligence that they’re building into the cloud and the way that they can stretch that power right down into desktop and mobile devices,” says Julian Dyer, Chief Technology Officer, Cobweb.
While this rich ecosystem is what sets Azure apart from the crowd, it also inevitably adds complexity; and this complexity represents both challenges and opportunities for the channel – something Vuzion recognized a long time ago.
“The components that are being built as solutions within Azure are complex, and that has to be hidden – certainly from the end-consumer and maybe even the end-company,” says Dyer. “One of Vuzion’s aims is to translate that complexity into something that’s powerful and useful in the short-term, so that partners and businesses can adopt cloud quickly. “
Azure has over 2,800 components, each billed by the hour. Vuzion is able to take Azure’s components, help partners package them up into a bundle and provide complete end-customer solutions. With a unified billing platform, Vuzion acts as a value-add aggregator, taking the complexity out of the equation, for both resellers and customers.