“Opening the marketplace up to the CSP channel is going to be a game-changer,” Schuster said today.
CSP partners can benefit from two approaching end-of-life milestones as well, she added. Security updates will no longer be available for SQL Server 2008 starting this July or for Windows Server 2008 starting next January.
“There are tens of millions of SQL and Windows Server instances out there waiting to be migrated to Azure, and we estimate the end of support opportunity for partners is around $50 billion when it comes to services and related business,” Schuster said.
That revenue will build on already strong growth for the CSP channel. According to Microsoft, the number of partners transacting through that program is up 31 percent in the last year, and the number of customers served by CSP members is up 51 percent over the same timeframe to more than 2 million.
Schuster also provided an update on Microsoft’s Azure Expert Managed Service Provider program during her presentation today. To qualify for that offering, partners must hold an active Gold Cloud Platform competency, have at least four Azure customer references, and complete a rigorous audit by an outside evaluator. So far, the 43 companies that have cleared that bar are racking up more than $100,000 of Azure consumption a month on average, and up to $2 million dollars a month in some cases.
Numbers like those contributed to the strong cloud revenue results Microsoft posted last week in its latest quarterly financial report, which showed sales for the company’s commercial cloud group up 48 percent on a year-over-basis to $9 billion.