End of Windows Server 2003 support is a SureStep for Microsoft

LAS VEGAS – Microsoft outlined the channel opportunity for the end of life situation with Windows Server 2003 at the VARnex Fall conference, organized by Synnex.

According to John Kennedy, vice-president of OEM for Microsoft Canada, the addressable market for the channel will hit more than nine million servers, of which half are virtualized.

Microsoft plans to end support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015 and have already being pushing the channel on Windows Server 2012 R2 or migration to Azure.

Kennedy added that of the 23.8 million Windows Server 2003 instances running in the world, solution providers will have “one shot” at the opportunity to make it more than a transaction. “This is the start of a relationship,” he said of the Windows Server 2003 end of life market opportunity.

And there are many business transformation opportunities with the Windows Server upgrade, such as line of business apps, databases, email, collaboration solutions, file and print, and Web.

“Look at it as a long term strategy because in 2016, SQL 2005 will reach its end of support too. Inform customers of this and find out who to talk to about an all up migration strategy,” Kennedy said.

Neil Potter, general manager of Microsoft, said there are approximately 7.6 million line of business apps and most of those are legacy that need to be virtualized.

In terms of upgrades, Microsoft is suggesting solution providers target Windows Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2014, Azure and Office 365.

With that, Microsoft has unveiled the Cloud SureStep program. It’s a three-step framework where the software giant will work with distributors and the channel. Each of the three steps comprise assets and resources to support the channel partners who already have a cloud services business.

Potter said SureStep is the foundation for business transformation and it helps with Capex to the annuity model. Secondly, it’s centred on how to get started. “Sales people need to have the right conversation. So there is readiness on both sides and after four to six implementations the frequency can occur, and then you can build a marketing engine. Only eight per cent of our customers are in the cloud now so there is still a 92 per cent market opportunity. There are so many years to come for Azure and Office 365,” Potter said.

Meanwhile, Synnex announced it plans to participate in Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider program. The program is designed to expand cloud sales opportunities by enabling solution providers to provide direct billing, sell combined offers and services, as well as directly provision, manage and support Microsoft Cloud products and services.

The distributor plans to enable the channel to own the complete customer life-cycle, allowing them to sell Office 365 and Windows Intune subscriptions, while offering cloud services the can bill for along with directly managing support through the CloudSolv program.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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