Microsoft WPC: First 5 Conference Surprises Ain’t Windows 8
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC12) will generate plenty of Windows 8 news. But if you listen closely, you’ll hear some surprising WPC 12 chatter involving Cisco Systems (NASDAQ: CSCO), Rackspace (NYSE: RAX) and a range of desktop as a service providers. In fact, here are five WPC 2012 surprises that The VAR Guy has already stumbled upon.
First, the big picture: CEO Steve Ballmer today will describe the state of Microsoft while evangelizing Windows 8 and other forthcoming technologies. And days before the conference, Microsoft killed Windows Small Business Server development, the latest signal that partners need to shift their focus to cloud services and Office 365.
So what else is cooking? Here are five early surprises from WPC 12:
1. Rackspace Cloud: There are signs that Rackspace and Microsoft will work far more closely on cloud computing. Already, Rackspace has purchased SharePoint 911 — which focuses on a hosted version of Microsoft’s collaboration software. And Rackspace was Microsoft’s hosting partner of the year.
But why is Rackspace CTO John Engates scheduled to keynote during Microsoft’s Hosting and Cloud Services Provider track? The VAR Guy suspects some Microsoft-Rackspace surprises are coming perhaps in such areas as:
- Rackspace becoming an Office 365 syndication partner?
- Microsoft and Rackspace working more closely on Hyper-V virtualization integration with OpenStack?
- Rackspace Cloud preparing for Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 desktop as a service?
Hmmm… The bullet points are speculation. But Rackspace is here in a big way. The VAR Guy is digging for insights and updates.
2. The Cisco Partnership: Multiple Cisco Systems sources say the networking giant will spend considerable time at Microsoft WPC. Why? Cisco needs to optimize its Unified Compute System (UCS) and servers for Windows Server 2012, SharePoint, SQL Server, Exchange, Lync and more. That work is well-underway. And now, Cisco and Microsoft want to reinforce that news, The VAR Guy hears.
3. Desktop as a Service (DaaS): Is Microsoft finally — at long last — ready to promote virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or so-called Desktop as a Service? Keep an eye on Microsoft’s partnerships with AppRiver, Citrix Systems, Horizon Private Cloud (vDesktop), nGenX, Nivio, and OBT Anywhere, The VAR Guy suggests (wink, wink … nudge, nudge…).
4. Three Cloud Components: Microsoft’s Server, Data and Cloud sessions focus on three core components: SQL Server, Windows Azure and Windows Server/Systems Center. Sort of strange that Microsoft doesn’t include Office 365 in that conversation.
Some VARs speculate that Windows Azure will become the bigger partner push — especially as Microsoft seeks additional ISVs (independent software vendors). The VAR Guy still thinks there’s a big Office 365 opportunity that many partners are overlooking. It involves project revenue rather than recurring revenue.
That angle will surely come up during a cloud panel on Monday, featuring…
- Gartner VP Tiffani Bova
- Jenni Flinders, VP of Microsoft US Partner Group
- Tom Chew, Slalom Consulting (Microsoft’s Office 365 partner of the year)
- Todd Nelmes, Moderator
- And… apparently… The VAR Guy too? Stay tuned.
5. MSPs = Missing Service Providers?: Yes, WPC12 will be packed with 15,000 attendees. But several MSP-oriented software companies decided to skip the event. While Windows Intune (cloud-based remote PC management) may appeal to some MSPs, there a few truly MSP-centric sessions on the conference agenda. One involves the nine secrets to big MSP opportunities. But traditional resellers, VARs, distributors, hosting providers and ISVs appear to be the primary focus here.
That’s all for now. At some point, The VAR Guy needs to get some sleep before Steve Ballmer steps onto stage in a few hours. More WPC12 coverage to follow soon…