Microsoft has around 77,000 "cloud transacting partners" and the software giant wants all of them to sell Azure, its public cloud.
But the majority of that channel isn't, as yet, doing any Azure business at all, instead focusing exclusively on Software-as-a-Service products like Office 365 or SharePoint, according to Rocco Seyboth, vice president of products at BitTitan, a Microsoft technology partner based in Kirkland, Wash.
"One area [Microsoft] is having trouble is finding use cases for these partners who understand email and documents well, but might not have expertise around some of the Azure use cases like application development," Seyboth told CRN.
To address that challenge, BitTitan has created an Azure Starter Kit that enables just about any partner to quickly begin generating revenue by selling Azure -- without hiring new technicians, stepping out of their business or really even learning much about Azure -- by tackling two "low-hanging fruit use cases," Seyboth said.
First is migrating SQL 2005 databases that Microsoft soon will stop supporting. The second is migrating from Amazon Web Services unstructured data sometimes called "blob storage."
BitTitan has packaged tools to automate those two tasks with a discovery tool, HealthCheck for Azure, that assesses the feasibility and economics of migrating existing workloads to the cloud.
The Azure Starter Kit was added to BitTitan's MSPComplete platform in December.
HealthCheck for Azure can be deployed inside a customer firewall. It analyzes physical and virtual machines, looking for workloads that are compatible with the Azure environment and ready for migration. The tool also offers pricing data -- instantly creating a return-on-investment report partners can present to their clients.
"For partners not accustomed to having conversations with customers about Azure, we made that conversation really easy, because we know what workloads can go to the cloud and we know how much money they will save," Seyboth said.
In April, tens of millions of SQL 2005 on-premises databases will no longer be supported by Microsoft. Compounding the challenge, "there aren't more than a couple hundred partners worldwide for Microsoft that are experts in migrating databases," Seyboth told CRN.