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Partners Cheer Microsoft's Product Moves Around Security, Cloud And Containers

Microsoft kicked off its Ignite 2016 conference with a number of announcements impacting the channel.

Solution providers Monday applauded Microsoft's unveiling of enhancements to a breadth of products, with a particular focus on security and cloud technologies.

Microsoft made the announcements — which included upgrades to Office 365 security and Docker Engine container support as part of Windows Server 2016 -- in connection with its Ignite 2016 conference, being held this week in Atlanta.

"Microsoft is charging toward removing the fear and uncertainty of security in the cloud," said Ric Opal, senior director at Oak Brook, Ill.-based SWC Technology Partners, while it's also "going to provide the features, benefits and product offerings that customers desire in the cloud."

[Related: Microsoft Unveils Plan To Sell Subscription-Based Windows 10 Enterprise, Surface Devices Through Channel Partners]

"As evidenced by this Docker announcement, as evidenced by [their work with] Linux, as evidenced by some of the other partnerships they've done, they continually are showing that they are open to and embracing of what customers want," Opal said.

On security, Microsoft said it's launching Office 365 Threat Intelligence, an enhancement to Office 365 security that provides alerts and data on where attacks are coming from.

In another security announcement, Microsoft said Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is being extended to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint Online and OneDrive for Business. The vendor also announced that Windows Server 2016 will launch in October, and that it will include Commercially Supported Docker Engine at no extra cost.

"This makes it incredibly easy for developers and IT administrators to leverage container-based deployments using Windows Server 2016," said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft's executive vice president for cloud and enterprise, during his Ignite 2016 keynote Monday.

Michael Goldstein, president and CEO of LAN Infotech, a Microsoft partner in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., said he's "extremely excited" for the launch of Windows Server 2016 due to its new features. Meanwhile, the "timing couldn't be better for the security enhancements," Goldstein said.

Opal also praised Microsoft's announcement of new, free educational resources for IT professionals.

Those include a new online community for IT professionals, Microsoft Technical Community, and an expansion of the Microsoft IT Pro Career Center and Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials.

"The announcements around education and learning are pivotal," Opal said. "If you make the products to secure our customers, you still have to educate the partners on what to do with them."

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