CRN Exclusive: CSP Atmosera Sees Soaring Demand For Managed Microsoft Azure Services

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Atmosera, a Microsoft cloud solution provider that specializes in assessment, migration and management within Azure, has seen customer interest in its public, private and hybrid managed Azure services skyrocket over the past several months.

The Portland, Ore.-based company, which on Tuesday announced the release of its expanded managed Azure services package, said the decision to build its business strategy around the platform has "paid off in spades" after Microsoft increased cloud-related incentives for its field staff last July.

Atmosera said it had seen a 294 percent growth rate across its entire Microsoft portfolio, leading the 60-person company to add 12 new employees in the first quarter of 2017.

[Related: Partners See Major Azure Windfall As Microsoft Scraps Pay-As-You-Go Policy]

"It’s changed dramatically in terms of what our inbound leads look like," Atmosera CMO John Trembley said. "As of January and the last couple months, the amount of leads coming in from large companies and large software shops that want to be on Azure and are specifically looking for somebody to help them and manage the environment, that’s just exploded."

Previously, Microsoft primarily sold Azure enterprise agreements that were implemented by a systems integrator and then managed directly by the customer. In July 2016, however, the vendor restructured its incentives, so that field staff receives the same compensation if managed service providers are brought into the deal instead of systems integrators. The ensuing shift in attention toward Azure resulted in a dramatic uptick in activity for Atmosera.

Trembley went on to cite a JP Morgan survey published in 2016 that asked CIOs, "Which IT vendor will be most critical and indispensable to your organization's IT environment in the future?" Almost 47 percent of those surveyed answered "Microsoft," with Amazon Web Services sitting in second place at 13 percent.

"By 2019, they believe that Azure will overtake AWS," Trembley said. "From an inbound point of view, in terms of what we’re seeing coming in, I totally understand why they’re forecasting that."

Created in 2013 when Easy Street and Infinity Internet were acquired by Seaport Capital, Atmosera soon began channeling its efforts toward creating a winning hybrid platform, but the CSP needed a public cloud partner. Within its first year of existence, Atmosera said it chose Microsoft over Amazon Web Services, for a few reasons: Microsoft had more of a partner-focused business culture, it carried stronger relationships within small and midsized business markets and, most importantly, it believed in the hybrid cloud model.

The Azure path was not without its challenges at the outset, but Atmosera ultimately reaped major benefits by staying patient.

"That journey certainly early on, (there were) a lot of lessons learned," Atmosera CEO Jon Thomsen said. "Azure wasn’t totally a functional platform. There were a lot of issues with it. It’s gotten a lot better over the last two years."

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