13 Companies Every Microsoft Cloud Partner Should Consider

A Baker's Dozen From Microsoft WPC

If you believe just about every Microsoft exec who took the stage last week at Microsoft's Worldwide Partner Conference in Orlando, Fla., it's a new day in Redmond, Wash. -- one in which technology partnerships, integration and cooperation are all valued principles.

Microsoft's cloud is growing faster than any other on the planet, and as the platform becomes more complete, flexible, compatible and stable, the ecosystem of third-party vendors around it matures.

Innovative companies are building tools and offering services that add to the experience of using Microsoft's products, making them an essential component of Microsoft's battle plan against the likes of Amazon Web Services and Google.

Microsoft execs seem cognizant of the importance of their ecosystem. Chief Operating Officer Kevin Turner, in a WPC keynote, told ISVs, system integrators and partners building intellectual property, "We love you."

Here are 13 companies that are creating products or offering services that will bolster the adoption of Microsoft's cloud. Some are agile startups, others major tech players in their own right.


SkyKick's migration tool has been embraced by Microsoft partners large and small as an elegant solution for migrating, en masse, email accounts from any on-premise or cloud environment to Office 365's hosted Exchange servers.

SkyKick recently expanded its product line with a data backup service and a cloud management portal. That puts in the arsenals of SkyKick partners who've started customers on their cloud journeys through the popular migration tool a means to leverage those migrations into repeat business.


This application delivery startup based in Santa Clara, Calif., offers an Internet-facing layer of load balancing, analytics, management, content-switching, deployment automation and most of all security for applications running in the cloud.

Founded by serial entrepreneur Kamal Anad, Appcito just made its service available to Microsoft Azure users. With the latest release of its Cloud Application Front-End (CAFE), Appcito has added customized security features for applications running in public cloud environments.


This startup founded by Microsoft vet Geeman Yip in neighboring Kirkland, Wash., has rapidly become a vital onboarding tool set in many a Microsoft practice.

BitTitan offers an end-to-end solution for migrations, configurations, management, and security that many solution providers turn to when deploying new Office 365 accounts.

The company just released solutions to help partners on the business side by helping them identify and prioritize leads, detect up-sell and cross-sell opportunities, and do pricing estimates.


Odin, a service provider offshoot of virtualization-tech developer Parallels, was one of the initial third-party vendors to start offering customers Azure through Microsoft's Cloud Solutions Provider program.

Odin's software allows partners to automate end-to-end service delivery, customer management and billing across Azure, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, and other services in Microsoft's burgeoning ecosystem.


This workflow automation platform developer has exploded in recent years and is now heavily used by Microsoft partners implementing core business processes, generating forms and connecting processes with other services for their customers.

Nintex is expanding its partner program and has redesigned its portal to help partners do more business.

The developer also recently launched enterprise editions of its Nintex Mobile and Nintex Forms for enabling sophisticated mobile apps and forms. The updates include custom-branding capabilities and data connectors to enrich end-user interactions.


LiveTiles brings to market an elegant and intuitive interface for quickly cobbling together attractive portals by which users can access Microsoft services like SharePoint, Office 365 and Azure.

Sites and pages can be built on the platform with drag-and-drop functionality and then deployed for use to everyone from students to retail workers.

Microsoft has long suffered the reputation of lacking elegance, but partners like LiveTiles are introducing style to the user experience.


The blockbuster announcement coming out of the first day of the WPC was a new partnership between Microsoft and Rackspace in which the San Antonio-based hosting provider would offer its style of "Fanatical Support" to customers running workloads in the Azure cloud.

It'll be interesting to see if supporting customers who are using a rival Infrastructure-as-a-Service product proves a shrewd move, or just the first step in the transformation of its cloud hosting business in an ultra-competitive market.


This network security vendor from Sunnyvale, Calif., began working with Microsoft in May to bring an enterprise-grade firewall to Azure with its virtual appliance.

About the same time, Fortinet unveiled a revamped partner program with a new network security certification and free training opportunities for partners designed to impart on them deep expertise in network security.


This managed server and cloud provider based in Chicago recently revamped its channel program with a vision of making business easier for its partners. Hostway added tiers, price discounts, more-responsive technical support, marketing assistance and free usage during customer onboarding.

Hostway recently debuted a major upgrade to its cloud portfolio with both virtual and dedicated private cloud services built on Microsoft technologies. The private clouds offer customers virtualized environments with the predictability and security of dedicated resources.


Centrify, a vendor of cloud-based security and identity management software, is a Microsoft partner that offers its services to Azure customers. Already well-established in the small- and medium-size business market, Centrify is now focused on service delivery and deployment of apps in the enterprise.

The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company recently revamped its channel program to make it more attractive to system integrators.


AppRiver, an email and Web security developer based in Gulf Breeze, Fla., was an early Office 365 partner. The company's products keep spam and viruses out of your inbox and your emails encrypted.

AppRiver had a banner year in 2014, and more than ever before in its 12-year history, that success was driven by the channel, the company told CRN.

Cloud Cruiser

Cloud Cruiser aims to impart financial control on unruly hybrid environments and save enterprise customers and solution providers money by better coordinating cloud usage with the cloud resources they actually provision and pay for.

With so many cloud providers making so many contradictory claims, and different environments offering different financial benefits, the cost management software is becoming a popular tool for saving some of that IT spend.

Citrix Systems

Citrix is champing at the bit to virtualize Microsoft's forthcoming Windows 10 operating system.

Citrix's app and desktop virtualization products will enable partners and IT administrators to rapidly deliver Windows 10 across large, mobile workforces without the pain and wait associated with most large-scale migrations.

New products from the virtualization giant aim to accelerate Windows 10 adoption and simplify migrations.