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As part of an effort to significantly expand the consumption of cloud services on the Microsoft Azure platform, Microsoft is enlisting the aid of NetEnrich to provide its partners with a white-label service they can invoke to move application workloads into Azure.

NetEnrich CEO Raju Chekuri said the goal behind the alliance is to give partners access to the expertise needed to move a workload to the cloud without requiring them to hire IT professionals with that expertise. Not only are those IT professionals in short supply, but the need to move a workload into the cloud is sporadic in nature, Chekuri noted. So it doesn’t make sense for every partner to develop that capability on their own.

However, once that migration is complete, that partner then benefits from the ability to resell subscription licenses to a variety of Azure applications and services, he said.

“This creates an opportunity to drive new streams of revenue,” said Chekuri. “Partners can opt to just sell the migration or go deep with Microsoft services.”

NetEnrich has already piloted this service with roughly 250 partners and has nearly 500 trained engineers certified on Microsoft technologies. The goal now is to enable the roughly half a million service providers around the world to more easily migrate workloads into the Microsoft Azure cloud.

At this juncture, it’s inevitable that many workloads will be moving into the cloud. Prakash Parikh, chief operating officer of SNP Technologies, a solution provider that now focuses exclusively on cloud services, said that for partners that focus on small and midsize businesses (SMBs), the NetEnrich service makes economic sense. In contrast, Parikh noted that SNP Technologies has already built out its own migration expertise.

“I don’t think we would use more complicated applications in the midmarket,” said Parikh. “But for SMB customers that typically only have two servers this could make sense.”

Whatever the approach, Parikh says solution providers that do opt to focus on the cloud will ultimately be more profitable because the days of having to invest in trucks to deliver IT services to customers running servers on premise are increasingly coming to a close. The only issue now is how quickly that transition to the cloud will occur.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.