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April 21, 2016updated 05 Sep 2016 10:51am

Microsoft offers free cloud training to IT pros in move to boost numbers on Azure

News: Aim is to boost the number of users on the cloud platform.

By James Nunns

Microsoft is giving a lesson in how to lure IT professionals to its Azure cloud by handing out freebies.

The idea is to reach out to IT pros that are looking to get started and build their careers in the cloud by offering free trials of Azure and Office 365, in addition to support and training credits.

Mike Neil, corporate VP, cloud and enterprise, wrote on the company’s blog: "We are in the middle of the cloud technology transition and IT professionals are not always leading this transition. Microsoft is here to support IT professionals as they lead their companies to adopt the cloud with two new programs – Microsoft IT Pro Cloud Essentials and the Microsoft IT Pro Career Center."

To bring IT professionals to its cloud, Microsoft has set up a certification program called IT Pro Cloud Essentials, which includes $100 of free Azure credits per month for the first three months to try cloud systems for backup, disaster recovery, security and dev/test. This offer is available if people sign up before the 30th of September.

Additional perks to this package include free Pluralsight subscription for online training, free priority support in the TechNet forums, a free certification exam voucher and extended trials of the Enterprise Mobility Suite and Office 365.

What this boils down to is a way to get more people using Azure.

The second package of freebies is called the Microsoft IT Pro Career Centre, which will offer cloud career paths, a curriculum to learn cloud roles, and industry insights.

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This package is basically offering professionals’ help to figure out what their IT cloud roles are, followed by training to achieve them.

Microsoft lists one of the perks as: "Discover which cloud roles are in demand and their salary ranges."

This move from Microsoft doesn’t really come as a big surprise, it is after all playing catch-up to Amazon Web Services and to do that it needs more people using its cloud services. Having spent a lot of time and money building out its services Microsoft is keen to see a return on the investment and that means considerable cloud growth.

The addition of new services to cloud platforms is continuous from the leading vendors, with AWS, Google and Microsoft all sparring over who has the best and most innovative additions.

Microsoft recently made the Azure Container Service available in order to help companies deploy and manage containers using their choice of software. Given the increased popularity of containers in the past couple of years this looks like a solid move.

Users of the service can move container workloads to the cloud while still running their operations using open source tools. Both Mesosphere’s Data Centre Operating System and Docker’s Swarm and Compose tools will be supported by the service.

Many will be watching Microsoft closely as the company is due to reveal its latest financial results. Although it is difficult to gain clear insight into the company’s cloud business revenue, due to its style of reporting, the company will be looking to impress investors by improving on the annual run rate of $9.4bn it achieved last January.


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