Microsoft Partner Network tools and services altered

Microsoft revamped its Microsoft Partner Network to include its Cloud Essentials Pack, new tools, such as Pinpoint, and additional support for training and social networking.

Systems channel news in brief for Nov. 4, 2010

Microsoft Partner Network gets makeover

Microsoft has ramped up its Microsoft Partner Network with new tools, services and social networking capabilities to entice partners.

Members of the Microsoft Partner Network can earn silver or gold competencies in 29 specialized areas and can join the Small Business Specialist Community (SBSC), BizSpark or WebsiteSpark. All of these communities have technical and business development resources for partners, according to Microsoft. The SBSC focuses on partners that cater to small and medium-sized businesses, and BizSpark and WebsiteSpark focus on entrepreneurs and business startups.

Among the new tools available is Microsoft Pinpoint, which is a search engine that partners can use to find technology experts, software applications and services. Partners can also use Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or the Microsoft Partner Network community to learn about technology trends in the market.
Another resource for cloud-focused partners is the new Microsoft Cloud Essentials Pack. The Cloud Accelerate badge is given to partners that are experienced in selling cloud computing solutions, have gone through advanced training and are able to produce customer references demonstrating cloud computing efforts.

Microsoft Action Pack Subscriptions are also available as part of the new program and give partners access to software, development tools and training.

Citrix XenDesktop 5.0 includes IMA changes

The most pertinent change to the upcoming Citrix XenDesktop 5.0 will be to its Internal Management Architecture (IMA).

Citrix Systems has not yet released the full details, but IT experts say that many of the changes to IMA are based on customer requests to deploy virtual desktops on a grander scale. With the new IMA upgrade, migrating to the new version will require "changes to all the servers that control the XenDesktop environment, the database that keeps track of permissions, the connection broker that listens for incoming connections and the software that maintains the environment," according to SearchVirtualDesktop.com.

Because of the IMA changes, there will likely be no direct mapping from XenDesktop 4.0 to 5.0. As a result, customers might not want to upgrade, and solution providers may need to come up with strategies for helping them with new XenDesktop 5.0 purchases.

Intel includes Joyent in Intel Cloud Builders push

Intel Corp. is including Infrastructure as a Service provider Joyent in its Intel Cloud Builders program, which offers best practices on cloud infrastructure deployment.

Joyent joins vendors HP, Dell and VMware in the initiative and has experience with cloud software that will help solution providers provision, administer and maintain their customers' cloud. Joyent is the only company in the program that specializes in running a major public cloud service, according to VMblog.com.

The Intel Cloud Builders reference architecture can also help solution providers answer questions regarding how to conduct public, private or hybrid cloud deployments under specific requirements.

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