Microsoft lures IT pros with breadcrumb trail of candy to its cloud

We didn't build all this for you to goof off on AWS

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Microsoft has offered up a grab bag of goodies for IT administrators looking to add cloud skills to their resume, including free trials of Azure and Office 365, plus support and training credits, along with some career advice.

"We are in the middle of the cloud technology transition, and IT professionals are not always leading this transition," said Mike Neil, Redmond's veep of enterprise cloud.

"To capture this opportunity, IT professionals need to rapidly familiarize themselves with cloud technologies, and evolve their skills."

In other words, we've been building out all these cloud services and now we need to make sure enough people use them. To tempt techies over to its systems, Microsoft has set up a certification program, dubbed IT Pro Cloud Essentials, and is offering a year's free subscription.

The package includes $100 of free Azure credits per month for the first three months if you sign up before September 30, and a long-term lower price for access to the cloud network. It comes with free priority support in the TechNet forums, guaranteeing a response in 24 hours, and one free Azure in-house system phone support call.

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For new skills, Redmond is offering a three-month cloud training voucher from Pluralsight for one of 10 selected courses, as well as access to its Virtual Academy, and free examinations for a limited period. Microsoft is also adding testbed examples for admins to try out in areas like security and mobility for home training.

It's a reasonable package for an admin aspiring to pick up some cloud skills, and Microsoft has told The Reg that it doesn't expect to charge for the package next year and the same freebies should apply.

Thursday's Microsoft earnings call will make interesting listening, with investors looking for solid proof that the all-in push to cloud is going to pay off. Last quarter, cloud division revenues were up 5 per cent to $6.3bn, but that's still only a quarter of Microsoft's business, so growth is essential. ®


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