HP, Microsoft joint initiative to capture Windows Server 2003 transition

With the Windows XP support deadline in the rear-view mirror, HP and Microsoft are turning their attention to the end of support for Windows Server 2003.

Doug Oathout, Vice President of Global Marketing, SMB & Alliances at HP.

Doug Oathout, Vice President of Global Marketing, SMB & Alliances at HP.

At Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference 2014 in Washington D.C., HP has announced a new program designed in conjunction with Microsoft aimed at helping channel partners capitalize on the  opportunity presented as customers transition from Windows Server 2003.

“This joint initiative with Microsoft, the HP Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Migration Program, will go after customers who have Windows Server 2003 installed, and will go through our channel partners,” said Doug Oathout, Vice President of Global Marketing, SMB & Alliances at HP.

Microsoft support for Server 2003 is ending July 14 of next year, and Oathout said that the opportunity for partners assisting customers with migration is massive.

“There are 11 million servers out there with Windows Server 2003 on them today” he said. “It’s basically the equivalent of an entire year’s worth of server volume, a ten billion dollar opportunity.

While convincing customers on the need to migrate their desktop OS from Windows XP systems that many of them still liked was often a challenge, even after the end of its support was announced, Oathout said that customers can see the major leap forward more easily between Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2012 R2.

“Customers want a modern platform that is built for the cloud,” he said. “We see this as a great opportunity for partners, a once-in-a-decade opportunity.”

The server migration can be more complex than the desktop migration, requiring partner consulting skills.

“It can be much harder than a desktop migration because the server is feeding multiple clients, and there’s a plethora of driver and other components that need to be consistently updated,” said Jim Ganthier, Vice President of Global Initiatives and HP Servers.

“It’s really application dependent,” Oathout added. “Certain application migrations are simpler. If, however, they have a custom app written for Windows Server 2003, it is complicated because they have to rewrite it.  That’s why they have to start now. The average time for a migration is 200 days, so they need to start as soon as possible getting the easy stuff done to make sure they are ready.”

The HP Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Migration Program consists of tools, programs and incentives to help customers migrate.

“We want to make sure this is a channel led opportunity,” Ganthier said. “We are making available a combination of asset recovery, trade-in capabilities, and financial services offerings, and looking at it all  from an end-to-end lifecycle perspective.”

HP Enterprise Services and Technology Services teams will assist partners to help clients with service assessments, application development or remediation and migrations.

“We want partners to be able to walk into our joint customers with the partner getting paid for hardware and migration services,”Oathout said “They get the ability to sell an assessment that HP and MS jointly pay for and then sell the services with the migration.” HP Packaged Consulting services include HP Transformation Workshop for Windows 2003, HP Migration Assessment Service for Windows 2003, and HP Training Needs Advisement.

Windows Server 2012 Migration Dual Usage, combined with HP Asset Recovery Services, helps simplify migration by providing flexibility around the transition time period.

“It provides the ability for the customer to have new assets on site for the migration, but only pay for one of the two assets,” Oathout said. “We then pick up the old asset. This helps them avoid increased capitalization during migration. With the HP Pre-Provisioning Solution, we also have pre-provisioned solutions for planned capacity so they get up to 12 months of a converged system and only pay for it as they turn it on, which also keeps costs down in a migration.”

HP SMB Flex-Bundles, based on ProLiant Gen 8 servers, storage and network solutions, and engineered for Microsoft workloads with Microsoft Azure as a cloud backup solution, have been beefed up for partners in this program.

“Some of these bundles are net new for partners, and some were already out there for them, but we are increasing the number,” Oathout said. “The bundles for SQL and Lync are new. The bundles have partner incentives built into them.”

“The Flex-Bundles are also converged systems, prepackaged, tuned and tweaked enterprise class offerings for virtualization and data analysis,” Ganthier said.

HP is also stressing that because Windows Server 2012 R2 is aligned to Microsoft’s Azure Service, it can cost-effectively cloud-optimize customers’ businesses.

“It makes Azure an effective backup for SMBs,” Ganthier said.

HP and Microsoft are also allocating significant marketing and sales resources to drive sell-in. They will offer special promotions for Server and Microsoft Operating System license combinations when a partner replaces a Windows Server 2003 installation.

“The specific incents will differ by geography, but they will be significant,” Ganthier said. “It is specifically for Server 2003, not Server 2008 replacements. There has to be a 2003 proof of retirement.”

Sales enablement and training resources include access to HP sales plays and new tools to simplify customer migration assessments.

“We will create playbooks for them to do these migrations,” Ganthier said. “The resource suite includes whiteboards, and in-depth competitive information. We know our competitors are also doing similar things, but our deep-seated Microsoft partnership gives us an advantage here. We are comfortable partners will choose HP first.”

New co-marketing assets are also being allotted to this program.

“We will be incrementing our investment in co-marketing for this program, so partners can use earned MDF for it,” Oathout said.

HP Financial Services will also offers partners competitive financial incentives and migration solutions including technology refresh, trade in, duel usage and transition services.

“There’s a lot here with the financial services offerings,” Oathout said. “It’s not just leasing.”

“We really want to get the partners fully engaged on this program,” Oathout concluded. “HP and Microsoft alone cannot do this. This isn’t about working with 50 partners, it’s about involving the 10,000-15,000 hardware partners that HP and Microsoft have jointly.”