Microsoft retire on-premises server certifications

Microsoft have been on a cloud push for 12 years now, since the launch of BPOS in 2008. They’ve been slowly “turning the ship” in various ways over the last decade, with the ultimate aim that as much of Microsoft is pointing at the cloud as possible. This is also a case of “trickle down (cloud) economics” – Microsoft are making their new direction reflect as much as possible within their partner base…and that change will then happen within Microsoft’s customers too.

Microsoft have made various changes to partner incentives, changed a few Software Assurance benefits related to training resources, and changed the Home Use Program – all aimed to drive cloud awareness in different ways. Their latest move is to retire all their on-premises server certification paths and exams related to the MCSA, MCSD, and MCSE qualifications that have been a staple of the Microsoft server world for years. The retirement date is June 30, 2020.

As you can see in this image from Microsoft, the recommended paths are now all cloud focused:

Microsoft alternative certifications
Taken from https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/community-blog-post.aspx?BlogId=8&Id=375282

You can see a full list of what’s being retired, along with some FAQs, here – https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/learning/community-blog-post.aspx?BlogId=8&Id=375282

While not surprising given the focus on cloud, not just from Microsoft but across the industry, I do wonder if this is a little short sighted? There are still a LOT of on-premises servers in use and, with hybrid cloud being the de-facto way forward for most organisations, they will remain for a long time to come. Rightly or wrongly, this feels like Microsoft saying that they don’t care about on-premises anymore. I’ve seen MS people saying they’re still hiring lots of on-premises server engineers etc. and that may be the case, but this announcement will definitely be taken as a sign of their overall focus.

I’m often asked if Microsoft will continue to make on-premises versions of their software and, following this announcement, I can’t help but wonder if I need to rethink my answer…

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