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Microsoft & the Next Level of Transformation with Corey Sanders

Microsoft & the Next Level of Transformation with Corey Sanders

Update: 2020-09-221


About Corey Sanders:

Corey Sanders is the Corporate Vice President for Microsoft Solutions, an organization dedicated to partnering with customers as they transform into successful digital businesses.

He is responsible for sales strategy and corporate technical sales across Solution Areas and Teams that include Azure Applications & Infrastructure, Azure Data & AI, Business Applications, Cybersecurity Solutions Group, and Modern Workplace. His focus also includes selling the full value of Microsoft cross-cloud solutions and advancing the technical depth of the Microsoft Solutions team.

Prior to this role, Corey was Head of Product for Azure Compute and the founder of Microsoft Azure’s infrastructure as a service (IaaS) business. During that time, he was responsible for products, strategy and technical vision aligned to core Azure compute services. He also previously led program management for multiple Azure services. Earlier in his career, Corey was a developer in the Windows Serviceability team with ownership across the networking and kernel stack for Windows.

Corey joined Microsoft in 2004 after graduating from Princeton University and resides in New Jersey.

Links Referenced:


Announcer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Cloud Economist Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.

Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by Catchpoint. Look, 80 percent of performance and availability issues don’t occur within your application code in your data center itself. It occurs well outside those boundaries, so it’s difficult to understand what’s actually happening. What Catchpoint does is makes it easier for enterprises to detect, identify, and of course, validate how reachable their application is, and of course, how happy their users are. It helps you get visibility into reachability, availability, performance, reliability, and of course absorbency, because we’ll throw that one in, too. And it’s used by a bunch of interesting companies you may have heard of, like, you know, Google, Verizon, Oracle—but don’t hold that against them—and many more. To learn more, visit, and tell them Corey sent you; wait for the wince.

Corey: Normally, I like to snark about the various sponsors that sponsor these episodes, but I'm faced with a bit of a challenge because this episode is sponsored in part by A Cloud Guru. They're the company that's sort of famous for teaching the world to cloud, and it's very, very hard to come up with anything meaningfully insulting about them. So, I'm not really going to try. They've recently improved their platform significantly, and it brings both the benefits of A Cloud Guru that we all know and love as well as the recently acquired Linux Academy together. That means that there's now an effective, hands-on, and comprehensive skills development platform for AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and beyond. Yes, ‘and beyond’ is doing a lot of heavy lifting right there in that sentence. They have a bunch of new courses and labs that are available. For my purposes, they have a terrific learn by doing experience that you absolutely want to take a look at and they also have business offerings as well under ACG for Business. Check them out. Visit to learn more. Tell them Corey sent you and wait for them to instinctively flinch. That's

Quinn: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud, I'm Corey Quinn. I am joined for a third time by Corey Sanders, corporate vice president—which Twitter tells me all three of those words are bad—at Microsoft. Corey, welcome to the show.

Sanders: Thank you. It's great to be here. And it's great to be on with a common-named host.

Quinn: Absolutely. Whatever we say, Corey, it's great: it makes it really easy on the people doing the transcription. Just put, Corey, and that solves the problem neatly. So, this is your third time on the show, second time as the corporate vice president for Microsoft Solutions. Before that, you were deep in the weeds of Azure itself and now have gone into a bit of a broader remit.

Sanders: That's right. That's right, yeah. So, I am responsible for enabling customers, helping them deliver solutions across our Azure solution—so that's certainly the infrastructure side, which is again, as you said, my bread and butter, as it were, and also the data side—and then expanding out to our business application. So, Dynamics and our Power Platform, and security and, and Modern Work. So, that would be Teams and Office 365. And so, running the full range of capabilities for customers.

Quinn: So, it's always fun to compare episodes with the same guest next to each other. It started off as first, “Oh, wow, this Azure thing. What's it about?” Then last time, we had this conversation about Build. Now, of course, world changes, and we're talking about a global pandemic. I'm hoping next time we don't talk about the meteor, but you know, we have these hopes on this. On slightly happier news, you apparently have a new child.

Sanders: I do, yeah. I have a young child here, actually born at the very beginning of the pandemic, so she has really only seen me and my wife without masks on. And so I sometimes wonder what the result of that will be, that we're the only two faces that she's actually seen top to bottom since she's been born. So, it's kind of an interesting psychological experiment, which is typically not a good thing to run on your daughter, but we don't really have a choice, I guess.

Quinn: This is something I hadn't considered yet. I have a kid due myself, in a couple months. So, this is going to be an interesting experiment, myself.

Sanders: We can compare results.

Quinn: Exactly. It feels like something we really should have gotten an ethics sign—off from someone on first.

Sanders: That's right. That's right. [laughs].

Quinn: Let's talk a little bit about what you folks are seeing in the context of COVID, what it's doing to the business. Which again, even saying it like that feels like a very cavalier way of addressing a global crisis, but there are very few companies that are in Microsoft's position, whereas you have cloud offerings, you have communications offerings, you're sort of across the software stack. Of any company, you folks are in the best position from my perspective to get a holistic view of what customers are seeing what customers are doing during these times. What have you noticed?

Sanders: Yeah, absolutely. And to start off, obviously, as you mentioned, just the entire—the impact, the sickness, the challenges, the social implications that we've seen have just been very, very difficult. And so I'm hoping that we can get through this as fast as possible, and continue to make improvements every week. As part of the effort and sort of response, our biggest focus has really been around, how do we help customers in this time? And that runs a pretty wide range of capabilities, solutions, and expectations. 

And so you've mentioned a few. A good example is Teams and enabling customers to be able to work in a remote environment. And what I think's interesting is that I think that the result of this is certainly customers learning, and understanding and better appreciating the needs and the capabilities to be able to work remotely, but also, I think, fundamentally changing the way people work from now on. I think the expectations of being able to work, I think the success that customers have seen, when leveraging Teams to be able to work in this remote way, again, has enabled them to approach their entire work culture in a different way. 

But it doesn't just end with Teams. I think the need for Remote Desktop, and being able to do secure and protected work, but without necessarily having to have everything loaded on a local laptop that may not have the same level of security control that a customer may look for, and then you get into the broader range of security, just that customers needed to reevaluate a lot of their security principles and reassess the way in which they were approaching their security environment, the amount of VPNs [laughs] that ended up failing in the process of this change has been quite numerous. Where customers were pin-pricking everything through a VPN that was outside of their corporate environment, well, suddenly, when everything's outside of your corporate environment, the VPN struggles. And so, we—

Quinn: [unintelligible] for 10 to 100 users, and now we have 10,000 on it, and it turns out that TCP now terminates on the floor, and we have a problem.

Sanders: [laughs]. You got it. Exactly right. I mean, it's just the ability to scale, the ab

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Microsoft & the Next Level of Transformation with Corey Sanders

Microsoft & the Next Level of Transformation with Corey Sanders

Corey Quinn