New initiative enables managed service providers to guide and administer Azure cloud services
Managed service providers are increasingly called upon by their customers to support cloud infrastructures, resources, and subscriptions. Microsoft is formalizing the role MSPs play in the cloud customer experience by launching the new Azure Networking Managed Service Provider program.
The Lowdown: The Azure Networking MSP program enables partners to help customers assess their cloud networking, management, and maintenance needs. Microsoft designed the program for partners such as traditional MSPs, network carriers, and systems integrators that service midsize to large accounts that often struggle to capitalize fully on cloud migrations.
Through the program, Microsoft is enlisting partners to provide their cloud customers with the expert knowledge, resources, and support to realize the full potential of cloud networking. Services supported through the program include:
• Connectivity: Virtual networks, SD-WAN, virtual private networks, and DNS management
• Security: DDoS protection and response, firewalls, Web application firewalls and filtering, and virtual network endpoints
• Delivery: Traffic management, application gateways, and load balancing
• Monitoring: Network and traffic monitoring and management
The Details: Microsoft will offer MSP services through its Azure Marketplace. Customers can purchase Azure products and managed services through the marketplace or directly through MSPs. The program includes partners who are early adopters of Microsoft’s new Azure Lighthouse, a tool that allows partners to onboard and manage cross-functional Microsoft cloud accounts and resources.
Earlier entries to the Azure Networking MSP program include SD-WAN specialist Aryaka, carrier British Telecommunications, global systems integrators Dimension Data and Tata Communications, network management provider Megaport, cloud management provider Intercloud, co-location and data center specialist Equinix, and Internet service provider Internet Initiative Japan.
The Impact: The Microsoft Azure Networking MSP program is steering into a high-growth market curve. According to Transparency Market Research, the cloud managed services market is growing at a 9.6% CAGR and will top $86.4 billion by 2022. Cloud vendors such as Microsoft recognize that the customer experience and value perception leading to subscription renewals and consumption expansion are contingent upon unlocking full value and potential of services. Through MSPs, customers can get the full value of cloud subscriptions. The Azure Networking MSP program provides managed service providers with the customer access and support they need to capitalize on this market opportunity.
The Buzz: “We are always looking for ways to improve the customer experience and allow our partners to complement our offerings,” wrote Yousef Khalidi, corporate vice president of Azure Networking at Microsoft, in a blog post. “In support of these efforts we are sharing the Azure Networking Managed Service Provider (MSP) program along with partners that deliver value-added managed cloud network services to help enterprise customers connect, operationalize, and scale their mission-critical applications running in Azure.”
“We are proud to be the only vendor participating in today’s launch with an integrated SD-WAN offering, setting the stage for a more cohesive and easier-to-consume service,” said Shashi Kiran, CMO of Aryaka. “The advantages of this new managed offering include an optimized architecture that permits enterprises to better scale their Azure VNET deployments, a simplified branch to Azure VNET connectivity, and a faster response to service activation and change.”