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Cloud is prompting channel providers to invest more in being service integrators. But service providers see distributors largely as providers of tech support for cloud services

Cloud is prompting channel providers to invest more in being service integrators. But service providers see distributors largely as providers of tech support for cloud services

In a bid to give its Azure cloud services an extra push through the channel Microsoft announced an open licensing programme this week that will see the company expand the number of ways Azure can be consumed by end users. Microsoft said the move will help channel partners, which have at times struggled as they shift to selling cloud services, by enabling them to offer Azure-based services in a more flexibly procurable way.

Previously, there were two options for purchasing Microsoft Azure, either by buying direct from Azure or as part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA) with Microsoft. But the open licensing programme, which will come into effect at the beginning of August, aims to bring some of the the benefits of Microsoft Volume Licensing – more flexible payment options for instance – to the Azure platform.

Now when channel partners resell Azure in open licensing they can purchase tokens from a preferred distributor and apply the credit to the customer’s Azure Portal in increments of $100.

The credits can be used for any consumption-based service – infrastructure services, data services and application services – available in Azure.

Josh Waldo, senior director, cloud partner strategy at Microsoft said the move bolsters the ability of channel partners to secure additional opportunities to grow margins and deepen customer relationships.

“I spend a lot of time sharing ideas and information on how you, our partners, can successfully make the transition to the cloud,” Waldo said.

“Research has shown that cloud partners are outperforming their competition and that cloud is growing at 5X the IT industry overall. Additionally, partners that are building strong cloud businesses have 1.6X of recurring revenue as a portion of total revenue versus other partners,” he added.

In addition to appealing to channel partners the move may come as welcome news to enterprises, some of which having previously complained that Microsoft has been behind the curve in terms of updating its licensing models and SLAs for the cloud.

@BizCloud
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