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InfoQ Homepage News Azure Managed Applications Generally Available to Partners and Customers

Azure Managed Applications Generally Available to Partners and Customers

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As of the 2nd of November, Microsoft made Managed Applications also generally available in the Azure Marketplace. Managed Applications were first introduced during Ignite September this year. They were only available through the service catalogs of enterprise customers.

The Azure Marketplace will enable Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and System Integrators (SI’s) to offer their customers an operated solution. Moreover, they can offer them to all Azure customers using the Cloud Partner Portal. Corey Sanders, director of compute at Microsoft, said on the Azure blog:

This new distribution channel for our partners will change customer expectations in the public cloud. Unlike our competitors, in Azure, a marketplace application can now be much more than just deployment and set-up. Now it can be a fully supported and managed solution. This is a first in the public cloud!

Customers can select the solutions from the Marketplace and provision them in their own Azure environment. Yet for the vendors to manage the application provisioned by the customer, it needs certain permissions to the resource group. Particularly, the resource group in the customer subscription, where these resources are provisioned. Thus, resource groups where the managed applications will live have a “lock”, to prevent the customers from deleting or making changes to the resources.

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Microsoft Partners and customers can offer managed applications through either the Service Catalogs or the Marketplace. The distinction, yet, is the availability of the application. A managed application in the Marketplace published as an offer will go through pre-requisite checks, validations, and other reviews before going live and made available to the public, versus the service catalogs, where organizations through their central IT can create a catalog of approved and compliant applications for their employees. The publishing of those types of managed applications can currently only be done using the Azure Command Line Interface (CLI). Yet, support for the Azure Portal and PowerShell will follow soon. Finally, the published managed applications can be created and consumed from the Azure Portal.

With Managed Applications in the Azure Marketplace, Microsoft hopes to start a new partner ecosystem labeling it “AP/Ops”. By using the Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates, partners package both the application IP and the underlying pre-configured Azure infrastructure (AP) in a sealed and serviceable solution (Ops). Currently, three companies are doing that and have a managed application for sale, Xcalar Data Platform, OpsLogix OMS Oracle Solution, and Cisco Meraki.

Jamison West, a long-time Microsoft partner, and former MSP owner put it:

Microsoft continues to innovate, and embracing Managed Applications via the Azure platform is a clear continuation of the XaaS story. IT providers continue to dramatically reduce costs in support of traditional infrastructure. Forward-thinking providers are rapidly finding ways to shift from “Infrastructure Vendor” to “Business Partner”, and cloud computing, including the availability of hosted Managed Applications, is another big step in that direction.

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