With the release of the new Azure platform comes both opportunity and challenges for the Service Provider community.
This is an opportunity for smaller Service Providers to look at developing partnerships with Microsoft (Azure) or with other established providers to promote their hosted solution. Why pay for a datacenter when you can leverage someone else’s?
There’s also opportunity for large ISV’s (Independent Software Vendors who develop applications and host it using Microsoft technology) to leverage a third party platform, utilize volume licensing (Azure EA) and still use SPLA for RDS, Office, or any other Microsoft technology users can access directly or indirectly. They can also purchase SQL from Azure or use SQL SAL licenses via SPLA. They would not report Windows, since that is covered with Azure. In a sense, SPLA and Azure can coexist. Maybe Azure is a friend after all.
The challenge for SPLA’s is more competition. (Foe) Microsoft is not only competing against Service Providers for SaaS applications with Office 365, now they are competing against them in the datacenter as well. (IaaS). Differentiation is going to be key for SPLA’s. Check out my Office 365 blog in which I review (at a high level) how SPLAs can compete. Microsoft is not going away, it is just getting started.
There is a frequent asked questions guide at http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/licensing-faq/ Here’s a couple highlights from the FAQ:
If you are a Service Provider with a signed SPLA using SQL Server, you can:
- Obtain a SQL image from the Windows Azure VM gallery and pay per-minute rate of SQL Server, or
- Install or upload your SQL Server Standard image with a Subscriber Access License (SAL) reported via your SPLA.
Notice in the second bullet point it did not say “SQL Enterprise” Remember, SQL Enterprise SAL licenses were discontinued with the release of SQL 2012. Check out “Why Timing is Everything” from this blog to learn more.
If you are an end-customer using SQL Server, you can:
- Obtain a SQL image from the Windows Azure VM gallery and pay the per-minute rate of SQL Server, or
- Install or upload your own SQL Server using the license mobility benefits under Software Assurance.
Check out the Azure web page to learn pricing, etc.
I am curious, what are ways in which you as a hoster differentiate yourself? What are your plans as it pertains to Office 365 and Azure? Do you think Azure is a friend or foe? Happy to help brainstorm off line and provide additional guidance around this offering.