Microsoft offers several different ways to buy Azure services. This can be confusing and unnecessary when you just want to make the right decision for your business.
You should also be aware that Azure is not always Azure; there are two different platforms, Classic and Azure Resource Manager (ARM). The two do not always play well together, so keep this in mind when choosing your license agreement and your platform version.
We have provided you with descriptions of the different options below.
Buy online, Direct
It’s simple to get started with Azure. You can open an account at www.azure.com, register your credit card and start building your platform. This is the easiest way, but maybe not the best way.
The main challenge is that direct payment is not a good long-term plan. It works fine for a test, however, if you plan to move into production, your company should have a license agreement with Microsoft. In addition, the owner of the credit card needs to pay for the consumption and then claim the expenses from your company. As the platform grows and consumption increases, this might become a problem for the credit card owner.
Microsoft Open License
With Open License, you pre-pay for Azure consumption and consume the payment in Azure over the next 12 months. You avoid using a credit card. However, how can you pre-commit to 12 months Azure consumption? The downside is that you have to commit to a specified amount of dollars to spend over the next 12 months. You can always increase but never decrease the amount. We know that Azure is continuously evolving, your consumption will vary and what you need is flexibility.
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, EA
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement has been around for a long time and has been Microsoft’s favorite agreement for large customers. The reason for this is a the 3-year commitment and 12-month upfront payment. But again, this option raises some questions. How can you commit and pay upfront for a service for which it is difficult to forecast consumption and which is evolving monthly? What happens if you do not spend all of the pre commited? What is the cost if you overspend?
If you are sure about your consumption for the next three years and your platform is static, then Enterprise Agreement can be an option for your business. Of course, you can always increase your commitment during these years. And as the name states, Enterprise Agreement is only available for larger customers.
Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider, CSP
Microsoft’s transition to the cloud, competing against Google and Amazon is bringing positive changes to license policies. CSP was launched in 2014, covering only Microsoft cloud services and has the highest growth of all Microsoft license agreement.
Why? It’s the perfect agreement for all parties involved.
It’s perfect for customers because you pay based on your actual consumption. You can change your consumption monthly, exactly as it suits you. And the best part is, that you can stop your subscription whenever you want! This gives you the flexibility that you need. If you put some effort on constantly improving your platform, you can lower your consumption and lower your cloud services costs. CSP is billed monthly from your Microsoft partner. This is also called pay-as-you-go.
CSP is best for all parts because it’s easy to handle. Any license agreement which requires license experts is, in the end, always paid by the customer.
It is important for you as a customer to choose the agreement for the future, not an agreement that might, or even will be, an obstacle and the wrong decision for your business.
Support with a CSP agreement
Your local partner will give you the support you need, in your language. If needed, the partner will escalate the support ticket to Microsoft to make sure that you as a customer ask the right questions and receive the right help from Microsoft.
At Ironstone we also offer our CSP customers “Ironstone Advisory Services”. We give you advice and guidance on security, scalability and we predict your consumption. You get monthly reports that include detailed information about your consumption and with that information we try to make your platform more efficient and by that save money on consumption.
You can read more about our Advisory Services here