As of February 1st 2017, Microsoft has introduced some changes in how customer can buy Azure pay-as-you-go.  With these changes Microsoft intends to simplify and add value to end-customers as well as its vast community of channel partners.

While there has been mixed reaction from end-users it’s been generally received positively by channel partners.

Pre-February 1, 2017:

Customers had three options to buy Azure pay-as-you-go:

  • Microsoft Online Subscription Program (MOSP) –  for self-serve customers. They can sign up online and pay via credit card or invoice.  Invoice method requires a special request to support and 5-7 days for credit approval.
  • MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement) – for customers with at least 250 users. With MPSA, in addition to OS and server products, customers could buy online services such as Office 365, Dynamics 365 as well as Azure pay-as-you-go directly from Microsoft.  Initially MPSA had some additional discounts for Azure over the MOSP, but over the last year MOSP pricing is more or less equitable with MPSA thus eroding a benefit of MPSA based purchase.
  • EA (Enterprise Agreement) – for customers with at least 500 users/devices. It requires a 3 year commitment and $12,000 minimum annual Azure spend.  Customers can get anywhere from 15 to 45% discounts with volume and commitment tier.


Post-February 1, 2017:

Microsoft channel partners, through the CSP (Cloud Solution Provider program), who have been a huge factor in the success of Office-365 and Dynamics 365 with 60 million users also get into the Azure game. Microsoft will actively steer Azure pay-as-you-go to CSPs.

Customers now have the following options to buy Azure pay-as-you-go:

  • Microsoft Online Subscription Program (MOSP):   No change.
  • MPSA (Microsoft Products and Services Agreement):
    • Existing MPSA customers can still buy Azure pay-as-you-go directly from Microsoft.
    • New MPSA customers will be steered to CSPs for Azure pay-as-you-go.

EA (Enterprise Agreement):  No change. But consider Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE), an additional option available to EA customers.  SCE allows you to carry your on-prem license with BYOL model to Azure when you are ready to deprecate an on-prem system and replace with an Azure equivalent.  This could save you up to 45% in Azure license fees.   You do however, have to buy s/w assurance and yearly maintenance and keep it current till you move it to the cloud.


What does the change mean to you – the end Customer?

Bottom line is that unless you are an EA or an existing MPSA customer you can buy Azure via MOSP or CSP.  You may be better off buying through a CSP for the following reasons:

  • It’s really hard to keep up with the new offerings in Azure and the Cloud. Using cloud storage and VMs is just scratching the surface of what the Cloud offers.  Unless you have an army of highly trained engineers keeping abreast of all the new trends and technologies that you can take advantage of, tapping into CSPs and their expertise is the way to go.
  • CSPs also sell integrated offers and services – MS and 3rd Party solutions.  They could be in a position to pass on additional discounts
  • They have more flexibility in billing cycle and invoicing, e.g. monthly and/or annual basis
  • Customer support in local language
  • Local tax implications of buying a subscription product versus a service
  • More than likely you are buying Office 365 etc. from them anyway

If you want more information on our on-prem to Azure cost modeling solution then look up these resources:

CIO Review Magazine Article on 20 Most Promising Azure Solution Providers

Webinar Recording: Migrating to Azure? How to get the optimal Bill of Materials in Azure.