How Should a SPLA Partner Gear Up for Azure?
If you are considering moving to a public cloud provider such as Azure, these steps will help you better prepare for this transition. This is specific for SPLA providers, but any MSP can relate.
This is feedback directly from service providers as they prepare to move to Azure. It is always best to prepare for the unknown than guess. The biggest mistake we have seen SPLA partners make is settled audit penalties with an Azure commit. Although this isn't bad, mainly since it eliminates upfront and unbudgeted capital, how can you ensure you will be profitable in someone else's if you do not have a handle on your own data center?
Top concerns service providers wish they knew before they made the Azure commitment:
- What workloads can even move to the cloud. It seems silly, but some products require dedicated environments, some require license mobility, and some can be purchased through CSP or Microsoft directly. Having an idea of what products you can offload immediately will help.
- Know what customers will be more profitable in Azure versus your own data center. If you just signed a customer for your own data center, the odds are that customer will not be more profitable in a public cloud. However, if it is a new customer or a customer who is getting ready to renew a contract, doing a cost analysis will help.
- Do you have the in-house support to handle multi-cloud environments? The odds are you will not rip and replace your entire infrastructure, so having in-house or knowing to outsource expertise in managing different clouds will help reduce future headaches.
- Integration with on-premise software and applications. Do you have secure connectivity to Azure on on-premises? Will you be replacing Windows authentication with Azure AD?
- Database migration. What format is your database using? Will there be any compatibility restrictions?
- Are you aware of all the licensing restrictions? As an example, if you purchase Windows in CSP, you cannot host Windows Server through CSP from your own data center. Is it cheaper to buy from CSP and host from Azure or Windows from SPLA?
- Are you cutting costs? How old is your infrastructure, such as hardware?
- Use a tool. Yeah, I know, we are Octopus promoting a tool. However, scanning your environment, knowing what is installed, and knowing what you SHOULD be reporting will help you make an educated (not hypothetical) decision about moving workloads. Again, if you do not understand what is happening in your data center, how can you move to someone else's. Get your own house in order first.
This is just an essential list; maybe there's no surprise or something you already knew. The difference between a successful multi-cloud service provider and an unsuccessful multi-cloud service provider is implementation.