The new announcement from Microsoft is here: this March, customers will be buying Azure services directly from Microsoft along with certain third-party products in Azure Marketplace through a Microsoft Customer Agreement (MCA). Not publicized much, Microsoft has taken time to make the change announcement go viral before it is finally implemented this month.
The latest Customer Agreement
The idea behind these changes in agreement is to replace Enterprise Agreements and the Azure Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE). These are two currently active Agreements to purchase Azure services. But the change in agreement is not going to affect the service delivery. “Modern Commerce” is Microsoft modernized vision to simplify Azure pricing and purchasing options.
With the new MCA, customers are expected to stay more in control of their own Azure cloud services and will not require the “level of administrative support” that they currently require. According to Stephen White, a research director in Gartner, the MCA approach will result into lower partner profits “like it eliminates the partner role as licensing advisers on Azure services”.
To move forward in the direction of “automated, digital purchase experience”, Microsoft has reduced a number of contracts and agreements and introduced MCA – a single, non-expiring contract for Azure customers. For those who have experience with purchasing through Microsoft Store for Business, MCA is something they are already familiar with. Going forward, MCA pricing is bound to change in the future because it isn’t providing any pricing protection for its customers.
Options for Azure Provider
This brings us to the question: what are the options left for those who have taken up Azure-only Server and Cloud Enrollment for their cloud business? One option is to extend the SCE agreement. With that you can get access to services such as Azure, billed every four months at then current Consumption Rate” for the price level of your service with an additional 3% administrative fee. Though, this option isn’t going to last long.
Let’s have a look at some good options for purchasing Azure:
Purchase via EA
The Agreement change announcement only mentions Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE), so there is still an option to purchase Monetary Commitment via an EA. Again, officials from Microsoft predict that this option will soon be not available.
Purchase via MCA
This is the “non-expiring” option that will be applicable from March. It’s an 11-page digital document that you need to accept in order to start purchasing directly from Microsoft.
Purchase via CSP
This is again a good option. The Microsoft CSP program is a popular preference for purchasing Online Services, especially Azure. Since the MPSA agreement has been phased out, CSP Program simplifies Azure cloud services offering to customers so that they can purchase from CSPs directly.
From now, Microsoft has left its customers with two options to purchase Azure: via MCA (Microsoft Customer Agreement) and via CSP (Cloud Solution Provider). Agreement changes are not-so-interesting but necessary for a fuller picture in the future. MCA is the initial step towards Microsoft’s modernized simplified purchasing vision: “Modern Commerce”.