Microsoft introduced to the Azure Marketplace on Thursday a new means for consulting and technology partners to bundle ongoing services into enterprise applications delivered on the Azure public cloud.
The capability, called Managed Applications, enables ISVs who develop third-party apps, in tandem with their MSP and systems integration partners, to offer customers "a fully operated solution" with the upside of Software-as-a-Service, said Corey Sanders, director of compute for Azure, in a Microsoft blog.
Managed Applications is a first-of-its-kind for any cloud provider, Sanders said, unique in how it enables customers to "deploy entire applications and empower your partner to fully manage and maintain the application in your environment."
The capability was first introduced at Microsoft's Ignite conference for IT professionals and developers this past September. At the time, Managed Applications was only made available through the service catalogs of enterprise customers.
Adding the online software hub as a distribution channel allows partners to expand their reach to all commercial customers subscribing to Azure. Partners can publish the apps to Azure Marketplace through the Cloud Partner Portal, then add value with operational support and lifecycle services that generate recurring revenue, according to Sanders.
ISVs, MSPs and systems integrators can also leverage Azure Resource Manager templates to build turnkey solutions, then use Managed Applications to transition to an "Ap/Ops" model that includes ongoing management and support, Sanders said.
Managed Applications are packaged with pre-configured infrastructure into a single "sealed service" entirely under the control of the partner throughout the product's lifecycle. The applications are "immutable," Sanders said, meaning configuration changes at the application or infrastructure layers can only be performed by the partners as explicit lifecycle operations.
"The result is a higher quality of service for our customers, fully managed by our partners," Sanders said.
Solutions made available through the new delivery model can range from complex, custom-built applications maintained by Microsoft-aligned MSPs, or simpler apps packaged and then serviced by their developers.
"Managed Applications accelerate innovation, even in the most advanced application scenarios, bringing the best of Software-as-a-Service and Infrastructure-as-a-Service together," Sanders said.