The MSP’s ultimate guide to Azure

Stephen Slattery, Pax8 Director of Infrastructure Solutions (Sales)
MSP Azure Guide from Pax8

Let’s break down the complexities of Microsoft Azure.

When it comes to business in the cloud, Microsoft is the quintessential foundation on which managed service providers (MSPs) and IT professionals build their complete tech stack. While Microsoft 365 may be the super-star in the world of Microsoft, Azure is the solution running everything behind the scenes, making sure everything happens like it’s supposed to.

Microsoft Azure is a very powerful solution, but it’s also very complex. Many IT professionals are simply overwhelmed by the sheer number of features and functions Azure offers. Due to its high degree of customization, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach.

As your Microsoft experts, Pax8 is here to break down the complexities of Azure and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) for MSPs and IT professionals.

“Pax8 simplified the Microsoft Azure process, making it easy for us to build out our Azure practice. They worked with us, side by side, and even helped us build out a Statement of Work for our clients so we could sell it better. It’s like Pax8 is an extension of our business — always available to help.” — Danny Soares, Technical Adventures

Microsoft Azure

At its core, Microsoft Azure is just someone else’s server. It’s a utility-based product, billed in arrears based on usage, with over 20,000 SKUs that can be leveraged to meet virtually any end client need. As a collection of integrated cloud services, Microsoft Azure gives you the freedom to build, deploy, and manage cloud environments wherever you want, using the tools, applications, and frameworks of your choice. With more than 90 compliance certifications, including ISO, HIPAA, IRS, and ITAR, Azure also streamlines data compliance.

The tens of thousands of unique solutions Azure offers can be viewed in three main buckets — infrastructure, storage, and security.

Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS)

IaaS is an instant computing infrastructure consisting of RAM, compute, CPU, network, and disk, provisioned and managed over the Internet. IaaS quickly scales up and down with demand, letting you pay only for what you use. It also helps you avoid the expense and complexity of buying and managing your own physical servers and other data center infrastructure.

“Pax8 makes the extraordinarily complex task of Infrastructure-as-a-Service simple. They’ve proven they not only have our back, but are helping push us forward, accelerating our success.” — Peter Avery, Visual Edge IT

Cloud Storage

Data is a business’ most valuable asset. The amount of data businesses store is constantly growing, and it’s only becoming more important for organizations to have their data stored securely.

Traditionally, companies stored their data in servers on-premises. That meant all their valuable data was only stored in one place — and if something went wrong, it would all be lost. They were also paying the same amount for the machine regardless of how much storage they used.

However, businesses using Microsoft Azure to store data in the cloud save money because they only pay for what they use — enabling them to quickly scale and meet changing business needs. They also improve their backup and disaster recovery response by storing business-critical data and applications in Microsoft’s global network of data centers. Typically, the data is replicated three times, and setting up geographically redundant data is relatively easy when compared to setting up dedicated environments.

Secure Microsoft Environments

2020 made it more apparent than ever just how important cybersecurity is to businesses, especially when they have a remote workforce.

While the productivity and security applications in Microsoft 365 enable remote workers, Microsoft Azure helps to further protect and manage their devices and applications with features such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and conditional access, and by syncing Azure Active Directory (AD) with any on-premises servers.

Microsoft Azure Plan

Pax8 is now offering Microsoft Azure Plan. This plan offers a New Commerce Experience (NCE) in Partner Center that allows partners to gain access to Azure services at pay-as-you-go rates in the Microsoft Customer Agreement.

Azure Plan streamlines the purchasing experiences while also allowing for multiple Azure subscriptions all in Azure Plan, eliminating the need to submit separate orders for each Azure subscription. Additionally, there is a single global pricing system, which allows partners to offer Azure at the published prices.

Going Further with Azure

There’s a world of possibilities when it comes to getting the most out of Azure, but three key areas of opportunity really stand out.

1. Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)

AVD enables central management and security of users’ desktops by creating Windows 10 & 11 virtual desktops in Azure, allowing end users to work remotely with a secure connection. End users can also securely store data in the cloud rather than on their local devices. AVD separates the computer environment from user devices, greatly reducing the risk of confidential information being left on a personal device.

Pax8 works with industry-leader Nerdio to help partners easily estimate costs and automate, manage, and optimize Windows Virtual Desktop deployments.

If you want to dive deeper, read this Windows Virtual Desktop technical deployment walkthrough.

2. Azure Reserved VM Instances + Azure Hybrid Benefit

Tap into major discounts on virtual machines by moving from a pay-as-you-go model to 1-year or 3-year commitments on reserved VM instances (RIs). By reserving VMs in advance, you can better manage costs across predictable and variable workloads — improving your forecasting with a single upfront payment or lowering your upfront cash investment with monthly payment options. You’ll still have the flexibility to exchange or cancel reservations should your needs evolve.

You can achieve even deeper discounts by stacking RIs with Azure Hybrid Benefit, which allows you to maximize license investments by utilizing existing on-prem Windows Server licenses or purchasing them through Pax8 for your Azure deployment.

3. Microsoft Datacenter Optimization (DCO) Program

If you have a mature Azure practice and an upcoming data center migration project, you should look into the Microsoft DCO program. Not only will this program help you reduce cost and risk but also accelerate migrations to deliver greater client success.

Participants commit to an Azure revenue spend to gain the benefits of:

• Significant offers and incentives

• Engineering escalation support

• Azure deal support and review

• Microsoft tools for building deals, aligning workloads, and planning migrations

If you’re a Pax8 partner interested in the DCO program, reach out to your Pax8 rep to get qualified.

Microsoft Azure Resources

There’s a plethora of resources you can use to learn more about Azure. We’ve curated some of the resources we’ve found to be very helpful to our partners:

Microsoft’s Azure Online Overview

Azure Selling Guide

Pax8 Azure Ordering Guide

Azure Technical Documentation and Resources

Microsoft Azure Training Courses

Azure Pricing Calculator Video Overview

Azure Pricing Calculator Tool

Azure Education & Enablement with Pax8

Since Azure is so complex, Pax8 wants to make sure our partners feel comfortable with Azure and all Microsoft solutions. As your Microsoft experts, there are several ways we help to educate and enable IT professionals.

2-Day Azure Bootcamps: Take a technical deep dive into all things Microsoft Azure and learn how to adopt and sell the solution.

24/7 Technical Support: Quickly resolve Microsoft issues with in-house Pax8 engineers without escalating tickets to Microsoft.

White-Labeled Professional Services: Use our team of cloud infrastructure architects to leverage the power of Microsoft Azure with your clients to ensure regulatory compliance and improve data governance.

• Extend on-premises Active Directory to cloud-based Active Directory

• Enable MFA & SSO through identity management

• Migrate existing or new services to Azure

• Leverage Azure for disaster recovery and backup

• Harden Azure with Azure Defender for Servers

• Design and architect Azure environments

“We engaged the Pax8 Professional Services team to help us with a few Microsoft Azure deployments. They helped us identify cost savings for one client that not only made him happy but also made him a client for life.” — Peter Avery, Visual Edge IT


Azure Foundations Course: Gain hands-on knowledge of Azure and develop the technical fundamentals for pricing, selling, deploying, and managing key Azure technologies.

Getting Started with Microsoft Azure and Pax8

Pax8 has the deep Azure expertise necessary to help you develop an Azure practice, and the Pax8 Marketplace simplifies Azure management:

Predictive cost analytics calculates data to enable optimization of techniques and strategically lower costs.

Threshold management notifies you when approaching customized, consumption-based thresholds.

Detailed billing shows your clients’ granular billing data.

“We started working with Pax8 because of the value they delivered with cloud and where we were looking to take the business. Pax8 fills the gap for us and helps us understand all we need to know with Azure.” — Michael Goldstein, LAN Infotech

Every partner gets a regional Pax8 infrastructure solution consultant that provides key pre-sale and post-sale support. We begin the journey with introductory discussions – going through pricing exercises, facilitating discovery calls with the Pax8 Professional Services team, and helping build go-to-market strategies.

Whether you’re looking to add Azure to your tech stack or just want to do more with the solution, Pax8 is here to help make it happen.

Schedule a call