Azure CSP and Marketplace images

Just a short post, to describe how we got around the limitations of CSP, at my job, and why we did it. We recently moved all our Azure consumption from an Enterprise Agreement to CSP. The reasons was quite simple:

  1. EA doesn’t offer the same discounts anymore, and nothing close to what we get on CSP
  2. No upfront commitment
  3. Easy billing – the CSP we use sends a bill every month, we don’t have to do the number crunching (though we had automated most of it)

Of course everything isn’t just wonderful. We run a department that does monitoring using System Center Operations Manager, and part of doing this, is 24/7 alerting for customers. To accomplish that, we use Derdack Enterprise Alert which is available in Azure Marketplace. There’s 2 different models when using Derdack (and a lot of other 3rd party Marketplace offerings):

  • Bring Your Own License – BYOL
  • Pay the license through Azure (in this case, user CALs)

We could have bought our own licenses directly from Derdack. We did some calculations however, and since we do not use Derdack in work hours, we can turn of the server roughly 7 hours every weekday. This adds up to more than 140 hours every month where we did not have to pay for the license. Or to put it another way, we save about 15-18% of the cost, by turning off the VM.

So what’s the downside? On CSP subscriptions, you can only buy BYOL images. Ugh!

We discussed internally if the CSP move was a blocker for us. There are ways around this however, and we decided to go forward with the following design:

CSP-EA subscriptions

We kept our EA subscription (but didn’t do an upfront commitment – yes you can do that), but the only thing running on that subscription, is Derdack. On the other side, we have all our other VMs, like Active Directory, SQL, SCOM, ADFS etc. To connect the networks, we use vnet peering with gateway transit. That way, we can reach the Derdack VM from the VPN connection we have to our office.

From a billing point of view, we get a bill every now and then, for the Marketplace item (Derdack), and we get one every month from the CSP. Normally I prefer to have as few subscriptions as possible, but this design didn’t complicate our environment too much, and gave us the full flexibility we needed.

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