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Virtual Hosters Part 2: Why Azure Lighthouse Is a Gift to Microsoft Partners

Thank you for all the great feedback and wonderful discussions on my previous guest blog about the concept of the virtual hoster. I understand that this resonates well with both legacy hosters, as well as newcomers who want to enter this market.

As Microsoft prepares mechanisms and processes to incentivize partners who manage resources -- instead of only those who just handle the transactions -- we see that this will further boost interest from partners to be in this space.

The great news is that partners with different areas of specialization will be able to manage resources at the very same customers, as Microsoft plans to be able to give incentives on a granular level based on the exact resources being managed -- not a black-and-white scenario where one partner takes it all.

A less-known but very important announcement from this summer was the general availability of Azure Lighthouse. This is perhaps one of the best gifts of all time from Microsoft to partners in this space.

As a virtual hoster, you want to be able to manage all resources that are under your wings as efficiently as possible. Having run one of the most profitable hosters in our ecosystem, my personal experience is that you must always strive to reduce complexity and simplify. As part of this goal, I instructed my leadership team to reduce the number of vendors and avoid third-party software if they could. My stance is that there will always be some kind of wonderful point solution from a niche vendor, but over time, betting on Microsoft technology for management makes sense if you want someone to take responsibility for integration with other pieces of Microsoft technology.

With Azure Lighthouse, a virtual hoster will be able to manage all of their customers' resources and subscriptions that reside in Microsoft Azure. Your customer will be in control of granting access to you as a virtual hoster. As long as you have the access, you will be able to do your job more efficiently than ever before.

Azure Lighthouse is a terrific way to get everything into the same place. This will help you manage it all without logging in and out of different customer-specific Azure portals. By having it all in one place, you will be able to give your customers better service because you will be able to see problems earlier and take action more quickly. You will also be able to manage subscriptions and patch virtual machines and applications more efficiently.

What about the cost? This is no issue at all, because Azure Lighthouse is free. And even if it there were a cost associated with using the service, I would still recommend it because the rewards for a virtual hoster are substantial. This is simply a great tool to use if you are embarking on the journey of becoming a virtual hoster.

If I were leading a virtual hoster, I would give directions to my technical teams to implement and start using Azure Lighthouse as soon as possible.

Per Werngren is an RCP contributor who has held many roles at the worldwide level of the International Association of Microsoft Channel Partners (IAMCP), including chairman and president.

Posted by Per Werngren on November 18, 2019