4 Ways to Buy Azure Cloud Services

4 Ways to Buy Azure Cloud Services

Microsoft Azure Cloud Services such as Office 365, Virtual Machines, Azure Active Directory, and Visual Studio Team Services are available from several different sources. Whether you are in the process of moving to the cloud or have been using Azure Cloud Services for a while now – now is an excellent time to review your buying options, as the landscape has changed substantially in the last few months.


Microsoft created the CSP program to provide a better all-around buying experience for YOU, the customer. You can still purchase Azure Cloud Services from them, but Microsoft is not eager to implement and install.

Microsoft supports millions of customers, and has for many years.  They are well experienced and well established in this field, however, when you call Microsoft tech support, chances are the person you are talking to is not familiar with your account/business. Before they are able to support you, they must ask you a laundry list of time consuming questions in order to understand your business environment. When working with a Direct CSP, like Ellipse Solutions, a dedicated support team is assigned to your account in order to become familiar with your day to day operations.

Additionally, Azure Cloud Services are more expensive when purchasing through Microsoft (Surprised? Get a quote from us and see for yourself!).


  • Continue with usual procurement of Azure Cloud Services
  • Extensive technical support experience


  • Higher rates for products
  • Slower support turnaround
  • Lack of Implementation/Installation
  • Poor business consultation

Indirect CSP

Most Microsoft partners are Indirect CSPs. Only a handful of partners, like Ellipse Solutions, qualify to become Direct CSPs. Indirect CSPs engage in a two-tiered structure – each Indirect CSP works with a Cloud Distributor, and that Cloud Distributor works with Microsoft.

This structure may work for some smaller customers, however, there are two major downfalls to this model…

  • Purchasing Products
    • Indirect CSPs purchase SKUs from a Cloud Distributor. These two layers each add their own margins on top of the price in order to make a profit, resulting in a more expensive product for you, the end user.
  • Support Services
    • Unlike Direct CSPs, Indirect resellers typically do not offer support services – instead, they often enlist the help of CSP Distributors for technical support.


  • Easy purchasing method for small, local customers
  • A more personable experience than buying directly from Microsoft


  • Profit margins at two layers result in more expensive products
  • Support is contracted to a second party (CSP Distributor/Microsoft)

Enterprise Agreement (EA)

An Enterprise Agreement is designed for very large organizations (only the largest customers qualify for an EA) that want to license software and cloud services for a minimum three-year period. With this long term commitment and volume, customers are given a substantial discount.

The only glaring downside to purchasing Azure Cloud Services in this manner is a complete lack of flexibility. Purchasing licenses from an EA means you are on the hook for a minimum of 3 years.

Need to scale up for holidays or busy seasons? Have a need for temporary licenses? Only plan to use additional servers for a short term development project? Purchasing from an EA would be much more expensive…


  • Large enterprises can buy cloud services and licenses under one agreement
  • Substantial discounts for high volume purchases


  • Lack of flexibility
  • Locked into long term contracts for licenses

Direct CSP

Direct CSPs, like Ellipse Solutions, work directly with Microsoft. They receive deeply discounted prices for Azure Cloud Services and have the ability to offer an extensive level of digital transformation and support. Some of the benefits of working with a Direct CSP include:

  • Discounted Pricing for Azure Cloud Services
  • Unrivalled Technical Support (and access to elevated Microsoft support)
    • Direct CSPs have certified teams in place to fully manage and support customers. These dedicated support teams are assigned to your account in order to become familiar with your day to day operations for a more in-depth and personable support experience.
  • Scale Up or Down as Needed
    • Turn services on and off as needed, allowing you to only pay for what your organization uses!


  • Azure Cloud Services are discounted in comparison to Indirect CSP and Microsoft offerings
  • A personable technical support experience from an accredited team
  • Consultants in place to examine your business and suggest solutions
  • Ability to turn services on or off as needed


  • Prices slightly higher than EA

So, which buying option is best for your organization?

Want to learn more about Microsoft Azure Services? Contact us today!

  5 Benefits Of Buying Through A Direct CSP