Should You Have A ‘Preferred’ Cloud Service Provider?

In the latest sign that the cloud services market is maturing, major technology companies are aligning with “preferred” cloud services providers (CSPs). Two examples from this week: Microsoft Azure is now Citrix Systems’ preferred public cloud. And Amazon Web Services (AWS) is’s preferred choice.

The big question: Should MSPs and VARs also align with a preferred CSP — basically betting the house on a single vendor’s cloud infrastructure? In some ways that trend has already started. Aldridge, a fast-growing MSP in Texas, leveraged M&A to launch a Microsoft-centric cloud business in Seattle. And within our own business, our IT consulting partner has a ‘preferred’ CSP for managed WordPress sites.

Still, I think it’s unusual for massive companies — names like Citrix and Salesforce — to essentially say they’ve got a preferred cloud provider for infrastructure services. Generally speaking, ISVs tend to support both Amazon Web Services and Azure, the way PC application writers often embraced Windows and Mac OS. Google Cloud Platform also is part of the conversation for many ISVs.

Going forward: I wonder if more tech and business giants will publicly ‘endorse’ a specific cloud provider as their preferred platform. And I’ll wonder, behind the scenes, what special perks and incentives were involved…

Return Home



    Dustin Bolander:

    We are with Azure. Not that AWS is bad, but you have to focus to do both great work and scale. Can’t take care of my clients if we’re having to dive in on both Azure & AWS, that is stretching yourself thin, for most MSPs at least.

      Joe Panettieri:


      Congrats. You win the record for fasted reader comment after a story has been posted on ChannelE2E. I think this story was live for about 2 minutes when you weighed in. And frankly: We love that. Please keep us posted as you continue to leverage Azure, the type of workloads you deploy and manage, and how you monetize the effort.

      Thanks again for reading ChannelE2E and weighing in.


    In my opinion, I think MSPs should work with at least 2 providers, otherwise, they are doing themselves and their customers a disservice. We built Unigma, our Cloud monitoring to work seamlessly with the “Big 3” providers and offer health monitoring and cost management. For example, by many measures, Google Cloud is the best performing and least expensive (by about 20-30%), so not offering it as an option to customers would mean they are paying more from the get-go. I understand there is some effort involved in learning different control panels, but its not that difficult. You may still say Azure is you “preferred” and you can support them best, but here is another option, Mrs Customer, and it’s less expensive.

    To put it in perspective – would you turn down a server installation project if someone said they prefer a Dell server, instead of HP? Or would you not take on a customer who has some Linux deployments, in addition to Windows (perhaps some would :). What about virtualizing on Hyper-V, and not VMWare?

      Joe Panettieri:

      Hey KB: Building on your point a bit, we’re also curious to see how many MSPs, VARs and cloud firms start doing backups across multi-vendor clouds, etc.

      Dustin Bolander:

      I’m not sure that the Dell/HP comparison is valid. You could swap the logos on the servers and most people would never notice (a bit of an exaggeration but I think it gets my point across). AWS vs azure may ultimately deliver the same functionality to the customer, but how you get there is drastically different. If you’re just doing a handful of virtual machines or tying into storage with something like cloudberry, absolutely, go crazy and use whichever provider. I am looking at bigger things like native apps, large scale deployments, high levels of integration (such as Azure AD, hybrid cloud, EMS, etc.) – things that require an architect level person to design. You can either be a jack of all trades or master a few. I want to master a few – better client retention and happier clients, better margins, and your team is happier because they don’t have to learn 30 different technologies.
      And to your question – if someone is large scale linux or hyperv, we will walk away, no matter how much money is involved. I don’t want to take any job for a paycheck, it has to be a great fit with our skill set and focus.

        Joe Panettieri:


        I definitely understand your focus on “mastering” a few technologies. Have the bets paid off so far, or do you find that you have to hedge your bets from time to time as cloud technologies shake out?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.