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Cloud Native/NFV

Orange says yes to Microsoft Azure MSP party

Orange Business Services (OBS) said it has joined the Microsoft Azure Networking Managed Service Provider (MSP) Program as part of efforts to boost its multi-cloud strategy.

The business-to-business division of the France-based operator also claimed to be "one of the first tier-one service providers" to join the program.

Orange sky at night: OBS joins Microsoft Azure's celestial firmament. (Source: Unsplash)
Orange sky at night: OBS joins Microsoft Azure's celestial firmament.
(Source: Unsplash)

A quick glance at Microsoft Azure's MSP Program page reveals that Orange European peers BT and Deutsche Telekom are also involved.

OBS has also formed partnerships with public cloud providers Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services, along with multiple other cloud players. Furthermore, the operator provides its own global public cloud solution under Flexible Engine, based on Huawei Openstack distribution.

Microsoft unveiled the Azure MSP Program in 2018 and officially launched it in 2019. According to the Redmond, Washington-based software giant, Azure Networking MSPs are a "specialized set of managed service providers that address the enterprise cloud networking needs and challenges across all aspects of cloud and hybrid networking."

The aim of the program is to make it easier for enterprises to hook up their international branches to the Azure cloud. The program combines the connectivity and management processes offered by the MSPs with the cloud platform capabilities offered by Azure.

Linking up
MSPs signed up at launch included Aryaka, BT, Dimension Data (now part of NTT Ltd.), data center giant Equinix, Japanese MSP IIJ, Australia's Megaport and Tata Communications.

The managed network services include one or more of the following services: network architecture, planning, deployment, operations, maintenance and optimization.


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Customers can purchase MSP-managed service offers in Azure Marketplace, or directly from the MSP. MSPs use Azure Lighthouse to deliver services.

To become an Azure MSP, providers have to meet eight basic requirements, including four customer references for their Azure MSP solution of which one must be a public case study.

OBS said it will also be able to offer managed ExpressRoute and Azure Virtual WAN services. "This reinforces the value proposition of Flexible SD-WAN for multi-cloud connectivity and application visibility end to end," the operator added.

Orange booked a 19% increase in cloud revenues last year. While it does not break these out from the IT business total, that unit recorded 6.5% growth, to about €2.9 billion ($3.4 billion).

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— Anne Morris, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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