Manage Customer Cloud Services Using Azure Lighthouse
Azure Lighthouse was launched at Microsoft’s Inspire convention for partners in July and it provides partners with a single pane of glass for managing their customer’s cloud resources in one place. It utilizes Azure’s new Delegated Resource Management (ADRM) feature, which allows customers to delegate control over subscriptions, resource groups, and resources.
According to Erin Chapple, in a blog post introducing Azure Lighthouse, the new service lets partners monitor virtual machine (VM) health across hundreds of customers in a single view and create, update, and resize Azure resources of multiple customers with an API call using one access token. In other words, partners will no longer need to manage clients one-by-one.
Enabling higher automation across the lifecycle of managing customers (from patching to log analysis, policy, configuration, and compliance), Azure Lighthouse brings scale and precision together for service providers at no additional cost and that’s consistently for all licensing constructs customers might choose, including enterprise agreement (EA), cloud solution provider (CSP), and pay-as-you-go.
Say Goodbye to Traditional PC Lifecycle Management
Traditional IT tools, including Microsoft SCCM, Ghost Solution Suite, and KACE, often require considerable custom configurations by T3 technicians (an expensive and often elusive IT resource) to enable management of a hybrid onsite + remote workforce. In many cases, even with the best resources, organizations are finding that these on-premise tools simply cannot support remote endpoints consistently and reliably due to infrastructure limitations.
Microsoft says that the ability to use Lighthouse capabilities natively and through API integration is unique to Azure. For example, partners could use the API with their own monitoring solutions and applications. Another interesting feature is that customers can be onboarded using the Azure Marketplace or Azure Resource Manager (ARM) templates.
Partners can publish managed services offers to the Azure Marketplace and then manage customers from their partner account. Because there is no need to log in to each customer’s Azure portal to perform management and monitoring functions, Lighthouse provides easier management at scale. Customers can granularly control the resources that partners can access, and customer information is always separated from other clients that partners might be managing.
Azure Portal Improvements for Lighthouse
Microsoft says that it doesn’t matter where customers bought Azure; partners will be able to manage services using Lighthouse. The Azure portal has been enhanced to accommodate Lighthouse. Customers will be able to see all their Managed Service Providers (MSP) and the actions that have been performed, as well as delegate additional resources or remove access for specific partners.
Partners can manage multiple customers in the portal from their own Azure subscription without needing to switch contexts. But Lighthouse isn’t restricted to the portal. It also works with Azure CLI, PowerShell, and ARM templates.
More Flexible Azure Management for Microsoft Partners
Partners managing Office 365 tenants have had similar capabilities for some time. It’s possible to see all managed O365 tenants from the Partner Center. Each customer can be managed separately, and partners can access O365 with global admin rights without having to switch contexts or enter different credentials. Azure Lighthouse works a bit differently but provides similar functionality and it has been carefully thought out to allow partners and customers a lot of flexibility in what can be accessed and how.
For more detailed information about Azure Lighthouse and several demos, including publishing managed services in the Azure Marketplace and managing multiple customers in the Azure management portal, check out this video on Microsoft’s website here.