How to get your own apps into the Azure Marketplace

The Azure Marketplace is more than a place to get SaaS apps—you can deliver your own apps through it as well

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Azure is now very much at the heart of Microsoft’s enterprise strategy, providing a place to build the next generation of applications and services. It’s easy to focus on it as a platform and as a host for virtual infrastructures, forgetting one if its other roles: a host for software as a service (SaaS).

Over the last few months, I’ve been talking to a lot of companies that you’d think of as traditional infrastructure or software providers. They’re the type of company you’d talk to about adding storage hardware, security platforms, or hefty pieces of enterprise software. But now, as well as hardware and software for your datacenter, they’re also providing software implementations in the Azure Marketplace. So can you.

Introducing the Azure Marketplace

For example, if you’ve been using a NetApp storage appliance in your on-premises applications, you may well want to use the company’s Ontap storage management platform to link your cloud storage to your own datacenter. Using the Azure Marketplace, you can drop a virtual appliance into your virtual network, linking the two environments without having to change your management tool. Other well-known vendors in the Azure Marketplace include Barracuda, Chef, and Oracle.

There are two reasons this is happening:

  1. There’s long been in a trend in the datacenter hardware space away from specialized processors to building on cheaper x86 systems. That’s made it a lot easier to deliver virtual appliances for use in cloud-hosted virtual infrastructures, working with software-defined networks and storage.
  2. The growing maturity of Microsoft’s ARM (Azure Resource Manager) templating language, for defining and deploying Azure infrastructures.

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