Partner Center overview

The Partner Center portal acts as an entry point for all Azure Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partners. It provides rich customer management capabilities and automated processing. CSP partners can use Partner Center through a web-based UI, or by using PowerShell and various API calls.

The following short video introduces you to basic concepts and functions of Partner Center:

Important

Partner Center is a portal for CSP partners only. It is not available for CSP customers.

Partner Center capabilities for Azure

On the Partner Center portal, CSP direct partners, CSP indirect providers, and CSP indirect resellers can:

  • Manage customers and create Azure subscriptions.
  • Manage customers' Azure resources on their behalf.
  • Manage a partner's profile.
  • Manage a partner's user accounts, and assign permissions to internal staff.
  • Create a marketing profile, and respond to referrals.

In addition, CSP direct partners and CSP indirect providers can:

  • View a customer's Azure usage.
  • Receive invoices from Microsoft, view reconciliation files, and check invoice payment status.
  • Get Azure CSP pricing.
  • Escalate issues with Partner Center to Microsoft, and track ticket progress.

CSP indirect resellers should use solutions, provided by their CSP indirect providers, for support escalations, billing, and pricing.

Partner Center user roles

Partner Center access is role-based, so the user's view can be customized to only show features that the user needs. Note that a user's role can be changed when necessary through Partner Center web UI or APIs.

Each user has two permission levels:

  • Agent permissions control what kind of customer data and account information the user can see and change. These settings affect all CSP customers managed in this Partner Center account.
  • Admin permissions control the level of access the user has to Partner Center features. This setting has impact outside Partner Center. For example, a billing admin can access bills for all Microsoft services (even those unrelated to CSP), and a global admin can access user accounts and customer accounts beyond CSP as well.

Screenshot of Partner Center user management account settings

You can find more details about available Partner Center user roles in the article Create user accounts and set permissions.

Manage multiple Partner Center accounts

A partner receives a Partner Center account for every CSP authorization in every region. For example, let's say that a partner is enrolled and authorized as a CSP direct partner in both the United States and the European Union. This partner has two different Partner Center accounts, isolated from each other.

Or, let's say that a partner wants to provide services based on global Azure datacenters, and also use Azure Germany (which required an additional CSP enrollment). This means that the customer also has two Partner Center accounts, global and national.

Some multinational partners, covering different regions, may have five or more Partner Center accounts, and they all are absolutely isolated from each other. There are different user accounts and credentials to sign in to Partner Center, different sets of customers, and separate invoices.

In this case, management of all CSP customers across different Partner Center accounts can be challenging. To solve this challenge and manage multiple Azure subscriptions of customers in different Partner Center accounts from a single panel, CSP direct partners and CSP indirect providers can use Azure Cost Management by Cloudyn.

Screenshot of Cloudyn Cost by Services and Regions report

Also partners can use third-party cloud management panels that support Azure CSP to manage multiple Partner Center accounts from a single panel:

Azure Active Directory and Partner Center

Partner Center uses Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) authentication to sign in. If you already use Azure AD in your organization (for example, for an internal Office 365 subscription), you can use the same user credentials and rights management capabilities in Partner Center.

Also, you can connect your on-premises Active Directory to Azure Active Directory by using Azure AD Connect. Then sign in to Partner Center by using corporate domain credentials and custom domain. With Azure AD, you can use Active Directory Federation Services and multi-factor authentication capabilities to strengthen the Partner Center authentication process.

Diagram showing the relationship of Azure AD Connect to resources on-premises and in the cloud

Partner Center Integration Sandbox

Inside every Partner Center account for CSP direct partners or CSP indirect providers, you can create one Partner Center Integration Sandbox account.

The Partner Center Integration Sandbox account and regular Partner Center accounts are very similar, except that the sandbox is a "practice" space that does not touch any live customer data. It is meant for development and testing of new integration options and Partner Center functions, without tampering with your customers' data. Use of the sandbox account does not appear on your invoice.

A few other notes about the Partner Center Integration Sandbox account:

  • The sandbox account and the primary Partner Center account act independently, and do not share admin accounts, user accounts, customers, orders, subscriptions, or other data.
  • The sandbox account is limited to 75 customers, with 5 Azure subscriptions in each. Each subscription is limited to $200 per month. It can't be extended.
  • By policy, sandbox accounts are for internal testing purposes only.
  • There is no way to migrate customers and Azure workloads from the sandbox to production. Don't use it for proof-of-concept or pilot environments that you want to continue using in production.

Although sandbox accounts have some significant limitations, they provide up to $75,000 (75 x 5 x 200) of Azure, free of charge every month for internal testing purposes.

To create a sandbox account, from the Partner Center Dashboard, go to Account Settings > Integration Sandbox. If this option does not appear, it is because you lack admin permissions, or because you are already on an Integration Sandbox account. For more information about sandbox accounts, see the Partner Center documentation.

Next steps

  • Create your first customer in CSP, and deploy Azure services.
  • Learn how customer support in the CSP model works.
  • Migrate existing customers from on-premises and other channels to Azure CSP.