Labs to help ISVs to publish their solutions in the Commercial Marketplace


Microsoft’s commercial marketplace is a catalog of solutions and services from our partner network. Microsoft partners can use Partner Center to create, publish and manage their solutions and services offerings in the commercial marketplace. Solutions are listed in Microsoft’s online stores, alongside Microsoft’s own solutions, connecting you with businesses, organizations, and government agencies around the world.

This lab will introduce you to some of the essential concepts and terminology of the commercial marketplace with a particular focus on ISVs (Independent Software Vendors) building solutions on Azure. We will focus on cloud solutions rather than services; in other words, how the commercial marketplace caters for cloud solutions built on Microsoft Azure and how to go about publishing them.

Background Information


This lab introduces some fundamental concepts and how to choose the best offer type to match a particular solution. The accompanying labs will take you through the steps to create and publish an offer on the commercial marketplace.


As you might expect, the commercial marketplace has its own vocabulary to describe specific concepts. It’s important to understand the specific meanings and how these concepts relate to one another to fully understand commercial marketplace publishing.

  • Publisher - the owner of the solution IP who wants to make it available on the commercial marketplace.
  • Customer - the target audience for the solution who will acquire it via the commercial marketplace.
  • Storefront - the commercial marketplace has a single backend with multiple storefronts. Published solutions will be listed in one or more storefronts.
  • Azure Marketplace - a storefront for solutions aimed at IT professionals.
  • AppSource - a storefront for solutions aimed at business decision makers.
  • Offer - an offer is the vehicle for listing on the commercial marketplace. It is a container for all aspects relating to the listing. The listing will appear in one of the storefronts.
  • Plan - Offers contain plans which describe the scope (eg in which markets is it available, is it available to everyone or specific customers) and pricing (when applicable).
  • Listing Options
    • Transact - an offer which is transacted through Microsoft’s commerce capabilities and thus delivers an end-to-end experience from discovery to purchase to delivery. Microsoft facilitates the exchange of money for a software licence on behalf of the publisher.
    • List - simple listing of your solution that enables a customer to express interest via Lead management.
    • Trial - allow customers to trial your solution for a limited period at no cost before they purchase.
    • BYOL - BYOL (Bring Your Own Licence) listings enhance the discoverability and automate the provisioning of your solution in a customer subscription. The financial transaction and licence compliance is the publisher responsibility.
    • Free - essentially a provisioning-only offer with no billing.
  • Test drive - a test drive is a pre-canned environment that is hosted in the publisher’s Azure subscription and allows potential customers to evaluate the solution before purchase.
  • Preview audience - during the publishing process, an offer can be shared with a preview audience before it is finally published. Useful for testing purposes.
  • Private offers - a private offer is a plan that is made available to a designated set of customers. This allows for scenarios such as negotiated pricing, private terms & conditions and specialised configurations.
  • Hidden offers - designed only to be consumed by other offers, they are hidden in the commercial marketplace so as not to be discoverable. Think of them as building blocks.
  • Lead management - Offers need to be connected to a lead management system so publishers can be notified about customers interested in deploying their offers. This is typically a CRM system but can be a simple Azure table or webhook.
  • Categories - each offer is listed in a category or categories to aid discoverability. Categories are specific to Azure Marketplace and AppSource.
  • Metered Billing - a billing mechanism that uses signals from the solution to advance custom meters. Used to create more sophisticated billing models.

Offer Types

The following offer types are available through Partner Center for ISV solutions.

In these labs we will focus on three main offer types; Virtual Machine, Azure Apps and SaaS app offers.

Virtual Machine Offer

The Virtual Machine offer (or VM offer) is used to deploy and transact a virtual machine (VM) instance through Marketplace. The solution must consist of a single VM. Anything more complex requires an Azure Apps offer. Virtual Machine offers can only be listed in Azure Marketplace, not AppSource.

For further information, see Publishing a VM Offer

Azure Apps Offer

The Azure Apps offer is used to deploy and transact a more complex solution than a single VM. Azure Apps offers can only be listed in Azure Marketplace, not AppSource.

The Azure Apps offer has two distinct flavours; solution template and managed application.

SaaS App Offer

The SaaS App offer differs from the Virtual Machine offer and Azure App offer as no resources are deployed in the customer subscription. As such, the publisher must charge both for the software licence and the underlying Azure resource costs used to deliver the solution. SaaS App offers can be listed in both the Azure Marketplace and AppSource.

For further information, see Publishing a SaaS Application Offer


Help us improve

Azure Citadel is a community site built on GitHub, please contribute and send a pull request

Make a change