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Coming from a xDB Cloud point of view, when I hear Sitecore Managed Cloud, I think of just xConnect and Processing and Reporting hosting.

However, on the surface it appears to be a full Azure XP1 Subscription, but I am confused on what they are actually providing as a service. Is Sitecore actually managing the entire Azure subscription for a full Sitecore site? Or am I reading this completely wrong?

What is Sitecore Managed Cloud and what services does it provide to the client?

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Sitecore Managed Cloud provides a hosting service for the infrastructure associated with Sitecore. The entire topology is owned and "managed" by Sitecore under their Azure Subscription. Generally, the definition of this topology is based on the agreement between the client and Sitecore. From what I have seen, this usually consists of 3 environments (DEV (XP Single), STG (XP Small), PRD (XP [based-on-traffic]). Keep in mind, once you get to scale, the size of the topology usually just drives [expected] CD count.

From an ownership perspective, the contract usually includes some level of monitoring or support, and Sitecore is responsible for security/access management; when someone needs access to the environment, I typically have to submit a support ticket with the MC Contract Identifier and list of emails addresses to have them added.

From a support perspective, the line grays a little bit. I am a contributor for the MC instance that I worked on, which means I have access to do everything except manage access. I have been able to redo the topology to fit my client's needs (e.g. switch to an elastic pool, increase CM tier, etc.). Generally speaking, the partner plays a large role in supporting the applications, as they are responsible for adding, breaking, and fixing the code. If there are infrastructure issues, then a ticket can be opened with Sitecore to have them examine it. However, it might be faster to figure out and resolve the issue yourself; it depends on the severity of the issue and the SLA on the MC Contract.

Ultimately, the contracts are usually based on annual Azure Spend (billed monthly). The client has a spending limit, and if they go over that (unforeseen scaling === more CDs === more money), they can be charged overages. Keep this in mind when making or suggestions any infrastructure changes to the client.

Ultimately, Sitecore is really just providing a hosting platform, and the support model ends up being along the same lines as a standard Sitecore + implementation partner implementation.

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I would add a bit to the answer here. Sitecore Managed Cloud comes in two flavours - Standard and Premium. Sitecore handles Standard with an inhouse team - while Premium is handled by RackSpace. I have only used the Standard offering - and agree with most elements from Bic's answer in the sense of Sitecore and the Partner collaborates on offering a supported and running Sitecore installation.

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