Admitted, the words ‘Microsoft’ and ‘Savings’ aren’t often heard in one sentence. Unfairly so it seems because Microsoft offers customers various ways on saving money whilst migrating to their cloud. The Azure Hybrid Benefit is one of the cost savings opportunities and one of the best kept secrets.
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Azure Hybrid Benefit
The big question: ‘What is it and how does it work?’. The Azure Hybrid Benefit is a customers’ right under active Software Assurance (SA) to use existing software licenses to cover the licensing costs of Windows Server or SQL Server on Microsoft Azure. In more popular words, a Bring Your Own License policy. This is the eligible software for Azure Hybrid Benefits:
- Windows Server Datacenter Core licenses with SA
- Windows Server Standard Core licenses with SA
- SQL Server Enterprise Core licenses with SA
- SQL Server Standard Core licenses with SA
With the exception of Windows Server Datacenter, all others purchased as a Server Subscription through the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program do qualify for Azure Hybrid Benefits as well.
There is more good news. Looking at SQL Server, for the Enterprise edition core licenses Microsoft gives customers a 1:4 ratio benefit; for each core license SQL Server Enterprise with active Software Assurance, customers receive the right to use 4 SQL Server Enterprise cores in Azure (general purpose). This means that customers who migrate their SQL Server Estate, licensed with SQL Server Enterprise, to Azure only need to purchase Software Assurance for 25% of their SQL Server Enterprise Core licenses.
Looking at Windows Server Datacenter, another cost saving benefit arises under Azure Hybrid Benefits: dual use rights. Customers are allowed to run the server software under Windows Server Datacenter license rights in Azure and at their premises at the same time. For Windows Server Standard and SQL Server, this is not allowed other than for migration purposes and a limited amount of time.
It all looks nice and shiny and actually it is. However, there are a few things to remember to prevent costly surprises afterwards:
- Azure Hybrid Benefit is a right under Software Assurance, so please do not forget to renew at the end of your contract
- As a customer, you are responsible for the proper administration (Need help? We have a managed solution for that)
- When applying the benefit, you do not have to fill in and send any license transformation forms to Microsoft, but you do need to tick the correct box when deploying your machines in Azure
There are more cost saving options. Under Azure Hybrid Benefits Microsoft grants unlimited virtualization rights under Windows Server Datacenter for an Azure Dedicated Host.
With reserved capacity in Azure, Microsoft gives customers a discount for their commitment to the platform. Special rights for SQL Server Fail Over to Azure or Disaster Recovery options in Azure will save on software licensing costs also.
With all the available options it is hard to make the most cost efficient choices. Above all, Microsoft licensing rules change regularly, so what to do? What you could do is get expert help from one of our Software Licensing and Cloud Consultants. They will guide you with Azure Hybrid Benefits and other cost saving options to a solution which fits your organization as a tailor made suite.