SQL Server in Azure: IaaS or PaaS?

The Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server allows you to choose where you use a SQL Server licence: either on-premises or in Azure. Not only that, you’re allowed to choose between an Azure virtual machine (IaaS) or the Azure SQL Database service (PaaS). This article is useful if you’re interested in an overview of the business motivations for choosing one Azure option over another: http://bit.ly/SQLOptions. Customers are eligible for the Azure Hybrid Benefit by having active Software Assurance on their licences or buying a Server Subscription.

Microsoft Stream Licensing

Microsoft Stream – a cloud-based enterprise video service – is available as a Plan 1 User SL ($3 per month) or Plan 2 ($5 per month). This page (http://bit.ly/2phNAqx) is useful for comparing the features of the two plans, but many Office 365 plans already include rights to Stream, the exact details of which are shown here: http://bit.ly/2ox1TXB. This page also explains how Stream storage works: each tenant receives 500 GB of storage and an additional 0.5 GB per licensed user, with the exception of Office 365 F1 users. Further Stream storage is available as an Add-on licence.

Changes to Azure Meter Names

Microsoft announce changes to the Azure meter names to make them more consistent and easier to understand. This page (http://bit.ly/2x9ShH9) gives some examples of old and new naming conventions for virtual machines, and you can also download a detailed spreadsheet that contains all meters and their before/after attribute values. This list will be refreshed each month until all changes are implemented by the first week of October 2018.

Office Connectivity Support for Office 365 Services

Microsoft announce that Office 2016 will continue to be able to connect to Office 365 services through October 2023. The previous support policy mandated that after 13 October, 2020 customers would be required to have either Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 to connect to these services. Find the announcement towards the bottom of this page: http://bit.ly/2N3kqty.

Support for Office 365 ProPlus on Windows

Microsoft announce some extensions to the support for Office 365 ProPlus on various versions of Windows:

  • Office 365 ProPlus will be supported on Windows 8.1 through January 2023, which is the end of support date for Windows 8.1
  • Office 365 ProPlus will be supported on Windows 7 through January 2023 if the customer has purchased Windows 7 Enterprise Security Updates (see our blog post: http://bit.ly/2N1uwuM)
  • Office 365 ProPlus will be supported on Windows Server 2016 until October 2025

Find the announcement towards the bottom of this page: http://bit.ly/2N3kqty.

Windows Server 2019 Essentials

Microsoft announce that there will be a Windows Server 2019 Essentials edition, released later this year along with the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2019. There are no changes to the licensing (it’s a single Server licence that includes access for up to 25 users/50 devices) and it will be supported as a Long Term Servicing Channel release. In addition, Microsoft state the strong possibility that this could be the last version of Windows Server Essentials. Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2wWprZO.

Support for Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel Releases

Microsoft announce a change from the maximum 18-months support for Windows 10 Semi-Annual Channel releases. The diagram below is taken from the announcement page (http://bit.ly/2N3kqty) and shows that there is no change to the support duration for Windows 10 Pro or Home, or indeed Office 365 ProPlus, but the September releases for Windows 10 Enterprise and Education will be supported for 30 months. In addition, all currently supported feature updates of Windows 10 Enterprise and Education editions (versions 1607, 1703, 1709, and 1803) will be supported for 30 months from their original release date.

Windows 7 Extended Security Updates

Microsoft announce that Extended Security Updates will be available for Windows 7, for which extended support ends on 14 January, 2020. The Windows 7 ESU will be sold on a per-device basis and will be available to customers who have purchased Windows 7 Professional/Enterprise through a Volume Licensing program. The price of the Windows 7 ESU will increase each year, but there will be discounts available for customers with active SA or Windows 10 Enterprise/Education subscriptions. Find the announcement towards the end of this page: http://bit.ly/2N3kqty.

Switching an Azure CSP Subscription to another Partner

If a customer has bought Azure services through a CSP partner then there’s an Azure Subscription set up and charging for the consumed services is done via the partner. However, can an Azure Subscription be switched from one partner to another if need be? It can indeed – it’s not a particularly elegant process involving a form and action required from both partners and the customer, but if you need to do it you can find instructions here: http://bit.ly/2PxC19J.