Microsoft announce the General Availability of Azure SQL Database Reserved Capacity for single and elastic pool databases. If you’re familiar with Reserved Instances for virtual machines, then this is the same kind of thing for the Azure SQL Database service. Essentially, you can save money by prepaying for SQL Database vCores for a one or three-year term. In addition, you can bring your own SQL Server licences (either via active SA or the new Server Subscriptions) for an even more cost-effective solution.
SQL Database Reserved Capacity shares other similarities with Reserved Instances too: a Reservation can be assigned to either a single Azure Subscription or shared, and there’s vCore Size Flexibility as well where the Reservation can be applied dynamically to any databases and elastic pools within a performance tier and region.
To find out more, find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/2vJP2oZ and information on how to buy Reservations here: http://bit.ly/2P8Pjdp.
The next major update to the Dynamics products is due in October 2018. At this time Dynamics 365 Business Central will be available in the cloud, on-premises and in hybrid deployments. Customers will be able to pick any of these deployment options or use an existing on-premises solution of Dynamics GP, Dynamics NAV, or Dynamics SL and connect to the cloud through Business Central. Dynamics NAV becomes Dynamics 365 Business Central On-Premises and Business Central licences will continue to be sold through CSP. For further reading, find the full article here: http://bit.ly/2OuTij3.
We know Office 2019 is due out in the second half of 2018. The recently updated release details confirm the products that will be available (usual apps as well as Exchange, SharePoint and Skype for Business servers) and that there will be 5 years of mainstream support and 2 years of extended support. Technically speaking, Office 2019 will only run on Windows 10 and will only be available with Click-to-Run installation technology.
Find the release details here: http://bit.ly/2nw9gOx, an FAQ about Click-to-Run here: http://bit.ly/2KIIT16 and general Office 2019 FAQ here: http://bit.ly/2w3TCxA.
Instance Size Flexibility
Microsoft announce the General Availability of Instance Size Flexibility for Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances. What does that mean in English?! Well, something quite interesting… Previously, when you purchased a Reserved Instance you had to choose the size of the VM (Standard_D8s_v3, for example) and the data centre (US West, for example). If you wanted to change those properties, then you needed to use the Exchange function to get a credit for the existing RI to use against a brand new RI with the required attributes. Now, however, it all works a bit differently.
You are no longer prepaying for base compute of a particular virtual machine type (Standard_D8s_v3), you’re prepaying for a certain amount of compute for a particular family – in this case, the DSv3 Series – in a specific data centre. Now, a Reserved Instance can be applied to any VM in that family, covering all or part of the base compute costs. If this sounds a bit mind-boggling then head to this page (http://bit.ly/2vCWl1T) for a couple of examples of how it all works.
When you purchase a new RI with a Shared Subscription scope this option is your only optimisation choice, but if you choose a Single Subscription scope, then you can choose to opt for Capacity Priority instead, as shown in the picture below. This option can be changed later in the Configuration settings of the Reservation, if required.
Find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/2ny6uZi.
Microsoft announce Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. These products go out of extended support in the near future: 9 July 2019 for SQL Server, and 14 January 2020 for Windows Server. Extended Security Updates give three more years of support and, if the workloads are moved to Azure, then there’s no charge. Customers with Enterprise Agreements may purchase Extended Security Updates for their remaining on-premises deployments, if required. Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2uAxwmw and a Datasheet and an FAQ here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
If you’ve got questions on Windows 10 subscription activation then add this article to your reading list: http://bit.ly/2zHV4Lf. There’s lots of useful information including a short history of Windows deployment, the prerequisites and advantages of using the Windows 10 Enterprise subscription model and how it works, and how you enable Windows 10 subscription activation for virtual machines in the cloud. If you’re interested in the differences between acquiring licences in an Enterprise Agreement and CSP then there’s some great information on that too.
Microsoft announce the immediate availability of Server Subscriptions through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Server Subscriptions are available for Windows Server and SQL Server and are paid upfront for either a 1-year or 3-year term. They give access to the Azure Hybrid Benefit which means that customers may install the products on-premises or use them to license the products within an Azure virtual machine. You should consider them to be best friends with the new Reserved Instances since they now offer the most cost-effective way to license predictable Windows and SQL Server workloads in Azure.
You can find the announcement here (http://bit.ly/2m6NfFj). There’s a whole host of resources on both Server Subscriptions and Reserved Instances here (http://bit.ly/2NIC5n1) where you’ll find a sales sheet, an Operations Guide, overview presentations, and an FAQ.
There’s an updated Dynamics 365 Licensing Guide for June 2018. It includes some minor changes including a clarification to Resource Schedule Optimization licensing. Find the Guide, as usual, here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
Microsoft announce that Skype for Business Online Plan 1 will be retired from the CSP program, effective 1 August, 2018. If you want information on the plans to migrate customers to, and how to do it, then this is the page for you: http://bit.ly/2MGp63I. It’s worth noting that most Office 365 plans do now actually include Skype for Business Online Plan 1 functionality.
Microsoft announce two new cloud data centre regions in Norway: one in the greater Stavanger region and the other in Oslo. Initial availability of Azure is planned for late 2019, with Office 365 and Dynamics 365 to follow.
Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2yuRfIN.