Azure for Students

Microsoft announce Azure for Students. This plan, aimed at university students, gives users a Subscription with $100 of Azure credit and access to certain Azure services for free. This includes 750 hours of Azure B1S General Purpose VMs for Windows Server or Linux, and 5GB of LRS-Hot Blob Storage. The Subscription lasts for 12 months or until the free credit is all used, and then students need to upgrade to a paid Subscription within 90 days to continue using their resources.

There’s also an Azure for Students Starter plan aimed at secondary school students which includes access to some Azure services but no free credit.

Find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/2pDbfSD and a useful FAQ here: http://bit.ly/2IRTFlW which covers available services, eligibility criteria and some other useful FAQs on Azure for Students. The corresponding FAQ for Azure for Students Starter is here: http://bit.ly/2IOQSKk.

Microsoft Azure Regions

Microsoft announce an expansion of their cloud services in Europe and the Middle East with new data centres planned for Switzerland (Switzerland North and Switzerland West) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE North and UAE Central).

In addition, Azure and Office 365 are now available in the new French data centres with Dynamics 365 following in early 2019. And finally, two new data centres in Germany (Germany West Central and Germany North) are planned for Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, to complement the existing offerings available through the Microsoft Cloud Germany.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2pGq3PQ.

Dynamics 365 Spring Wave

Microsoft announce Dynamics 365 for Marketing and Dynamics 365 for Sales Professional. The first is a new marketing application for organisations that need to move beyond basic email marketing, and it will be available in April 2018. The second is a new licence for Dynamics 365 sales, which gives access to a subset of the functionality focussing on core Sales Force Automation capabilities.

Find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/2ISY8VC and get details too of some new Power BI Insights apps that will preview in the spring, and updates to the Common Data Service for Apps that ships with PowerApps.

Windows Server 2019

Microsoft announce that Windows Server 2019 is now available in preview with general availability in the second half of 2018, along with System Center 2019. This release will be a Long Term Servicing Channel release and there will be a corresponding Semi Annual Channel release at the same time. Licensing will be the same as for Windows Server 2016 but with a likely increase in CAL pricing.

Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2G1rX8B.

Dynamics 365 Business Central

Microsoft announce Dynamics 365 Business Central. This is essentially an ERP system for small and medium sized businesses giving them a single solution for managing finances, operations, sales and customer service. If you’re familiar with the on-premises solution Dynamics NAV, then this is full NAV functionality in the cloud, and if you’ve heard of Project “Tenerife” then this is that.

Dynamics 365 Business Central will be available from 2nd April, 2018 through the CSP program and for full users of the solution there will be an Essentials User SL for $70 per user per month and a Premium User SL for $100.

Find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/2G7RVTE and refer to this Business Central page for pricing and demos etc: http://bit.ly/2FYT9ot.

Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server

Microsoft announce the preview of Azure SQL Database Managed Instance, a new deployment option in SQL Database that streamlines the migration of SQL Server workloads to a fully managed database service in Azure. Interesting from a licensing perspective is that you can use your SQL Server licences with SA to pay a reduced rate on a Managed Instance via the new Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server.

Managed Instances are available in 8, 16, or 24 core flavours and existing on-premises Core licenses with SA can be allocated to these instances to pay the aforementioned reduced rate. SQL Server Standard Core licences cover one virtual core, and SQL Server Enterprise Core licences cover four virtual cores.

So, let’s take a look at The Papaya Hire Company’s existing SQL Server licences to see what SQL Database Managed Instances they could license. They have 16 Standard licences and 8 Enterprise licences – all with SA of course. If we work out the number of virtual cores these licences will cover we get (16 x 1) + (8 x 4) = 48 virtual cores. This means they could choose 6 x 8-core instances, or 3 x 16-core instances, or 2 x 24-core instances, or any combination of those.

If you don’t fancy doing the calculations yourself then you can use the Azure Hybrid Benefit Savings Calculator to do the mathematical heavy lifting. Find that calculator here: http://bit.ly/2pB61XH and don’t forget the usual Azure Pricing Calculator which will allow you to compare pricing for Azure SQL Database Manged Instances with and without applying the Azure Hybrid Benefit: http://bit.ly/AzurePricingCalculator. The Microsoft announcement is also useful for an overview of the features and the licensing and you can find that here: http://bit.ly/2u9SQ4D. If you’re interested in the documentation around the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server then refer to page 51 of the March 2018 Product Terms document.