Changes to the Azure Hybrid Benefit

The August 2019 Product Terms details some changes to the Azure Hybrid Benefit to include licensing options for the recently announced Azure Dedicated Host, so here’s a summary of the rules for both Windows Server and SQL Server.

Windows Server

  • Standard licences may now be used on-premises OR for virtual machines running in Azure OR for virtual machines running in an Azure Dedicated Host. The licensing for both Azure and Azure Dedicated Host follow the “groups of 8” rules. Licenses may now be assigned to both on-premises servers and Azure for a period of 180 days for migration purposes – this is an increase from the previous 31-day allowance
  • Datacenter licences may now be used on-premises AND for virtual machines running in Azure (no change) OR for virtual machines running in an Azure Dedicated Host. Customers can choose to license individual virtual machines running in Azure Dedicated Host following the “groups of 8” rules, or can license all the physical cores of the Azure Dedicated Host and run an unlimited number of virtual machines. Customers moving from on-premises to Azure Dedicated Host have the same 180-day migration window as Standard licences

SQL Server

  • Standard licences may now be used on-premises OR for virtual machines running in Azure OR for Azure SQL Database Services OR for virtual machines running in an Azure Dedicated Host. The licensing rules for Azure Dedicated Host are the same as for virtual machines running in Azure. There is no change to the 180-day migration period allowed when moving from an on-premises to an Azure infrastructure
  • Enterprise licences may be used in the same scenarios as the Standard licences above. However, there is an additional licensing option for Azure Dedicated Host which allows customers to license all the physical cores of the Azure Dedicated Host to run SQL Server in an unlimited number of virtual machines

You can find the August 2019 Product Terms here: http://bit.ly/MSproductterms and there’s an Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ here: http://bit.ly/2g1HEwS.

Azure Dedicated Host

Microsoft announce the preview of Azure Dedicated Host, a new Azure service that enables customers to run Linux and Windows virtual machines on single-tenant physical servers.

So, how’s this all licensed? Well, first of all you choose the type of Azure Dedicated Host that you want. Currently there are three types, each based on a particular VM series: Dsv3, Esv3 or Fsv2, and you can run any virtual machines from the chosen family on a particular Azure Dedicated Host. Each Azure Dedicated Host has a specific number of vCPUs available and that dictates how many virtual machines you can run.

So, for example, the Dsv3 series Azure Dedicated Host has 64 vCPUs, so you could run 32 x D2s v3 VMs since they have 2 vCPUs each, or mix and match with 2 x D8s v3 (8 vCPUs each) + 2 x D16s v3 (16 vCPUs each) + 8 x D2s v3 (2 vCPUs each). You then pay an hourly charge for the Azure Dedicated Host, regardless of how many virtual machines are running, and that’s $3.38 per hour for the Dsv3 Series.

This hourly charge is for the compute power of the virtual machines, so then you need to pay for the software you want to run in those virtual machines. This can either be done on a metered, hourly basis, or you can bring your own Windows Server and SQL Server licences if you’re eligible for the Azure Hybrid Benefit – either through Software Assurance or if you have a Server Subscription bought through CSP.

How many licences do you bring? Well, you can follow the usual rules for licensing virtual machines in Azure, or you can license all the physical cores on the Azure Dedicated Host with Windows Server Datacenter or SQL Server Enterprise licences to be eligible for running an unlimited number of virtual machines. In terms of useful resources, find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2M1TKIB, find the Azure Dedicated Host pricing page here: http://bit.ly/2KkxB6m, and an updated FAQ on the Azure Hybrid Benefit here: http://bit.ly/2g1HEwS.