Update on Microsoft Reservations

Microsoft Reservations are a way of pre-paying for certain Azure services to get the best possible pricing. The first Reservation from Microsoft was a Reserved Instance – a way of paying upfront for the compute part of a virtual machine – and Microsoft continues to extend what, and where, Reservations are available.

In February 2019, Microsoft announced that Reserved Instance discounts had been extended to apply both to Classic Virtual Machines and Cloud Services, and that Reserved Instances could be applied to Dev/Test Subscriptions acquired through an Enterprise Agreement or through Azure.com. Find that announcement here: http://bit.ly/2KEIVdP.

More recently, in April 2019, they announced that the Reservations family had grown to include two new members. Firstly,

SQL Data Warehouse Reserved Capacity allows customers to buy compute Data Warehouse Units (cDWU) with either 1-year or 3-year options for discounts of up to 65%. Reserved Capacity can be shared by multiple warehouses in the same region and there are exchange and cancel options available if business needs change. Secondly, there are new RedHat Enterprise Linux Software Plans where the rules are stricter in terms of exchanging and cancelling, but discounts of up to 18% are still available.

Find the announcement and get further details here: http://bit.ly/2Mzvq1D.

Selling Azure through CSP

If you’re a partner selling Azure through CSP then you’ll be interested in a new Microsoft blog post where some upcoming changes are detailed about a new Azure experience in CSP, and the introduction of both the existing Microsoft Customer Agreement and a new Microsoft Partner Agreement in CSP. Get the full details including expected timelines here: http://bit.ly/2Ilm4l1.

Microsoft Customer Agreement

The Microsoft Customer Agreement is Microsoft’s latest agreement that gives customers a framework within which to purchase their products and services. It’s a non-expiring contract and is currently available for purchases made through the Microsoft Store for Business.

From March 2019 it’s also the agreement that customers in eligible countries can use if they want to buy Azure services through their internal Microsoft representative.

Read more about this new agreement and the new commerce experience it facilitates here: http://bit.ly/2Isb0E6 and/or check out the agreement itself (in the language of your choice) here: http://bit.ly/2TS0Anu.

Azure Cost Management

Azure Cost Management is a native Azure solution to help customers manage cloud spend. It includes tools to help track costs over the course of a month and gives a variety of ways to analyse data, as well as allowing budgetsto be set.

The Azure Cost Management tools are free and currently available to EA and Microsoft Customer Agreement customers, as well as being in public preview for customers buying through azure.com.

Future developments include expanding eligible users (CSP partners and customers) and functionality (allowing customers to manage AWS spend by the end of the second quarter of 2019).

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

General Availability of Azure DevOps Server

Microsoft announce the General Availability of Azure DevOps Server; this is the latest version of the product you may know better by its previous name of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.

There are no changes to the licensing of this new version and you can buy Server and CAL licences through a Volume Licensing agreement.

Alternatively, Visual Studio standard subscriptions include rights to the Server licence and one User CAL, and all users licensed for Azure DevOps Services have CAL rights too.

You can find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2FgTv7U, along with confirmation that Azure SQL Database can now be used with Azure DevOps Server in an Azure virtual machine.

Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure

Microsoft announce Windows Virtual Desktop, which will allow customers to run a full Windows 10 desktop that’s optimised for Office 365 ProPlus, delivered on Azure. Access to Windows Virtual Desktop will be included in the following User SLs: Microsoft 365 E3, E5 or F1, and Windows 10 E3 or E5, with the only additional costs being storage and compute consumption from the virtual machines themselves.

The service will be in preview soon – use this page to stay up to date: http://bit.ly/2zQJD22, and find the original announcement here: http://bit.ly/2xYfHzo.

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.

How Azure Reservations work with Azure SQL Database

Azure Reservations for the Azure SQL Database service became available earlier in August 2018 (see our blog post here: http://bit.ly/2KROzpp). If you want to understand more about how the reservation discount is applied automatically to running Azure SQL Databases then this is a useful article: http://bit.ly/2vX61UR.

Azure Marketplace Invoicing

Third-party services purchased through the Azure Marketplace are typically invoiced separately in an Enterprise Agreement, outside of Monetary Commitment. From 1 March, 2018 there were some Linux Support options and Linux virtual machines that were changed to consume Monetary Commitment.

Find the announcement and list of relevant services here: http://bit.ly/2Nn74Ed.

Managing Azure Reservations

You can buy an Azure Reservation to save money on the infrastructure charges (compute) for virtual machines or Azure SQL Databases. After purchase you can make adjustments to that reservation: change the Subscription it applies to, split a single reservation into two reservations, add or change users who can manage a reservation, and optimise for VM size flexibility or capacity priority.

Find a useful article with instructions here: http://bit.ly/2PnMOUC.