If you have Windows Server licences with Software Assurance then you have the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit. This means that you can choose to use your licences to license the Windows Server part of an Azure virtual machine and so just pay for the compute cost of the VM.
If you have an EA you can deploy VMs from specific Marketplace images that are pre-configured with the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit. Without an EA you can upload a custom VM and deploy using a Resource Manager template or Azure PowerShell.
This article explains all and has some useful illustrations http://bit.ly/2lbjIbe.
The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit datasheet is updated to cover both Windows Server 2012 R2 Processor-based licences and Windows Server 2016 Core licences, as well as for the availability of Windows Server images that can be chosen to deploy a VM with this benefit.
Find this datasheet in the Core Infrastructure section of our Licensing Guides emporium: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
Microsoft announce that from 1 February 2017 new customers will not be able to buy Azure consumption services through the MPSA, but confirm that existing customers are unaffected.
Advice to partners is that they should recommend the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) channel for any new pay-as-you-go Azure customers going forward.
Read the blog post here: http://bit.ly/2j0dACN.
The Azure Cost Estimator is now deprecated (http://bit.ly/AzureCostEstimator).
What are your alternatives to get estimated pricing for Azure? The public Azure Pricing Calculator (http://bit.ly/AzurePricingCalculator) is a good option or, if you’re a Microsoft partner, then you can request access to the Azure Channel Calculator (http://bit.ly/AzureChannelCalculator).
Want to know where the Microsoft Azure data centres are and what services are available in what region?
This is a useful page showing the current 30 regions including the two newest UK ones: http://bit.ly/2cIXMTG.
Microsoft announce that Azure Active Directory Premium P2 is generally available from 15 September 2016: http://bit.ly/2d4ZJvV.
Azure AD Premium P2 includes all the capabilities of Azure AD Premium P1 as well as the new Azure AD Identity Protection and Azure AD Privileged Identity Management services.
This page is a good resource if you want to compare the services available in the P1 and P2 plans as well as AD Free and Basic editions: http://bit.ly/2cjdExc.
The new P2 plan will also be part of the Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 plan: http://bit.ly/29Cc0Er.
Microsoft announce that Azure RemoteApp is to be retired: new purchases will end as of 1 October, 2016 and the service will finally be wound down on 31 August, 2017. The recommended alternative is the Citrix XenApp “express” solution, or perhaps using Remote Desktop Services deployed on Azure virtual machines.
Read the full Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/2aUsXNg.
Microsoft announce that Power BI Embedded is generally available. Be aware that this is a cousin rather than a brother of the Power BI service licensed with Power BI User Subscription Licences.
Power BI Embedded is an Azure consumption service (charged as users interact with reports) and intended for ISVs who embed dashboards in applications for third party use.
The Microsoft announcement is here: http://bit.ly/29QIRXi and this Azure pricing page has some useful FAQs: http://bit.ly/2ahlAyP.
If you want an overview of the different ways that you can run SQL Server on Azure virtual machines, and how they’re licensed, then this Microsoft FAQ page is worth a read through: http://bit.ly/28TwWoH.
Microsoft announce Azure Information Protection, a new service that builds on Azure Rights Management (Azure RMS).
General Availability is expected later this year, when Azure RMS customers will receive expanded capabillities.
We’re told that more information on how to buy Azure Information Protection will be available closer to General Availability.
Read the full announcement here: http://bit.ly/28UrDEd.