Understanding Reserved Instance Pre-Payment

If you’re running full-time virtual machines in Azure then pre-paying for the compute power via an Azure Reserved Instance is a good way of saving money. The pre-paid amount is automatically applied to your running virtual machines and if you want to find out more about how this (apparently magic) process works, then this article is worth a read: http://bit.ly/2HKvLsA.

Azure Services Available in CSP

Not all Azure services are yet available in CSP and if you want to check exact availability then here’s a useful article to peruse: http://bit.ly/2q8aTmy. It covers availability of the general Azure services, as well as what can be purchased through the Visual Studio Marketplace and charged to a CSP account, and which Azure Marketplace items are available in CSP Subscriptions.

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.

Updated Azure Calculator

Microsoft launched Azure Reserved Instances in November 2017 giving customers a more cost-effective way of buying Azure base instance virtual machines. The Azure Calculator has been updated to show relative pricing between the regular pay-as-you-go option for virtual machines and 1-year or 3-year Reserved Instances.

Find the Azure Calculator here: http://bit.ly/AzurePricingCalculator.

Azure Reserved VM Instances

Microsoft announce Azure Reserved VM Instances (RIs). There’s no word on launch date, but customers will be able to make big savings on Azure virtual machines by committing to 1 or 3 year terms for a particular VM type in a particular Azure region.

There will be flexibility for customers too with the ability to cancel the RI, or exchange it for another VM type in another data centre. Scott Guthrie’s blog post is here (see second to last paragraph): http://bit.ly/2ybA0dZ, and there’s useful information on azure.com too: http://bit.ly/2fV95bC.

AHUB and Windows Server Marketplace Images

Changes to the Windows Server Azure Marketplace images means it’s easier to deploy a virtual machine when you want to use the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit (AHUB). Now you don’t have to choose a special image, you just confirm you have Windows Server licences with active SA as part of the process – see the diagram below. And, even better, this is available for all customers, not just EA customers.

Azure Marketplace

The AHUB Datasheet and FAQ documents are updated for this change and you can find them in the Core Infrastructure section of our Licensing Guides emporium: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Azure StorSimple in CSP

Azure StorSimple became available through CSP in February 2017.

A reminder of what StorSimple is: a hybrid storage solution which can be deployed as a physical device or a virtual appliance, where active data is stored on-premises and cool data is pushed to the cloud.

It’s currently just the StorSimple Virtual Array that’s available through CSP and there’s an excellent article from Microsoft that explains all: http://bit.ly/2oQTnDT.

If you’ve got a particular question you may find your answer in the useful FAQ here: http://bit.ly/2oY5ayO.