Azure Stack HCI is a virtualisation platform for Windows and Linux virtual machines, and customers have a choice as to how they license the Windows part of the VMs. Firstly, they can bring their own licences, and there’s no Software Assurance required when Azure Stack HCI is running as an on-premises solution dedicated to the customer.
From 1 April 2022 there’s a new option with the launch of special Windows Server Subscriptions specifically to license the guest (VM) operating systems on Azure Stack HCI. As is usual with Windows Server, you license at the physical core level, and a Windows Server Subscription costs $23.30 per physical core per month, with the first 60 days free.
Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3LrZXZd, and a useful page comparing the Windows Server licensing options for Azure Stack HCI here: https://bit.ly/3EW9zcz.
The Power BI team announce a new version of Power BI Report Server.
This product facilitates the distribution of interactive Power BI reports, traditionally within the boundaries of an organisation’s firewall. It’s not available to be purchased; the rights to install and use it are granted for customers who have active SA on SQL Server Enterprise Core licences, or Server Subscriptions for SQL Server Enterprise Core licences, or who have purchased Power BI Premium P SKUs.
Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3o0MRsd.
The Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server can be used with Azure resources such as SQL Databases or Managed Instances, or SQL Server running in a virtual machine. This means that customers can bring their own licences with SA (or Server Subscriptions acquired through CSP) to pay for the SQL Server part of the resources. Historically, the Azure Hybrid Benefit has always been activated at the resource level, but a new option means that customers can now manage it for a single Azure Subscription or for a whole Billing Account.
This new feature is enabled in the Azure Management Portal where you specify the number of eligible SQL Server licences you have which are then converted to Normalized Core Licenses (NCLs). Because SQL Server Enterprise and Standard Core licences can be combined in Azure in the ratio of 4:1, this NCL number calculates (in effect) the total number of Standard Core licences you have available. So, 8 Enterprise and 16 Standard Core licences = 8 x 4 + 16 = 48 NCLs. These NCLs are then automatically allocated to SQL resources running in the chosen scope, rather than the Azure Hybrid Benefit having to be manually activated by a human on each resource.
Scope-level management of the Azure Hybrid Benefit can be used with SQL Databases, SQL Managed Instances, SQL Elastic Pools or SQL Server running in an Azure VM, but only resource-level management is available for Azure Dedicated Hosts and Azure Data Factory SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS). Note too that it’s not an option currently available for Web Direct or CSP customers, only those buying through an Enterprise Agreement or direct from Microsoft via the Microsoft Customer Agreement.
Find tutorials, how-go guides and an FAQ at the docs site here: https://bit.ly/3n2IfAO.
Microsoft update their page on Reservations and Server Subscriptions in CSP to reveal that there will be two new offerings available in the short term: Reservations for SQL Managed Instance, and Server Subscriptions for RDS CALs.
Find the page and its host of useful resources here: http://bit.ly/2NIC5n1.
Microsoft announce the immediate availability of Server Subscriptions through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Server Subscriptions are available for Windows Server and SQL Server and are paid upfront for either a 1-year or 3-year term. They give access to the Azure Hybrid Benefit which means that customers may install the products on-premises or use them to license the products within an Azure virtual machine. You should consider them to be best friends with the new Reserved Instances since they now offer the most cost-effective way to license predictable Windows and SQL Server workloads in Azure.
You can find the announcement here (http://bit.ly/2m6NfFj). There’s a whole host of resources on both Server Subscriptions and Reserved Instances here (http://bit.ly/2NIC5n1) where you’ll find a sales sheet, an Operations Guide, overview presentations, and an FAQ.