Microsoft announce that the centrally managed Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is now generally available. This allows customers to assign eligible licences to their SQL Server resources in Azure at a whole Subscription or Billing Profile level rather than to individual resources, making it much easier to manage.
There’s an updated (October 2022) “Introduction to Microsoft Core licensing models” Licensing Brief from Microsoft. The main changes are for the new Windows Server per virtual machine licensing option, as well as the change for SQL Server and BizTalk Server where licensing by virtual machine is now a Software Assurance benefit.
Find this updated Licensing Brief here: https://bit.ly/3SWTn0u.
There’s a brand new (October 2022) Licensing Guide for the new Flexible Virtualization Benefit. This allows customers licensed with Software Assurance or Software Subscriptions to use their licences with Authorized Outsourcers’ shared servers. The guide contains an overview of the benefit itself, a definition of Authorized Outsourcers, and details about using the benefit with SQL Server, Windows Server, and the desktop products. There are also FAQ and Resources sections at the end.
Find this new guide here: https://bit.ly/3T1kDe5.
Extended Security Updates are critical if you want to continue safely running Windows Server and SQL Server workloads on versions that are out of support.
Extended Security Updates have been available for SQL Server/Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 since support ended, but will themselves end on July 9, 2022 and January 14, 2023 respectively. If you’re running these older products in Azure then you get 3 years of free Extended Security Updates, and Microsoft have just announced that one more year of Extended Security Updates will be available only on Azure.
It’s also time to think about support ending for SQL Server 2012 on July 12, 2022, and for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 on October 23, 2023. 3 years of Extended Security Updates will once again be available and, again, they will be free for customers running these versions in Azure. Customers will also be able to purchase ESUs through an Enterprise Agreement for on-premises workloads if they have active Software Assurance on their licences. They will just need to buy licences for the servers they need to cover, and costs will be 75% of the licence cost for the first year, 100% of the licence cost for the second year, and 125% of the licence cost for the third year.
Microsoft announce some expanded use rights for the Azure Hybrid Benefit with SQL Server giving additional flexibility in using Standard and Enterprise Core licences for Azure IaaS and PaaS solutions.
SQL Server Standard Core licences may now be used for SQL Server Enterprise virtual machines with 4 Core licences required for each virtual core, and SQL Server Enterprise Core licences may now be used for SQL Server Standard virtual machines with 1 Core licence covering 4 virtual cores.
There are similar changes for the licence requirements for the Azure Data Factory SQL Server Integration Services Standard/Enterprise, and SQL Server Standard Core licences may now also be used for Azure SQL Database Business Critical solutions with a requirement of 4 Core licences to cover a virtual core.
The May 2020 Product Terms is updated with clarification on how to license SQL Server running within a container. Essentially, the container is considered to be a virtual machine and the usual licensing rules apply. Find the text on page 30 and the latest Product Terms document here: http://bit.ly/MSproductterms.
There’s text added to page 30 of the January 2020 Product Terms document stating that customers must indicate their use of SQL Server on Azure when making use of the Azure Hybrid Benefit or Disaster Recover Rights. For details on how to do this see our blog post: http://bit.ly/2ZB6nwI.
There’s a slightly updated SQL Server 2019 Licensing Guide with some minor corrections and the inclusion of CSP as a purchasing channel. Find the guide here: http://bit.ly/SQL2019LGNov-2.
Microsoft announce that SQL Server 2019 is generally available. There are the usual product enhancements you’d expect with, from a licensing perspective, the most significant being support for deploying Big Data Clusters. A new SA benefit gives customers an allowance for licensing Big Data Cluster nodes, with additional licences available in the (inevitable) 2-core pack. There are also SA benefits added for licensing Disaster Recovery solutions.
If you provision an all-inclusive SQL Server virtual machine from the Azure Marketplace then you’ll be charged a single fee which includes the cost of SQL Server. If you want to bring your own SQL Server licences to that virtual machine via the Azure Hybrid Benefit, then you need to change the licence type of the virtual machine. You do this in the Azure Management Portal and simply change the licence type from Pay As You Go to the Azure Hybrid Benefit in the Configure settings of the VM. You can find instructions for that here: http://bit.ly/2Pd6miy.
If you’ve self-installed SQL Server on an Azure virtual machine, then again, you’re probably intending to bring your own licences. The Product Terms states that you need to indicate when you’re using the Azure Hybrid Benefit – which is what happened above – but this time you need to first register the SQL Server VM with the Resource Provider, and then activate the Azure Hybrid Benefit as before. You’ll find instructions for the process of registering a SQL Sever VM in Azure with the SQL Server VM Resource Provider here: http://bit.ly/324kGLx.