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.
You can find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3zg0KWL, find a datasheet here: https://bit.ly/3hMnNm6, and access a Customer FAQ here: https://bit.ly/3iskboG.
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.
You can find the announcement article here: https://bit.ly/2PlP6oh and find the official documentation on pages 54/55 of the August 2020 Product Terms document: http://bit.ly/MSproductterms.
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.
Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2pGwlD5, with a 42-page Licensing Guide here: http://bit.ly/SQL2019LGNov2019.
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.
There’s an excellent article from Microsoft that gives some
great advice on saving money when running SQL Server VMs in Azure. Tips
- using a free edition of SQL Server (Developer or Express) where possible
- choosing the SQL meter for temporary or periodic workloads, and bringing your own licence via the Azure Hybrid Benefit for workloads with a known lifetime and scale
- correctly sizing the VM – perhaps choosing one of the special VMs that are optimised for certain types of SQL Server workloads which have a high level of resources but a lower virtualised core count
- shutting down VMs where possible, perhaps using an automatic shutdown facility
Find the article here: http://bit.ly/2Ndp7jd.
The August 2019
Product Terms details some changes to the Azure Hybrid Benefit to include
licensing options for the recently announced Azure Dedicated Host, so here’s a
summary of the rules for both Windows Server and SQL Server.
- Standard licences may now be used on-premises OR for virtual machines running
in Azure OR for virtual machines running in an Azure Dedicated Host. The licensing
for both Azure and Azure Dedicated Host follow the “groups of 8” rules. Licenses
may now be assigned to both on-premises servers and Azure for a period of 180
days for migration purposes – this is an increase from the previous 31-day
- Datacenter licences may now be used on-premises AND for virtual machines
running in Azure (no change) OR for virtual machines running in an Azure
Dedicated Host. Customers can choose to license individual virtual machines
running in Azure Dedicated Host following the “groups of 8” rules, or can
license all the physical cores of the Azure Dedicated Host and run an unlimited
number of virtual machines. Customers moving from on-premises to Azure
Dedicated Host have the same 180-day migration window as Standard licences
- Standard licences may now be used on-premises OR for virtual machines
running in Azure OR for Azure SQL Database Services OR for virtual machines
running in an Azure Dedicated Host. The licensing rules for Azure Dedicated
Host are the same as for virtual machines running in Azure. There is no change
to the 180-day migration period allowed when moving from an on-premises to an
- Enterprise licences may be used in the same scenarios as the Standard
licences above. However, there is an additional licensing option for Azure
Dedicated Host which allows customers to license all the physical cores of the
Azure Dedicated Host to run SQL Server in an unlimited number of virtual
You can find the
August 2019 Product Terms here: http://bit.ly/MSproductterms and there’s an Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ
The Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server allows you to choose where you use a SQL Server licence: either on-premises or in Azure. Not only that, you’re allowed to choose between an Azure virtual machine (IaaS) or the Azure SQL Database service (PaaS). This article is useful if you’re interested in an overview of the business motivations for choosing one Azure option over another: http://bit.ly/SQLOptions. Customers are eligible for the Azure Hybrid Benefit by having active Software Assurance on their licences or buying a Server Subscription.