Microsoft announce the General Availability of Capacity Reservations for virtual machines.
A Capacity Reservation is linked to a specific virtual machine type running in a specific Azure data centre and ensures that there is always capacity available when you want to run a virtual machine of that type in that data centre.
They are priced the same as the Pay-As-You-Go prices for the VM, and if you have a matching Reserved Instance, that will automatically be applied to cover the charges of the Capacity Reservation.
Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3kiL53J, and a video explaining this new option here: https://bit.ly/3LFqVNr.
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.
Microsoft announce the availability of some new constrained vCPU capable virtual machines. In this type of VM the vCPU count can be constrained to a half or a quarter of the original VM size allowing customers to reduce the cost of software licensing.
For instance, in the E8-4as v4 virtual machine there are 4 active vCPUs and 8 underlying vCPUs, and licensing for SQL Server is constrained to the active vCPU count, with only the operating system cost based on the underlying vCPUs.
Find the announcement regarding the most recent additions to the family here: https://bit.ly/3kUnbsX, and see all the VMs of this type, and their pricing, by searching for “constrained” on this page: https://bit.ly/3fofzxL.
Microsoft announce that a 5-year Reservation is now available for the Azure HBv2 virtual machine. The existing 1 and 3-year Reservations give an estimated 25% and 50% saving on the compute costs of the VM, and the new 5-year Reservation increases savings to approximately 67%.
The announcement (https://bit.ly/32EWfI9) states that terms and conditions are mostly the same as for all other types of Reserved Instances, and page 54 of the July 2020 Product Terms confirms that the early termination fee for a 5-year Reservation is 35%, rather than the usual 12%.
Microsoft announce that Azure Dedicated Hosts now support M-series and NV v3 and v4-series virtual machines so that customers can run memory-intensive and graphics-intensive applications.
Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/2XYnuK3, and the main Azure Dedicated Host page here: http://bit.ly/2KkxB6m which details the full range of VMs supported and has some useful configuration examples.
There’s an updated (April 2020) Licensing Brief detailing how to license the Windows desktop operating system for use with virtual machines. It covers the different licences available, the different options for deploying Windows VMs, and a whole host of licensing scenarios.
Find this licensing brief here: https://bit.ly/WindOSVMsApr2020
Microsoft announce that a monthly payment option is now available for some Azure Reservations. There aren’t any additional costs for choosing to pay monthly rather than upfront, although if you’re in a non-US-dollar market the actual monthly payment may vary dependent on the exchange rate. Monthly payments are available for the following services: virtual machines, SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, Cosmos DB, and the App Service stamp fee, and it’s an option you select when you buy the Reservation from the Azure Management Portal.
Find some good pictures of the process and some FAQs here: http://bit.ly/2maim6g.
The original announcement is here: http://bit.ly/2lILGR0.
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.
the preview of Azure Dedicated Host, a new Azure service that enables customers
to run Linux and Windows virtual machines on single-tenant physical servers.
So, how’s this all
licensed? Well, first of all you choose the type of Azure Dedicated Host that you
want. Currently there are three types, each based on a particular VM series:
Dsv3, Esv3 or Fsv2, and you can run any virtual machines from the chosen family
on a particular Azure Dedicated Host. Each Azure Dedicated Host has a specific
number of vCPUs available and that dictates how many virtual machines you can
So, for example, the Dsv3 series Azure Dedicated Host has 64 vCPUs, so you could run 32 x D2s v3 VMs since they have 2 vCPUs each, or mix and match with 2 x D8s v3 (8 vCPUs each) + 2 x D16s v3 (16 vCPUs each) + 8 x D2s v3 (2 vCPUs each). You then pay an hourly charge for the Azure Dedicated Host, regardless of how many virtual machines are running, and that’s $3.38 per hour for the Dsv3 Series.
This hourly charge
is for the compute power of the virtual machines, so then you need to pay for
the software you want to run in those virtual machines. This can either be done
on a metered, hourly basis, or you can bring your own Windows Server and SQL
Server licences if you’re eligible for the Azure Hybrid Benefit – either
through Software Assurance or if you have a Server Subscription bought through
How many licences
do you bring? Well, you can follow the usual rules for licensing virtual
machines in Azure, or you can license all the physical cores on the Azure
Dedicated Host with Windows Server Datacenter or SQL Server Enterprise licences
to be eligible for running an unlimited number of virtual machines.
find the Azure Dedicated Host pricing page here: http://bit.ly/2KkxB6m,
and an updated FAQ on the Azure Hybrid Benefit here: http://bit.ly/2g1HEwS.
If you’re a CSP partner then it’s important to sell the correct Reserved Instance to a customer, and then to check that the discount is being applied to a virtual machine. This article gives useful instructions for both of these tasks: http://bit.ly/2N5udyZ.