Flexible Virtualization benefit and Windows Server VM licensing

Microsoft announce that there will be two significant licensing changes coming in October 2022.

Firstly, the outsourcing terms will be expanded via the Flexible Virtualization benefit which will allow customers to use their eligible licences with any Authorized Outsourcer’s shared hardware. Eligible licences are licences purchased through a Volume Licensing agreement with active Software Assurance, or Server Subscriptions purchased through CSP, and Authorized Outsourcers are any partners offering hosted solutions – apart from the Listed Providers (Alibaba, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft).

The second change is an additional licensing option for Windows Server for customers with active SA or Server Subscriptions: rather than being restricted to licensing the whole physical server, these customers will be able to choose to license at the virtual machine level – both in their own data centres or with an Authorized Outsourcer.

For more information, see the partner announcement here: https://bit.ly/3wFgQdw, or the customer announcement here: https://bit.ly/3CF8eaT.

“Using the Windows Server Azure Hybrid Benefit”

Customers who have Windows Server licences with active Software Assurance can take advantage of the Azure Hybrid Benefit which allows them to assign these licences to Azure. This means that they can run Windows Server virtual machines at a reduced cost, paying just the base compute charges in Azure. It’s possible to deploy a new VM using the Azure Hybrid Benefit or to update an existing running VM to use this benefit. This is a useful article if you want to see how this is done and to get a view of which deployed VMs are using the Azure Hybrid Benefit: http://bit.ly/2tgbUdC.

Azure Hybrid Use Rights

From 1 February 2016, organisations with Windows Server licenses with SA can make use of the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit.

Called “HUB” for short, this brand new benefit means that you can procure an Azure virtual machine without Windows Server and can then assign an existing Windows Server licence to it.

Even more interestingly, if you have Datacenter licences then they can be assigned to on-premises AND Azure virtual machines, while you need to make the choice of either on-premises OR Azure virtual machines for Standard. A single Processor-based licence will allow you to use Windows Server on up to 16 cores in Azure.

Get the full wording on page 50 of the February 2016 Product Terms.

Using Windows VL Licences on Azure

Microsoft announce some interesting things about using Windows VL licences on Azure…

Firstly, if you have Windows Server licences with SA then you’ll be able to procure an Azure virtual machine without Windows Server and then upload your own Windows Server VM image which will be licensed by that existing VL licence.

And secondly, if you license Windows 10 by user then you’ll be able to run Windows 10 Current Branch for Business on Azure.

What’s more, there are plans to allow customers to take their Windows licences to other cloud providers too. And the timing of this? – “soon”.

Read the full FAQ here: http://bit.ly/1jeqDj6.