Azure hybrid benefit for Windows Server

Umbrellar Connect

Umbrellar Powered by Pax8 help a lot of customers with Azure migrations and management so they can get the most out of their subscriptions. One way you can save dollars on Windows Server is to take advantage of Azure Hybrid Benefit. Read on to find out what it is and how much you can potentially save.

  1. Azure Hybrid Benefit is a pricing benefit for those with either:
    Licenses with active Software Assurance purchased via any Volume Licensing agreement (Open Value/Subscription, Enterprise Agreement/Subscription, MPSA, etc) for Windows Server Standard or Enterprise Core licenses, or
  2. One- or three-year Server Subscriptions purchased via CSP for Windows Server Standard Core licenses.

Maximise your license investments

Azure Hybrid Benefit helps maximize the value of existing on-premises Windows Server license investments when migrating to Azure.
Eligible Microsoft customers can save up to 40% on Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS), which is nothing to sneeze at.

However, combine that with Azure Reserved Instances, and you could potentially save as much as 80%! There’s no doubt it’s worth looking into if you want to reduce your bottom line.

How you can save

Many Microsoft customers have Software Assurance on Windows Server, meaning they can use the licenses they’ve purchased over time (License + Software Assurance, renewing Software Assurance, etc) when moving to the cloud and/or Azure.  Getting full use of past licenses with Software Assurance is a great way to reduce your spending.

Software Assurance is available for Windows Server (Standard and Datacentre) and SQL Server (Standard and Enterprise) core licenses and is really easy to set up. If you’re already running Virtual Machines (VM) in Azure without Azure Hybrid Benefit, you won’t need to spin up to a new VM. You can also receive free Extended Security Updates (ESU) when moving your environment to the cloud.

Differences between Windows Server and SQL Server

There are some differences between the way Azure Hybrid Benefit works for Windows Server and SQL Server. For now, we’ll just stick to Windows Server. If you’d like more information about SLQ Server, check out Microsoft’s Documentation page.

Rights to use Windows Server licenses:

This relates to on-premises physical or virtual servers OR virtual machines running in Azure.

With Windows Server Standard, you can use licenses either on-prem or in Azure – but not at the same time. The only exception to this rule is on a one-time basis for up to 180 days, to allow migration of those same workloads to Azure.

Windows Server Datacenter

Customers can use licenses both on-prem and/or in Azure. License requirements include:

  • A minimum of 16 Core licenses must be assigned to Azure.
  • A minimum of 8 core licenses must be assigned to each Azure Virtual machine.
  • Additional sets of 8 Core licenses assigned to larger virtual machines.

Activating the Azure Hybrid Benefit

You can enable the Azure Hybrid Benefit on virtual machine creation or for a running virtual machine using the instructions laid out by Microsoft on their documentation page.

It’s worth noting that procuring new licenses for on-premises Windows Server (License + Software Assurance or Subscription licenses under CSP) can still reduce your Azure costs. It’s actually advantageous to purchase new licenses as CSP subscriptions instead of paying for full service in Azure!

Finally, Azure Hybrid Benefit makes the most sense for machines that are on 24/7 or long periods of the year (>9 months is usually the threshold). For more details about Azure Hybrid Benefit and how to get started, go to Microsoft’s Azure Hybrid Benefit page.

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