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Explore ways to achieve huge savings by availing substantial discounts while migrating from On-Premise to Azure with your Windows Server and SQL Server license with Software Assurance. Customers can achieve savings of up to 55% on Azure SQL Database, up to 40% on Azure VM and up to 80% when used in combination with Azure Reserve Instances.

Benefits of using Azure Hybrid Benefit:

This benefit is for customers who have On-Premise licenses with Software Assurance and is applicable to the following products:

  • Windows Server Datacenter Edition
  • Windows Server Standard Edition
  • SQL Server Enterprise Core
  • SQL Server Standard Core

Now, customers can bring their On-Premise licenses with Software Assurance to Azure and use them both for 180 days. This gives customers a sufficient time frame of six months to migrate from On-Premise to Azure. Customers who have a Windows Server Datacenter license can use both On-Premise and Azure simultaneously.

Hence, by considering all of the above mentioned data points, it becomes an easy choice to decide in favor of Azure.

How can customers achieve savings with MS Azure Hybrid Benefits?

Customers can choose to pay only for the infrastructure:

Generally, a customer has to pay for both infrastructure and license for the products they use. With Azure Hybrid Benefit, the customer has to pay for only the Infrastructure. An On-Premise license can be brought in to Azure, which can help save costs of up to 40% by running Windows VM on Azure at a reduced compute rate.

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Using Reserved Instance:

For customers with stable workloads, Microsoft offers Reserved Instances (RIs) for a significantly reduced cost with one/three year commitment. Now, if the RI discount is combined with Azure Hybrid Benefit, it can provide savings up to 80%.
Note that the customer can achieve the above savings when compared to the cost between pay-as-you-go for three years with Azure RIs combined with Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server for the same period.

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End of support offer:

Microsoft has ended its support for Windows Server 2008 & 2008 R2 in January 2020. Similarly, extended support for SQL Server 2008 & 2008 R2 was also ended in July 2019. Even though Microsoft recommends upgrading to the latest versions of software, as part of Azure Hybrid Benefit, it is offering extended security updates during the transition to customers who were unable to move to the latest versions before end-of-life support dates, so that their data and applications are protected.

Benefits of Windows Server on Azure VM

According to Microsoft, there’s a specific conversion rule to convert an On-Premise license to a Azure VM license, which states that “Each 2-processor license or each set of 16-core licenses, Datacenter or Standard Editions, are entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores or one instance of up to 16 cores.” This essentially means that 2 VMs and up to 16 cores are allowed per license.
With the Datacenter Edition license, customers can use both On-Premise and Azure in parallel, whereas with the Standard Edition license, both can be used simultaneously for 180 days to support the migration of their servers from On-Premise to Azure.
Thus, it helps customers saving up to 40%* on virtual machines.
*Actual savings may vary based on various factors like region, type of instances and their usage.

Benefits of Windows Server on Azure Dedicated Host

  1. Customers with a Windows Server Standard Edition license -
    The benefit is the same as the offering for Windows Server on Azure VM on shared servers.
  2. Customers with Windows Server Datacenter Edition license for VMs -
    When licensing the VMs, the rules are same as that of Standard Edition license. However, with this Datacenter Edition, customers are allowed to use both Azure VMs and On-Premise servers concurrently.
  3. Customers with Windows Server Datacenter Edition license for physical host -
    With this option, customers have the edge of unlimited virtualization rights when all of the cores on the physical host are licensed. Again, with this option, parallel usage of both On-Premise and Azure is limited to support for only 180 days.

Benefits of SQL Server

  1. Azure is the only cloud service provider that allows bringing an On-Premise SQL server license to a fully-managed PaaS service.
  2. For one On-Premise enterprise license, core customers can have four general purpose cores in the cloud.
  3. To support migration, customers are allowed concurrent use of both On-Premise or third-party cloud and Azure for 180 days.

Thus, with Azure Hybrid Benefit, the customer can save up to 55% on SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS) and Azure SQL Database (PaaS).

Azure Hybrid Benefit offer for SQL Server can be combined with that of Windows Server to maximize the savings.

Let’s now compare:

When it comes to Windows Server and SQL Server, Azure is five times cheaper than AWS.
This is achieved when reservation pricing and extended security updates are combined along with Azure Hybrid Benefit.

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Azure Hybrid Benefit is a grab-worthy offer from Azure that must be looked at by customers who have On-Premise Windows Server & SQL Servers license with Software Assurance and who want to move to the cloud. They can benefit from a heavy discount on these Azure services. However, there are other factors that also need to be considered, as covered in this blog.


About the Author

Amitava Nag
Technical Architect, Mindtree

Amitava is a part of our Infrastructure Management team where he manages Linux Sub-Practice, plugin development for Big Data, and leading competency building under DataOPS practice. During his career span of 15+ years, Amitava has worked with leading clients across various industries such as Healthcare, Retail etc.

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