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Azure Hybrid Benefit

The most cost-effective cloud for your Windows Server or SQL Server migration.

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Now is the time to move to Azure and reap the rewards of cloud technology, including the ability to scale up or down quickly, pay only for what you use and save on compute power. Whether you are deploying new virtual machines, moving a few workloads or migrating your data centres as part of your hybrid cloud strategy, the Azure Hybrid Benefit provides big savings as you move to the cloud.

Use your Windows Server licences with Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions to save big on Azure. With this benefit, for each licence we will cover the cost of the OS (on up to two virtual machines!), while you just pay for base compute costs.

Maximise your current Software Assurance investment by using your existing SQL Server licences to save up to 55 per cent on vCore-based SQL Database options, SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines and SQL Server Integration Services.

Azure Hybrid Benefit Savings Calculator

Enter the number of core licences that you own that are covered with active Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions

Enter planned Azure deployment of Windows Virtual Machines

Eligible Virtual Machines based on instance size selection

Monthly estimates

Without Azure Hybrid Benefit per month
With Azure Hybrid Benefit per month
Savings across eligible Virtual Machines per month
(% savings)

Annual estimates

Your estimated annual savings on Azure across all virtual machines

Eligible number of virtual machines is 0. You need at least cores in licences with Software Assurance to be eligible for at least 1 virtual machine of your instance size selection.

Please enter more than zero hours per month

Sorry, the selected Windows Virtual Machine instance is not available in the selected region. Please make another selection.

Total licences must be greater than zero

Enter the number of SQL Server licence cores with Software Assurance

Enter planned Azure deployment of SQL Server Instances

Eligible number of Managed Instance General Purpose instances based on your Instance selection

Monthly estimates

Without Azure Hybrid Benefit per month
With Azure Hybrid Benefit per month
Savings across eligible Instances per month
(% savings)

Annual estimates

Your estimated annual savings on Azure across all instances

Total licences must be greater than zero

Sorry, the selected SQL Database instance is not available in the selected region. Please make another selection.

Please enter more than zero hours per month

Eligible number of SQL Database instances is 0. You need at least cores in licences with Software Assurance to be eligible for at least 1 SQL Database.

Save up to 80% with Azure Reserved Virtual Machine instances

You can reserve virtual machines in advance and enjoy cost savings of up to 80% on pay-as-you-go prices when used alongside Azure Hybrid Benefit. Plus, Reserved VM Instances provide price predictability, as well as the flexibility to exchange or cancel to get a pro-rated refund, should your needs change.

Learn more about Azure Reserved VM Instances

SQL Server licence trade-in values

SQL Database vCore-based options

SQL Server with Software Assurance

Exclusive to Azure: Get more for your virtualised workloads in Azure SQL Database

SQL Server Enterprise Edition customers with Software Assurance who are using the unlimited virtualisation benefit can move to SQL Database at a cost-effective rate.

Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server provides SQL Server Enterprise Edition customers with Software Assurance four cores in the cloud for every one core they own on-premises when selecting the General Purpose performance option in SQL Database. The General Purpose option best meets the requirements for virtualised workloads, making the move to SQL Database highly cost-effective.

Activate your Hybrid Benefit

SQL Server:

  1. Try SQL Database Managed Instance from the Azure portal and migrate your SQL Server databases without changing your apps.
  2. Try SQL Database Single Database or Elastic Pool from the Azure portal and build data-driven applications and websites in the programming language of your choice.

SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines

Use the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server together for cost savings when choosing the flexibility and control of virtual machines. The recommended bring-your-own-licence (“BYOL”) approach is to use Virtual Machines with Microsoft-certified BYOL SQL Server gallery images and then select “Yes” to the question “Already have a Windows licence?”.

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FAQ

Windows Server

  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit helps you get more value from your Windows Server licences and save up to 40 per cent* on virtual machines. You can use the benefit with Windows Server Data Centre and Standard edition licences covered with Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions. Depending on the edition, you can convert or re-use your licences to run Windows Server virtual machines in Azure and pay a lower base compute rate (Linux virtual machine rates).

    * Actual savings may vary based on region, instance type or usage.

  • The base compute rate that is used to calculate the Azure Hybrid Benefit is equal to the Linux rate for virtual machines.
  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit is applicable to Windows Server Standard and Datacenter Editions.
  • Each two-processor licence or each set of 16-core licences are entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores, or one instance of up to 16 cores. The Azure Hybrid Benefit for Standard Edition licences can only be used once, either on premises or in Azure. Datacenter edition benefits allow for simultaneous usage both on-premises and in Azure.
  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit is available if you own Windows Server Standard or Data Centre edition licences with active Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions. It is not restricted to any specific licensing programme.

  • Yes, you can. The “retroactive tagging” feature enables you to tag your existing VMs to enjoy this benefit. You can find more about how to convert existing VMs on Azure to use Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server.

SQL Server

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server helps you maximise the value from your current licensing investments and accelerate your migration to the cloud. Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is an Azure-based benefit that enables you to use your SQL Server licences with active Software Assurance to pay a reduced rate.

    You may apply this benefit even if the Azure resource is active, but note that the reduced rate will be applied from the time you select it in the portal. No credit will be issued retroactively.

    For Azure SQL Database, the Azure Hybrid Benefit works as follows:

    • If you have Standard edition per core licences with active Software Assurance, you can get 1 vCore in the General Purpose service tier for every 1 licence core you own on-premises
    • If you have Enterprise edition per core licences with active Software Assurance, you can get 1 vCore in the Business Critical service tier for every 1 licence core you own on-premises. Note: The Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server for the Business Critical service tier is only available to customers who have Enterprise edition licences.
    • If you have highly virtualised Enterprise edition per core licences with active Software Assurance, you can get 4 vCores in the General Purpose service tier for every 1 licence core you own on-premises. This is a unique virtualisation benefit that is only available on Azure SQL Database.

    For SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines, the Azure Hybrid Benefit works as follows:

    • If you have Enterprise edition per core licences with active Software Assurance, you can get 1 core of SQL Server Enterprise edition in Azure Virtual Machines for every 1 licence core you own on-premises
    • If you have Standard edition per core licences with active Software Assurance, you can get 1 core of SQL Server Standard edition in Azure Virtual Machines for every 1 licence core you own on-premises
  • The virtualisation benefit available with Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server addresses highly virtualised workloads on-premises. The virtualisation benefit is available only for Azure SQL Database. You can convert 1 core of SQL Enterprise edition with active Software Assurance to get up to 4 vCores of SQL Database General Purpose service tier at the reduced rate. This makes moving virtualised apps to vCore-based SQL Database options highly cost-effective. For example, if you have 4 core licences of SQL Enterprise edition, you can receive up to 16 vCores of General Purpose at the reduced/base rate.

  • Your licences must be used either on-premises or in the cloud. However, you have a 180-day grace period during which you can use licences both on-premises and in the cloud to facilitate migration.

  • No. Azure Hybrid Benefit cannot be applied retroactively.

  • To use Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server, you need active Software Assurance. If your Software Assurance expires and you don’t renew it, you’ll be moved to the Licence Included pricing of the respective service tier.
  • This hybrid benefit is only available for use with:

    • vCore-based service tiers of Azure SQL Database: Managed Instance, Single Database and Elastic Pool
    • SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines
    • SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS)
  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Windows Server can be used together when you use SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines. The recommended approach is to use Virtual Machines with Microsoft-certified BYOL SQL Server gallery images. On the Azure portal, deploy Virtual Machines with Microsoft-certified BYOL SQL Server gallery images, and then select “Yes” to the question “Already have a Windows licence?”.

    In Azure SQL Database, you only need to use the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server, as the operating system is abstracted from the user. You can activate the Azure Hybrid Benefit via the Azure Portal by confirming that you have sufficient active licences with Software Assurance.

  • The primary difference in Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server between Azure Virtual Machines and Azure SQL Database is that the virtualisation benefit is only available on Azure SQL database. You can leverage this benefit when migrating from SQL Server Enterprise edition on-premises to Azure SQL Database General Purpose service tier. To learn more about the differences between SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines compared with Azure SQL Database, read the documentation.

  • Yes. You can stack up licenses; however, Standard edition licences cannot be stacked up for an Enterprise edition eligible service tier. For example, you can stack up four 2-core Standard edition licences to get 8 vCore General Purpose service tier at reduced rate. However, you cannot stack your Standard edition licences to get Business Critical service tier which is only available to Enterprise edition users with Software Assurance.

Additional Resources

Full FAQs

Review frequently asked questions on Azure Hybrid Benefit

Datasheet

Download a summary of the Azure Hybrid Benefit

Windows Server on Azure

Download the Ultimate Guide to Windows Server on Azure

Documentation

Review technical tutorials and more resources

  1. The cost does not include Software Assurance cost.
  2. Sample annual cost comparison of two D2V3 Windows Server VMs. Savings based two D2V3 VMs in US West 2 Region running 744 hours/month for 12 months; Base compute rate at SUSE Linux Enterprise rate for US West 2. Azure pricing as of 24 April 2018. Price subject to change.
  3. The 80% saving is based on the combined cost of Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and 3-year Azure Reserved Instance.
  4. Actual savings may vary based on location, instance type or usage.
  5. Savings based on eight vCore Managed Instance Business Critical in East US Region, running for 730 hours per month. Savings are calculated from full price (licence included) against base rate (applying Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server), which excludes Software Assurance cost for SQL Server Enterprise edition, which may vary based on EA agreement. Actual savings may vary based on region, instance size and performance tier. Prices as of December 2017, subject to change.
  6. Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server is available to SQL Server Enterprise Edition and SQL Server Standard edition customers with active Software Assurance. The hybrid benefit is applicable to vCore-based General Purpose and Business Critical (coming soon) options in Azure SQL Database.
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