Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQs

Overview

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit is a cost-savings benefit that lets you bring your existing on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licences with active Software Assurance or subscriptions to Azure. Save up to 85 per cent* compared to standard pay-as-you-go rates and achieve the lowest cost of ownership when you combine Azure Hybrid Benefit, reservations savings and extended security updates. Azure Hybrid Benefit also applies to SQL on Azure and Azure Dedicated Host. Additionally, it provides 180 days of dual-use rights so you can maintain your on-premises operation while migrating to Azure.

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

  • SQL Server and Windows Server licences with active Software Assurance or qualifying subscription licences. These include:

    • Windows Server Datacenter edition with Software Assurance.
    • Windows Server Standard edition with Software Assurance.
    • SQL Server Enterprise Edition core licences with Software Assurance or qualifying subscription licences.
    • SQL Server Standard Edition core licences with Software Assurance or qualifying subscription licences.

    If you don’t have Software Assurance, it’s available for purchase with new licences at list prices or with qualifying subscription licences.

    The offer is available in all Azure regions.

  • You can combine Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server and Windows Server when you use SQL Server with Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Dedicated Host. The process of applying Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines depends on the deployment option.

    For pay-as-you-go or bring-your-own-licence images from Azure Marketplace:

    • In the Azure Portal, tick the boxes for Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server and Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server either during provisioning or for an existing virtual machine.
    • Use the resource provider to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server. Then apply Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server using the PowerShell instructions.

    For self-installation:

    • Use the resource provider to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server. Then apply Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server using the PowerShell instructions.

    You can activate the benefit in the Azure portal by affirming that you have sufficient active licences with Software Assurance or qualifying subscription licences.

  • Yes. However, to protect data and apps during the end-of-support transition, we recommend adding a subscription for extended security updates. Learn more.

Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit helps you get more value from your Windows Server licences and save up to 40 per cent* on virtual machines. Each two-processor licence or each set of 16-core licences, either Datacenter or Standard editions, are entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores, or one instance of up to 16 cores. Data centre edition licences allow for simultaneous usage on premises and in Azure. Standard edition licences must be used either on-premises or in Azure – you’ll get 180 days of concurrent use rights while migrating servers.

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

  • The base compute rate is equal to the Linux rate for virtual machines.
  • Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server in Azure Dedicated Host can be used in three ways:

    • Windows Server Standard edition
      Each two-processor licence or set of 16-core licences are entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores, or one instance of up to 16 cores in Azure Dedicated Host services. To qualify for the benefit, this licence must be used either on-premises or in Azure – you’ll get 180 days of concurrent use rights while migrating servers.
    • Windows Server Datacenter edition for virtual machines
      Choose to apply your Azure Hybrid Benefit to individual virtual machines or to the entire host. When licensing individual virtual machines, each two-processor licence or each set of 16-core licences is entitled to two instances of up to 8 cores, or one instance of up to 16 cores in Azure Dedicated Host services. When allocated to Azure Dedicated Host services by virtual machines, this licence allows for simultaneous usage on premises and in Azure.
    • Windows Server Datacenter edition for a physical host
      When you license the cores at the host level, this licence provides unlimited virtualisation rights. Unlike licensing for virtual machines, however, licensing for a physical host must be used either on premises or in Azure. You’ll get 180 days of concurrent use rights while migrating servers.
    Learn more about Azure Dedicated Host.
  • Yes. The retroactive tagging feature enables you to convert existing virtual machines to apply Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server. Learn more.

Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit allows you to use SQL Server licences with Software Assurance or qualifying subscription licences to pay a reduced base rate* for these products and services for SQL Server on Azure:

    • vCPU-based service tiers of Azure SQL Database (excluding serverless).
    • Azure SQL Managed Instance.
    • SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines.
    • SQL Server Integration Services.

    *When you apply Azure Hybrid Benefit to your existing deployments, the base rate will be calculated from when you select the benefit in the Azure portal. Credit will not be issued retroactively.

    Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server also provides:

    • The ability to move your licences to a fully managed platform-as-a-service (PaaS) product. Azure is the only cloud that provides this ability.
    • Four cores in the cloud for every one core on-premises for Enterprise edition customers using Azure SQL Database (General Purpose and Hyperscale service tiers, excluding serverless), Azure SQL Managed Instance (General Purpose service tier), SQL Server Standard Virtual Machines or Azure Data Factory and SQL Server Integration Services (Standard).
    • 180 days of dual-use rights to apply to current deployment (on-premises or third-party cloud) and in Azure to allow for data migration.

    For a hosted solution with maximum savings, combine Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server with Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server.

    Visit the Product Terms site for more details.
  • The virtualisation benefit available with Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server applies to highly virtualised workloads on-premises. The benefit is only available for Azure SQL Database (General Purpose and Hyperscale service tiers, excluding serverless), Azure SQL Managed Instance (General Purpose service tier), SQL Server Standard Virtual Machines, Azure Data Factory and SQL Server Integration Services (Standard). With it, you can convert one core of SQL Server Enterprise edition with active Software Assurance to receive up to four vCores or four vCPUs. For example, if you have four core licences of SQL Server Enterprise edition, you can receive up to 16 vCores of SQL Database General Purpose at the reduced base rate. This makes moving virtualised applications highly cost-effective.
  • No. Your licences must be used either on-premises or in the cloud, but you’ll have 180 days of concurrent use rights while migrating servers.
  • No. Azure Hybrid Benefit can’t be applied retroactively.
  • To use Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server, your Software Assurance or subscriptions must be active. If you choose not to renew your Software Assurance when it expires, you’ll need to remove your Azure Hybrid Benefit selections from your resources in the Azure portal.
  • Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server gives you more value from your SQL Server licences and savings of up to 55 per cent* on SQL Server Integration Services. You can apply the benefit to SQL Server Enterprise Edition and SQL Server Standard Edition core licences covered by active Software Assurance or qualifying subscriptions, and use your SQL Server licences to run SQL Server Integration Services packages on Azure at a lower base rate.

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

  • If you’re eligible for Azure Hybrid Benefit, you can apply it to Azure Dedicated Host under the same terms and conditions as individual virtual machines. Additionally, if you have Software Assurance with SQL Server Enterprise Edition and licence Azure Dedicated Host at the host level, you’ll get unlimited virtualisation rights. If you’re migrating existing workloads to Azure Dedicated Host, you’ll have 180 days of concurrent use of your licences on-premises and in Azure during migration. Learn more about Azure Dedicated Host.