Virtual Machines Licensing FAQ

Windows Server Questions

  • The licence to run Windows Server in the Azure environment is, by default, included in the per-minute cost of your Windows Virtual Machine.

    Windows Server licences are not eligible for Licence Mobility through Software Assurance, but customers licensing Windows Server with Software Assurance can utilise the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit for a cheaper per-minute cost when running a Windows Virtual Machine.

    Licences for use of Windows Server on-premises (whether in a VHD or otherwise) must be obtained separately through volume licensing.

  • Even though Windows Server is not covered under licence mobility, Volume Licensing customers can still upload their own image containing Windows Server to Azure, if they are bringing it as part of Licensing Mobility for another product that is being brought over.

    We will charge the Windows Server Virtual Machine rate applicable for their instance.

    Customers can enjoy access to a cheaper per-minute-cost by utilising the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit.

    Customers are responsible for proper licensing of any application or middleware in the image.

  • No. Windows Server CALs are not required for accessing Windows Server running in the Azure environment because the access rights are included in the per-minute charge for the Virtual Machines. Use of Windows Server on-premises (whether in a VHD or otherwise) requires obtaining a separate licence and is subject to the normal licensing requirements for use of software on-premises.
  • Customers can use the licence mobility benefits under Software Assurance to assign their System Center 2012 licence to a Windows Server instance running on Azure. A System Center Standard licence can be used to manage 2 VM instances; a System Center Datacenter licence can be used to manage 8 VM instances.

SQL Server Questions

  • If you are an end customer using SQL Server, you can:

    1. Obtain an SQL Server image from the Marketplace and pay the per-minute licensing rate of SQL Server. The SQL Server licence fee is included in the Virtual Machine image price as shown on the Virtual Machine's pricing page.
    2. Customers with Software Assurance can use Licence Mobility to bring licences to their premises. This can be done by:
      1. Obtaining an SQL Server, BYOL and an image from the Marketplace (Azure doesn't charge for images with SQL licensing).
      2. Manually installing an SQL Server in a Windows Server Virtual Machine from the Marketplace.
      3. Uploading an SQL Server image from your premises to Azure to create a Virtual Machine.

    You must report usage of licences to Microsoft using the Licence Mobility Verification form within 10 days.

  • SQL Server 2012 is licenced per core, which is considered the equivalent to virtual cores in Azure virtual machine instances. The minimum number of cores that can be assigned to a virtual machine instance is 4. This means that Extra-small (A0), Small (A1), Medium (A2), Large (A3) and A6 instances must all be assigned 4 SQL Server core licences. Extra-large (A4) and A7 instances would need to be assigned 8 SQL Server core licences.

BizTalk Server Questions

  • If you are an end customer using BizTalk Server, you can:

    • Obtain a BizTalk Server image from the Azure VM marketplace and pay the per-minute rate of BizTalk Server, or
    • Install or upload your own BizTalk Server image using the licence mobility benefits under Software Assurance

    If you are a Service Provider with a signed Services Provider Licence Agreement (SPLA), you can:

    • Obtain a BizTalk Server image from the Azure VM marketplace and pay the per-minute rate of BizTalk Server

Remote Desktop Services Questions

  • Yes, service providers can offer hosted solutions through RDS running on Azure as long as they obtained RDS SALs (Subscriber Access Licences) through a Microsoft Services Provider Licence Agreement (SPLA) reseller.
  • Effective 1 January 2014, Volume Licensing customers who have active Software Assurance on their RDS User CALs are entitled to RDS CAL Extended Rights, which allow use of their RDS User CAL with Software Assurance against a Windows Server running on Azure or other service providers’ shared server environments. This RDS User CAL Software Assurance benefit allows each User to access RDS functionality only on one shared server environment (i.e. Azure or a third-party server) in addition to access the respective on-premises servers. To obtain this benefit, please complete and submit the Licence Mobility Verification form to either Azure or an Authorised Mobility Partner where the hosted graphical user interface will be running. More details are available in Appendix 2 of the Software Assurance benefit section of the PUR (Product Use Rights).
  • No, multi-tenant hosting is restricted in the Product Use Rights of Windows Client, such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. Windows Client Desktops are not available on either Azure or on any other Service Provider such as Amazon or Rackspace. You can read more about the Microsoft Product Use Rights here.

SharePoint SQL Server Questions

  • SharePoint Servers can be deployed to Azure either through a customer’s volume licence agreement using Licence Mobility for Software Assurance or as part of a hosted solution licensed via SPLA.

Other Licensing Questions

  • In addition to Windows Server, SQL Server and BizTalk Server, we support Project Server, Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP and Team Foundation Server. Please find the latest list of supported workloads in this article. The table below summarises the licensing models for each product:
    ProductsAvailable in the image marketplace and charged per minuteLicence Mobility though Software AssuranceSPLA SAL Licence
    Windows Server Datacenter Edition check (per-minute charge includes use of hardware resource, server licence and client access rights)
    Windows Server Standard Edition
    SQL Server Enterprise Edition check check
    SQL Server Standard Edition check check check
    SQL Server Web Edition check
    BizTalk Server Enterprise Edition check check
    BizTalk Server Standard Edition check check
    SharePoint Server check check
    System Center Datacenter check
    System Center Standard check
    Team Foundation Server check check
    Project Server check check
    Microsoft Dynamics NAV check
    Microsoft Dynamics GP check
  • No. Under the Microsoft Product Use Rights (PUR), Office and Windows 7 are not licensed to run on Virtual Machines. In particular, Microsoft Office is classified in the PUR as a “Desktop Application”, which is not included in Licensing Mobility.

    More information is available at the site for Microsoft Product Use Rights.

  • Yes, any current Visual Studio subscriber who has activated their subscription may run most of the software licensed under MSDN on Azure Virtual Machines, providing greater flexibility for developing and testing their applications.

    This cloud use right applies to all software included in the MSDN subscription except Windows client and Windows Server. Visual Studio subscribers can run Windows Server on Azure Virtual Machines, but as this is not included as part of the cloud use rights, subscribers will be charged at the rate of Windows Server Virtual Machines. Visual Studio subscribers can only run Windows client Virtual Machines within the Azure MSDN benefit subscription or the MSDN Dev and Test Pay-as-you-go subscription. Please consult the Visual Studio and MSDN licensing white paper for additional details on cloud use rights.

    In addition to this new use right for Visual Studio subscribers, we updated the Azure MSDN benefit to provide MSDN subscribers with a monthly credit to use towards Azure services and reduced rates for running Windows Server Virtual Machines.