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Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ

  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit helps you get more value from your Windows Server licenses and save up to 40 percent* on virtual machines. You can use the benefit with Windows Server Datacenter and Standard edition licenses covered with Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions. Depending on the edition, you can convert or re-use your licenses 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 2-processor license or each set of 16-core licenses 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 licenses 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 Datacenter edition licenses with active Software Assurance or Windows Server Subscriptions. It is not restricted to any specific licensing program.

  • Datacenter Edition customers can use licenses both on-premises and in Azure. Standard Edition customers can convert the license; once you assign the Azure Hybrid Benefit to Azure, however, you cannot use the Standard Edition license on-premises.
  • If you are an Azure user, then you can activate your Hybrid Benefit using the following options

  • We offer four images that you can use with either Datacenter or Standard licenses—no need to match the image with your edition. If you own Standard Edition, for example, you can use the Datacenter Edition images. Here is a list of the images:

    • Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1
    • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter
    • Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter
    • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter
  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit has been available for new Azure workloads as of February 2016.
  • Yes, you can. The "retroactive tagging" feature enables you to tag your existing VMs to enjoy this benefit. Find out more about how to use Azure Hybrid Benefit.

  • The Azure Hybrid Benefit is available in all Azure cloud regions.
  • No, the Azure Hybrid Benefit is applicable only to Windows Server Standard and Datacenter editions. Separately, you can use License Mobility to deploy existing SQL Server licenses in the cloud without additional fees.
  • Yes, there is a 90-day assignment rule for Windows Server, which requires licenses to stay assigned to the same hardware for a minimum of 90 days.

  • For every 2-processor Windows Server license or Windows Server license with 16-cores covered with Software Assurance, you will receive either of the following:

    • Up to two virtual machines with up to 8 cores or
    • One virtual machine with up to 16 cores.

    Note: For VMs where some of the cores are suppressed only count the cores available in the resulting VM, not the core count of the original VM size.

  • Yes, you may run virtual machines with more than 16 cores by stacking licenses. For example, for two 2-processor licenses or 32 cores licenses, you may run a virtual machine with up to 32 cores.

  • If you licensed Windows Server through Core Infrastructure Suite (CIS), you can use the Azure Hybrid Benefit. The System Center component in CIS, however, is not covered.
  • Yes, you are eligible for the Azure Hybrid Benefit for purchases through partners that resell Azure Infrastructure, provided you have active Software Assurance coverage. For example, if you purchase Azure via a Cloud Solution Provider, you are eligible for the Azure Hybrid Benefit.
  • Yes, we support the nested virtualization on Azure Hybrid Benefit, without requiring the customer to allocate additional Windows Server licenses for the nested VMs.

  • No. Azure Hybrid Benefit gives customers an entitlement on Azure but does not ask them to "physically move" a license key to Azure.