Azure Hybrid Benefit Quick Reference

by Greg Kaffenberger

As I go through the day-to-day of analyzing the economics of various VMware software on Azure, I find myself constantly referring back to nearly a dozen web pages for various Azure Hybrid Benefit information. The purpose of this article to collect the main points of the Azure Hybrid Benefit from the various publicly available places and organize it into a quick reference sheet.

Never make licensing decisions without talking to your Microsoft license specialist or a qualified partner.

Windows Server

Must have current Software Assurance

Azure VM (IaaS)

Legacy 2 physical socket licenses = 16 physical core licenses. Must license entire VM.

Azure Hybrid Benefit converts physical cores to virtual CPU (vCPU). Each Azure VM consumes a minimum of 8 core licenses.

Examples Per VM. Each VM uses a minimum of 8 core licenses.
1 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
2 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
3 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
4 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
5 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
6 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
7 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
8 vCPU = 8 physical core licenses
9 vCPU = 9 physical core licenses
10 vCPU = 10 physical core licenses
11 vCPU = 11 physical core licenses
12 vCPU = 12 physical core licenses
13 vCPU = 13 physical core licenses
14 vCPU = 14 physical core licenses
15 vCPU = 15 physical core licenses
16 vCPU = 16 physical core licenses

Azure Dedicated Host

On-Premises licenses map core for core.
Example – 16 cores on-prem = 16 cores of Azure Dedicated Host
Various host sizes. Minimum licensing depends on the host choice. 

Azure VMware Solution (AVS)

On-Premises Licenses map core for core.
Minimum – 16 cores on-prem = 16 cores of AVS
The minimum cluster size is 3 hosts, 36 core each. Customers will have to buy or migrate 108 cores for the three hosts.

Info to Note

Standard licenses have a 180-day Dual-Use (on-prem and Azure) grace period.
Datacenter licenses have perpetual dual-use. 

SQL Server

Must have Software Assurance

Azure Native IaaS SQL Server VMs [1]https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/hybrid-benefit/#why-azure-hybrid-benefit

Microsoft shift from using the common vCPU term to the term vCore.  vCore and vCPU both reference a logical compute unit and are interchangeable [2]https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/knowledge-center/what-is-a-vcore/

Similar to on-premises 4 core licenses are the minimum number of licenses possible per SQL server [3]https://download.microsoft.com/download/3/d/4/3d42bdc2-6725-4b29-b75a-a5b04179958b/percorelicensing_definitions_vlbrief.pdf.   

1 Enterprise physical core license = 1 Enterprise vCore (min 4 per server)
1 Enterprise physical core license = 4 Standard vCore (min 4 per server)
1 Standard physical core licenses = 1 Standard vCore (min 4 per server)

SQL Managed Instance and SQL Database Service [4]https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-sql/azure-hybrid-benefit?tabs=azure-powershell

SQL managed instance removes the minimum and is a more direct mapping. The delineation is between general-purpose, hyperscale,  and business-critical

1 Enterprise physical core license = 1 Business Critical vCore
1 Enterprise physical core license = 4 General Purpose vCore
1 Enterprise physical core license = 4 Hyperscale vCore
1 Standard physical core licenses = 1 General Purpose vCore

Azure Dedicated Host [5]https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/hybrid-benefit/#why-azure-hybrid-benefit

On-Premises licenses map core for core.
Example – 16 cores on-prem = 16 cores of SQL running on Azure Dedicated Host.

Alternatively, you could convert your licenses to vCPU and run SQL as an Azure VM running on Azure Dedicated Host using the above SQL Server VM method.

Linux

Azure VM (Azure Native IaaS)

Supported operating systems:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux

Conditions

  • Must Deploy image from the marketplace and select existing Linux subscription
  • Must choose Paygo, 1- and 3-year reservations not eligible
  • Custom Images or BYOS imaged not yet supported.
  • Cannot stack SQL hybrid benefit and Linux Hybrid Benefit

“Reserved instances, Azure Dedicated Host instances, and SQL hybrid benefits are not eligible for Azure Hybrid Benefit if you’re already using the benefit with Linux VMs.” [6]https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/virtual-machines/linux/azure-hybrid-benefit-linux

Azure Dedicated Host

Not currently supported

Azure VMware Solution

As of the date on this blog I suspect on Premises licenses can be brought to Azure VMware Solution. Subscriptions and compliance must be managed outside of Azure in the same method as used on-prem. Virtual Machines must be either moved from on-prem or built using VMware vCenter.

While it is documented that you can run RHEL and SUSE on AVS [7]https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/azure/azure-vmware/faq I have not been able to find a document outlining the specifics.  Always speak to your Azure specialist or partner before making any decisions.

I hope you found this article helpful. I will update it as I learn more (or corrected) and as new and exciting benefits from Microsoft emerge. The Azure Hybrid Benefit can provide significant savings when understood and applied properly.

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