What is Azure Hybrid Use Benefits (AHUB)?

By June 2, 2021Cloud Computing

Azure-Hybrid-Use-Benefits-ExplainedAzure Hybrid Use Benefits or AHUB for short, is one of the tools offered by Microsoft to help you reduce the cost of running your infrastructure on Azure.  In this feature, Microsoft Practice Director Gerry Kerr discusses Azure Hybrid Use Benefits and how it can help you reduce the cost of running your infrastructure on Azure.


Why use Azure Hybrid Use Benefits?

AHUB is a specialised discount programme for Microsoft Azure users that allows them to realise more value from their investment in Server (Windows and SQL Server) licences by offering significant savings over the normal cost of running cloud based virtual machines that come with bundled Microsoft server OS and SQL server licences.


Can Azure Hybrid Use Benefits help me save money?

The actual level of savings will depend on factors such as:

  • Your level of usage of Azure.
  • Your investment in existing server licencing.
  • The type of VM instances being deployed.
  • The geographic region you operate in.


What editions of Windows and SQL qualify for Azure Hybrid Use Benefits?

Windows Server licences, both standard and datacentre, and SQL server standard and enterprises all qualify for this benefit.

If you buy your licencing via Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) programme, then the 1 year or 3-year Windows server standard licences and SQL server (Standard and Enterprise) core licence subscriptions available on the programme qualify for Azure Hybrid Benefits.

If you buy via open licencing or via agreement (EA/MPSA), as long as you include software assurance, then your licences Windows server (both standard and datacentre) and SQL Standard and Enterprise core licences qualify as long as you maintain software assurance.

With both SQL and Windows server, Microsoft grants dual use rights for on-premises and Azure for up to 180 days.


SQL Specific benefits:

There are a number of SQL specific benefits available:

  • Maximise savings by stacking discounts for both SQL and Windows server.
  • Use existing SQL licences to save on SQL Platform as a Service (PaaS) costs.
  • Apply 1 core of SQL Server to 4 vCPU SQL on Azure for SQL Server VMs and managed instances (some limitations).
  • Can be used to meet requirements for unlimited virtualisation on Azure dedicated hosts


Unlimited Virtualisation rights

Azure dedicated hosts are increasingly being used by customers to move to public cloud but maintain a higher degree of control and compliance by gaining visibility over the underlying hardware and having a host dedicated to your environment.

For more information on this topic, Evros Azure Practice Lead and Microsoft MVP, Joe Carlyle, covers this topic in greater detail, in his feature What is Azure Dedicated Host?

As with on-premises hosts, Windows Datacentre and SQL Enterprise can confer unlimited virtualisation rights as long as you licence all of the cores  on your dedicated host and your SQL Enterprise licences have either active software assurance or were purchased via subscription.


I’m a Linux user – do I get any benefits?

If you have an existing Red Hat or SUSE software subscription you can apply your existing subscription to any marketplace Red Hat or SUSE enterprise pay-as-you-go images. Currently, this does NOT apply to bring-your-own-os or custom images. The criteria to activate this particular benefit differs slightly for both distributions.

Red Hat: You must have active or unused REHL subscriptions for use in azure and enabled one or more of those subscriptions for use in Azure via the Red Hat Cloud.

SUSE: With SUSE, you will need to register with their public cloud program and apply the benefit to a newly created VM using the azure portal or, the command line interface if your prefer.


Talk to the experts

These are the current rules for Azure Hybrid Use Benefits. This is an ever-changing landscape so be sure to check back with us for updates and we are always here to help our customers (new and existing) navigate the rules and choose the best, most effective options that suit your particular circumstances.