As well as the Azure Stack HCI news, Microsoft have also added Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB) for AKS (Azure Kubernetes Service).
How it works
This benefit is available for Windows Server Standard and Datacenter (both with SA) and also CSP server subscriptions. Hosts must be Windows Server 2019 (and later) or Azure Stack HCI
Each Windows Server core license w/SA allows use of 1 virtual core of AKS. The AKS AHB is additive, meaning the licenses can be used to cover on-prem/Azure workloads AND to use AKS. You can see more info here.
Ignite 2022 saw Microsoft expand the Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB) to grant access to Azure Stack HCI.
What is it?
It is only available for Enterprise Agreement customers and only applies to Windows Server Datacenter licenses w/SA; licenses must be allocated for all physical cores in the Azure Stack HCI cluster. Licensing in this way allows you to use unlimited Windows Server base instances across the cluster. Furthermore, as per the Product Terms, the “dual-use” rights do not apply so licenses can be used as Windows Server licenses OR as Azure Stack HCI licenses.
It is activated in the Azure portal:
I question the phrasing in the Microsoft announcement here as it says that customers “exchange” their Windows Server licenses to get Azure Stack HCI. This suggests that they are somehow transformed from one type into another but that doesn’t appear to be the case – as this is via AHB, it is simply an additional right that doesn’t change the underlying licenses. As with allocating Windows Server licenses to “regular” Azure, it seems one can re-assign from Azure Stack HCI licenses back to Windows Server Datacenter licenses following the 90-day rule.
Given the increasing level of focus on CSP and the MCA, it’s interesting to see that it is restricted to Enterprise Agreement customers only. It not being made available for Open Value and MPSA customers is, rightly or wrongly, business as usual these days but CSP has been getting a lot of shiny things lately.
SQL Server 2012 goes end of support on July 12, 2022 – that’s about 10 weeks from the time of writing! This means even security updates from Microsoft will no longer be provided to customers running this software – a situation organisations really don’t want to find themselves in.
It only seems like 5 minutes since this was the situation with SQL Server 2008 (it was actually almost 4 years ago!) which causes headaches for a lot of organisations. I’d say that, based on conversations at conferences and training sessions etc., SQL Server 2012 is going to be at least equally painful as many businesses seem to have got to 2012 and then no further, considering it to be much more modern than 2008.
If your business is still running SQL Server 2012 – what are your options?
Assuming you want to remain up to date on security patches (which I’d say you do!), you’ll need to acquire Extended Security Updates (ESU) from Microsoft which will give you 3 more years of security updates. That however, comes at a price:
Year 1 = 75% of SQL Server license price
Year 2 = 100% of SQL Server license price
Year 3 = 125% of SQL Server license price
Let’s say you have a 4-core SQL Server 2012 Std box – approx. license cost of £5,000. That will mean:
Year 1 = £3,750
Year 2 = £5,000
Year 3 = £6,250
3 year total = £15,000
Migrate to Azure
ESUs are included free of charge for workloads running in Microsoft Azure VMs – including “regular” Azure VMs as well as:
Azure Dedicated Host
VMware on Azure
Nutanix Clusters on Azure
Azure Stack HCI/Hub/Edge
You can save a big amount of money through not having to pay for the ESUs…but cloud migrations come with their own set of costs…as well as benefits.
If you’ve not already made a decision on this, please gather the relevant people together and discuss the option. While both the above options can seem expensive, I’d suggest they’re nothing when compared to the cost of a security breach/ransomware attack.
You can see more info in the Microsoft blog post here.
Microsoft have announced a new way for Azure Stack HCI customers to license their Windows Server guest VMs. The snappily titled “Windows Server subscription for Azure Stack HCI” (WSSASHCI) allows organisations to purchase Windows Server licenses via their Azure subscription.
Currently the versions available are:
Windows Server 2022 Datacenter: Azure Edition
Windows Server 2022 Datacenter
Windows Server 2019
Windows Server 2016
Windows Server 2012 R2
WSSASHCI is currently free in public preview but once it hits General Availability (GA) it will be $23.6 per physical core (in your Azure Stack HCI cluster) per month.