Microsoft Product Terms: June 2020


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June is the last month of Microsoft’s financial year but they’re still made a few changes worth noting in this month’s Product Terms:

  • 5 year reservations for Azure VMs are added – with a 35% early termination fee
  • Azure Hybrid Rights for SQL have been expanded so now:
    • on-premises SQL Server Standard licenses can be used to run SQL Server Enterprise VMs in Azure
    • on-premises SQL Server Enterprise licenses can be used to run SQL Server Standard VMs in Azure
  • Changes to the eligibility for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 F1 & F3 licenses

SQL Server

The core conversion ratio is different for the two new scenarios:

4 x SQL Server Std on-prem cores w/SA = 1 x SQL Server Ent Azure core

1 x SQL Server Ent on-prem core w/SA = 4 x SQL Server Std Azure core

You can see the above table, and the info, on pages 54-54 of the June 2020 Product Terms.

F1/F3 changes

Microsoft have again changed the rules around who is eligible for a “Firstline” SKU. The new requirements are that to qualify for an F1/F3 license a worker must satisfy at least one of these conditions:

  • Uses a primary work device with a single screen smaller than 10.1”
  • Shares their primary work device with other qualifying Microsoft 365 or Office 365 Firstline Worker licensed users, during or across shifts
    • Other licensed Microsoft Firstline Worker users must also use the device as their primary work device
    • Any software or services accessed from the shared device requires the device or users to be assigned a license that includes use of those software or services

The previous guidance, updated in November 2019, was:

“A Dedicated Device is a computing device used for work with a 10.1” screen or larger, used by the user more than 60% of the user’s total work time during any 90-day period.”

These new rules should make it a bit easier for everyone to police but, for organisations already licensed for F1/F3 prior to June 1, 2020, you can continue to license based on the previous rules until your next renewal.

SQL Server 2019 Big Data Nodes


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The release of SQL Server 2019 sees the introduction of Big Data Nodes. This new family member aims to help organisations create data lakes, combining big data tools such as Hadoop with SQL Server – all supported by Microsoft.

To run a Big Data Node cluster, you first require a SQL Server Master Instance. This must be running SQL Server 2019 – Standard or Enterprise – with SA and licensed via the per core model.

The licenses on the Master Instance give an entitlement to a certain number of Big Data Node core licenses. For Standard edition it’s a 1:1 ratio, while for Enterprise it’s 1:8 – as an example, a server with 32 cores of SQL Server 2019 Standard w/SA would give rights to 32 cores of Big Data Node, while the same server licensed with Enterprise edition would allow 256 Big Data Node cores. Additional Big Data Node cores can be purchased separately.

The big data nodes can also be deployed in Azure using the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

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