Microsoft Extends Azure Hybrid Benefit Licensing to Linux

Microsoft this week expanded its Azure Hybrid Benefit licensing program to include Linux servers, particularly Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise servers.

The Azure Hybrid Benefit program lets organizations running Windows Server or SQL Server bring those licenses to Azure and then run that server software in an Azure virtual machine. This week's announcement means organizations can also take advantage of the program if they have existing "pay-as-you-go" subscriptions to Red Hat Enterprise Linux or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

Normally, when using pay-as-you-go licensing on Azure, there are software and hardware costs to pay, but the software costs get waived under the Azure Hybrid Benefit program for Linux. These licensing nuances are described in this Microsoft Ignite video (about midway through), as well as in this document (which still described the preview version at press time).

Microsoft also has other Azure service plans that can be used to run Linux on Azure datacenter infrastructure. There's a "prepay software plan," but users have to commit to a specific time allotment. There's also a "bring your own subscription" plan that lets subscribers use their Red Hat or SUSE subscriptions on Azure.

The announcement claimed that Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux is an improvement over the bring-your-own-subscription plan. The benefits include:

  • Ability to get images from the Azure Marketplace or Azure Portal.
  • Easy conversion of pay-as-you-go images used during proof-of-concept testing.
  • Automatic image maintenance, with Microsoft handling the updates and patches.
  • Ability to use the Azure Command Line Interface (CLI), as well as the Azure Portal (as mentioned in the video).
  • Tech support from Azure, Red Hat and SUSE via "just one ticket."
  • Access to "Azure shared disks to lift-and-shift failover clusters and parallel file systems."
  • Ability to use Azure Arc for management.

The announcement claimed that more than 1,500 Linux virtual machine instances were moved to Azure using the Azure Hybrid Benefit for Linux offering during the preview phase.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.