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Azure Cost Saving Strategies

Yogesh Patil
August 30, 2021

Want to learn about some cost saving Azure strategies?  Here are some cost saving patterns

  • Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB)/Bring-your-own-license (BYOL)
  • Learn how and where on-premises Windows Server and SQL
  • Server licenses leveraged in Azure can reduce overall Azure commit from 30%-70%.

Azure Hybrid Benefit (AHB)

  • Azure based program providing bring-your-own-license to Azure
  • Available for Enterprise customers with Software Assurance
    • Software Assurance provides license mobility
  • Products eligible for Azure Hybrid Benefit
    • Windows Server
    • Microsoft SQL Server

Potential savings AHB vs Azure Marketplace – 40%-70% savings pending workload

Azure Hybrid Benefit – Windows Server

Leverage on-premises license & pay the base compute rate for Linux

Windows Standard & Data Center Editions are covered

  • Data Center Edition allows workloads to run “both” on-premises & in Azure
  • Standard Edition can only be used on-premises “or” in the cloud
    • 31-day grace period while migrating on-premises workloads to Azure
  • Core & License counts:
    • 16 – core licenses are entitled to 2 instances of up to 8 cores or 1 instance of up to 16 cores
    • VM’s >16 cores are available by stacking licenses
  • Available across all Azure regions

Up to 50% savings pending usage and instance type

Azure Hybrid Benefit – Microsoft SQL Server

MS SQL instances eligible for Azure Hybrid Benefit

Azure SQL Database – “vCore-based” service tiers: 

  • Managed Instance, Single Database and Elastic Pool
  • OS licenses are not eligible for MS SQL PaaS services

SQL Server in Azure Virtual Machines (IaaS VM + SQL)

  • AHB will be leveraged for the OS & MS SQL

DTU Azure SQL Database instances are “not” eligible 

  • DTU instances are a license included model
  • DTU’s can be converted to a vCore-based SKU

180-day grace period without any additional licensing costs 

Disaster Recovery & HA License Requirements

  • Each IaaS or PaaS instance licensed with SQL Server supports the same number of passive failover instances
  • Passive Instances must be truly “passive” IE – reporting, back-ups or read-only DB’s instances must be licensed

MS SQL Standard & Enterprise Editions are supported

Achieving Higher Savings with Azure SQL Elastic Pools & Reserved Capacity

SQL Reserved Instances

Upfront Commitment

  • Possible additional savings up to 30% on top of AHB
  • Period of 1-3 years
    • Higher savings achieved for a longer commitment
  • Discount on compute costs
    • Specify performance tier and region

Cost Optimization Team Effort

  • Automatic savings for qualifying SQL resources
    • Single databases, Elastic Pools, Managed Instances
    • Benefit for vCore billing model only

Billing model for your resources can be converted to vCore

SQL Elastic Pools

SQL Database elastic pools are a simple, cost-effective solution for managing and scaling multiple databases that have varying and unpredictable usage demands.

A container of compute/storage resources

  • Shared by all databases within a pool
  • Resources are Scalable
  • Overall resources required is less than single databases

A better option for vCore conversion

  • Single databases are typically not as cost effective to convert to vCore

About the author

Cloud & DevOps Solution Architect | India
Yogesh Patil is part of Sogeti, OneDeliver team working as Cloud & DevOps Solution Architect for native app development and migration projects. Four years’ experience in AzureAWS IaaS, PaaS and leading in cloud strategy, adoption and cloud architecture. Expert in architecting on Azure and AWS Cloud solutions.


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