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Azure Stack is ready for order!

Microsoft have recently announced that the Microsoft Azure stack is ready for order, with the first systems to begin shipping in September this year. Customers can now order integrated systems from Dell EMC, HPE, and Lenovo. It’s initially available in 46 countries.

An exciting time for all and sure this “One Azure Ecosystem” approach would unlock new possibilities for Hybrid Cloud environments. The purpose of my blog is to provide a quick overview of the Microsoft Azure Stack, pricing/licensing, and how to buy it.

Before we proceed further, if you are not sure about what Azure Stack is and its purpose, I would highly recommend you to watch this 2 minute video.

Why Azure & Azure Stack? What’s the need for Hybrid Cloud?

Every company in every industry around the world is being challenged to transform from an organisation that uses digital technology, to a digital organisation. Application modernisation is at the heart of digital transformation, with the opportunity to help companies engage customers, empower employees, optimise operations and transform products.

Azure provides a rich platform for developers to build modern applications, and in fact, most applications are moving to Public Cloud quickly. Some applications however face obstacles; latency, intermittent connectivity, and regulation being primary examples. Azure Stack provides a way to run the same applications in on-premises environments. With a consistent Cloud platform, organisations can confidently make technology decisions based on business requirements, rather than business decisions based on technology complications. (Source: Azure Stack White Paper)

Alright, let’s now look into Azure Stack licensing and pricing.

Ways to purchase Azure Stack

  1. Purchase Azure Stack services via your current Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA)
  2. Purchase Azure Stack services from a service provider

Azure Stack is sold as an integrated system, meaning that software comes installed on prescribed hardware. A complete Azure Stack system is comprised of hardware, software, and support.

  • Hardware: Hardware is purchased directly from the hardware vendor.
  • Software: You may purchase Azure Stack services via your Microsoft EA or from a service provider. When purchasing Azure Stack from a service provider, the service provider will set the terms and prices for the services.
  • Support: If you purchase Azure Stack services from a service provider, your provider will provide support. If you purchase Azure Stack services via your Microsoft EA, support comes in two parts—hardware support and software support.

Licensing Models

Azure Stack can be licensed in one of two ways, as shown in below; Pay-as-you-use (consumption-based) model and a capacity model.

Pay-as-you-use

The pay-as-you-use model has no up-front fees and you pay only when you use a service.

  • There is no initial deployment fee for pay-as-you use.
  • You are not charged for the virtual machines and software required to power the Azure Stack infrastructure. This means that Cloud Infrastructure, Management, Security, and Identity Services, as well as Networking and Service Fabric are not charged.

*Windows and SQL Server VMs can be deployed using your existing Windows Server and SQL Server licenses in conjunction with Azure Stack. You may use either the Azure Stack native hourly meters or your existing Windows Server licenses to deploy Windows VMs. If you use your existing Windows Server licenses, you will only be charged a consumption fee on Base VM usage.

Azure Stack pay-as-you-use services are available in your EA and are sold in the same way as Azure services. This means Azure Stack is acquired via a monetary commit SKU on your Azure or SCE enrolment. You can use the same agreement, pool of monetary commit, and subscription IDs for your Azure and Azure Stack services. If you have an existing Azure agreement, you don’t need any additional agreements or monetary commitment purchases—you need only enter your subscription ID when you install the system. Your Azure Stack usage will be metered and integrated into one bill with your Azure usage.

Capacity Model

The capacity model offers a more traditional licensing model for disconnected scenarios. An annual subscription fee licenses all the physical cores on your Azure Stack.

You need existing Windows Server or SQL Server licenses to run Windows Server and SQL Server virtual machines on the capacity model.

The capacity model is available in your EA only and can be ordered via standard Volume Licensing channels. The capacity model will not have integrated billing with Azure and Azure monetary commitment cannot be applied to the capacity model.

That’s all for now, hope this might have given you an overview of Azure Stack licensing.

All the above information has been gathered from Microsoft Resources: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/overview/azure-stack/

Tags: Cloud, Microsoft Azure, Microsoft Azure Stack

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