Azure Hybrid Benefit: A Refresher!

Sreeraj Vasukuttan

Azure Hybrid Benefit offers a savings on Microsoft Azure when you use your existing on-premises licenses through Software Assurance (or qualified subscription). It was introduced a while ago, but the topic deserves a refresher—especially since a lot of companies are exploring cloud computing for the first time. Let’s jump right to the two ways Azure Hybrid Benefit helps you save.

Windows Server

Usually, the cost of hosting a Windows Server on Azure involves two components: The Azure computing cost and the cost of the server licenses. In the case of Windows Server, using Azure Hybrid Benefit waives the licensing fee for up to two servers if you are already licensed to use on-premises servers. The cost savings using this method is up to 40%. 

SQL Server

If you have SQL Server on-premises licenses with Software Assurance, as with Windows Server, you can receive free licenses to deploy virtual machines on Azure or get a reduced base rate on Microsoft Azure SQL Database Services. By using your existing SQL Server licenses, you could save upwards of 30% or more on SQL Database and SQL Managed Instances. 

Recently, Microsoft announced some additional use rights for SQL Server that give you more flexibility when you exchange your On-Perm licenses for virtual machines on Azure. In short, with the added rights you could use your Standards SQL Server licenses to cover SQL Server Enterprise Virtual machines, and vice versa.

Azure Hybrid Benefit is available for any version of Windows Server and SQL Server—if you purchased them with Software Assurance. And it is not restricted to specific purchasing programs.

Now, let’s explore some nuanced Azure Hybrid Benefit scenarios that may be beneficial to you. 

Extended Security Updates Plus Hybrid Use Benefits

You will get free Extended Security Updates if you move your existing Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 to Azure. Utilizing Azure Hybrid Use offers even more savings. With this method, Azure is five times cheaper than hosting through Amazon Web Services.

Azure Dedicated Hosts

Microsoft recently extended Azure Hybrid Benefit to Azure Dedicated Hosts. That means you can save money by using your on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance licenses (or qualifying subscription) for Azure Dedicated Hosts. 

Azure VMware Solutions

Microsoft has also extended Azure Benefit to Azure VMware Solutions. Organizations with Software Assurance can now maximize the value of existing on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server license investments when they migrate to Azure. 


Additionally, Azure Hybrid Benefit is also available through Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) for server subscriptions. In CSP, you can either import your server licenses using Software Assurance or use your server subscriptions. You can save up to 80% on Azure when your combine Azure Hybrid Benefit with Reserved Instances.

cNeed help with virtualization? Our Azure-certified Solutions Specialists are here to assist you. As a Microsoft CSP partner, Connection can acquire, provision, and manage Azure Reserved Instances and server subscriptions on behalf of your organization while offering 24×7 support. Check out our Azure showcase for more information.

Sreeraj Vasukuttan is a Technical Marketing Manager at Connection with a passion for technology and marketing. He enjoys writing about cloud, security, and end-user compute. In his free time, he loves watching films, cooking, and traveling with his family.