Are you looking to leverage the cloud to power your business? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. Azure is a cloud-based platform from Microsoft that offers a range of powerful tools and services for businesses of all sizes.
However, navigating the licensing process for Azure can be a bit tricky, so it’s important to have a good understanding of the different options available. In this guide, we explain everything you need to know about licensing in Azure, from the types of licenses for Azure’s most popular services, to the costs and savings associated with them.
Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, this ultimate guide to licensing in Azure will help you make the best decisions for your business.
Overview of Microsoft Azure
Azure is Microsoft’s cloud service for IT pros, offering scalable cloud infrastructure and a range of applications to power business. It allows users to build, deploy, and manage applications across multiple clouds. Azure provides essential services such as web and application hosting, storage, scalability, high availability, and more.
Azure grants you access to a colossal cloud framework and a wide array of services that can be quickly launched with a mouse click. Automation tools take care of all the necessary management tasks, so you don’t have to worry about anything.
To understand the cost of Microsoft Azure when switching to the cloud, it is important to know the pricing and licensing structure of Azure’s most popular services, and the various plans that fall under each one.
How Azure pricing works
With hundreds of Azure products and services on offer, and all of those products offering different tiers and prices, it can be very difficult to pin down exact prices. Microsoft’s pricing is also consumption-based, so it’s like asking your energy provider how much it would cost to run your home.
Microsoft offers three main pricing models for Azure virtual machines (VMs) and its other cloud resources: pay as you go, reserved instances, and spot instances. Microsoft uses Co-ordinated Universal Time (UTC) to calculate the usage.
To give you a general understanding of Azure licenses and prices, we will take a look at Azure’s five most popular products and the licensing tiers available to them.
Azure for free
Microsoft offers Azure free for 12 months, with certain services and products available including Azure Blob Storage, Azure SQL Database, and Azure Virtual Machines. It also provides $200 USD credit to spend on additional services you may need. The credit must be spent within 30 days, but the services purchased are also available for the 12 months.
Azure Active Directory
Azure Active Directory (Azure AD) is a cloud-based directory service that organizations use to manage user access to cloud apps and services. Administrators can manage user permissions and security settings, including setting up groups and policies to control which users can access certain resources.
With Azure AD, you can also use single sign-on, which means users don’t have to remember different usernames and passwords across different apps or services they use. Instead, they log into the single interface where all their data is available. This simplifies their experience and makes it easier to find information across any apps and services.
Azure AD free: includes a commercial online service subscription, e.g. Azure, Dynamics 365, InTune, and Power Platform.
Through your Microsoft 365 subscription: This includes everything in the Azure AD free version, along with extra features listed in the Microsoft Office 365 apps.
Premium P1: This is included in some Microsoft 365 subscriptions; alternatively, the online version is $6 USD per user/month.
Premium P2: This version is included in higher-tier Microsoft 365 subscriptions, while the online version is $9 per user/month.
Azure DevOps is a service that provides a single pane of glass across development, testing, and deployment, making it easy to create and manage an Azure environment. Using the DevOps service, you can create and install applications on Azure virtual machines. You can then use the service’s integrated tools to manage your Azure environment, such as Azure Repos for managing code, Azure Automation for managing tasks and scripts, and Azure Storage for storing data.
DevOps offers five main services in the cloud, and on premise:
Azure Repos provides a set of version control tools to manage your code via Git or Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC).
Azure Pipelines automatically tests and builds code projects.
Azure Boards provides interactive and customizable tools to manage software projects.
Azure Test Plans delivers capabilities for planned manual testing, exploratory testing, user acceptance testing, and gathering feedback.
Azure Artifacts allows developers to share codes and manage their packages.
With DevOps, you can purchase it as a user license, or as individual services. For example, Azure Pipelines is available to start for free with 1800 minutes per month for Microsoft-hosted CI/CD and unlimited minutes per month for one self-hosted job. After that, it’s $40 USD per extra Microsoft-hosted CI/CD parallel job, and $15 per extra self-hosted parallel job.
An Azure DevOps Basic Plan license offers the first five users free, and $6 USD per user/month. This service includes Pipelines, Boards, Repos, and Artifacts, each with their own restrictions. The next plan up is Basic + Test Plans, which starts at $52 per user/month.
Azure Virtual Machines
Azure Virtual Machines enables you to create isolated environments, or virtual machines (VMs), that run the same operating system on an Azure host. Each VM uses the same Azure resources, including network bandwidth, CPU, memory, and storage, as the VM host. If you need more capacity or resources, you can scale up your VM’s host and add more instances.
VMs can be created for Linux and Windows from the Azure dashboard. It offers many VMs – a full list of which can be found here – with prices ranging from $2.74 USD per month to $1121.65 USD per month.
Azure Blob Storage
Azure Blob Storage lets you store and manage large amounts of data, such as files or photos, in a highly scalable way. You can store these assets in the cloud and access them anywhere, even when you’re offline. You can also perform large-scale operations on your data, such as creating a copy of all the data in your account or using the replication feature to distribute data across Azure regions.
With Blob Storage, you can scale horizontally and let Azure manage the infrastructure, so you don’t have to worry about scaling out your infrastructure or managing hardware. You can also access your data using sophisticated query and search functionality, letting you find the right data even if it’s buried in huge quantities. When you’re done, you can permanently delete your data, eliminating the cost and effort of archiving.
Finding the right license option for Blog Storage is more complex than the previous services explored. The total cost of Blob Storage will depend on the volume of data stored each month, the quantity and types of operations and data transfers performed, and the data redundancy options selected.
Find your ideal Microsoft Azure license and subscription package with expert guidance
Microsoft Azure will give your business access to a wide range of cloud-based solutions and services that will improve your operations, increase efficiency, and maximize profits. Additionally, you can easily scale your subscription up or down to meet changing needs.
The Microsoft Azure specialists at Technology Solutions will guide you through the many Azure product licenses and subscriptions to help you find what you need at the best price, while also providing ongoing support, training, and management of your Azure environment as you need.