You can now acquire Windows Server, SQL Server (Standard and Enterprise editions) and Windows Server Client Access Licenses (CAL) (per user and per device) as a subscription and take advantage of the Azure Hybrid Benefit without the need to purchase Software Assurance.
You will also get access to other Software Assurance benefits for which previously you would have had to purchase SA separately, such as:
- Self-hosting benefit: It allows end users to provide their own software as a hosted service on their own servers, using a combination of Microsoft software and their own software to create a so-called Unified Solution. The licenses can be used to provide customer-facing software solutions hosted on dedicated or shared infrastructure.
Disaster recovery benefit: It allows end users that are running an instance of eligible server software in a physical or virtual operating system environment (OSE) on a licensed server to temporarily run a backup-instance. This can be done in a physical or virtual OSE on either one of its servers dedicated to disaster recovery, or for instances of eligible software other than Windows Server, on Microsoft Azure Services, provided the backup instance is managed by Azure Site Recovery (a disaster recovery solution) on Azure.
- Semi-Annual Channel benefit: End users with Windows Server products in the Semi-Annual Channel will have new releases available twice a year (in spring and fall). Each release in this channel will be supported for 18 months since the initial release. The Semi-Annual Channel is particularly useful to those that have modern applications and innovation scenarios such as containers and micro-services that require faster innovation.
End users may not allocate subscriptions for Azure licenses to Azure and their on premises servers simultaneously. There is an exception that allows them to do this on a one time basis, for a period not exceeding 31 days, in order to allow the migration of servers’ workloads dedicated to their use on Azure. Licenses are deemed “assigned to Azure” when end users use the software on Azure. It is not allowed to redeploy to on premises servers for a period of 90 days.
The Server subscriptions product terms only allow for deployment on an end user Azure tenant* or the on premises server. These subscriptions cannot be deployed on third-party multi-tenant hardware.
*A tenant is a representation of an organization. It’s a dedicated instance of Azure Active Directory that an organization or app developer receives, when the organization or app developer creates a relationship with Microsoft – like signing up for Azure, Microsoft Intune or Microsoft 365.