Microsoft makes cloudy Linux licensing less labyrinthine

The fine folk at Licensing School have noticed a new-ish example of Microsoft’s ongoing ardour for Linux: a BYO licensing scheme that makes it easier to bring Red Hat and SUSE deals to Azure.

Microsoft offers the “Azure Hybrid Benefit”, a scheme that allows licences acquired under Software Assurance deals to run in Azure as well as on-prem. The Hybrid Benefit greases the skids for cloud migrations, or just makes life easier for Microsoft customers that are not yet all-in on cloud.

But with most Azure VMs now running Linux, the Benefit isn’t of use to many Azure customers.

Probably because most Azure VMs now run Linux, Microsoft has tweaked the Hybrid Benefit so that some Linux licences now get the same treatment as Windows.

As explained in its announcement of the change, Microsoft now lets users “more easily migrate your on-premise Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) virtual machines (VMs) to Azure by using your own pre-existing Red Hat or SUSE software subscription.”

Users just pay for Azure resources because the Linux subscription fee has already been paid to Red Hat or SUSE.

The benefit is applicable to all RHEL and SLES Marketplace pay-as-you-go (PAYG) images.

Microsoft happily charges for those instances and the Red Hat or SUSE software they run. So this is an example of Microsoft not taking your money or making licensing more complex.

Satya Nadella’s Microsoft sure is a different animal! ®

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