Manage Reservations for Azure resources

After you buy an Azure reservation, you may need to apply the reservation to a different subscription, change who can manage the reservation, or change the scope of the reservation. You can also split a reservation into two reservations to apply some of the instances you bought to another subscription.

If you bought Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances, you may change the optimize setting for the reservation. The reservation discount can apply to VMs in the same series or you can reserve data center capacity for a specific VM size. And, you should try to optimize reservations so that they are fully used.

Permission needed to manage a reservation is separate from subscription permission.


This article has been updated to use the new Azure PowerShell Az module. You can still use the AzureRM module, which will continue to receive bug fixes until at least December 2020. To learn more about the new Az module and AzureRM compatibility, see Introducing the new Azure PowerShell Az module. For Az module installation instructions, see Install Azure PowerShell.

Reservation Order and Reservation

When you purchase a reservation, two objects are created: Reservation Order and Reservation.

At the time of purchase, a Reservation Order has one Reservation under it. Actions such as split, merge, partial refund, or exchange create new reservations under the Reservation Order.

To view a Reservation Order, go to Reservations > select the reservation, and then click the Reservation order ID.

Example of reservation order details showing Reservation order ID

A reservation inherits permissions from its reservation order.

Change the reservation scope

Your reservation discount applies to virtual machines, SQL databases, Azure Cosmos DB, or other resources that match your reservation and run in the reservation scope. The billing context is dependent on the subscription used to buy the reservation.

To update the scope of a reservation:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select All services > Reservations.
  3. Select the reservation.
  4. Select Settings > Configuration.
  5. Change the scope.

If you change from shared to single scope, you can only select subscriptions where you're the owner. Only subscriptions within the same billing context as the reservation, can be selected.

The scope only applies to individual subscriptions with pay-as-you-go rates (offers MS-AZR-0003P or MS-AZR-0023P), Enterprise offer MS-AZR-0017P or MS-AZR-0148P, or CSP subscription types.

Add or change users who can manage a reservation

You can delegate reservation management by adding people to roles on the reservation order or the reservation. By default, the person that places the reservation order and the account administrator have the Owner role on the reservation order and the reservation.

You can manage access to reservations orders and reservations independently from the subscriptions that get the reservation discount. When you give someone permissions to manage a reservation order or the reservation, it doesn't give them permission to manage the subscription. Similarly, if you give someone permissions to manage a subscription in the reservation's scope, it doesn't give them rights to manage the reservation order or the reservation.

To perform an exchange or refund, the user must have access to the reservation order. When granting someone permissions, it’s best to grant permissions to the reservation order, not the reservation.

To delegate access management for a reservation:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select All Services > Reservation to list reservations that you have access to.
  3. Select the reservation that you want to delegate access to other users.
  4. Select Access control (IAM).
  5. Select Add role assignment > Role > Owner. Or, if you want to give limited access, select a different role.
  6. Type the email address of the user you want to add as owner.
  7. Select the user, and then select Save.

Split a single reservation into two reservations

After you buy more than one resource instance within a reservation, you may want to assign instances within that reservation to different subscriptions. By default, all instances have one scope - either single subscription or shared. For example, you bought 10 reservation instances and specified the scope to be subscription A. You may now want to change the scope for seven reservations to subscription A and the remaining three to subscription B. Splitting a reservation allows you to distribute instances for granular scope management. You can simplify the allocation to subscriptions by choosing shared scope. But for cost management or budgeting purposes, you can allocate quantities to specific subscriptions.

You can split a reservation into two reservations though PowerShell, CLI, or through the API.

Split a reservation by using PowerShell

  1. Get the reservation order ID by running the following command:

    # Get the reservation orders you have access to
  2. Get the details of a reservation:

    Get-AzReservation -ReservationOrderId a08160d4-ce6b-4295-bf52-b90a5d4c96a0 -ReservationId b8be062a-fb0a-46c1-808a-5a844714965a
  3. Split the reservation into two and distribute the instances:

    # Split the reservation. The sum of the reservations, the quantity, must equal the total number of instances in the reservation that you're splitting.
    Split-AzReservation -ReservationOrderId a08160d4-ce6b-4295-bf52-b90a5d4c96a0 -ReservationId b8be062a-fb0a-46c1-808a-5a844714965a -Quantity 3,2
  4. You can update the scope by running the following command:

    Update-AzReservation -ReservationOrderId a08160d4-ce6b-4295-bf52-b90a5d4c96a0 -ReservationId 5257501b-d3e8-449d-a1ab-4879b1863aca -AppliedScopeType Single -AppliedScope /subscriptions/15bb3be0-76d5-491c-8078-61fe3468d414

Cancel, exchange, or refund reservations

You can cancel, exchange, or refund reservations with certain limitations. For more information, see Self-service exchanges and refunds for Azure Reservations.

Change optimize setting for Reserved VM Instances

When you buy a Reserved VM Instance, you choose instance size flexibility or capacity priority. Instance size flexibility applies the reservation discount to other VMs in the same VM size group. Capacity priority prioritizes data center capacity for your deployments. This option offers additional confidence in your ability to launch the VM instances when you need them.

By default, when the scope of the reservation is shared, the instance size flexibility is on. The data center capacity isn't prioritized for VM deployments.

For reservations where the scope is single, you can optimize the reservation for capacity priority instead of VM instance size flexibility.

To update the optimize setting for the reservation:

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select All Services > Reservations.
  3. Select the reservation.
  4. Select Settings > Configuration.
    Example showing the Configuration item
  5. Change the Optimize for setting.
    Example showing the Optimize for setting

Optimize reservation use

Azure reservation savings only result from sustained resource use. When you make a reservation purchase, you pay for what is essentially 100% possible resource use over a one- or three-year term. Try to maximize your reservation to get as much use and savings possible. The following sections explain how to monitor a reservation and optimize its use.

View reservation use in the Azure portal

One way of viewing reservation usage is in the Azure portal.

  1. Sign in to the Azure portal.
  2. Select All services > Reservations and note the Utilization (%) for a reservation.
    Image showing the list of reservations
  3. Select a reservation.
  4. Review the reservation use trend over time.
    Image showing reservation use

View reservation use with API

If you're an Enterprise Agreement (EA) customer, you can programmatically view how the reservations in your organization are being used. You get unused reservation through usage data. When you review reservation charges, keep in mind that data is divided between actual cost and amortized costs. Actual cost provides data to reconcile you monthly bill. It also has reservation purchase cost and reservation application details. Amortized cost is like actual cost except that the effective price for reservation usage is prorated. Unused reservation hours are shown in amortized cost data. For more information about usage data for EA customers, see Get Enterprise Agreement reservation costs and usage.

For other subscription types, use the API Reservations Summaries - List By Reservation Order And Reservation.

Optimize your reservation

If you find that your organization's reservations are being underused:

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Next steps

To learn more about Azure Reservations, see the following articles:

Buy a service plan:

Buy a software plan:

Understand discount and usage: