Azure reserved VM instances (RI) + server subscriptions for Azure

Applies to

  • Partner Center

Azure Reserved Virtual Machine Instances (RI) and now Windows Server and SQL Server Subscriptions are available through Microsoft’s Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program (see announcement).

By bringing Azure RI and Server Subscriptions to its CSP program, Microsoft is better enabling its partners to address fast-growing customer demand for more cost-effective solutions to support highly predictable, persistent cloud workloads. The CSP program enables partners to acquire, provision and manage Azure RI and Server Subscriptions on behalf of commercial customers via Microsoft Partner Center and Azure Portal.

Compelling New Azure offer in CSP

Azure Virtual Machines give customers the flexibility of virtualization for a wide range of computing solutions, including development and testing, running applications and extending the datacenter.

With Reserved VM Instances in CSP, commercial customers can now save up to 72% versus pay-as-you-go Azure VM pricing simply by purchasing – or “reserving” – the virtual machine for a 1- or 3-year period. Windows Server customers with Azure Hybrid Benefit, included with Software Assurance, will be able to save up to 80% versus pay-as-you-go pricing.

Microsoft pairs these amazing savings with simplicity in selection and incredibly flexible deployment terms. Azure Reserved VM Instances:

  • Are set for a “base VM,” which means the decision to deploy a Windows Server or non-Windows Server VM does not need to be made upfront. Simply specify the Azure region, virtual machine type, and term of 1-year or 3-years—that's it.

  • May be assigned to multiple subscriptions within a customer account or at the single subscription level.

  • Include the ability to convert instances, family, location and the term at any time.

  • May be canceled at any time during the term of the reservation.

  • Enjoy prioritized compute capacity in Azure regions

Windows Server and SQL Server Subscriptions sold in CSP also include Azure Hybrid Benefit, previously available only through Software Assurance sold in traditional licensing programs. Azure Hybrid Benefit enables significant savings on server software compared to pay-as-you-go rates. By making 1- or 3-year commitments to use both Azure compute (via RI’s) and Microsoft server software (via subscriptions), CSP customers can maximize their savings on cloud compute solutions. This benefit will be especially attractive to CSP-only customers who currently don’t have access to Software Assurance.

With an unmatched combination of compelling pricing and unmatched deployment flexibility, customers will see the best overall value when they choose Azure Reserved VM Instances and Server Subscriptions.

Why is this announcement good news for Microsoft Partners?

By bringing Azure Reserved VM Instances and Server Subscriptions with Azure Hybrid Benefit to CSP, Microsoft is better enabling partners to grow their cloud solution practice by employing low-cost Azure VMs & server software to target and win more persistent cloud workloads. Until now, CSP partners have been able to sell only pay-as-you-go Azure virtual machines and had to use other licensing programs to acquire software subscriptions for Windows Server and SQL Server.

The partner-friendly business model of licensing Azure Reserved VM Instances and Server Subscriptions at the customer level, provides cost predictability and improves scalability that simplifies the sales process. Partners are not required to deploy complex processes and tools to procure, manage and price Reserved Instances across their customers – this allows partners to focus more time on customers and expand their portfolio of IT management value-added cloud solutions.

Azure Reserved VM Instances and Server Subscriptions are compelling to partners for the ability to act as a strong anchor point to grow revenue and profitability. First and foremost, Azure cloud services enable partners to develop and deliver higher-margin, value-add IT services that can also pull sales of additional software and/or subscriptions as well as ongoing management service fees. Second, our market leading partner economic model allows the partners to maximize the profitability of their cloud practice. Finally, it is important to note that commitment-based solutions foster the type of enduring, trust-based business relationships that fuel increased customer lifetime value and profitability.

In summary, Azure Reserved VM Instances and Server Subscriptions in CSP deliver market-leading customer value while empowering partners to target and capture more of the fast-growing cloud compute opportunity with a simple, partner-friendly commercial model that established a strong anchor point for highly profitable growth.

Getting started

To understand how you can position Azure Reservations with your customers and get up and running operationally as quickly as possible we recommend the following approach for reviewing the readiness materials:

  1. Review the Overview Presentations and associated webinars for the customer value proposition and positioning

  2. Review and understand the Modern Commerce Operating Guide

  3. Review the Azure RI and Server Subscriptions FAQ

  4. Understand updates for Azure Reservations and Server Subscriptions in the Partner Center API (API/SDK)


Below is a comprehensive list of resources to help you onboard quickly to transacting Azure Reservations through Partner Center:

Azure Hybrid Benefit

The Azure Hybrid Benefit helps you get more value from your Windows Server licenses and save up to *47 percent on virtual machines. You can use the benefit with Windows Server Datacenter and Standard edition licenses covered with Software Assurance. Depending on the edition, you can convert or re-use your licenses to run Windows Server virtual machines in Azure and pay a lower base compute rate (Linux virtual machine rates).

Azure Hybrid Benefit - The most cost-effective cloud for your Windows Server or SQL Server migration:

  • Save up to 80% on Windows Server with Azure Hybrid Benefit and Reserved Instances
  • Save up to 30%* on migrations to Azure SQL Database with Azure Hybrid Benefit
  • Save up to 49% on a SQL IaaS VM by stacking savings through an RI + Windows Server + SQL Subscription
  • Go at your own pace - move a few workloads or entire datacenters
  • Maximize your current investment in Software Assurance

See also Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ

*Actual savings may vary based on region, instance type, or usage


Still have questions? Answers and great discussion to be found using the below Yammer forums, choose the appropriate site for you:

CSP Yammer Partner Community

CSP Indirect Partner Group