Acquire, provision, & manage Azure reserved VM instances (RI) + server subscriptions for customers

Applies to:

  • Partner Center

Appropriate roles

  • Admin agent
  • Global admin
  • Helpdesk agent
  • Sales agent
  • User management admin


This article applies only to partners in the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Customers using other types of subscriptions (such as, pay-as-you-go, individual, Microsoft Customer Agreement, or Enterprise Agreement subscriptions) should instead read this Azure reservations documentation.

What are Azure Reservations?

Azure Reservations help you save money by pre-paying for one-year or three-years of virtual machine, SQL Database compute capacity, Azure Cosmos DB throughput, or other Azure resources. Pre-paying allows you to get a discount on the resources you use. Reservations can significantly reduce your virtual machine, SQL database compute, Azure Cosmos DB, and other resource costs up to 72% compared to pay-as-you-go prices. Reservations provide a billing discount and don't affect the runtime state of your resources. For more information see What are Azure Reservations?

Why should customers buy a reservation?

If customers have virtual machines, Azure Cosmos DB or SQL databases that run for long periods of time, purchasing a reservation gives them the most cost-effective option. For example, if a customer continuously runs four instances of a service without a reservation, they are charged at pay-as-you-go rates. If they purchase a reservation for those resources, they immediately get the reservation discount. The resources are no longer charged at the pay-as-you-go rates.

Compelling New Azure offer in CSP

By bringing Azure Reservations 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 Reservations and Server Subscriptions on behalf of commercial customers via Microsoft Partner Center and Azure portal.

We even give partners in our CSP program choices about how Azure reservations can be purchased. CSP partners can buy Azure reservations on behalf of a customer or they can allow the customer to buy their own reservations from a prior Azure subscription the partner has purchased for them.

Azure Reservations give customers the flexibility of virtualization for a wide range of computing solutions, including development and testing, running applications and extending the data center.

With Azure Reserved VM Instances for example, 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.

With an unmatched combination of compelling pricing and unmatched deployment flexibility, customers will see the best overall value when they choose Azure Reservations:

Azure reservations

  • Azure Reserved VM Instances
  • SQL DB Reservations
  • SQL Managed Instance
  • Azure Cosmos DB
  • Azure SQL Data Warehouse
  • App Services
  • Azure Databricks unit reservations
  • Managed Disk
  • Block blob
  • MySQL
  • Azure Data explorer
  • MariaDB
  • PostgreSQL

Server subscriptions

  • Windows Server
  • Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CALs
  • SQL Server

Linux ISV annual subscriptions

  • SUSE Linux
  • Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  • Azure Red Hat OpenShift

ISV annual subscriptions

  • Azure VMware Solution by CloudSimple

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 to review 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:

Sales readiness


Register to view Commercial Licensing Readiness webinars and on-demand events.

Licensing Readiness on-demand events include topics like:

  • CSP Online Services, CSP Azure, and general licensing updates, including Azure (November 2018)
  • SQL DB Reserved Capacity & Instance Size Flexibility (August 2018)
  • Server Subscriptions in CSP (July 2018)
  • Azure Reservations Overview in CSP (May 2018)

Other useful training includes the Azure Licensing Module on Partner University.


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 reuse your licenses to run Windows Server virtual machines in Azure and pay a lower base compute rate (Linux virtual machine rates).

See also Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ

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