back to article Microsoft hikes cost of licensing its software on rival public clouds, introduces Azure 'Dedicated' Hosts

Microsoft has introduced a preview of Azure Dedicated Host, which provides a physical server hosted on Azure and not shared with other customers. Alongside this new service, the company has made licensing changes that will make Microsoft software more expensive for some customers of AWS, Google and Alibaba. Although an Azure …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge

    When will they learn?

    Making this stuff difficult to understand just increases the likelihood that people will put the effort into open source.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: When will they learn?

      Management will never accept open source/free(excluding support) because they are driven by money.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: When will they learn?

        "Management will never accept open source/free(excluding support)"

        Oh dear, I must tell my management we have to switch of tons of our infrastructure that they've already approved.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: When will they learn?

          I should have worded it as "some" really but what I'm getting at is that to some driven by money the whole idea that people create and maintain open source without direct payment (I know there some avenues where payment is received or they do it as part of their jobs) is somehow impossible.

      2. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: When will they learn?

        You don't need budget approval for FreeBSD or Linux. You just install it.

        1. Spamfast

          Re: When will they learn?

          You don't need budget approval for FreeBSD or Linux. You just install it.

          So how does RedHat make money?

          Some organizations will always want "support" even for open source.

          1. ovation1357

            Re: When will they learn?

            Sadly this is the case. I've had a battle for over a year to try and convince the corporate 'cyber security' team that Ubuntu Linux *is* a supported OS and is not a 'critical' security risk just because it's free.

            The irony is that most of these big corporations offering premium support at eye-watering prices usual seem to offer a very poor support service when you actually call them for anything :-/

            1. GarfLloydell

              Re: When will they learn?

              Ahh, that's likely because the most important job of the support teams at the other end of the line is to be the fall guy.

              As with most things, it's all about dat ass (covering).

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              seem to offer a very poor support service

              Well yeah.

              They are too busy counting their money to be bothered talking to you.

            3. rmason

              Re: When will they learn?

              It's a security risk *for your company* if your sys admin don't know how to / can't manage it. They also can't trust you to do so, it's them on the line if anything happens, not the user.

              I suspect that's what they mean.

              You'd get told RHEL or bugger off here too. :)

              As a sysadmin if you let people pick an OS, you end up with all of them in use, with the expectation to support them when things break.

              It's all fine and dandy having "cover your arse" emails, but when half of dev (or whatever) is sat not working, guess who is made to fix it? Hint: Not the user who insisted on ubuntu, or chromium, or Mac OS etc when you're a windows shop or a RHEL shop or whatever,

      3. Avatar of They

        Re: When will they learn?

        Management will never accept open source/free(excluding support) because they are driven by COSTS.


        1. Teiwaz

          Re: When will they learn?

          Management will never accept open source/free(excluding support) because they are driven by COSTS.

          A certain type, management or not often distrust free software on the assumption that if it's free, it can't be any good.

          I've never seen the same applied to 'beer'.

    2. Azerty

      Re: When will they learn?

      They don't care. At this point Windows probably is more of a liability. There new cash cow is services.

  2. J27

    Damn, these licensing terms are confusing and kinda self-defeating. It's strange to see Microsoft actively fighting itself like this. If you were hosting a .NET Core web application on EC2 on Windows Servers, this is exactly what would make you switch to using (cheaper) Linux servers. Microsoft really needs to learn to separate lines of business or they're going to drive away many customers.

    1. Roger Greenwood

      So apart from needing Marvin or Deep Blue to understand the terms, you also need to pay someone else to run someone elses software on someone elses computer. Sounds like a maze of twisty passages ending in a trap.

      1. Vector

        Deep thought will be able to sort it all out for you! We'll just need to build a planet, provision the mice...

        1. rmason

          It's all virtualised now.

          Not heard of VGlobe? It's the Deity level licence for VMware.

          A few VMs (virtual mice) hosted on VGlobe and you're away.

      2. Roland6 Silver badge

        you also need to pay someone else to run someone elses software on someone elses computer.

        You already have to do this, just that the someone else you also need to pay has decided their slice of the action isn't big enough, namely they are missing out on all the associated revenues that would arise if you were to use Azure.

    2. Warm Braw

      It's strange to see Microsoft actively fighting itself like this

      I must be older than you...

      I can, however, see a kind of logic in this: the future of Windows may largely be as a virtual desktop, in which case there's a strong reason to monopolise the future revenue. Microsoft might well also be relatively keen not to have to support Windows Server on bare metal and third-party virtual servers and be happy to lose that part of the business to Linux if it can offer a Windows server environment customised for its own cloud infrastructure which might deliver better margins (and more lock-in).

      1. teknopaul

        Re: virtual desktop.

        Microsoft may drop windows Server support if you are off Azure, imho it'll be a long time before windows desktop is not an import part of Microsoft.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Microsoft might well also be relatively keen not to have to support Windows Server on bare metal and third-party virtual servers"

        Would another way of phrasing this be "Microsoft's traditional customer base"? I mean prior to Azure this covered everyone.

        Everyone was worried about cloud lock in, but MS are really doubling down on Azure.

    3. Azerty

      They want you on Azure, not on Windows.

  3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Yay, Azure is now old enough to become Oracle

    Not even in its teens yet, but apparently good enough to start hiking up licensing prices and confusing them Oracle-style.

    No prize for guessing why Microsoft is going down that path.

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Yay, Azure is now old enough to become Oracle

      AIUI it's a path Microsoft have been down for a long time. It's just another step along it.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this anti competetive or what?

    With the US Government looking to go after the big tech companies including MS for Anti-trust violations this move seems to me to fall right into their remit.

    Does MS have any lawers worth even $50/hour?

    1. boboM

      Re: Is this anti competetive or what?

      MS up to their usual tricks. Can’t compete on level playing field.

  5. Kraggy

    "to look for non-Microsoft solutions, such as those based on Linux or open-source software."

    Um, so Linux isn't open source according to this writer?

    1. Tim Anderson

      Or other open source software :-)

    2. FrogsAndChips Silver badge

      OR != XOR

      1. nijam Silver badge

        > OR != XOR

        That's the case in Boolean logic, but not in everyday English.

        1. flec

          Q: "Congratulations on the birth. Is it a boy or a girl?"

          A: "....Yes."

  6. SVV

    Azure Hybrid Benefit

    This will probably mean : it's cheaper to run this on Azure, until everybody has moved to us from AWS, at which point we will by some massive coincidence hike up the licensing costs.

    1. hittitezombie

      Re: Azure Hybrid Benefit

      "Your introductory offer has now run out. We are increasing your current price 200% with a lock-on for 3 years. Good luck, suckers!"

  7. Will Godfrey Silver badge


    I never, ever, expected them to do something like this. It's just so out of character.


  8. Claptrap314 Silver badge

    Echos of...1993?

    So now Windows prefers to run on m$ servers? Didn't I hear something along those lines a while back?

    I don't think it goes down the same way this time. The competition is MUCH stronger, the market MUCH more sophisticated.

    They would do better (a lot better) to just get the fundamentals of security & reliability so they can actually compete.

  9. Chris Hills

    Good for Linux and alternatives

    All the more reason to migrate to non-Microsoft platforms like SUSE, Red Hat and Ubuntu. It is only a matter of time before Microsoft pushes its own Linux distribution.

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: only a matter of time before Microsoft pushes its own Linux distribution

      You mean like they did before?

      I expect it will have lots of telemetry and 'phone home' all in the interests of improving the customer experience naturally.

      Avoid like the plague.

      Slackware rules ok!

    2. hittitezombie

      Re: Good for Linux and alternatives

      I'm really surprised they haven't purchased SUSE or Ubuntu by now, either would fit in perfectly. Canonical is living on a <$6m net income, which is absolutely nothing. You can't buy new yatchs with that kind of money.

      1. ma1010

        Re: Good for Linux and alternatives

        $DEITY FORBID!

        SHHHH! Do NOT give those buggers ideas like that! If they got control of Ubuntu and Mint, that would be very bad for many Linux users, including me.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Plus ça change..

    Honestly, I'm more surprised that you're surprised.

    Lock in, then elevate costs - that's been Microsoft's modus operandi for decades now. The only question is only ever when, the if part is pretty much a given.

    Did you really, really think Microsoft was somehow "changing" into something more benign? LOL.

  11. donk1

    I notice Oracle is not on the list.

    All affected people (including on Azure) over to Oracle Cloud.

    When that is added then over to Rackspace's Cloud then to...then to..all the way to Dave's Cloud aka Billy Bob's Cloud...aka...keep changing the name/owner every week!

    "Well,shucks...sure we can move them there VM's to Suzie's Cloud for yer, yeeee-haw!"

    Not that any of the smaller Cloud providers are cowboy's...perish the thought!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "All affected people (including on Azure) over to Oracle Cloud."

      Microsoft didn't include Oracle Cloud because the chances of it still being available for new services by the time these licence changes come into effect is pretty low...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Agree, and what a shame (not!) our company has signed a strategic partnership agreement with Oracle for its cloud services.

  12. doke

    $106k over three years

    So a type 2 would cost about $106k over three years, not including licenses? I can buy a fully loaded Dell R7425 server and run it for three years for about $5k.

    1. Starace

      Re: $106k over three years

      Now you understand where the profit comes from...

    2. Duncan Macdonald

      Re: $106k over three years

      There are only 3 valid reasons for using "the cloud"

      1) Web server if there is insufficient bandwidth available to company premises.

      2) Short term peaks (under 3 months)

      3) Keeping developers well away from live systems

      For almost all other use cases, it will be cheaper to use own hardware. Try pricing the cost of a cloud service vs the cost of on site hardware before using any cloud service - you may be surprised at how few months it takes before the on site hardware is cheaper.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: $106k over three years

        "you may be surprised at how few months it takes before the on site hardware is cheaper".

        No - because I'm not in my thirties.

      2. Mine's a Large One

        Re: $106k over three years

        Totally agree, however when the powers that be have their strategy to move to the cloud, it's hard convincing them otherwise. They've read the whitepapers, swallowed the marketing and donned the free rose-coloured specs and come back with the usual "Ah, but it costs money to have a datacentre, power it, cool it, fire-protect it, secure it..." and my favourite "and it's OPEX not CAPEX so Financel love it...".

        If someone was to point-out to Finance just how much we spend on cloud, to run a fraction of our services there, and then added how much more we'd be paying if we moved everything out and closed the datacentre, I suspect they may not be loving it quite so much.

        1. simpfeld

          Re: $106k over three years

          I guess the main thing is at some level you are swapping capex for opex. A lot of accountants/companies like this. And okay you can do leasing deals on hardware, but often this is seen as borrowing on the companies books and even if can be tuned (financially) to be pure opex, you cannot turn up and down costs as easily as Cloud/SaaS.

          Not saying this is right, but some companies run on thinking it's being better to own nothing. And probably think they don't need as many IT staff to run this.

          Will cost more in the long run, but doesn't matter as they didn't get a big bill upfront and have to get that approved (maybe by the board).

          I have heard the phrase "Cloud Shock", when an accountant wakes up and suddenly sees how much all these cloud things are costing. I have heard of cloud companies who suddenly find they are sending 25% of turnover to Amazon, as it was so easy to spin up things.

          We are just in a new Cycle of Reincarnation, mainframe -> Client Server -> Cloud (mainframe again really) --Probably--> in house some things (when people start seeing the costs of all this)

      3. Richard Plinston

        Re: $106k over three years

        4) Kickbacks to the decision makers.

  13. steviebuk Silver badge


    "Windows Enterprise will no longer be permitted other than with Windows VDA (Virtual Desktop Access) E3 or E5. As a concession, affected customers "will have until October 1, 2020, to move their existing Windows Enterprise workloads off Listed Providers' dedicated hosted cloud services"."

    So you can only run Windows Enterprise on Azure now and nowhere else. Surely, fucking surely that is a MASSIVE antitrust law waiting to happen again. Roll on another Microsoft vs United States case again.

    Will it be like last time?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This seems almost designed to bring down an antitrust suit on Microsoft's head. They've even explicitly picked out their chief rivals in the new licensing terms. What are the people at Microsoft thinking?

    1. ma1010

      Yeah, but...

      The last time MS got an anti-trust suit, it was pretty much a joke that didn't do them any harm. Given the current administration's penchant for regulatory capture (look at the FCC - Ajit Pai is the epitome of regulatory capture), do you really think the DOJ is going to do anything of significance to MS?

      They may growl a bit and even put on a show of some sort for the plebs, but nothing substantive will happen.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      And not just in the US.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    History repeating itself.

    There is a reason why Boeing is not allowed to operate an airline.

    1. naive

      Re: History repeating itself.

      The lawsuits give great free publicity and last many years.

      By the time MS has to return a tiny percentage of the profits they made with illicit practices, they have FUDed thousands into Azure.

  16. juliejohn

    Not a good move by azure

    Moving to dedicated server is not easy for everyone and now many people will look for other cheap shared servers as new license terms are very strict it seems US decisions to deal with big giants has effected the terms and conditions of azure policy.

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