Microsoft debuts new bring-your-own Windows Server license

Microsoft is introducing a new Azure Hybrid Use (HUB) benefit for Windows Server customers with Software Assurance.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Last fall, Microsoft officials promised a plan for a new bring-your-own license (BYOL) option for Windows Server, saying details would come soon.


"Soon" is today for those who have access to Microsoft's February 2016 product terms.

As of today, February 1, users with Windows Server licenses covered by Software Assurance can now take advantage of what's called the Azure Hybrid Use (HUB) benefit.

(Thanks to the Licensing School UK folks for the heads up on this.)

The HUB benefit allows users to procure an Azure virtual machine (VM) without Windows Server and subsequently assign a Windows Server license to it. Those who have Windows Server Datacenter licenses have an additional option: They can assign these to both an on-premises VM and Azure VM, according to Licensing School. Those who have Standard licenses have to choose to deploy to either an on-premises or Azure VM.

A single processor-based Windows Server license allows users to use Windows Server on up to 16 cores in Azure.

Microsoft officials also said last year that the company planned to allow customers with Windows Enterprise to run Windows 10 Current Branch for Business on Azure. So far, however, Microsoft officials haven't said when or how this will be available.

Microsoft did enable users to run Windows 7 and 8.1 on Azure in virtual machines, but only for development and test purposes.

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