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March 2021 – Product Terms – Azure Dev/Test Pricing

March Product Term is released with the usual monthly changes. This month Microsoft has decided to add a paragraph into the Azure Services entry.

Note : it is also a good opportunity to test the “Compare with current” functionality of the new Product Terms Site.

Nothing new, but a kind reminder from Microsoft in case you want to benefit from lower prices for your dev/test environment on Azure by running Azure VMs at a lower rate (compute only) for dev/test environments. In fact, this is more or less the same principle already existing on-premises, and through this new paragraph Microsoft reminds customers about prerequisites & licensing rules.

This is a good opportunity to highlights three basics as far as licensing dev/test on azure is concerned :

  • Environment purpose : Dev/Test pricing is obviously only for Dev/test environments. Beyond this simple statement, it also means that customers have to monitor properly the usage in order to be sure it is restricted to development or testing.
  • User licensing : Each user accessing such an environment has to be first properly licensed with a Visual Studio subscription with active Software Assurance. And don’t forget you can reallocate a VS subscription from one user to another once every 90 days.
  • When performing acceptance testing and/or providing feedback on development, users are not required to have an active VS subscription.

Anyway, monitoring is still the key when dealing with development environments.

In addition, keep in mind that :

  • Each Visual Studio subscription also comes with monthly credits for Azure that may be suitable for small testing/dev on Azure.
  • There is no guarantee / SLA for dev/test environments performance.

Nevertheless, going on Azure for some dev/test environments may still be interesting in order to avoid short term hardware costs and gain flexibility to set up these environments and go live easily. Also keep in mind that except on dedicated hosts with licenses bought before 01/10/2019 there are no Visual Studio bring your own licenses possibilities on listed providers (AWS, Google, Alibaba). So, using dev/tests VMs on azure cloud is still an exception allowed by Microsoft to take another advantage on cloud competitors.

Find more details here :