Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI

Applies to: Azure Stack HCI, versions 22H2, 21H2, and 20H2

This article describes Azure Hybrid Benefit and how to use it for Azure Stack HCI.

Azure Hybrid Benefit is a program that enables you to significantly reduce the costs of running workloads in the cloud. With Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI, you can maximize the value of your on-premises licenses and modernize your existing infrastructure to Azure Stack HCI at no additional cost.

What is Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI?

If you have Windows Server Datacenter licenses with active Software Assurance, you are eligible to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for your Azure Stack HCI cluster. To activate this benefit, you'll need to exchange 1-core license of Software Assurance-enabled Windows Server Datacenter for 1-physical core of Azure Stack HCI. For detailed licensing requirements, see Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server.

This benefit waives the Azure Stack HCI host service fee and Windows Server guest subscription on your cluster. Other costs associated with Azure Stack HCI, such as Azure services, are billed as per normal. For details about pricing with Azure Hybrid Benefit, see Azure Stack HCI pricing.

Tip

You can maximize cost savings by also using Azure Hybrid Benefit for AKS on Azure Stack HCI. For more information, see Azure Hybrid Benefits for AKS on Azure Stack HCI.

Activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI

You can activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for your Azure Stack HCI cluster using the Azure portal.

Prerequisites

The following prerequisites are required to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for your Azure Stack HCI cluster:

  • Make sure your Azure Stack HCI cluster is installed with the following:

    • Version 22H2 or later; or
    • Version 21H2 with at least the September 13, 2022 security update KB5017316 or later
  • Make sure that all servers in your cluster are online and registered with Azure

  • Make sure that your cluster has Windows Server Datacenter licenses with active Software Assurance. For other licensing prerequisites, see Licensing prerequisites

  • Make sure you have permission to write to the Azure Stack HCI resource. This is included if you're assigned the contributor or owner role on your subscription

Activate Azure Hybrid Benefit

Follow these steps to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit for your Azure Stack HCI cluster via the Azure portal:

  1. Use your Microsoft Azure credentials to sign in to the Azure portal at this URL: https://portal.azure.com.

  2. Go to your Azure Stack HCI cluster resource page.

  3. Under Settings, select Configuration.

  4. Under Azure Hybrid Benefit, select the Activate link.

  5. In the Activate Azure Hybrid Benefit pane on the right-hand side, confirm the designated cluster and the number of core licenses you wish to allocate, and select Activate again to confirm.

    Note

    You can't deactivate Azure Hybrid Benefit for your cluster after activation. Proceed after you have confirmed the changes.

    Screenshot showing how to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit.

  6. When Azure Hybrid Benefit successfully activates for your cluster, the Azure Stack HCI host fee is waived for the cluster.

    Important

    Windows Server subscription is a way to get unlimited virtualization rights on your cluster through Azure. Now that you have Azure Hybrid Benefit enabled, you have the option of turning on Windows Server subscription at no additional cost.

  7. To enable Windows Server subscription at no additional cost, under the Windows Server subscription add-on feature in the same Configuration pane, select Activate benefit.

  8. In the Activate Azure Hybrid Benefit pane on the right-hand side, check the details and then select Activate to confirm. Upon activation, licenses take a few minutes to apply and set up automatic VM activation (AVMA) on the cluster.

    Screenshot showing how to activate Windows Server subscription.

Maintain compliance for Azure Hybrid Benefit

After you activate your Azure Stack HCI cluster with Azure Hybrid Benefit, you must regularly check status and maintain compliance for Azure Hybrid Benefit. An Azure Stack HCI cluster using Azure Hybrid Benefit can run only during the Software Assurance term. When the Software Assurance term is nearing expiry, you need to either renew your agreement with Software Assurance, disable the Azure Hybrid Benefit functionality, or de-provision the clusters that are using Azure Hybrid Benefit.

You can perform an inventory of your clusters through the Azure portal and Azure Resource Graph as described in the following section.

Verify that your cluster is using Azure Hybrid Benefit

You can verify if your cluster is using Azure Hybrid Benefit via Azure portal, PowerShell, or Azure CLI.

  1. In your Azure Stack HCI cluster resource page, under Settings, select Configuration.
  2. Under Azure Hybrid Benefit, the status shows as:
    • Activated - indicates Azure Hybrid Benefit is activated
    • Not activated - indicates Azure Hybrid Benefit isn't activated

You can also navigate to Cost Analysis > Cost by Resource > Cost by Resource. Expand your Azure Stack HCI resource to check that the meter is under Software Assurance.

List all Azure Stack HCI clusters with Azure Hybrid Benefit in a subscription

You can list all Azure Stack HCI clusters with Azure Hybrid Benefit in a subscription using PowerShell and Azure CLI.

Use PowerShell or Azure CLI to list all Azure Stack HCI clusters with Azure Hybrid Benefit in a subscription.

Troubleshoot Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI

This section describes the errors that you may get when activating Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI.

Error

Failed to activate Azure Hybrid Benefit. We couldn’t find your Software Assurance contract.

Suggested solution

This error can occur if you have a new Software Assurance contract or if you have set up this Azure subscription recently, but your information isn't updated in the portal yet. If you get this error, reach out to us at AHBonHCI@microsoft.com and share the following information:

  • Customer/organization name - the name registered on your Software Assurance contract.
  • Azure subscription ID – to which your Azure Stack HCI cluster is registered.
  • Agreement number for Software Assurance – this can be found on your purchase order, and is the number you would use to install software from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).

FAQs

This section answers questions you may have about Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI.

How does licensing work for Azure Hybrid Benefit?

For more information about licensing, see Azure Hybrid Benefit for Windows Server.

Can I opt-in to Azure Hybrid Benefit for an existing cluster?

Yes.

Is there any additional cost incurred by opting in to Azure Hybrid Benefit for Azure Stack HCI?

No additional costs are incurred, as Azure Hybrid Benefit is included as part of your Software Assurance benefit.

How do I find out if my organization has Software Assurance?

Consult your Account Manager or licensing partner.

When would the new pricing benefit for Azure Hybrid Benefit take effect?

The pricing benefit for Azure Stack HCI host fees takes effect immediately upon activation of Azure Hybrid Benefit for your cluster. The pricing benefit for Windows Server subscription takes effect immediately after you activate both Azure Hybrid Benefit and Windows Server subscription.

Next steps

For related information, see also: