Managing Cloud Software License Costs

In the Service Portal, you can determine whether your deployed Azure VMs, AWS EC2 instances, and Azure SQL database instances are configured so that you may use Windows Server or SQL Server license entitlements that you already have. If you then apply existing entitlements to those cloud resources, you can save software licensing fees.

For example, if you use Microsoft's Software Assurance (SA), and you have existing license entitlements for Windows Server or SQL Server, you can apply them to deployed Windows VMs or Azure SQL databases that use Azure Hybrid Benefit.

Similarly, for AWS, you can use License Mobility through SA to apply license entitlements to deployed EC2 instances. For example, if you have non-Amazon Marketplace Images (that is, custom images) that use shared tenancy, you could move your EC2 instances to a dedicated host and use your existing license entitlements.

Through the Service Portal, you can also enable or disable the Azure Hybrid Benefit for your Azure VMs running Windows Server and your Azure SQL databases.

In this topic:

Note: What you can see and do in the Service Portal depends on the permissions associated with the role that your administrator has assigned you. Unless otherwise noted, the procedures in this guide assume that users have the highest level of permissions.

Viewing software licensing information

You can view public cloud software licensing information for the following deployed services:

  • Azure VMs — You can view whether the Azure Hybrid Benefit is enabled or if it isn't applicable (as would be the case, for example, for Linux VMs). You can also view the number of cores used.
  • AWS EC2 instances — You can view the Tenancy model, number of cores, and Image ID used.
  • Azure SQL databases — You can view whether the Azure Hybrid Benefit is enabled, the license model used, and more. The following types of Azure SQL databases are tracked: Azure SQL Databases, Azure Managed Instances, and Azure SQL VMs.

To view public cloud software licensing information for an eligible service that you own:

  1. Select Applications from the left menu.
  2. From the Applications page, select the linked name of an Azure VM, Azure SQL database, or an AWS EC2 instance.

    The summary page for the service opens and provides additional properties for the service in the summary and Details section.

Tip: If you don't see the licensing information on the Summary page that you are looking for, click in the Details section to add and remove displayed properties.

Searching VMs for software licensing information

To search for software licensing information for your Azure VMs and AWS EC2 instances:

  1. Select Search from the left menu.
  2. From the Select Report Type section, select Virtual Machines.
  3. In the Select Filters section, select the filter you want.

    Tip: The following filters are helpful for cloud software licensing information searches:

    • Licensing > Azure Hybrid Benefit — Whether the VM is using the Azure Hybrid Benefit.
    • Licensing > Tenancy — The Tenancy model used by an EC2 instance.
    • Licensing > Image Source — Where the image is located. Note that an image source won't be displayed if the instance wasn't deployed from a template. This property is for AWS only.
    • Configuration > Image ID — The AMI ID of an AWS EC2 instance.
    • Configuration > Number of Cores — The number of virtual cores used by the VM or instance.
  4. Depending on the selected filter, different criteria are available in the next drop-down such as (this is only a partial list):
    • contains
    • doesn't contain
    • equals
    • doesn't equal
    • is
    • isn't
    • on
    • not on
  5. For the third field, either select another filter or enter a full or partial character string as allowed.

    Tip: If you're permitted to enter characters, you can use the following variables in this field:

    • * for a replacement of one or more characters
    • ? to replace a single character

  6. Optional: To search using more than one filter at a time, click Add Filter and repeat steps 2 through 5 for each filter you want to add.
  7. Click Search.

    The search results are displayed in the Results area. With the results you may:

    • Select one item and perform tasks using available commands.
    • Pick different columns to display different types of information.
    • Export your search results to CSV format. For more information, see Exporting Data.

Enabling Azure Hybrid Benefits for VMs and databases

You can enable or clear the Azure Hybrid Benefit option for your Azure Virtual Machines running Windows Server or Azure SQL databases through the Service Portal.

  1. Select Applications from the left menu.
  2. From the Applications page, select an Azure VM or an Azure SQL database.


    • If you click a service's blue, linked name, the summary page for that service is displayed.
    • To select multiple services, Ctrl-click or Shift-click anywhere in the table row for the service except for the linked service name, which will display the service's summary page.
  3. Do one of the following:
    • For Azure VMs, select Actions > VM > Enable Azure Hybrid Benefit.
    • For Azure SQL databases, select Actions > Database > Enable Azure Hybrid Benefit.
  4. In the Set Azure Hybrid Benefit dialog, select Apply Azure Hybrid Benefit to confirm that you have Windows Server license entitlements that can be applied, and click OK.