Microsoft finally launches Azure reserved instances, eight years after Amazon Web Services

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Microsoft finally launches Azure reserved instances, eight years after Amazon Web Services

Microsoft has announced general availability of Azure Reserved Instances, more than eight years after Amazon Web Services launched its own one- and three-year pricing model.

Azure Reserved VM instances (RIs), which are now available worldwide, allow customers to reserve virtual machines on a one- or three-year term. Microsoft claimed customers could save up to 72 percent versus pay-as-you-go prices.

While Microsoft is late to the reserved instance party, it hopes to attract customers with flexibility around cancellations and refunds.

Takeshi Numoto, corporate vice president, cloud and enterprise, wrote in a Microsoft blog post: "Azure RIs also provide unprecedented flexibility should your business needs change. We’ve made it easy to exchange your RIs and make changes such as region or VM family, and unlike other cloud providers, you can cancel Azure RIs at any time and get a refund."

Microsoft touted even greater cost savings for Windows Server customers who combine Azure RIs with Azure Hybrid Benefits, which the company said could equate to savings of up to 82 percent verses pay-as-you-go prices, though it noted that "actual savings may vary based on region, instance type, usage or software licence costs".

The company pointed to other ways it wants to help customers save money on its public cloud services: per-second billing, which is rounded down to the last minute; auto-shutdown to avoid cost blowouts on test and dev or batch operations environments; and its free Azure Cost Management, based on technology from its 2017 Cloudyn acquisition.

Amazon Web Services has had one- and three-year reserved instances since 2009. AWS launched three-year no upfront standard reserved instances for most instance types earlier this year.

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