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Understanding Azure Subscriptions

Microsoft’s public cloud service Azure is the perfect solution for most businesses that require modern computing solutions. There are different ways to subscribe to Azure Cloud resources. Understanding Azure subscriptions will save businesses money and hassles. Businesses need to know how Azure subscriptions are designed and work. This article is an attempt at helping businesses understanding the Azure subscription to suit their needs.

What is Azure Subscription Hierarchy?

Before we can identify the right Azure subscription for your business, it might be helpful to understand the hierarchy Microsoft uses to separate user data.

  • Azure Tenant

    A tenant is at the highest level of the Azure subscription hierarchy. Not only is a tenant created by default with the first subscription, but also an identity is created on the Azure cloud with a new Azure Active Directory instance.

  • Azure Subscriptions

    Each tenant can have multiple Azure subscriptions. Subscription is at the level at which the customer is billed based on usage. It also provides a logical segmentation for simplifying administration. Typically, a company can have a single tenant and each of its departments using cloud services can have subscriptions for their respective Azure environments.

  • Azure Resource Groups

    Resource groups help in creating logical and billing segregations for resources. Each resource group can have different administrators to track billing. The billing data for several resource groups are collated and sent as a single invoice and can be managed much more easily at the subscription level.

What Are the Types of Azure Subscriptions?

One of the most important advantages of cloud services like Azure is payment flexibility. The same resources can be accessed using different payment models based on the subscribers’ requirements.

  • Sponsored or Trial Subscription

    In this model of subscription, Microsoft provides access to certain resources for either a limited period or provides a certain amount of credit or a combination of the two factors. In most cases, users will have to supply their credit card information for Microsoft to verify their identity and eventually convert them as paying subscribers. These subscriptions may cripple some functionalities which are available to paying users.

  • Pay-as-you-go Azure Subscription

    The pay-as-you-go model is not only the most affordable form of paid subscriptions but also the most widely used method. This is because even individuals and small businesses with budget constraints can use enterprise-level features at affordable rates for shorter durations. You can control your expenditure by moderating your resource consumption.

  • Enterprise Agreement (EA) Azure Subscriptions

    These are high volume licenses that require businesses to commit a certain amount of resources for a certain duration. The lack of flexibility in these subscriptions is compensated with significant discounts and certain other privileges such as the right to use on-premises licenses in combination with Azure resources.

  • Azure Windows Virtual Machines Desktop Reserved Instances

    This is a special category of subscription for individual users and small and medium businesses who can reserve their Azure Virtual Machines for one-year or three-year terms. While users can choose between an upfront payment or based on monthly payments, they can avail of significant discounts and get computing capacity in Azure datacenters on-priority.

What Are the Factors to Consider for Azure Subscription?

Now that we know how the different types of subscriptions, and the hierarchy applicable for billing and administration, let us consider the factors to be considered for purchasing a subscription.

  • Cloud Computing Model

    Azure Services can be primarily consumed in three modes, Software as a Service (SaaS), Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), and Platform as a Service (PaaS).

    Office 365 applications that use Azure services are the easiest to consume with minimal setup. These applications are delivered on the SaaS model. These are relatively more expensive than the other two models.

    Between PaaS and IaaS, PaaS is more affordable, but IaaS provides greater control and is especially useful for supporting legacy applications.

  • Capacity Distribution

    Most Azure subscriptions have capacity limits. Some might require the subscribers to raise a ticket for expansion. Additionally, there might be technical and non-technical reasons to separate workloads. In such scenarios, it is prudent to segregate workloads based on subscriptions and resource groups wherever applicable.

  • Multi-Tenancy Requirements

    In the case of some customers, it makes financial sense to deploy a single application instance for their entire consumer base. This arrangement of using a single subscription for simultaneous use by several people is called multi-tenancy. While this is a simple mode of deployment, it can become expensive and inefficient if the architecture is not planned appropriately.

Apps4Rent Can Help with Right Azure Subscription

If this article hasn’t helped you to identify the right Azure subscription for your requirement, a friendly chat with our sales team certainly will. Our team is available 24/7/365 via phone, chat, and email. As a tier 1 Microsoft CSP, Apps4Rent provides helps you with cloud services ranging from Windows Virtual Desktops (WVD) to hosted solutions for on-premises applications. We offer managed Azure services as bundled packages starting as $29.95 per server per month. Contact us today for Azure services and other affiliated Microsoft solutions.

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