Microsoft quietly extends Azure reserved instances to five-year term

But only for one HPC-oriented instance type, with steeper exit charges and deeper discounts

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Microsoft has quietly added a five-year term to Azure reserved instances, the commit-for-years-and-score-deep-discounts option in its cloud.

Reserved instances are the cheapest way to consume Azure resources – even cheaper than spot instances. They allow use of the Azure Hybrid Benefit, which means Windows licences bought for on-prem use can instead be consumed in the cloud and the dark arts of licensing calculations again see reserved instances emerge as a very fine option on price.

Microsoft initially required buyers to pay upfront for reserved instances, but in late 2019 added pay-by-the-month options.

And now the company has quietly added a five-year reservation option.

A tiny post from late June revealed that the Azure HBv2 Virtual Machine now offers a five-year reservation option.

The fine folk at Licensing School have analysed the new offering and found it is a 67 per cent discount, even better than the 25 per cent for a one-year stint or 50 per cent for a three-year deal.

But if you bail from an HBv2 reservation, the penalty is 35 per cent rather than the usual 12.

The nature of the HBv2 explains why: the instance type boasts 120 CPU cores, 480GB of memory, 1.6TB of SSD and 200Gbps networking backed by an InfiniBand fabric. Unsurprisingly, Microsoft suggests the instance type as a fine option for high-performance computing.

The Register suggests that kind of rig isn't cheap, hence Microsoft seeking longer commitments and imposing higher charges on early quitters. ®

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