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Learn more about Azure Subscription

Updated: Jul 4

What is an Azure Subscription?

Azure Subscriptions represent a core organizational structure within Microsoft Azure, serving as a logical container that groups resources for billing, management, and access control. Each subscription is linked to a billing account and provides the boundary within which resources are created, managed, and billed. Subscriptions are key to understanding cost allocation and adhering to budget limits, ensuring that every service used is tracked and billed accordingly.

An Azure subscription holds the details of all resources like virtual machines (VMs), databases, and more. When we create an Azure resource like a VM, we identify the subscription it belongs to. As we use the VM, the usage of the VM is aggregated and billed monthly.


Azure subscription boundaries

An Azure subscription is a logical container used to provision resources in Azure. It holds the details of all resources like virtual machines (VMs), databases, and more. When we create an Azure resource like a VM, we identify the subscription it belongs to. As we use the VM, the usage of the VM is aggregated and billed monthly.

The following boundaries can be defined with an Azure subscription:

Billing boundary

The billing requirements for accessing resources are defined by this subscription type. Azure will give each subscription its own different billing so that we can create multiple subscriptions as per our business needs.

Access control boundary

In order to separate the subscriptions, by applying different management policies, we can construct an access control border at the subscription level to represent diverse organizational structures.

Azure Subscriptions Types

Microsoft Azure offers different types of subscriptions tailored to fulfil all types of requirements. Each subscription type is designed to meet the diverse needs of users ranging from students and individual developers to large enterprises, ensuring that all users can find a suitable entry point into Azure’s cloud services.


Azure Plan

Azure Plan is a structured offering under the Microsoft Customer Agreement that allows businesses to adapt their Azure usage based on specific organizational needs. It provides a tailored approach to cloud services, enhancing flexibility and scalability.


Enterprise Agreement (EA) Support

Enterprise Agreement (EA) Support is tailored for large organizations; the Enterprise Agreement facilitates extensive cloud service usage with a cost-effective model. By committing to a certain usage level, businesses can benefit from considerable discounts, making it a prudent choice for predictable and large-scale cloud applications.


Microsoft Azure EA Sponsorship

Microsoft periodically offers Azure credits to organizations under a sponsorship model. This Microsoft Azure EA Sponsorship is designed to foster exploration and adoption of Azure services, particularly helpful for non-profits or startups looking to innovate without the initial cost barrier.


Pay-As-You-Go

Emphasizing flexibility, this subscription model allows users to pay for Azure resources as they use them, ideal for businesses with fluctuating workload needs. Pay-As-You-Go provides a low barrier to entry, with no upfront costs and the ability to scale services as required.


Support Plans

Azure caters to varying support needs through its range of support plans. From basic support for trial and non-critical applications to premium plans offering 24/7 technical support and faster response times, businesses can select the level of support that best suits their operational requirements.


Free Trial

Aimed at new users, the Azure Free Trial offers $200 in Azure credits over 30 days, providing a risk-free environment to test and explore the capabilities of Azure services.


Visual Studio Subscribers

Azure integrates with Visual Studio subscriptions, offering monthly Azure credits that vary with the subscriber’s plan level. This benefit supports developers in building, testing, and deploying Azure applications.


Enterprise Dev/Test

Enterprise Dev/Test subscription offers a cost-effective way to manage development and testing environments, excluding production workloads. It provides discounted rates for these purposes, helping to minimize the costs associated with non-production Azure resources.


Action Pack

Designed for Microsoft partners, the Action Pack subscription provides tools, software, and resources necessary to build expertise and drive business growth with Microsoft products.


Microsoft Azure Sponsored Offer

Microsoft Azure Sponsored offer includes Azure credits provided by Microsoft to specific entities, supporting educational, promotional, or developmental projects that require cloud computing resources.


Azure Pass Sponsorship

Typically distributed during educational sessions or Microsoft events, the Azure Pass allows participants to gain temporary, free access to Azure, promoting hands-on learning and experimentation.


Azure in Open Licensing

Azure in Open Licensing program enables organizations to purchase Azure services through a licensing reseller, simplifying the process for small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt cloud solutions.


Azure for Students

Microsoft Azure for Students provides free or discounted access to students, aiming to enhance their educational journeys and technical skill sets with hands-on cloud experience.


Microsoft Azure for Students Starter

Microsoft Azure for Students Starter is targeted at secondary school students; this program offers access to a limited set of Azure services, introducing younger learners to cloud technology fundamentals.


Azure in CSP (Cloud Solution Provider)

Through Azure in CSP model, Microsoft partners can manage the entire lifecycle of their customers’ Azure services. This includes direct billing, provisioning, managing, and supporting their cloud products. Partners can deliver high-value services on top of Azure to provide comprehensive solutions tailored to the specific needs of their customers. This program also offers a single platform to directly manage customer engagements


Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching

Microsoft Azure Dev Tools for Teaching initiative supports educational institutions by providing free access to Azure and other Microsoft development tools, helping to prepare the next generation of engineers and developers.

Formerly known as Microsoft Imagine, this program supports academic institutions by providing free Microsoft development tools, including Azure, to educators and students, fostering the next generation of technology professionals.


Azure subscriptions

What is Azure Hierarchy?

Azure hierarchy provides a structured framework for organizing and managing Azure resources efficiently within a corporation. It delineates how resources are arranged, managed, and controlled, ensuring clarity in governance, compliance, and budget management across the Azure environment. This hierarchical model facilitates the deployment and management of cloud resources, enabling businesses to streamline operations and enhance security through consistent policy application.


Management Levels and Hierarchy

The Azure hierarchy is composed of several layers, each serving distinct roles but collectively ensuring comprehensive management and organization of Azure resources:


Management Groups

These are containers that help organize subscriptions and apply governance policies across many subscriptions effectively. Management groups allow for the hierarchical application of management policies and compliance assessments, making it simpler to handle large sets of resources across multiple subscriptions. This is particularly beneficial for large organizations with complex organizational structures, allowing centralized management without compromising the autonomy of individual departments or teams.


Subscriptions

A subscription is a logical container into which all resources are deployed. It acts as both a billing and policy boundary. A subscription helps manage costs and resource usage by providing a scope for resource grouping, access control, and management. Organizations can have multiple subscriptions under a single management group to separate environments, organizational units, or project requirements.


Resource Groups

Within each subscription, resources can be organized into resource groups. These groups serve as a container that holds related resources for an Azure solution. For instance, an application can have its related services, databases, and storage accounts in one resource group. Resource groups simplify resource management and deployment, as they allow for resources to be handled as a single entity.


Resources

At the lowest level of the hierarchy, resources are individual instances of services, such as virtual machines, SQL databases, or storage accounts. Each resource resides in a resource group and can have settings and policies applied at the individual level, which inherit the rules and policies set at higher levels of the hierarchy.


Buy an Azure subscription

Customers can buy an Azure subscription in two ways - Purchase directly from Microsoft - Get the same pay-as-you-go pricing through the Azure website or through an Azure sales specialist. Purchasing direct means that you:

  • Manage your Azure environment yourself—or get help from a partner.

  • Receive a monthly bill.

  • Have the option to choose an Azure support plan.

Enlist an Azure partner for a managed cloud solution

Work with a partner for complete, managed cloud solutions for Azure. Partners help you:

  • Provision, deploy and manage Azure services.

  • Customise a billing plan that meets your business needs.

  • Optimise costs and get the support you need.

Azure Regions and Geographies

  • As of now, Microsoft has 60+ Azure regions in 10 geo locations around the world.

  • A Region is a grouping of data centres that together form a deployment location for workloads

  • All region names are based on a general geography.

  • A geography location has multiple Azure data centres.

Azure Subscription Support Plans

​Best for

Non-critical workloads

Production workloads

Business-critical workloads

Reactive technical support

One business day response

1-hour response for critical cases

1-hour response + priority tracking of critical cases

Developer

Standard

Professional Direct

​Proactive technical support

Not applicable

Not applicable

Access to a pool of technical experts


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