Microsoft has offered another signal that it greatly desires its customers to make long-term Azure commitments, adding another half-dozen services to its reservations program, the offer that sees it drop prices steeply if customers commit to one or three years of Azure assets.
The program now covers Azure database for MySQL, PostgresSQL and MariaDB, plus three types of Azure storage.
Microsoft has made reserved Azure instances not just the cheapest way to consume its cloud, but also makes software licences more portable for those that sign up for its long-term deals.
Reserved instances initially required up-front payments for all planned consumption, making them look an awful lot like conventional capital expenditure.
The prepayment move raised eyebrows because one of the main accounting benefits of cloud is the ability to shift computing expenses onto the operational expenditure side of the corporate ledger where they are immediately tax effective and simpler and easier to expense.
In September 2019 Microsoft added an option for monthly payments, bringing reserved instances into line with its general preference for as-you-go pricing.
Microsoft is refreshingly up-front with its motivation for the big discounts reserved capacity carries: it says that its own planning gets easier if it knows customers have committed to consume certain levels of resources. The company also expects users of reserved instances to use Azure on an ad-hoc basis too.
Sixteen Azure offerings are now offered with reserved purchasing options and there’s no sign Microsoft won’t apply the pricing plan to plenty more.