20. August 2015
ARM , DevOps
Having a proper strategy and agreements with software vendors how licenses are used will speed up teams in using Dev/Test lab Environments . Script the registering (plus deregister) and monitor usages is a good way to keep the costs low and the teams from getting in to the dark side of illegal software use.
An Azure subscription in an Enterprise Enrolment can have two flavors, normal and MSDN. With a "normal" Azure subscription everybody can use the Azure default images with installed software and for sure the Operating system. All costs are covered in the Azure EA bill.
The MSDN Azure subscription is interesting for Dev/Test Azure Labs. With this Azure subscription you don't have to pay for the installed software and operating system. You only pay for the Azure infrastructure (same as with the Linux images). A big difference is that only team members with MSDN are allowed to access these environments and they aren't allowed to run production systems. For WebSites (Azure Web Apps) and HDInsight there is also a discount on a MSDN EA Azure Subscription.
The MSDN benefits only work for MSDN licenses covered Microsoft Software. For example with the Oracle images you still have to pay for Oracle, which is expensive. When you already have an Oracle license you better can use that one instead of the pre-prepared images.
For other software you have to arrange something for the licenses which can be very challenging. Bring your own license is a solution for it. Let teams arrange it them self, but this will slow them down. Not something we want. Ask the tool / software vendor for specific Dev/Test lab licenses or a pay per use model is a better solution. Some vendors have licenses servers which can be used to log the activity.
Open source software is a complete different story. You're free to use it and install it on the images.
Licenses Costs per Dev/Test Lab environment template.
A special note is for custom Azure images (don't forget the ones used in ARM templates), keep a clear and for teams easy accessible list available with the installed software and license details so they know what the costs will be. Having average costs per image or ARM template available is even better. Monitored from other teams using the same Image or RG for their Dev/Test activities, real costs.