Azure Dedicated Host is a relatively new Azure service. It was put on preview on August 2019. Subsequently, I guess they updated it on March 2020.

Azure Dedicated Host

Azure Dedicated Host is an Azure service that enables you to run virtual machines on a single-tenant physical server. In other words, you get an entire physical server in an Azure datacenter. The server or the hardware is dedicated to you (or your organization. Any other Azure customers do not share the workload capacity. However, in a regular scenario, various customers share the same physical server in the Azure data center.

In order to create a dedicated host, you first need to create Host Groups. Host groups are much like resource group. A host group is a resource that represents a collection of dedicated hosts. And the dedicated host itself is a physical server in the Azure datacenter. You can create a host group in a region, specify availability zone and number of fault domains. Then you add one or more hosts to it. Following illustration shows the structure of host group, dedicated host and VMs. It also shows the difference between a shared host and a dedicated host.

Benefits of using Azure Dedicated Host

Microsoft introduced Azure dedicated hosts to address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements. Lets look at the benefits in details –

Higher Control: You get an entire physical server to yourself. Therefore you have a lot of control over provisioning your VMs. You don’t have to compromise choice. You can choose the number of processors, server capabilities, VM series, and VM sizes within the same host. The VMs can be Windows, Linux, or SQL Server virtual machines on the same host. Additionally, you control the timing of all platform-initiated maintenance operations, such as OS patching, or hardware or software reboots. With dedicated hosts, you can opt-in to a maintenance window to reduce the impact to your service.

Address Compliance Requirements: Azure VMs run on an isolated and dedicated physical server. The physical server runs only your organization’s workloads. This host-level isolation helps address compliance requirements. As a result it helps to meet corporate compliance guidelines and standards.

Cost Reduction: You can take advantage of the the Azure hybrid benefit. You can bring your own licenses for Windows and SQL Server to Azure when you migrate your workloads to Dedicated Host.

Azure Dedicated Host Pricing

Dedicated Host is charged at the host level regardless of the number of Azure VMs you run on the host. Software licenses are billed separately from compute resources at a VM level based on usage. Azure Dedicated Host also gives you more control of the host like:

  • The underlying hardware infrastructure (host type)
  • Processor brand, capabilities etc.
  • Number of cores
  • Type and size of the Azure Virtual Machines you want to deploy

Visit here to get all the details about pricing.

To Conclude…

I purposefully kept this one very short because I wanted to make this post as a general awareness post. If you are a Azure infrastructure architect or play a similar role, this information is good to have in your back pocket.

Until next time, take care and stay safe!