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Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive collection of cloud-based services and features, ranging from Infrastructure as a Service virtual machines to Software as a Service offerings, such as Office 365. Using Azure subscriptions, businesses can choose which Azure services and features they want to deploy in the cloud. Prior to deployment to Azure, it is important to know how Microsoft bills for Azure services as well as what levels of support are provided.

This course provides an explanation of Azure subscriptions, the different types of subscriptions that are available, and the options available that can be used to save money in an Azure deployment. The course then focuses on Azure services, how they are priced and, where applicable, what metering costs are associated with the service, and how it is metered. This course also covers the Service Level Agreements that are available for some of the Azure services and the different levels of support that can be purchased. Lastly, it covers the Azure service lifecycle, including public and private previews of new services and features, and how you can be notified when they become available for preview.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand Azure subscriptions and subscription types
  • Understand Microsoft’s Azure pricing
  • Plan and manage costs associated with subscriptions
  • Understand Azure support options
  • Understand Microsoft’s Service Level Agreements
  • Understand Azure’s service lifecycle

Intended Audience

  • Sellers or purchasers of cloud-based solutions and services
  • Individuals preparing for Microsoft’s Azure AZ-900 exam


  • Basic understanding of cloud computing
  • Experience with Azure, while not required, will be helpful

You can find details about the Basic support option for Azure at this link, along with details about the other support options mentioned in this lecture. For more information about the Premier support plan, please visit this link.


Microsoft offers four support plans that can provide you with technical support, developer, standard, professional direct, and premier. The developer plan is for trial and non-production environments and provides technical support during normal business hours. The response time from Microsoft for this plan is within eight hours. The Standard plan provides 24/7 access to support engineers by phone or email for your production workloads. And Microsoft's response time is within one hour. The Professional Direct plan also offers 24/7 technical support with a one-hour response time but also includes operational support, training, and proactive guidance from a ProDirect delivery manager. The Premier plan offers 24/7 technical support with a 15-minute response time and includes all the features of the Professional Direct plan, but includes guidance by a designated technical account manager. 

If you have an enterprise agreement with Microsoft, you can purchase any of the plans except the Developer plan and the bill will be incorporated in the enterprise agreement. You can request support from Microsoft by opening a support ticket from the Azure portal. Choose Help & Support from the left navigation menu and complete the Basic, Problem, and Contact Information sections. You can monitor the status of your support ticket by choosing all support requests from the Help & Support blade. 

Other options for support include the Microsoft Developer Network Forums. In these forums, you can search for and read the technical questions and responses to questions submitted by other Microsoft developers and testers. Other resources include Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Azure Feedback Forums which are communities of developers, system administrators, and Azure customers. 

Another good resource for support is the Azure Knowledge Center. The Knowledge Center is a database of answers to common support questions from the Azure community of developers, customers, and experts. You can browse through answers or search for specific keyword search terms to find the support you need.

About the Author

Jeff is a technical trainer and developer residing in Arizona, USA. He has been a Microsoft Certified Trainer for the past 18 years, providing in-house development and training on Microsoft server operating systems, PowerShell, SQL Server and Azure.  When he’s not developing and delivering courses on Azure, he’s photographing galaxies, nebulae and star formations from his computer-automated observatory in Chino Valley, Arizona using a 14” Schmidt Cassegrain telescope.