Reseller Summit

Next month I will be attending the mother ship (Microsoft) to discuss licensing strategies and programs with all the US based SPLA Resellers. I would love to provide feedback to the Microsoft teams about your concerns, feedback, direction, or any other topics.

Let me hear it.

Thanks for reading,


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Posted by on February 23, 2017 in Uncategorized


What is the biggest challenge you face as a service provider?

This blog can only be relevant if the content is relevant.  So today, I thought I would ask…”what’s the biggest challenge you face as a service provider?”  Email me at  I am trying to see how I can be a better voice for the hosting community.  No…VDI is still not available!

Thank you for reading,



Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Uncategorized


Epic Community Connect and SPLA

The healthcare community has increased concerns with the way they have deployed (and licensed) their electronic medical record (EMR) software such as Epic Community Connect and others.  As a reader of this blog, you know that when you deploy software for the benefit of a third party (non employee) SPLA must be part of the conversation.  The only exception to this rule is if you actually own the code to the software you are hosting.  In other words, if you developed the software, you can use your own volume licenses to host your software.  If you host a third party software (such as Epic) you must license this in SPLA.   In most cases, many healthcare companies do not own the application, but lease it from the EMR vendor.

Rewind a few years and let’s pretend you are a large hospital who partnered with Epic to provide best in class patient record management for your clients, doctors, and other clinics. Your Epic deployment resides on a Windows Server, SQL Server, and RDS.  As the IT director, you purchased several server licenses and hundreds of Client Access Licenses (CAL) to cover all the external users.  You think you are covered; no one mentions you need to license this via SPLA.  Your reseller didn’t tell you, Microsoft didn’t tell you, and for that matter the vendor didn’t tell you.  You think all is well based off the information you received.  Fast forward 3 years and your volume licensing agreement is up for renewal.  Someone on the licensing side informs you that you shouldn’t true-up licenses or renew your agreement under volume licensing, you need to license SPLA.  You think that’s fine, if you must license under a different program who are you to argue. But what about all those license you already purchased and own?  Unfortunately, you cannot return them, you must allocate those internally.  You think to yourself that’s fine, except for one minor detail…. you purchased hundreds of CALs and you do not have hundreds of employees; those license you own are essentially worthless.  On top of everything else, you just received an audit notification.

Why would they receive an audit notification?  Once a vendor recognizes you have been under-licensed, the vendor might want to dig in deeper to see how long you have been out of compliant and if you purchased enough licenses to cover all the users.  In 90% of all audits, the customer is under-licensed.  Now you own licenses you don’t need, but should’ve purchased more because you don’t own enough licenses to cover all external users initially.  The vendor will want you to pay the delta of what you should’ve paid under SPLA and what you purchased under volume licensing (plus an audit fee).

If you are a healthcare provider and have been notified by Microsoft or any other vendor, please contact us.  We have found that in many cases the licenses report is not always 100% accurate.

Thanks for reading,


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Posted by on October 12, 2016 in Compliance, EMR Software, Self Hosted


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Why Windows 10 in CSP stinks now but could be GREAT later

Microsoft made a pretty big announcement around Windows 10 and CSP.  Here’s a breakdown for those that are interested:

  1. Software Assurance is not included
  2. Windows 10 is available E3 and in CSP only
  3. Customers need a qualified OS license.  In other words, this is an upgrade license only.
  4. Not available under SPLA
  5. Not available in the shared computer activation model.
  6. Per user licensing with the ability to license on up to 5 devices per license.
  7. No minimum and surprise…no maximum either.
  8. Subscription is 1 year
  9. Pricing varies
  10. New use rights highlighted in the Product Terms

So why does this stink now but could be great later?  Pay attention to number 1, 4, and 5 in the list above.  That’s what stinks.   Thinking this will allow VDI?  Think again.

So why not?  Why the mystery around VDI and SPLA?  If I was Microsoft, I would go ahead and allow it but for only a select few SPLA providers.  Those providers are:

  1. Report on time.  Not one late payment/report during their agreement no matter what the excuse – “My reseller sucks” is not an excuse.  It’s a good reason to work with me though 🙂
  2. Deployed Hyper V (they must have some incentive to do this)
  3. Joined CSP program.

There you have it.  Microsoft wins big time – all that missed revenue from non reporters will get reported. Now you, the compliant service provider will be allowed VDI in SPLA.

The likelihood of this happening is slim to none.  I do think Microsoft is missing out with the Windows 10/VDI restriction.  Ever since I started in SPLA, I’ve been asked about VDI (or the lack thereof).  That was 11 years ago.

Thanks for reading,





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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in Uncategorized


Time to sign a new SPLA could be NOW!

Do you have an active SPLA agreement that expires in less than 1 year and you report Windows licenses?

I’ve written pretty extensively about Windows 2016.  If you sign a new SPLA or renew one (same difference) after September 2016, you MUST license by core for your Windows Servers regardless of which version you are running.

Don’t hate the messenger, but come October 1st your SPLA costs could rise.

Thanks for reading,



Posted by on September 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


Worried about Windows 2016 Cores?

Yes, it’s the talk of the town.  “Windows 2016!  Oh my!  It’s moving to cores!!!”  That part is true.  What is NOT true is even when Windows 2016 is released, it doesn’t mean you have to license by core – you can still license by processor for all 2012 and earlier editions.  The catch?  Once your agreement expires and you sign a new SPLA after October 1st (when Windows 2016 is released) you must license by core regardless which version you are running.

So what does this mean to you?  If I was a service provider that reports over 2k in Windows and SQL licenses,  I might readjust when my SPLA expires to extend processor based licensing.   Wait…What?   You can readjust when my SPLA agreement expires?  Sure.  I’m SPLA Man.  Anything is possible with SPLA Man.  Hit me up and we’ll figure out a strategy.

Thanks for reading,

Windows 2016 Man


Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Uncategorized


SPLA Audits are on the rise…are you ready?

There are BIG changes in store for SPLA – some great, some bad, some indifferent.  Windows 2016, Windows 10 in Azure, Shared Computer Activation, etc.  I will write about the updates shortly.

With all this change, Microsoft and other publishers recognize the complexities in tracking all those licenses.  In short, they know many (if not all) service providers have a difficult time staying compliant.  That’s one reason they audit.  I always say, if you go on vacation for a week be careful; Microsoft just might change the licensing rules on you.  So where do you turn for audit support and assistance?  How do you know what auditors are collecting is accurate and how do you know what Microsoft and other publishers tell you is accurate?  I can promise you it not always is.

Some people can play piano with their eyes closed; others can speak multiple languages fluently; and yet others can mow the grass while guzzling a beer.  Net of it is we all have our specialities; mine just happens to be interpreting data, negotiating down audit costs, and understand the licensing rules inside and out.  Who else writes about SPLA in their free time?  (I really need to get out more).

You have enough to worry about with your business, the last thing you need is an audit.  Let us take that pressure off of you and put it on us.  (or the vendor)

Thanks for reading,


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Posted by on August 23, 2016 in Uncategorized

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