What’s Your Licensing Strategy?

14 Jun

I love the question “What’s your cloud strategy?” It’s the new ice breaker for salespeople around the globe. My thoughts? Why bother asking customers about their cloud strategy if it does not include licensing?  The BIGGEST mistake service providers (SPLA’s) make is selling a solution first and worrying about the licensing impact later. They build data centers, talk about virtualizing, even talk about the savings of cap ex vs. op ex, but never talk about the licensing until someone brings it up or they get audited. Just because the technology enables something, does not mean you can license that way.

VDI is a prime example of this. “You can host virtual desktops as a service right? Install the desktop OS on a server and stream it? Why not? The concept has been around for years. I ‘Googled’ VDI as a service and several companies are doing this…it must be right…right?” Wrong! Yes, technically speaking you can host virtual desktops using Windows 7/8. Licensing gurus and the product user rights and the audit team will disagree with you. Unfortunately there’s no way to do this under SPLA. Next question that comes up is “why?” Wish I knew the answer, perhaps Microsoft is looking out after the OEM manufactures, but then again they launched Surface.

Microsoft is auditing everyone. There are few guarantees in life, but one guarantee is not everyone under the SPLA program is licensing correctly. Just a word of advice, know the licensing before implementing a solution.

Thanks for reading,



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2 responses to “What’s Your Licensing Strategy?

  1. Kenny Chan

    June 21, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Hi – thanks for that post. I also understand too that this isn’t possible under SPLA licensing but then what are all of the options available to make this happen as their are Hosting Providers offering DaaS such as Desktone.

    One option is of course having the end-user (customer) get their own SA/VDA licensing coverage for the virtual windows desktop piece. Could a Hosting Provider instead procure the licenses (SA or VDA) outside of SPLA (e.g. Open License) on behalf of the customer and indirectly bill them in full?


    • splaman

      June 21, 2013 at 12:43 pm

      Hi Kenny,

      Thanks for reading. The only way to procure licenses on behalf of your customer is to sign an outsourcer agreement. The Outsourcer (you) will sign into the customers Select or EA to permit you to purchase the licenses on the customers behalf. The licenses will remain in the end customers name, you are essentially just managing the licenses on behalf of the customer. Microsoft would ultimately need to approve this relationship, but that is one way to purchase licenses on behalf of the end customer. Keep in mind, you have to set this up in a dedicated environment. (nothing shared – physically or virtually).

      Everyday someone asks about VDI. I cannot speak to Dekstone specifically as I don’t know their environment. I would assume customers are purchasing the desktop OS or they are using Windows & RDS to offer a desktop like experience. This is using Windows Server and RDS under SPLA – which is legal. My advice? Don’t believe as advertised.


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