Monthly Archives: September 2013

Answers to your Top 5 SPLA Hosting Questions!

1. Is there an auditing tool available for SPLA in the marketplace?  Not at the moment, but reach out to me via twitter or LinkedIn and we can discuss further.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve 🙂

2. How do I lower my monthly reporting costs?  No easy answer with this one.  You need to really take an inventory/snapshot of your environment.  How many VMs are really running?  Can I eliminate server sprawl by virtualizing more heavily?  Am I reporting users when I should really be reporting processor or cores?  A lot of service providers report the same thing every month out of convenience.  Don’t do that!  Furthermore, if you are outside the United States, I have a few ideas for you as well.  Reach out to me via LinkedIn or Twitter @SPLA_Man

3. With volume licensing there is a 1-2 ratio, meaning 1 license covers two processors with Windows 2012.  Does the same hold true for SPLA?  No.  You must license all the processors on the machine.  Check out my blog post

4. How do I compete with Office 365?  You need to provide a service outside of the product itself.  Check out my blog

5. My application that we developed outputs data out of an Excel file.  Why on Earth would I need to license Excel?  Simple…because it uses Excel.

There’s a reason why Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world.  You install it…you have to license it!

Thanks for reading,


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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Compliance, Office 365


How SAL Licenses Really Work

SAL (subscriber access licenses) can be complex and without question the number one underreported licenses under SPLA.  Why all the confusion stems from misinterpretation of the SPUR and/or bad advice.

When you report by user, you have to take in account each user that HAS access to the software, not who does.   Microsoft is not based on concurrent licensing.  I wrote about this prior, but thought it was worth repeating.  If you have 5 users that use the software, but 15 users can access at any given time, you must report all 15.  Seems ridiculous, but is 100% true.  Consider licensing by processor if user licenses become too difficult to track.

Read this section of the SPUR (use rights).  “You must acquire and assign a SAL to each user that is authorized to access your instances of the server software directly or indirectly, regardless of actual access of the server software.”  It’s the last part of that sentence that can get you in trouble “regardless of actual access of the server software” For a copy of the SPUR check out




Posted by on September 21, 2013 in Compliance


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SPLA and Azure – Friend or Foe?

With the release of the new Azure platform comes both opportunity and challenges for the Service Provider community.

This is an opportunity for smaller Service Providers to look at developing partnerships with Microsoft (Azure) or with other established providers to promote their hosted solution.  Why pay for a datacenter when you can leverage someone else’s?

There’s also opportunity for large ISV’s (Independent Software Vendors who develop applications and host it using Microsoft technology) to leverage a third party platform, utilize volume licensing (Azure EA) and still use SPLA for RDS, Office, or any other Microsoft technology users can access directly or indirectly.  They can also purchase SQL  from Azure or use SQL SAL licenses via SPLA.  They would not report Windows, since that is covered with Azure.  In a sense, SPLA and Azure can coexist.  Maybe Azure is a friend after all.

The challenge for SPLA’s is more competition. (Foe) Microsoft is not only competing against Service Providers for SaaS applications with Office 365, now they are competing against them in the datacenter as well.  (IaaS).  Differentiation is going to be key for SPLA’s. Check out my Office 365 blog in which I review (at a high level) how SPLAs can compete.  Microsoft is not going away, it is just getting started.

There is a frequent asked questions guide at  Here’s a couple highlights from the FAQ:

If you are a Service Provider with a signed SPLA using SQL Server, you can:

  • Obtain a SQL image from the Windows Azure VM gallery and pay per-minute rate of SQL Server, or
  • Install or upload your SQL Server Standard image with a Subscriber Access License (SAL) reported via your SPLA.

Notice in the second bullet point it did not say  “SQL Enterprise” Remember, SQL Enterprise SAL licenses were discontinued with the release of SQL 2012.  Check out “Why Timing is Everything” from this blog to learn more.

If you are an end-customer using SQL Server, you can:

  • Obtain a SQL image from the Windows Azure VM gallery and pay the per-minute rate of SQL Server, or
  • Install or upload your own SQL Server using the license mobility benefits under Software Assurance.

Check out the Azure web page to learn pricing, etc.

I am curious, what are ways in which you as a hoster differentiate yourself?  What are your plans as it pertains to Office 365 and Azure?  Do you think Azure is a friend or foe? Happy to help brainstorm off line and provide additional guidance around this offering.




Posted by on September 6, 2013 in Uncategorized

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