Monthly Archives: October 2013

New 2013 SPLA Agreement

You might have heard Microsoft has a new SPLA agreement coming out this month.   With Microsoft, the changes only take effect when you sign a new SPLA.  If your agreement has a 2010 version, you must adhere to the 2010 agreement terms, not the new agreement terms.  There’s a lot of misinformation regarding this in the blog world.   Remember the SQL 2008 use rights…in which you could license SQL by processor up until you sign a new agreement?   These changes work the same way.

I wrote about this earlier, but here’s the biggest change in the 2013 terms

  • Install SPLA licenses on customer owned hardware.  The service provider can install SPLA on customer owned hardware — As long as the SERVER (not a PC) is MANAGED and CONTROLLED by the service provider.  You CANNOT take a customer owned hardware that is already licensed under their own internal volume license agreement and install SPLA licenses  on the same server.  In other words, if a server is covered with the customer’s Enterprise Agreement for Windows, you cannot install SPLA licenses on the same server.  If you would like to provide this service, contact your reseller. There is a new addendum that will allow you to provide this solution if you have a 2010 SPLA agreement. (no need to sign a new SPLA if you have the addendum).
  • $100 (US) monthly reporting minimum.  If you have a signed 2013 version of the SPLA, you must report a minimum of $100.  Microsoft has a 6 month rule of zero usage, on the 7th month you must start reporting $100 a month.  So….what happens if you only have $50 dollars worth of usage and sign a 2013 SPLA?  You have to report $100 regardless.  In my opinion, if you report less than $100 a month, use a third-party to host the software and use their SPLA.  Please remember when you signed your SPLA.  SPLA is a 3 year agreement.
  • Azure- Just like using any other 3rd party as a data center, the SPLA customer can use Microsoft.  In the event of termination, the SPLA customer is responsible for removing the software from their Azure servers.
  • Hosting Community – in the past, SPLA customers would be required to join the hosting community as part of their agreement.  As of 2013, this is no longer a requirement.  I would still recommend joining, it does provide program updates.  Just because it is no longer a requirement, does not mean Microsoft discontinued this resource.

That’s the main point(s) I wanted to review.  Always good to understand timing.  When you sign a new SPLA, you have to follow the new rules.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on October 22, 2013 in Uncategorized


Two heads are better than one!

We all know Amazon. What was once known as an online bookstore has transformed into an online behemoth of hosted services. What’s interesting about Amazon, like Microsoft and others, is they leverage strategic partnerships to grow their business. Microsoft does this through the partner channel (you, me, and others). Amazon, because they are in several industries, is a bit more unique. I read an article recently on how Amazon is going after consumer products. According to the Wall Street Journal, they established alliances with companies such as Proctor and Gamble to lower shipping costs, establish warehouses, and deliver goods to the end customer more quickly then doing it on their own. What they are doing is setting up shop inside Proctor and Gamble’s warehouses, thus reducing the cost of storing and transporting their goods. This program is called “Vendor Flex.” This is a great way to compete against the Wal-Mart’s of the world. Watch out grocery stores, Amazon is knocking on your customers door! (literally) In the end, Amazon recognizes where it is strong (e commerce) and utilizes partners where it lacks resources.

Microsoft is placing a big bet on hybrid cloud environments (big surprise..right?). They already have strategic partners with AT&T and the like to build out diverse scenarios, but they are also leveraging their biggest licensing program, the Enterprise Agreement (EA) to gain market share.  I won’t divulge into the Enterprise Agreement, you can read about it via the Microsoft website, but they are going after this group with a vengeance.  They took Office 365 and made it into a billion dollar business by leveraging partnerships and will do the same with Azure. They created incentives for system integrators to deploy it, had resellers promote it, and utilized their own licensing agreements to sell it.

I used to manage Office 365 (at the time BPOS) on the reseller side. I thought this was the perfect program for small companies that do not have the resources to manage an infrastructure. In a way that’s true, but I underestimated how larger companies can leverage hosted solutions. They utilize their existing volume licensing agreement and have certain departments off premise while others on premise. For companies that do not have the resources to configure it, they can use the partner channel to deploy it. Microsoft turned around Office 365, they will do the same with Azure, all the while leveraging their partners.

If players like Microsoft and Amazon have strategic alliances…shouldn’t you? Does your partner offer the resources you need to succeed or are they just less expensive? Do you have a white labeling program or consider white labeling yourself? How are you leveraging SPLA? Have you reached out to your vendors for support? How does your SPLA reseller help? If interested, you should attend the Microsoft Hosting Summit or attend Hosting Con, where resellers and partners connect. Check it out for yourself Reach out to me, I can help too! Maybe in the end I’m right, two heads can be better than one!




Posted by on October 16, 2013 in In My Opinion


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Hosting CRM

For anyone that has ever worked with CRM understands it is not the easiest technology to deploy. It integrates with other applications and is becoming a must-have for sales organizations. Where there’s difficulty, comes opportunity for SPLA providers.

CRM for Microsoft SPLA has a few new flavors to align with CRM Online. Similar to Lync, SharePoint, and Exchange, each one comes with different functionality. The flavors under SPLA are the following: CRM Service Provider Edition (it’s the Professional Edition for hosted environments), CRM Essentials (formerly ESS), and CRM Basic (Formerly CRM limited). The actual SKU’s are listed below. For a complete summary of the differences, please check the SPUR, I also found this article on the CRM Online website (CRM Online)

QHH-00028 Dynamics CRM Service Provider Edition
QHH-00089 Dynamics Basic
QHH-00090 Dynamics CRM Essentials

From a licensing perspective, it is licensed by user (SAL) and does require SQL and Windows. Check out my other posts around those offerings and licensing guidance. What’s interesting about CRM is it does not require the service provider to be Dynamics authorized as is the case with Great Plains and other Dynamics offerings. As indicated at the beginning, CRM does require expertise (especially hosting it) but can be very profitable. Once you deploy CRM, you can add other solutions such as Exchange and SharePoint to be a one stop shop for hosted solutions. To install CRM, the license key code will be embedded in the software. Download the media from the VLSC website (see “License Keys and Media” post). It’s a pretty thick file, be patient.

If you have a CRM offering, would love to learn more about it. Hit me up on LinkedIn at the top right of this screen.

Thanks for reading,



Posted by on October 10, 2013 in CRM


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No More Cloud!

Private cloud, public cloud, hybrid cloud, ominous cloud, or whatever the cloud, maybe now is the time to create a new buzz word to describe your offering.  People  have their own opinion on what “cloud” really means, and this leads to even more confusion. I believe the term “cloud” was first used by Eric Schmidt with Google, who in conversation said “cloud.”  (Don’t quote me on that).

Regardless of the kind of cloud you market, what you are really saying is “I have a solution to your problem that I can help you with.” It used to be the cloud was synonymous with storage. According to a recent Gartner study, over 50% of enterprises will have some sort of applications hosted somewhere else.  I can guarantee not all of that is storage!

Successful companies that host information for other organizations do more than just provide a cloud environment, they provide a solution. Companies who consider themselves a trusted solution provider as oppose to just a cloud provider (or even a service provider) will win. “Trusted” is the key word.  The biggest obstacle remains security.  Can they trust you with their data?

The question you need to ask yourself is what differentiates your offering from the 8,500 other hosting companies? Keep in mind -everyone is 99.9% uptime (yeah right). The entire IT landscape makes up roughly $2 trillion dollars. According to the Microsoft site, Azure signs up over 1,000 customers (not users) a day and Office 365 claims that one in four enterprise customers use it. It’s not just Microsoft. Take a look at Amazon, VMWare, and Google. Everyone wants to be “Cloud.” Check out

In my article, “Office 365 Under SPLA” I expressed you need to embrace the big players, not compete. As an example, Amazon and Azure will not deploy RDS, you need to provide RDS via SPLA. Maybe that’s an opportunity. Check out the FAQ guide for Azure (especially under RDS) They provide the infrastructure, you provide the RDS licenses to the customer. Maybe the SAL for SA SKU is your route – (which I might add is NEVER reported). SAL for SA is simply a way for your customer who already made the investment in software assurance on the underlying software to pay less.  There’s also license mobility with software assurance to consider.

Here’s my point in all of this- if the IT industry is 2 trillion dollars, I want you to get a piece of that very large pie.  To do that, you have to go beyond “cloud.”  Question to consider -what are you doing to help customers with their hosted solutions that no one else is doing today? Answer that intelligently, you will win.  Maybe this is the “Solution Provider Licensing Agreement” after all.

Thanks for reading,


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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in In My Opinion


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Features of Lync

Here’s a little blurb on the features of Lync.  I think Call management/Lync is a HUGE opportunity for service providers.  Not a lot of companies host it today and organizations are not keen on deploying it in house.  Let me know if you are interested in learning more or hosting Lync today.   Love to hear about your offering.  

Lync can be used for license mobility and it there is an option for the SAL for SA option.  This is great if you have a multi-tenant (shared) infrastructure.  Below is directly from the SPUR.  New edition of the SPUR is at

The available SAL types are:

  • Lync Server 2013 Standard SAL (User / Device)
  • Lync Server 2013 Enterprise SAL (User / Device)
  • Lync Server 2013 Plus SAL (User / Device)
  • Lync Server 2013 Enterprise Plus SAL (User / Device)
  • Productivity Suite SAL (User only)

You do not need SALs for any user or device that accesses your instances of the server software without being directly or indirectly authenticated by Active Directory, or Lync Server.

Standard SAL


Each user or device for whom you obtain a Standard SAL or Productivity Suite SAL (user only) may use the following features of the server software.

  • All Instant Messaging functionality
  • All Presence functionality
  • All Group Chat functionality
  • All PC-to-PC computer audio and video functionality
Enterprise SAL


Each user or device for whom you obtain an Enterprise SAL or Productivity Suite SAL (user only) may use the following features of the server software.

  • The features of the Standard SAL described above
  • All Audio, Video, and Web Conferencing functionality
  • All Desktop Sharing functionality
Plus SAL


Each user or device for whom you obtain a Plus SAL may use the following features of the server software.

  • The features of the Standard SAL described above
  • All Voice Telephony functionality
  • All Call Management functionality
Enterprise Plus SAL


Each user or device for whom you obtain an Enterprise Plus SAL may use the following features of the server software.

  • The features of the Standard SAL described above
  • All Audio, Video, and Web Conferencing functionality
  • All Desktop Sharing functionality
  • All Voice Telephony functionality
  • All Call Management functionality
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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in License Mobility, Lync


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