How many times have you said that over the years? If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky…you probably haven’t gone through an audit! (yet).
The Service Provider Use Rights (SPUR) is the document that explains how products can be used. What it does not provide is real life scenarios nor does it explain every situation. Let me provide an example, nowhere in the SPUR (or your signed agreement) does it define what is dedicated and what is shared. You have customer owned licenses that you install on a server in your data center. In your mind, this is perfectly fair. It’s your server, their license…why not? I agree..nothing is wrong…if it’s dedicated. Next question…where does it say what is dedicated and what is not? The truth; it doesn’t.
In the eyes of Microsoft, every server needs a license. If one server has internal licensing that you purchased for your internal employees, you cannot use the same server to deploy SPLA licenses for external users. It comes down to use rights. Internal licensing prohibits commercial hosting. If you don’t believe me, check out page 10 of the PUR (use rights for internal licensing).” The licensing construct of internal use doesn’t match that of SPLA and therefore needs to be kept separate.
There are two main points I want to be sure to communicate:
- Licenses belonging to the end customer cannot be shared among other customers of the service provider; this means that end customer owned licenses cannot be used in shared hosting environments (where more than one customer accesses a server) – they can only be used in dedicated environments (one server is dedicated to a particular end customer). Unless the end customer uses license mobility (which is a software Assurance benefit). Check out license mobility http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/software-assurance/license-mobility.aspx If you are not on the list of authorized mobility partners – get on the list by signing the license mobility addendum (get this from your reseller) This is the direction of the industry in my opinion. Don’t want you to be left out!
- No mixing/matching of server/CALs on a product-by-product basis. This means that the end customer CALs for a particular product cannot be used to access servers deployed that particular product and which are licensed by the service provider under SPLA. It is ok for a service provider to rely on end customer owned licenses for one particular product (like SQL) but acquire licenses for a different product (like Windows) via their SPLA. (as long as it’s dedicated). It also means that if an end customer has Servers/CALs for a particular product(s) and chooses to move to a hosted model with a service provider, they will need to acquire any additional licenses for that product(s) under their volume licensing agreement (i.e. if they increase the number of seats or require more servers for a built out for deployment or load balancing). It’s not ok for the service provider to acquire SALs under SPLA when the number of seats goes up for the end customer or when additional servers are required. Be careful with customer owned licenses if you have SPLA and vol. licensing. Unless you monitor closely and all your engineers know the use rights, you may accidentally mix licenses.
So…where is all this spelled out in the SPUR? It’s not nor will it be in the foreseeable future. If Microsoft allowed volume licensing to be installed in a shared environment, there would be no need for license mobility. Secondly, think of all the deployment scenarios that come up in one of your sales calls. The SPUR cannot address every scenario or else the document would be 1000 pages (as oppose to the 900 pages it is already)
In my opinion, I think Microsoft should be more clear on what is dedicated and what is shared. I also think you need to work with a reseller that fully understands Software Assurance. I am not 100% right all the time (ask Mrs. SPLA Man) but feel pretty confident the direction of the industry is the hybrid cloud.
Which licensing program offers the greatest discount? It’s the Enterprise Agreement (EA). What is the main component of the Enterprise Agreement? Software Assurance. Which program are Microsoft reps talking to your customers about? You guessed it…The Enterprise Agreement. That’s why it’s important to understand Software Assurance, the use rights associated with it, and work with a team that understands EA’s as well as SPLA. Your customers and your CEO will thank you later!
Thanks for reading,