200 Level SPLA Licensing Questions – Answered

14 May

Starting a new series on this blog “top licensing questions” Here’s a list of some often unanswered questions…answered!  In many instances it’s tough to go into great detail or specific customer scenarios via a blog.  Please email me at for specific scenarios.  Keep in mind, blogging is my hobby and I am relaying information from experience.  You should refer to the SPUR for specific/audit questions. (It’s a great read).  Microsoft has the final say. I am interested in feedback and/or ideas for new posts; let me have it!

1. Does a service provider need to report an extra Exchange SAL for non-authorized users, such as a conference room?

A mailbox that represents a room is defined as a resource mailbox and does not require a SAL.

2.  Can I use the same server I use internally to host software via SPLA?

No. Regardless of the licensing program, the license is always assigned to the hardware/VM.  If you choose to assign two licenses from two different programs to one hardware, some of the use rights will contradict each other.  SPLA is designed for external consumption whereas internal licensing is designed for your own employees.  Good news – SPLA allows 50% of what you are hosting externally to be used internally.  Let’s say you host 50 exchange licenses, you can use up to 25 internally.  These are not free, just reported under your SPLA. (Instead of reporting just 50 licenses, you would report 75).  Check SPUR for more details.

3.  Can I install Office on a device without reporting Windows desktop?

No.  This would fall under the managed PC use case.  There is an addendum that would allow you to rent out a desktop to third parties; to do this via SPLA, there is a “managed PC” addendum.  This would require you to license the desktop OS via an OEM license and report Windows 7/8 via SPLA (as well as Office if Office is installed).  Ugh.  Only other option would be to report Exchange “plus” Skus which includes Outlook.  (no other Office components) or install Office on a server and report Windows, RDS, and Office. (RDS & Office by user- Windows by processor)

4.  What are the rules of licensing additional users under License Mobility for Software Assurance? Can a service provider license additional users with SALs?

No. In License Mobility for SA scenario, the end customer has to maintain CALs in their perpetual licensing program to access the application servers. It is not possible to license additional users with SALs, because that would mean mixing/matching licensing for one Product.  Keep in mind that under license mobility – end customer’s are in essence transferring those licenses into your data center.  They can only transfer back after 90 days. To quote the mobility brief (download a copy here ) You may move your licensed software from a third party’s shared servers back to your servers or to another third party’s shared servers, but not within 90 days of the last assignment. Check mobility addendum.

6. What happens if my customer claims to have SA on these licenses but in actuality…they don’t.  Am I on the hook?

Yes. You are responsible for your own hosted offering.  I would ensure you have documentation of all customer owned licenses AND make sure this is part of your agreement with your customer.  You may get audited, but that does not stop you from auditing your customer.

7. Where do I report my SPLA licenses?

Contact the SoftwareONE SPLA team 1-800-444-9890 or

Stay tuned for more questions but more importantly – answers to these questions!

Thanks for reading,



Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Uncategorized


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5 responses to “200 Level SPLA Licensing Questions – Answered

  1. Dennis Knappe

    June 11, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Hi, I have a question regarding #2. I have checked the SPUR and the contract, but I couldn’t find anything that says exactly that. Could you be more specific on where to find this restriction? Thank you.

    • splaman

      June 11, 2014 at 3:28 pm

      Hi Dennis,

      Thanks for reading. The Product Use Rights (for volume licensing) states you state you cannot use the products for commercial hosting. So if you assign SPLA and your internal volume licensing (PUR) to the same server that external users are accessing, you have gone against the PUR. Thus, the reason it has to be on separate hardware. Strange isn’t it?

      The 50% rule is found in your SPLA agreement.

      Hope this helps

      • Dennis Knappe

        June 12, 2014 at 1:07 am

        Hi Splaman,
        thanks for your reply.
        For now, I have to disagree with you on that one. PUR (April 2014) states:
        “You may not host the products for commercial hosting services.”

        Now, let’s say, you have 5 Windows Servers for hosting purposes and 3 Windows Servers for your internal use. All of these are run virtually on one hardware. By reporting 5 Windows Server in SPLA and assigning 3 from your Open Licence, everything seems fine to me.

        I do host our Servers for our clients and we don’t access the hosted VMs. Our hosted in environment is accessed through different VLANs (each for every hosting client).

        Do I miss something essential here? It doesn’t seem like it to me. If so, please tell me, where I’m wrong.

        Thank you in advance.


      • Dennis Knappe

        June 12, 2014 at 1:22 am

        Sorry for double posting, but my post might be a little confusing to a native speaker since I’m from Germany 🙂

        First, I would only assign 2 server licences (3 VMs, 2 per licence possible).
        Sencondly, I need to clarify the VLANs: Every hosting client has its own VLAN, not “each for every customer.” Sorry.

        And most importantly: What I meant was: If you don’t host the products for commercial hosting services, as we do right now, I don’t see a problem.

        We use 2 clustered servers which are licensed identically, but hosted server products and internal used products are licensed correctly. I hope you understand what I mean 🙂

      • splaman

        June 12, 2014 at 8:31 am

        Hi Dennis,

        Maybe it would help if we communicate off this blog – email me at

        As long as it is installed on separate hardware and VMs from what you are hosting, your good.

        If not, what you risk is more than what you would save by doing so. You have to separately license internal and SPLA on separate hardware and VMs. Otherwise you contradict the use rights between these two licensing programs as pointed out in the PUR – volume licensing prohibits commercial hosting, SPLA is designed for commercial hosting. You assign a license to a server. If that server is hosting you are abiding by SPLA but not by volume licensing. I get it, it’s a dumb (no lack of better word) rule.

        I read online “You think compliance is expensive, try non compliance.” Good thing to remember.


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