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Monthly Archives: October 2014

SQL Enterprise – it’s more than virtualization

I sat in on a webinar this afternoon and was really impressed with the different capabilities within SQL Enterprise.  I always sold SQL based off virtualization needs.  What a goof. Although important, there are several other factors that go into licensing SQL Enterprise as to Standard or Web.

Let’s first break the different components down to better understand the differences.

SQL Web – Basic SKU.  Designed for hosting web apps and websites.  Many hosting providers try to license SQL Web to support line of business applications. (which you cannot do by the way) Think of line of business applications as applications to run your business.  (very poetic by the way).

SQL Standard – The most common reported SKU in SPLA but also the one that gets service providers in trouble; especially as it pertains to virtualization and mobility within server farms.  Offers some high availability, although not as complete as Enterprise.  Database size is also an issue as it only supports up to 64GB.  Sounds like a lot, but ask a SQL admin how much that really is.  Newer editions offer mobility rights, and can be licensed on a per VM basis.  Not a bad thing.

SQL Enterprise – Ahh…SQL Enterprise.  This cost a lot doesn’t it?  Man, how can someone afford this month end and month out?  Ask your reseller what’s the difference between Enterprise and Standard and the first thing they will say is virtualization. (that’s what I did too for the record) Although true, there’s more to this than just virtualization.  For starters, the size alone is more than Standard.  (See chart below).  High availability with Enterprise is truly high availability.  It’s always on (Failover cluster instances and availability groups).  Although costs seem high, if data is lost, how much will that cost you?

SQL BI – The in between SKU, meaning its similar to Standard, but not as robust as Enterprise. In the SPLA world, it is licensed by user only.  This “Jan Brady” of SQL has…..you guessed it….BI features.  This SKU is very rarely reported.  If I had to guess, she will be merged or have licensing changes with future releases. No basis or knowledge, just an educated guess.

So back to SQL Enterprise.  I think the service provider community should listen to what other hosters have to say about SQL. Let’s look at the real IT wizards  (also known as ISV’s – those that develop applications) do with SQL Enterprise.  If you look at the chart below, this illustrates the features they use within Enterprise the most (Source: Microsoft)

Picture1

You can see (kind of unclearly) that scale and performance outweighs everything else. “Scale and Performance” means data compression, table partitioning, etc.  Over 23% say HA/DR is the most important feature. (always on).  I like to listen to these guys (ISV’s) since their business (their application) is only as good as the technology it resides on.  If they rely on a certain product over the other, I would like to better understand…why?  From the chart, it’s no surprise that performance ranks #1.  Imagine if performance was bad?  How good will their application look then?  So if they trust SQL Enterprise based off performance and HA…maybe you should give it a second glance.

From Microsoft, here’s the top 10 reasons hoster’s should consider Enterprise.  Oddly enough, virtualization wasn’t one of them.

1.More than 64GB memory

2.Online Re-Indexing

3.In-Memory OLTP

4.Always On Availability Groups

5.Partition Switching

6.Columnstore Indexes

7.Resource Governor

8.Change Data Capture

9.Transparent Database Encryption

10.Data Compression

Here are some good links on the topic below.  Feel free to check out.

SQL 2014 Overview

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/sqlserver/dn135309.aspx

SQL under SPLA

https://splalicensing.com/category/sql-2012/

SQL throughout the years – downloadable documents

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/search/Results.aspx?q=sql&form=DLC

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 

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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in SQL 2012

 

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Series of Webinars

I want to expand my opinion to the SPLA world to include a series of webinars in tandem to my blog post.  You can email me for slides from the last webinar (last week)

I promise it will be completely unbiased, direct, and worth your time.  The content of the webinar is based upon your feedback.  Message me with what you would like to discuss.  You can comment below or by private email – blaforge@splalicensing.com.  You can also say “you know what, your writing is so great why ruin it with your voice?”

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on October 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Office…good, bad, ugly.

One of the biggest roadblocks hoster’s have is around Office.  Want to provide a integrated SharePoint solution?  Must include Office.  Have an application that reports back through Excel?  Must use Office.  Want to provide users the ability to create, edit, and view a Word document?  Must include Office.  In this article I focus on what’s happening around Office including the good, the bad, and possibly the ugly.

Let’s start with the ugly and bad.  I hate bad news, so let’s get this out of the way.  I think the ugly is Office under Office 365.  Surprise! We all know about installing on up to 5 devices and installing on RDS right/shared computer activation..right?  You can learn more about it here http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/09/03/office-365-shared-computer-activation.aspx

Pay attention to what is happening with Azure.  There’s a lot of changes in the way in which Office will be deployed in this environment.   More to come.

So there’s the ugly.  The bad is just the overall cost of deploying Office in a shared environment.  Office is expensive.  You not only have to report Office, but RDS and Windows as well and with currently no option for mobility, service providers have few options.  Remember, if you are providing Office remotely, your RDS licenses should match.  Last, if you think using Office Web apps is a good alternative you may have to think again.  To fully use Office Web Apps a copy of Office must also be licensed.

Here’s some good links around this topic including RDS, Azure and Office 365, as well as my own blog post “SPLA and Office 365”

Azure and RDS – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn782858(v=office.15).aspx

Overview of Azure/Office 365 from my friends at Code Magazine http://www.codemag.com/Article/1108021

SPLA and Office 365 https://splalicensing.com/category/office-365/

Now it’s time for the good.  Did you know you know you can report the Office components instead of the entire suite?  Did you know Office is a user based license which means if not all users need Office Pro, by all means do not report all users with Office Pro. SPLA Man needs Office Pro but SPLA Girl only needs the features of Office Standard, make sure to report us accordingly.  Here is a good link that compares the features within Office as well as the features of Office Pro and Office 365.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/buy/compare-microsoft-office-products-FX102898564.aspx

There’s a lot of information to digest in these links.  To summarize my point, you must get creative and you must pay attention to updates (especially Office 365)  Your customers will ask.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Office 365

 

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Do you have SA? Why this question really matters.

Brett’s Hosting’s sales director is consistently looking on the web to see what competition is advertising.  It drives him nuts to see other “hoster’s” advertise SharePoint for less than what he can get directly from his reseller.  He’s upset..big time.   How can this be?  Then he stumbles upon the Microsoft Office 365 website.  He blew a gasket.  “There is no way I can compete!  I am going to go out of business!”

So the sales director decided to get creative.  “I will forgo SPLA and just have my customers purchase SharePoint.  They bring it into my datacenter, I won’t report SPLA anymore.”  So that’s what he did.  He started selling SharePoint by the truckload.  Their reseller kept placing orders for him as they’d joyfully ask  “how many CAL’s do you need?” and they would order it; never once asking what it was for.

Brett’s Hosting did a tremendous job marketing their SharePoint offering.  “No SharePoint…No Problem!” It was marvelous.  The CEO of Brett’s Hosting vociferously announced at the World Partner Conference “We are hosting over 10,000 SharePoint sites!”  The celebration continued.  Then one foggy October morning, the office manager for Brett’s Hosting received a letter from Microsoft.  She excitedly opened it thinking they were being promoted as ‘SharePoint Partner of the Year’ but was severely disappointed.  It was an audit letter.  The story turns.

Brett’s Hosting CEO reviewed the letter and then called in their sales director (now sales VP).  The CEO threatened him with his job unless he fixed this mess.  The sales director/VP was at a loss.  “Where did I go wrong.”

To be continued….

Where do you think he went wrong?  Have you ever been given wrong licensing advice?  You don’t need to answer that, I already know.

Hosting industry has changed.  Competition has changed.  End users have changed.  In my experience, the conversation has changed from “how do I license Windows” to “what are ways I can optimize my licensing spend?”  I’ve written about license mobility; I also reviewed SAL for SA.  Those two programs have a common theme – Software Assurance (SA).  In the above fictitious story, the sales person should’ve asked his customer “do you have SA on these licenses”  That question is important because if they do not have SA, the entire environment (hardware/VM) must be dedicated.

I can’t stress this enough.  The hosting game is getting brutal.  Every service provider is looking for a way to cut/reduce costs.  Getting in compliance hot water is not a good way to do that.  If the customer does not have SA, you can certainly use SPLA in its place.  If you go this route, be sure to make it a bundled solution.  Telling customers they must pay for something they already own is not an easy conversation.

The customer can also purchase SA.  You just have to be ready to clearly explain their options. That’s why it’s important to work with a reseller that understand SA benefits to help educate and coach you through the process; not all products are eligible.  Be prepared.

Story continued…

The sales vp went back to his customers and asked them to purchase Software Assurance.  When the customer asked “why?” all the sales vp could say is “because Microsoft told me you needed it.” (he clearly couldn’t explain why…it only made the customer more upset).  The customer simultaneously yelled and slammed the door –  “I’m going to Joe’s Hosting! They advertise VDI too!”

The sales vp went back to his CEO and was forced to resign.  The customer went to Joe’s Hosting and was very happy for over a year. When out of the blue he received a call from his sale rep from Joe’s Hosting.  The sales rep frantically told him they could no longer offer VDI; it apparently is not available under SPLA.  The sales rep also asked him to buy SA for his SharePoint…”Microsoft told me you needed it!” The customer loses again!

Moral of the story – read the SPUR, read the PUR, and don’t be afraid to ask “Do you want SA with that?”

Thanks for reading

SPLA Man

 

 

 

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