Monthly Archives: February 2015

What Would I Do?

I get asked for advice on licensing and the different ways to go to market if I had my own hosted offering.  Knowing what I know now, I put together a small list of things that I would strongly consider if I signed a SPLA.

  • Understand that I signed a contractual agreement with one of the largest companies in the world.  It’s amazing how many service provider’s do not read the SPLA agreement.  I’ve seen SPLA contracts signed five minutes after sending to the customer.  I always chuckle because I know they didn’t bother to read it.  Don’t let the fact that there’s no upfront licensing cost fool you into thinking there’s no reason to read the contract.  Even if you did read the SPLA agreement thoroughly when you signed it, when was the last time you reviewed it?  There are things in there that are very important.  For example, the start date of your agreement dictates how you can license certain products.  Did you know that when you sign a SPLA, you are bound by the SPUR available at the time of signing?  Did you know your contract is in no way with your reseller, but with Microsoft?
  • Speaking of reseller, I would look long and hard at the company you report and purchase licenses through. Too many times I hear providers say they report because they purchased from them before.  Whatever you purchased before is no sign into how well they know SPLA.  I would want to work with a reseller that knows the licenses as well as the industry.  This would ultimately save me headaches and save me money.
  • Report usage on time. Again, going back to the SPLA agreement, it states “usage is due by the 10th” If I was a hosting company that reported late, guess who the vendor is going to look at first in terms of compliance?
  • I would try to avoid standard SAL licenses if possible.  How much time do you spend tracking users?  I would promote license mobility in all my accounts.  I would strongly promote RDS license mobility.  If my customers won’t purchase licenses with Software Assurance, I would find another customer.  I want to put the compliance risk on my customer, not me.
  • If I received an audit notification I would ask for advice from the guy looking back in the mirror.  Three reasons why – I am free, I’ve seen audits and the mistakes SPLA customer make, and I know the program extremely well.  Arrogant?  Maybe. Smart move on your part? Absolutely.
  • Although I would try to avoid standard SAL licenses, I would promote SAL for SA with a vengeance.  Don’t know SAL for SA?  Reread point number two.
  • I would work with Microsoft not against.  Why work against a company with the biggest marketing engine on the planet?  How can Microsoft help my business?
  • I would consider Hyper V.  I know, drinking the Kool Aid a bit here right?  Hook up the hose, I’m going all in!  (bad joke) There are products under SPLA that can save you a significant amount of licensing costs if you move to Hyper V.  I bet if the project was large enough, Microsoft would consider promoting.
  • I would work with a guy named SPLA Man.  If he’s spending his free time writing about this stuff (there’s obviously some mental issues going on) he apparently knows it pretty well. If you emailed me in the past, how long did it take for me to respond?  How long did it take your reseller to respond to the same question?

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man –


Posted by on February 21, 2015 in In My Opinion


Another round of SPLA questions…Answered.

Here’s a list of SPLA questions that I’ve been asked.  Hope you find it helpful.

1. Can I license SQL Web edition to host SharePoint?

No.  Why?  Because SQL Web Edition can only be used to host PUBLICLY accessible websites.  It also CANNOT be used to support line of business applications.

2. Is Exchange licensed by user or by mailbox?

By user.  SAL = User.

3. System Center….What does the client management suite include?

Service Manager, Operations Manager, DPM, and Orchestrator.

4. If I have SQL Enterprise installed and was reporting it prior (by user) – can we report SQL BI without uninstalling anything?  Reason we ask is SQL Enterprise user licenses are discontinued.

Unfortunately no.  Two different products.  Checkout

5. Active/Passive…Do I need to licenses the passive server?

No. The passive secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads or performing any “work” such as additional backups from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server.

6. My company is in Europe or Australia, how are my competitors offering lower prices?

Can’t answer that one publicly or else all your competitors would know too. I can promise you there are ways to reduce your costs, I just have to understand what you are reporting and why.  Email me your usage report and let’s chat. (

7. My company is in the United States, how are my competitors offering lower prices?

See answer to question 6.

8. I want to offer VDI.

Good Luck.

9. I got an audit letter…what do I do?  

Nothing.  Email me and let’s walk through it.

10. Office – do I need to report it?

Will your application work the same without it?

11. I’m running SQL 2008, which is great because I can license it by processor..right?  I don’t have to license by core since I am not running 2012.

Wrong.  License by core if you signed a SPLA agreement between now and January, 2013.

12. I want to install customer owned Windows Server licenses in my datacenter.  

Do it.  Just make sure it’s dedicated.

13.  What’s something I should do now to ensure I am getting the most value from my SPLA expenditure?

People get worked up over the SPUR and forget about the actual SPLA agreement they signed.  Yes, the SPUR tells you how to license the products (not so clearly) but the agreement provides you insight into how the program works operationally.  It also tells you things that you CAN do with your SPLA.  Just don’t hand the agreement over to a lawyer, have them approve it, and never look at it again.  Big mistake in my opinion.

Thanks for reading…



Posted by on February 15, 2015 in Uncategorized

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