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. firstname.lastname@example.org
- 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 –
Piaras MacDonnell (@piarasmacdonnel)
February 22, 2015 at 1:44 am
Great checklist SPLA man. The points around the SAL in particular are probably worth a post by themsleves
February 22, 2015 at 8:16 pm
Thank you…agree. Lots of confusion on SAL licenses. Thanks for you comment
February 27, 2015 at 8:10 am
All of this is very nice. But take a look at this:
We have 40 virtual servers at a hosting provider. We license the servers our self. Each server has 2-4 virtual CPU’s.
Our hosting provider has provided us access to a Resource Pool with 80 virtual CPU’s (+ some memory, disk, network etc.)
As I understand, I need to license each CPU in the host. But. I don’t know how the host is configured… I can’t see the host. I don’t know if it has 1 or 4 CPU’s.
Now how do I count the licenses…
February 27, 2015 at 4:22 pm
Hi Bjoern, unless it’s a dedicated environment, you could only report SAL licenses via SPLA or use the 3rd party hoster’s SPLA to provider services. Send me an email and I can forward you the document outlining this.