Monthly Archives: August 2015

Should I be licensed under SPLA? ( Part 1 of 3)

The mist of the morning dew had yet to penetrate the ground and already Mike Torro was 3 miles into his run.  It was his favorite time of day – quiet and peaceful, with just the sound of his thoughts that echoed throughout his mind.  It was Saturday, and in a couple short hours the weekend warriors (as Mike likes to call them) will be huffing and puffing, crowding the small path around Johnson’s Lake.  Nothing new this day, just another weekend like all the rest,or so Mike thought.

When the mail came that afternoon, his butler handed him an envelope.  One thing I forgot to tell you about Mike, he’s loaded wealthy.  He owns a large healthcare organization that hosts EMR software to doctor’s and other healthcare facilities.  He installs it on his servers, but doesn’t use it for internal use, everything is external.  He leases the software from another company.  He calls it “Cloud EMR”  He was so proud of the title; his wife called it unoriginal.

Mike took the envelope from his butler’s hand with a smile and said arrogantly  “Thank you Mr. Belvedere.”  What an insult.  Is it not enough he has to wait on this guy night and day, he has to get mocked and called “Mr. Belvedere” after some 1980’s sitcom?  Once he left the room he made ugly faces behind Mike’s back.  Mike’s wife saw it from a distance and smiled softly if not seductively.

Mike thumbed through the stack of mail and noticed a letter with “Software Audit Notification” stamped across the front of it.  The return address was from a large audit firm.  Mike’s business was being audited.

Stay tuned for Part 2

Questions to ponder until Part 2…

What reason(s) could Mike’s “Cloud EMR” solution be audited?

If you were in Mike’s shoes, what would be your first reaction if you received an audit notification?

If you were the butler, what would you do to Mike if someone would called you “Mr. Belvedere”?


Posted by on August 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


Do you have SA with that?

I went to an electronic store about 10 years ago and purchased a DVD player.  The salesman asked if I would like to purchase a warranty with this product. Sure I thought, after all, if I spill water on it or my son stuffs a toy in it, this warranty will cover it.  Wow…I thought. I was sold.  I paid a few extra dollars and $100 DVD player was covered and on top of that, If I want to get my DVD player cleaned, there was no charge!

Fast forward 10 years.  My DVD player is still going strong.  Yeah I know, get with the times, but there are a few occasions when that DVD player comes in handy.  Secondly, I never once took it in to get it cleaned.  After all, who in there right mind would want to drive 10 minutes down the road, turn in the DVD player, and in a couple weeks get it back?  So you may ask yourself, was it worth buying the warranty SPLA Man?  Let’s just say it wasn’t my best decision.  Secondly, you may be asking what in the world does this have to do with SPLA?  It doesn’t.   But I will tell you that partners and customers still look at software assurance as a worthless warranty or gotcha when it comes to licensing.

Perhaps several years ago I would of told you if you don’t upgrade software often and really don’t need to be on the latest and greatest, don’t buy software assurance.  I probably would’ve told you a story about some guy and a DVD player.  But that was then, this is now.  Software Assurance is the #1 question you need to be asking your customers if they plan on moving licenses to your cloud.

I talked at length over the years about SAL for SA and license mobility.  If they don’t have software assurance, forget about it.  Think of it like the soup nazi in one of the Seinfeld episodes – No SA…No Cloud for you!   Here are just a few reasons your customers should consider software assurance.

  • License Mobility – Allows your customers to migrate certain applications in your cloud.  You dedicate a VM, you have a shared infrastructure.  You still report Windows under SPLA.
  • SAL for SA – your customer wants a hybrid environment for the same applications but already made the investment in SA, you can report the lower price SKU at a fraction of the cost.
  • Virtualization – they want to run unlimited SQL VMs with SQL Enterprise? Yep, they need SA.
  • DR Rights – they bought SA and would like to use your datacenter for DR? Yep, they can now do that with SA
  • Developed an application using Microsoft Technology and plan on using your own licenses to host it?  You better make sure you have active software assurance my friend.  They call this self-hosted software assurance benefit.
  • VDI – They want to run a VDI instance in your 100% Dedicated datacenter?  They need Windows Enterprise with SA to do that (or VDA license)

Note I have yet to mention “latest version rights” or “pay annually”  Yeah that’s important, but from a compliance perspective, understanding the real value of SA is much more important.  I can teach you more about it and the various products/scenarios – you can email me at to learn more.

It’s important to note that SA is not available for your actual SPLA licenses.  This is strictly for your end customers when they decide to purchase under a volume licensing agreement.  SPLA does include latest versions, SQL Enterprise unlimited virtualization rights, and mobility within server farms, but it does not include things such as support.  That’s on you my friend.

So let me ask you this; What should your sales reps be asking if they have customers that want to bring licenses into your datacenter?  Yep, “Do you have SA with that?”

Thanks for reading,


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Posted by on August 22, 2015 in Uncategorized


Why you should reconsider licensing SQL Web

Let’s pretend for a moment that I am a service provider.  My SPLA reseller gives me a list of products to report off a price sheet.  I have no idea what’s what and quite frankly neither does my reseller.  I beg them to tell me the difference between SQL Web and SQL Standard.  No one knows. I try to look it up to no avail.  I’m finally at my wits end!  So I pick the cheapest product; my friend SQL Web.

I will skip the technical differences between SQL Standard, Web, Enterprise, etc.  I’m not a technical guy and this site is about licensing, but I will throw out a few questions to ponder.   If you report SQL Web, is it supporting a public facing website?  Does everyone have access or do people authenticate?  Is it used to support an application?  Hmmm…

Why would I ask?  Because it is the most misunderstood product out there. No one (or very few) understand the licensing impact of incorrectly reporting this product.  It’s loved only because it’s cheap.  (SQL Standard is quite a bit more expensive than SQL Web).  What would happen if Microsoft came knocking on your door 3 years after you deployed SQL Web, reported it, and some auditor politely tells you “Umm…sir…you were wrong?”  Well my friend, time to get out the checkbook.

I’m not saying don’t report SQL Web, I am saying you need to make sure you understand the licensing rules before reporting it.  How do you know if you should be reporting it?  You could ask your reseller but that won’t work or else you wouldn’t be reading this in the first place.  So let me make this easy.  Is it a publicly accessible website?  If the answer is “no” don’t report it.

I encourage you to read my blog post where I interviewed Sarah Barela- (Microsoft SQL Technical Specialist) and discussed SQL in greater detail  including  our friend “SQL Web”  Check it out here

Thanks for reading,



Posted by on August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized


Pre Audit Support?

It seems more and more companies offer audit support.  Yeah, we can help you there too.  BUT what about getting it right the first time?  What’s wrong with not throwing caution to the wind and actually understanding the licensing impact before deploying the technology?

Here’s why SPLA providers get audited:

  • No true way of counting users.
  • If they do have a way of counting users – are they counting indirect access?
  • No full understanding of product use rights – SAL for SA, SQL, Mobility, 3rd party datacenter hosting, Office 365, Azure, RDS, and the list goes on.
  • No asset management strategy.

Here’s my thought on all of this.  If I was a service provider reporting 100K annually on SPLA licensing, I would think it would be worth it to understand the licensing and more importantly the reasoning why I’m reporting what I’m reporting.  To put it another way, if I was paying 100K dollars for a Porsche, wouldn’t I want to test drive it first?

I always think about what would happen if I was wrong in my licensing strategy.  Whatever fee I would’ve paid initially for consultation would be peanuts to what I would owe in an audit.

I will leave you with a short story –

John hosts Dynamics CRM.  Dynamics is what he knows extremely well and what he built his business on.  Microsoft comes along and says – “Hey John, you are hosting Dynamics, you should be under SPLA.  Here’s a 100 page SPUR to read.  Best of luck.”

Now John understands he needs to license CRM software.  What he doesn’t know is he needs to license SQL and Windows.  More importantly, he doesn’t understand how he could help his customers take advantage of use rights to deploy in his datacenter.

Fast forward 2 years.  John gets audited.  He owes two years worth of licensing for Windows and SQL.  He was also under the impression that if a user didn’t use CRM for a particular month, he didn’t have to report them even though they potentially have access to the software.  He goes back to his customers to help pay for the compliance bill.  They were thrilled to hear the news.

Last, his customers are not only upset that John is asking them to pay for a compliance true up, they feel they shouldn’t of had to  pay for CRM in the first place because they already owned the licenses.  Ugh.  Poor John…No customers, no business.

Get the licenses right the first time.  It will be worth it.

Thanks for reading


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Posted by on August 3, 2015 in Uncategorized

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