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Author Archives: MS Licensing

Does SPLA licensing exist for Microsoft 365?

This has taken over the spot for the #1 asked question by SPLA hosters. (For those curious, SPLA VDI was #1).

To answer this question specifically, the answer is no. There’s no option to license M365/O365/Windows 10/Azure through a SPLA agreement. That doesn’t mean you cannot offer it through other channel programs such as CSP. To understand more about CSP, please visit csplicensing.com

You cannot host M365 from your datacenter without a QMTH addendum or dedicated infrastructure. Word to the wise, do not try to be QMTH authorized without really understanding what it takes to do so. There’s a lot of investment and upfront capital to get the authorization and other metrics to achieve – not the least which being CSP Direct authorized.

To understand the different options and program eligibility, I encourage you to reach out to our team at info@splalicensing.com We have helped thousands of SPLA partners with their licensing optimization strategies.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

How to sell Microsoft software without SPLA

This is a follow up from our original post “Licensing CSP On Premise Products”

SPLA Man has gone mad! How can you sell Microsoft software without SPLA???!!! Sure, if you host the Microsoft software SPLA is still part of the equation, but if you want to sell outside of SPLA, here are a few ideas.

We’ve all heard of CSP, but most of us think of CSP as selling Office 365 or Azure. That’s true, but you can also sell CSP perpetually to your end users. I think this is a pretty big deal for both VAR partners and hosters.

Let’s say you have a customer who needs software for on premise. Maybe its a hospital or government agency who has strict policies against software as a service where they have to buy the licenses, not lease it. In the past, the only way a VAR or SPLA provider can offer their end customer Microsoft volume licensing is by partnering with an authorized reseller and they would be required to bill your end customer directly. Not their rule, but Microsoft. Fast forward to today, you can now buy CSP on premise perpetual software, add your own markup, and sell to your end customer. This is available through the CSP Indirect model which is ideal for partners.

The reason I feel this is important is because it gives you options. You can sell your customer almost the entire Microsoft catalog, offer different deployment options, and control your own margin. You can offer your customer SPLA, Microsoft cloud, on premise, or a combination of everything.

I know I wrote about this before, but I still get asked A LOT about reselling software outside of SPLA.

If you have questions on CSP and how this program can benefit you, please shoot us an email at info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Microsoft SPLA Audit Support

As the shift from on premise/hosted solutions to the public cloud continues, so does the complexity of the licensing. As an example, in a recent engagement, a provider faced difficulty in determining which licenses his customers were eligible to migrate to a public cloud and which ones had to be relicensed. They were also under the pressure of a SPLA audit. Here’s what we uncovered:

  1. No proper way to track licenses. They did not have a tool or SAM process. SPLA reporting should be used as business intelligence into what is happening in your environment, not just a requirement by Microsoft.
  2. They had Office 365 license deployed on shared hardware.
  3. Software Assurance was not offered to their clients.
  4. They were paying a premium for their licenses over what others were paying based on reseller costs.
  5. They purchased Office 365 through the portal out of convenience.
  6. They owed over 2.4 million (USD) for licenses. We reduced to 150k (USD) based on licensing rules and reporting

Don’t be this provider!

If you are faced with an audit, it is important to not go through it alone.  Your plan should include ways to reduce your risk before it becomes a risk.  Our licensing experts will review your data, understand the risk, and put together a strategy to reduce exposure and path moving forward.

If you are going through an audit or want to reduce your SPLA reporting, please reach out to us to discuss our strategy.  We are independent and work for you, not the vendor. You can email info@splalicensing.com or directly at blaforge@splalciensing.com

Thanks for reading!

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

New Webinar Series: What is going on with SPLA?

How many times have you asked yourself that the past couple years? Join our partner, BeNimble IT to uncover the future of SPLA and what other service providers are doing in these challenging times. There’s A LOT of changes coming in the pipeline for CSP such as perpetual based licensing and incentives. Register here to learn more https://benimbleit.com/future-of-spla-register/

Thanks for reading!

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Can I use CSP for Windows Server and not SPLA?

No.  How about that for a short answer?

We have been asked multiple times on this topic. It is not impossible, but not really viable either. Let me explain.

If you are CSP Direct authorized (or CSP Reseller), you could resell your end customer Windows and/or SQL Server subscriptions through CSP and host it in a dedicated infrastructure. I do not think it is really worth the time and effort just to host Windows and SQL. The cost in licensing is not that substantial from SPLA. If Microsoft allowed a service provider to host it on shared infrastructure than that would be a different story. You cannot purchase Windows through CSP and host it. Remember, Server Subscriptions for on premise deployments follow the Product Terms, which of course prohibits hosting.
If you are an ISV and want to host your application from your own datacenter, I would consider CSP Servers. Under the current Product Terms, Microsoft will allow Self-Hosted rights. I think this reduces your compliance risk since SPLA is tricky to license to begin with.

Isn’t licensing fun? We provide consulting services around these offerings. If you have questions, feel free to email us at info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading.

SPLA Man

 

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What are your top 5 reasons for continuing with SPLA over CSP

Let us know!  Email info@splalicensing.com We are conducting a study to understand the hosting world better.

Here’s my top 5

  1. Cost.  Yes I can buy a Windows Server Subscription through CSP and save consumption costs by deploying through Azure, but my datacenter costs are consistent and can offer a fixed price point to my customers.
  2. Confusing.  I thought SPLA was confusing, CSP is just a complex.  Want CSP Windows Server on prem?  You cannot host if you do!  Want CSP Incentives?  You are better off reading the SPUR, it’s an easier read!  Want the new CSP perpetual license?  That’s fine, but don’t plan on hosting or having your customer transfer that license into your datacenter.  No Software Assurance equals no License Mobility
  3. Dedicated Infrastructure.  With Listed Provider rules, I can offer dedicated hosts and compete with larger hosting companies.
  4. Local Support.  My customers want their data local and with someone they know.
  5. You can do both.  We can offer E3 plans or Windows 10 to my end users through CSP, but use SPLA for infrastructure solutions  for my financial customer or ISV solutions.

What do you think?  Bad list?  Good list?  Anything additional?

Stay tuned for reasons to do CSP over SPLA in my next post.  Here’s a hint…compliance.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man.

 

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Licensing CSP On Premise Products

Recently, Microsoft announced a new offering for CSP Indirect providers who are also Microsoft Authorized Distributors for the Open License program.  In January 2021 (If he world is still around)  Microsoft will extend this to both CSP Direct bill partners, indirect providers, and indirect resellers.

The breakdown:

  1. It’s a perpetual license. Unlike other solutions through CSP, this is not a subscription.  It requires a single, upfront payment.
  2. No volume discounts.  There’s no minimum requirement and to no one’s surprise, no maximum either.
  3. Software Assurance (SA) is not available.  One key element, no SA benefits are included either such a license mobility.   With SPLA as an example, SA was not included but part of the program benefit was pay as you go.  CSP for on-premise, there is no such benefit.
  4. The use rights are outlined in the Product Terms, not the SPUR or Online Services Terms.

Available Products

  • Windows Desktop and Servers
    • Windows 10 Pro
    • Windows 10 Enterprise LTSC Upgrade
    • Windows STD and DC core licenses
    • Windows CALs and External Connector
    • RDS CALS and External Connector
    • RMS CALs and External Connector
  • SQL
    • Standard Server licenses and CALs
    • Standard and Enterprise Core licenses
  • Productivity Servers
    • Exchange Server and STD/Ent CALs
    • SharePoint Server and STD/Ent CALs
    • Skype for Business – Server and STD/ENT Plus CALs
    • Project Server 2019 Server and CALs
  • Office
    • Standard 2019 and Pro Plus 2019
    • Mac STD 2019
  • Project and Visio
    • Standard and Professional 2019
    • Visio Standard and Professional 2019

Deployment Options * See last paragraph for additional information

  • Physical or virtual environments
  • 90 days License reassignment

Upgrade Rights

  • No upgrade rights
  • Any prior version can be licensed.

Accessing Software Keys

Microsoft 365 Admin Center –  Like other CSP licenses, everything is deployed through the admin portal.  The current version and two previous versions are available.  If the customer has media from earlier versions, they can legally license it with their CSP on premise license.

If you are a SPLA Provider, you cannot license CSP on-premise and host.  The CSP for on-premise follows the Product Terms not the SPUR.   Secondly, you cannot have your end customers buy CSP for on-premise and host it on your shared infrastructure.  Last, because there’s no SA with these licenses, you cannot self-host (for ISVs) using this solution.   An alternative, would be to use Windows and SQL Server Subscriptions and host in Azure.

Confused yet?  Email info@splalicensing.com to learn more.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

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What is happening with SPLA?

Is SPLA going away?  Is it turning into CSP? What is happening??!!!!   There will be a webinar in June reviewing this exact topic.  To register, you can go to www.mscloudlicensing.com and become a free member.  There will also be a recording.   As a side note, it’s a licensing community specifically for service providers.   I hope you find it useful.  There doesn’t seem to be too much information on CSP and SPLA,  so they combined the two into one site.

Is SPLA going away?  One thing that is always consistent with Microsoft is change.  Which is really odd for SPLA, there’s been no programmatic change (operationally, not licensing) to the program since Microsoft pushed all SPLA providers to an authorized reseller.  I believe that was over 15 years ago!

Microsoft is making licensing changes and updates to CSP regularly.  It has become a full time job just to keep up!   As an example, Microsoft added a monthly subscription option for reserved instances; I would suspect they would do the same with server subscriptions.  All they will need to do is add the ability to host from a private datacenter and SPLA becomes less favorable.  Why fart around with the licensing and compliance risk of monthly reporting when you can subscribe to it via CSP (at a lower cost)?   I see this as SPLA 2.0.  Still monthly licensing, still third-party billing (if CSP Indirect) and you can add your own services on top of it.

I am not adovcating for CSP or SPLA but the reality is something is going to give.   I also believe you will continue to see changes to CSP to accommodate the hosting channel and less resources and use rights for SPLA.

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment on the hosting forum at http://www.mscloudlicensing.com or email at info@splalicensing.com.   I would love to get your feedback.  The only way we can be an advocate is to get feedback.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

New Name Change for Office 365

Microsoft announced a renaming of the Office 365 bundles to Microsoft 365.  This will go into effect April 21.  Yeah, I know.  Just when we were getting used to the different products!

The features, pricing, and programmatic details do not change, just the name.  That being said, it is important to realize this change so you can inform your end customers.  Since the Product name changed, so will your invoice from Microsoft or your CSP Provider.

Office 365 Pro Plus is now Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprise

Office 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Apps for Business

Office 365 Business Essentials is not Microsoft 365 Business Basic

Office 365 Business Premium is now called Microsoft 365 Business Standard

Microsoft 365 Business is not Microsoft 365 Business Premium

No new changes with SPLA as it relates to Office.  Still per user per month.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

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Chart on the QMTH

This is an old chart (use the term SCA instead of QMTH)  but thought I would share again as the licensing rules are still relevant.  We also get asked A LOT about QMTH.  Have questions, please email info@splalicensing.com

Picture1

 
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Posted by on February 4, 2020 in Uncategorized

 
 
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