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Author Archives: MS Licensing

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

 

More ESU fun

A question came up the other day regarding installing ESU licenses on a shared platform if the service provider (under a SPLA agreement) is licensed for Windows Datacenter but installed Windows STD VM.   That’s pretty common and though I would address it today.

One should not be confused over what is installed v what is actually licensed.  As the SPLA Provider is licensed for Windows Server Datacenter, the server should be covered with ESU Datacenter.  Running a Windows Standard VM when licensed for Windows Server Datacenter does not change the license requirement.

It is also important to note that ESU is not available in SPLA, but is available through CSP, EA, and SCE agreements.  The Service Provider will not be licensing ESU, but the end customer.  Think of it as license mobility without the need for Software Assurance.

I would recommend checking out the Product Terms page 93. https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/product-licensing/products

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

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Licensing Options to Meet the ESU (End Security Update) Deadline.

Holidays are right around the corner, chill in the air, and a looming end of security update for Windows 7 and Windows 2008 is right around the corner.  What is a MSP going to do?  Luckily for you, there’s SPLA Man, or MSP Man, or CSP Man (whatever acronym Microsoft calls me these days), any of which can provide you options.  In this article, we’ll review these options and how each one can fit into your business.

Windows Server 2008

If you are hosting software under SPLA, the good news is you already have access to the latest version as part of your agreement.   If you are not licensing SPLA and want to provide Windows Servers to your clients, you have a couple options:

  1. Under the Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP) you can license Windows Servers through your indirect provider or through your own authorization.  This will allow you access to the latest version, pay annually for the subscription, and allow you to install the software on your customers datacenter or in Azure.  You will not be allowed to host Windows Server subscription licenses in CSP and host it from your datacenter.  Whenever you install CSP Server Subscriptions on premise, it follows the Product Terms (which prohibits hosting).  This also means you must buy CALs if installed on premise as well.  CALs are available through CSP or through the end customers volume licensing agreement.
  2.  You can have your end customers buy the new version of Windows Server licenses through their own volume licensing agreement.  Under this model, you (as a service provider) would need to isolate the hardware for that customer (dedicated hardware).  CALs would also be required.  You cannot have the end customer buy the licenses and host it in AWS or other “Listed Provider” as mentioned in the Product Terms.  Microsoft prohibits anything outside of license mobility to be installed on shared servers from a Listed Provider.
  3. You can have the end customer buy ESU through their own volume licensing agreement (I believe only the Enterprise Agreement qualifies).  This is a fairly expensive option.

Windows 7

Many organizations must upgrade their PCs and end devices running Windows 7 to a newer version.  Here are the 3 options available.

  1. Windows 10 through CSP.  You receive the latest version rights which will allow the end customer to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10.  Couple things to keep in mind: 1) Windows 7 Pro can upgrade to Windows 10 Pro included with the subscription.  2) Windows 7 Home can upgrade to Windows 10 Home (Home only).  CSP is a channel program that allows a service provider to buy licenses from an authorized CSP provider and resell it to their end users.  (Same process as SPLA in essence).
  2. Buy ESU.  Similar to servers, ESU is available through the Enterprise Agreement.  (Should be avaialble through CSP in December).  This is only a viable option if the end customer does not have plans to upgrade to a newer version.
  3. Buy Windows 10 through a Volume Licensing agreement.  There is a rental addendum through VL that allows an organization to rent PCs to end users.  More details can be found here

The good news is there are options.  The bad news is time is running out.  If you have any questions, please let us know info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2019 in DaaS, Uncategorized

 

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The “Microsoft Service Provider License Agreement Review”

Did you receive an email about an “internal self-assessment”?  Is this an audit?

I wouldn’t say this is an audit, but it is something you should seek advice.  Microsoft does have the right to verify usage reporting.  compliance, and enforce all underreported licenses are paid for (at a premium)  Sounds exciting, right?

Good news is this is a self-assessment.  You know what is being delivered, how it is being accessed, and when the servers and/or users were deployed.  This information is critical to understanding your datacenter environment and how you should be reporting.

Why I think you should seek advice is to be informed.  The last thing you want to happen is to have this self-assessment turn into a full audit.  Make sure to understand your reporting, your risks, and be comfortable with the data presented.   Assessments are not always bad, on one hand it can provide you with an overview of what is installed and how you should be properly billing your end users.  On the other, don’t let this lead to a full audit.

We do have a team that can assist with expertise in understanding SPLA environments, assessments, and audit processes.  Let’s eliminate risk before it becomes a risk.  Please email info@splalicensing.com to learn more.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on August 20, 2019 in Uncategorized

 

New Licensing Terms for Dedicated Hosts

Microsoft announced yesterday changes to their licensing terms for dedicated hosted cloud services.  You can read about the article here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/news/updated-licensing-rights-for-dedicated-cloud

In summary, starting October 1, 2019, licenses purchased with an on-premise agreement (Volume Licensing that did not include Software Assurance)  cannot be deployed with a dedicated host from a “Listed Provider”.  Listed Provider includes Microsoft, Alibaba, AWS, and Google.  Windows Server, (purchased with SA or not) does not have mobility rights.  Azure Hybrid Use Benefit is still available which is probably the main reason for this change.  A customer who purchased Windows Datacenter license without SA could have deployed an AWS dedicated host and still have unlimited virtualization rights.  Azure HUB did not provide the same benefit.  Fast forward to October 1, 2019 and an end customer cannot have the same benefit of running unlimited VMs on a dedicated host if deployed through a Listed Provider datacenter.   Also consider MSDN, Windows 10, and Office.  None of which has mobility rights.  This makes the QMTH addendum that much more important.

Here’s the good news, it does not apply to other providers (yet).  If you are a SPLA partner not included on this list, educate your customers on their different deployment options.  There is a FAQ guide posted on the above link.  If you have questions, please email info@splalicensing.com.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2019 in Uncategorized

 
 
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