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Category Archives: Azure

Azure Partner Shared Services

Microsoft recently announced a new Azure Partner Shared Services offer in CSP that will allow resellers and other MSP’s the ability to create a unique tenant within Partner Center to purchase and deploy Azure subscriptions for internal use.

Prior to this announcement, CSP’s would have multiple invoices from Microsoft – (1) for internal workloads and others for their customers.   This announcement is intended for existing CSP resellers and MSP’s.  It is not necessarily intended for ISV partners to join CSP to build their applications.  Microsoft recommends ISV’s purchase Azure through a reseller or even azure.com.   For existing CSP’s and MSP’s, this announcement does three things:

  1. Allows you to purchase and use Azure in Partner Center (same place you resell and manage your customer’s Azure environment)
  2. Allows MSP’s to  build test environments and deploy internal workloads
  3. Extend your environment to include multi-tenant solutions.

Some common FAQ’s for Azure Partner Shared Services

Are ther specific licensing restrictions for this type of solution?

It’s actually licensed by the CSP partner.  When you (the CSP partner) purchase the solution, you are the licensee and is governed by the end customer license terms since it is internal use as oppose to the Reseller terms which is for your end customers.

Is this available in Office 365?

No.  It is not available for other cloud services at this time.

Is this available through any other licensing program?

No. It is designed for CSP providers only.

How do i create the shared services tenant?

For complete details, I recommend going here to learn more.

Is this part of SPLA?

No. It’s part of the CSP Program.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

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How service providers can use Azure Stack in their datacenter environment

Azure stack is what Microsoft describes as an “extension of Microsoft Azure…”  to on premise (or partner hosted) datacenter environments.  In this article, we will review what it takes to deploy Azure Stack and best practices for partner hosted scenarios.

How a Service Provider Acquires Azure Stack

Azure Stack is available through the Cloud Solution Program (CSP) for service providers. Just like any other CSP relationship, the service provider will ultimately own the billing, the support (if Direct/Tier 1) or through your authorized distributor who will manage the support (Indirect/Tier 2).  Usage can be purchased through CSP or through the Azure hosting exception leveraging your existing Enterprise Agreement.  One thing to note is the actual Windows license.  In my humble opinion Windows Server in SPLA is less expensive and has the flexibility of month/month licensing.  Let’s use a couple examples to illustrate this further:

Scenario 1:  Bill sells Jennifer Azure Stack services through CSP.  Bill is Direct authorized and has a SPLA agreement in place.

  • Bill will purchase Azure Stack from an authorized hardware vendor.
  • Bill licenses Windows Server via his own SPLA agreement.
  • Jennifer will pay Bill for her consumption through CSP at a lower rate because Bill is already providing the Windows Licenses.
  • Bill is responsible for all the support and billing because he is CSP Direct authorized.

Scenario 2 – Bill sells Jennifer Azure Stack services through CSP.  Jennifer decides to transfer her Windows Server licenses through her own Enterprise Agreement.  

  • Bill will purchase Azure Stack from an authorized hardware vendor.
  • Bill would have to completely isolate the hardware for Jennifer if she wants to transfer her existing licenses to Bill’s datacenter environment.  As with other hosting scenarios, Windows is not license mobility eligible and therefore the Windows licenses must be deployed in a 100% dedicated cloud environment.
  • Bill will sell the consumption via his CSP Direct agreement.  Since she is using Windows licenses that were already purchased, he will only pay the base consumption rate.
  • Bill will provide the support since he is providing this as a service to Jennifer as part of the CSP program.

Scenario 3 – Bill deployed Azure Stack in his datacenter.  He’s running Jennifer’s SQL Server she purchased with SA from her Open agreement.  She will also pay Bill for the Azure Stack consumption through Bill’s indirect CSP agreement.

  • Bill will purchase Azure Stack from an authorized hardware vendor.
  • Bill will have an agreement with his authorized Indirect distributor to resell Azure Stack through CSP.  (Bill is not Direct authorized, he must use a distributor to enable him to resell CSP to his end customers.  The distributor will provide all the support and billing platform).
  • Jennifer will transfer her SQL Server licenses and CAL’s she purchased with Software Assurance over to Bill’s shared cloud environment through license mobility.

Conclusion

These are all hypothetical scenarios used to illustrate the different licensing options available to SPLA partners.  As you can see, the licensing can be complex as you are crossing multiple licensing programs – CSP, Enterprise Agreement, and SPLA.  I am always interested in different scenarios.  Have one?  Email me at info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on July 18, 2017 in Azure, Uncategorized

 

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Azure Stack, SQL Stretch Database and the Hosting Summit

Last month, Microsoft held their annual Hosting Summit in Bellevue, WA. The good news is SPLA is not going away. Last quarter marked the 20th straight QTR of double digit growth for Microsoft SPLA. What is changing is the competitive landscape. Microsoft does not see SPLA partners as a competitor per se, they see SPLA as one of the biggest competitive advantages over other cloud offerings (IBM, AWS, Google, etc). They have over 30,000 SPLA partners worldwide, and they believe they can leverage those 30,000 partners to offer different cloud solutions.

Microsoft is betting big on what they define as “hybrid cloud” and that’s where they see service providers (SPLA) playing a significant part. Hybrid cloud is not just offloading workloads from on premise to another datacenter, it’s about leveraging different technologies to deliver solutions. As an example, late last year Microsoft offered solution called “Azure Stack” You can read about it here.

It’s the same APIs and same code as what Microsoft delivers through Azure. From a licensing perspective, Azure Stack is cheaper through SPLA (Windows) than it would be to pay through consumption. It will be available to offer this summer through the hardware manufacturers but you can download it now to test out.

The other big bet is SQL, and especially around the feature of stretch database. In laymen terms, it’s taking data that is not often consumed and offloading it to the cloud, reducing resources and consumption on servers locally.   You can read more about stretch database from our friends at MSDN

All said, it was good to meet old friends and say hello to new ones at this event.  If you were at the hosting summit and you did not have the chance to meet the infamous SPLA Man, email me at info@splalicensing.com.  Would love to learn more about your offerings and how we can work together to make licensing simple.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Azure, In My Opinion, SQL 2016

 

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Hybrid Use Benefit – HUB

Our friend Azure is at it again.  He’s offering Windows license mobility without calling it license mobility.  It’s called HUB – Hybrid Use Benefit.  And yes, it’s only available in Azure.

What is it exactly?  Well let’s say an organization purchased Windows Datacenter with Software Assurance.  Because they purchased the server with Software Assurance, Microsoft will allow them to run a separate instance in Azure and only pay the Linux VM rate.

This same customer can now deploy an image in Azure, pay a non Windows rate (in Azure), and still run an on premise server in their own datacenter to make a true hybrid scenario.  They can do this with Datacenter edition only, since Datacenter allows unlimited virtual instances.  They cannot run a true hybrid with Standard.  They must either run on premise or in Azure with Standard edition.  If you are on the fence about which version to purchase, Datacenter might just win out.

A couple of things to consider.  1) You have to pay attention to the number of licenses you purchased for your on premise servers.  If you purchased Datacenter that has two processor licenses, this will all you to run two instances up to 8 cores or 1 instance up to 16 cores in Azure.  In other words, you cannot exceed the number of licenses you purchased. 2) If you do decide to run Datacenter on premise as well as in Azure, you must maintain CALs for your on premise solution.  Azure does not require CALs, but that doesn’t mean your on premise CAL requirement goes away.

So there you have it.  Confused yet?  If not, wait until I write more about Office 365!  Questions?  Email me at info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading

SPLA Man

 

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Azure

 

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Is No News Bad News?

It’s the fall season here in the United States – the leaves are changing, weather is FINALLY getting cooler, and it’s time for our friends in Redmond, WA to make an update.  In this article, I will highlight some upcoming changes (or lack thereof) to SPLA.

Last week I was in San Francisco visiting with the resellers and Microsoft to discuss SPLA and other initiatives.  The good news? There are no major licensing changes.  Bad news?  There are no major licensing changes.

Why is that bad news?  Well, I was hoping Microsoft would announce Office mobility rights.  I really think this is a miss with Microsoft.  It would encourage your end customers to invest in Office with Software Assurance and offer a more complete desktop as a service solution.  Do you agree?

Here’s my take. I believe Microsoft will allow your end customers to invest in Office via Office 365.  Wow, there’s a surprise right?  But I do believe Microsoft will allow your end customer to take (1) of the (5) installs allowed under Office 365 and transfer it to your datacenter.  In doing so, you would be allowed to offer a shared infrastructure, dedicated VM (Similar to License Mobility).  This is my opinion, but something I think they would entertain.  I don’t think they will offer regular Office (outside of O365)to be transferred over in this capacity without dedicating the infrastructure.  Why?  To encourage Office 365 sales of course!  Again, just my opinion. And NO, you cannot do this today in a shared environment.

So what about Windows Desktop (Windows 10)?  Will this ever have mobility rights?  I am guessing not.  What about in Windows Azure?  Perhaps.  Going back to my point about Office, by allowing Windows 10 in Azure would encourage Azure sales.  Maybe this will happen sooner than later.  Check out this article by my friends at ZDNET  Get ready hoster’s, there might not be a licensing change, but change is definitely on the horizon.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
2 Comments

Posted by on October 10, 2015 in Azure, License Mobility, Office 365

 

Office 365 and SPLA – It’s all about Office

The #1 post (by volume) on this blog site is “Office 365 Under SPLA.”  (It’s probably what brought you to this article in the first place). For those that read this blog regularly, can you guess #2?  Ok…you give up.  If you would’ve guessed  “Office Needs Mobility Rights” you would have been correct.  Can I conclude in my scientific analysis that Office is at the top of everyone’s mind in the hosting industry?

Who remember’s BPOS?  Remember that beauty?  I used to manage BPOS several years ago. BPOS consisted of Exchange Online, OCS (that’s right…OCS not Lync) and SharePoint online.  It was bundled as a package and sold to smaller companies (originally).  It was a big deal.  For “x” amount of dollars you would get a 5GB mailbox!  Google caught on, raised the bar to 10GB mailbox, than 20 and the cloud race still continues today.  Mailbox size and price was what everyone talked about.  I remember it well. Than Microsoft threw the cloud world a curve ball.  “What would happen if we offer Office as a subscription model and call it Office 365”  Things started to change pretty quickly.  Office as a subscription?  “But wait…let’s allow Office to be installed on not one device, but 5!  Now the cloud world is really spinning.”  What’s next?

Let’s don’t forget about our friend Azure.  Who could forget about him?  Azure is growing rapidly (talk about a generality but remember I am SPLA Man, not Gartner) and adding new features such as Linux VM’s, ability to purchase using your Enterprise Agreement, and the biggest news of all….ability to install a copy of Office from Office 365.  Wait! What?!!!

Let’s take a step back and look at what Office means for the SPLA community.  You want to host Office? Here’s what you need.  Windows + RDS+Office.  There you have it.

Here’s what you can’t do – Under no circumstance can you have your end customer purchase Office under Office 365 and install it in your shared cloud.  Don’t argue with me here…you can’t do it.  You are probably thinking…well, that’s ok, i will dedicate a VM.  Ahhhh….there we go again.  Dedicated a customer owned license on a VM.  What did I just describe?

Dedicate a VM +shared hardware = License Mobility.  What does not have license mobility rights?  Office.

Now back to Azure.  You might be thinking that Azure is a shared cloud. It is. How can they do it but I can’t?  Well, they developed Office and they developed Azure.  They can make up the rules to their own game.  Check out the online services terms page 22

What happens if you purchase your own Azure agreement to host your SaaS offering for your clients?  It doesn’t matter.  A hoster leveraging Azure for their offering would not be able to accept end-user Office 365 Office licenses.

So is it all doom and gloom?  Not by a long shot.  When there’s confusion, when your competitors spend more time worrying about what they can’t do instead of focusing on growing their business, consider that an opportunity. I’ve written 70+ articles on SPLA.  It’s not going away and neither are you.  I just think you (the service provider) need to get creative. Price is always an issue.  Office is an issue today, but it will be something else tomorrow.  Again, don’t focus on what you can’t do, it’s time to start thinking about what you can do.

I am going to write another article in which I provide a real world example on how I was able to save a service provider money  It’s not revolutionary, but it proves that if your not working with someone who looks at your usage report regularly and makes suggestions to reduce costs, you are missing out.  Sounds kind of like a salesman, but I think you will find the article helpful.  I can’t change the rules of SPLA, but I can make recommendations in the way you think about your business.  It’s time to reconsider our licensing strategy.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, here’s a cool glimpse into the future.

Future of Office 

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
6 Comments

Posted by on December 6, 2014 in Azure, Office 365

 

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