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Category Archives: License Mobility

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

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

 

Hybrid, Dedicated, and Shared Scenarios…

There are three deployment options for service providers – Hybrid (mix of on premise and cloud) Dedicated, and Shared.  In this article, we will break each one down to explain how they work and the options available.

Dedicated Scenario – (3 options available)

Option 1
Your customer decides to bring their own software (such as Exchange) and infrastructure (Windows) via their own volume licensing agreement. They do not have software assurance on the software. Can they do this?

Yes. Why? Everything is dedicated. Server, virtual machine all dedicated to one single organization. Software Assurance is NOT required.

Option 2
Your customer decides to bring the software but the hoster will provide the infrastructure in a dedicated environment. Again, customer does not need Software Assurance if it’s a dedicated environment. In this scenario, the hoster (you) will provide the Windows license via SPLA and not report the other applications the customer brings over since it is already covered via their own volume licensing agreement. This is applicable, it’s dedicated (VM and physical servers)

Option 3
Your customer is a healthcare company that needs a dedicated environment due to regulatory compliance. They do not own any software; they would need the hoster to supply the software licenses. Can they (the hoster) do this? Yes, the hoster would report everything under SPLA. The hoster (you) CANNOT use your own volume licensing agreement to provide the solution but you can certainly provide SPLA. Please be aware that if you own a volume licensing agreement, you cannot use the same hardware your volume licensing agreement resides as your hosted solution.

Also keep in mind that SPLA is non perpetual, when the customer leaves, they can no longer use the software they were accessing.

Summary of Dedicated –
Dedicated is applicable for both SPLA and end customer owned volume licensing. Dedicated also means dedicated hardware and dedicated VM’s. In dedicated environments, the end customer DOES NOT need software assurance. From a compliance perspective, it is defined as the following:

“Any hardware running an instance of Microsoft software (OS or application) must be dedicated to a single customer. For example, a SAN device that is not running any Microsoft software may be shared by more than one customer; since, a server or SAN device that runs Microsoft software may only be used by one customer.” (source: Microsoft VDA FAQ)

Hybrid Scenarios – 3 options available

Option 1
You decide to offer your customer a shared infrastructure but they want the same applications to run on premise. A good option would be to have the customer purchase the server applications (think Exchange, SharePoint, Lync) with software assurance (SA) and run them on premise. You (the service provider) would run the same applications in your shared environment BUT report the SAL for SA SKU. Much cheaper option than standard SPLA prices. I wrote about this here This also works well for Disaster Recovery options.

Option 2 (not really a hybrid but just go with it)
You can use license mobility. Microsoft likes to define this as a “hybrid option” but to me, hybrid insinuates the ability to run on premise and in your cloud. License mobility is a SA benefit for certain applications (SQL, CRM, SharePoint, Exchange, Lync) that allows customers to leverage their investment in SA and transfer those licenses into a hosters shared infrastructure. Reason why I don’t think this is truly a hybrid is the customer is TRANSFERRING licenses into your datacenter. This means that if a customer wants to move back to their own datacenter, they have to wait 90 days. (transfer license rule). With SAL for SA, nothing is being transferred. Windows does not have mobility rights, this will need to be reported under your own SPLA. I wrote about license mobility many times – here’s an article for your review – here You can also check out the Microsoft site for more of a definitive definition http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/software-assurance/license-mobility.aspx

Option 3
Good Ole’ SPLA. Customer can run their own servers on premise, you just report SPLA licensing in your shared environment. The new SPLA agreement even allows you to run SPLA software on customer owned hardware as long as you still manage it.

Shared Scenarios – 2 options

Option 1
License Mobility – see above

Option 2
SPLA. We all know what that is.

Summary

I hope this brings a bit more clarity. Sorry if some things are redundant but at the same time, some things are simply worth repeating. Here’s the takeaway – customer’s can always bring licenses into your datacenter. There is no law of the land that prohibits this. What is prohibited is the way you deploy the technology. There is only one option to install customer owned licenses in a shared environment and that is license mobility. Again, (here I go being repetitive) if Microsoft allowed customer owned licenses to be installed in shared environments than why would they create license mobility?

If you still have trouble comprehending all this, shoot me an email located at the top right of this page. One general rule of thumb – if it’s shared – 90% of the time SPLA is required.

Thanks for reading

SPLA Man

 
14 Comments

Posted by on August 27, 2014 in Compliance, License Mobility

 

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License Mobility With Software Assurance – the facts

Here’s another post on license mobility.  I am not purposely trying to be redundant, but majority of compliance issues come from customer owned licenses.  It’s important that you, your sellers, and more importantly your customers understand this program in its entirety. So here we go!

License Mobility, in its simplest terms, is a software assurance benefit that allows customers to migrate their existing licenses to a third-party data center.  Third party data center is a service provider.  (Amazon, Azure, Joe’s Hosting, etc).  Primarily this applies to application servers – Lync, Exchange, SharePoint, and CRM.  It also will include products such as System Center, SQL, and Remote Desktop Services.  I encourage you to check out the Microsoft website http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/software-assurance/license-mobility.aspx for more information.  Since this website is dedicated to the service provider community, I thought I would put together some common mistakes service providers make when deploying license mobility.  Fasten your seat belt, there might be a few surprises in this list.

Fact #1

License Mobility is an addendum to your SPLA.  This is NOT automatically granted.  If your company is not on this list, make sure you sign the addendum!  Download the list here  At a hosting summit several years ago, Microsoft announced this program to a room full of service providers.  You should have seen the look on everyone’s face as they made the announcement; almost hear the thoughts running through their minds “Wait a minute, this wasn’t legal before this announcement!!, We were doing this for years!”  That’s right, if you are hosting customer owned licenses in a shared hardware infrastructure/dedicated VM, make sure the products are license mobility eligible (see the SPUR) and make sure you sign the addendum!  I said this before, if Microsoft allowed all products to be installed on a shared hardware infrastructure, why would they have license mobility?  If you have customers that are bringing licenses into your data center and are not mobility eligible, make sure it’s dedicated.  (VM and hardware)

Fact #2

You need to make sure your end customer submits the verification form.  Why?  It’s a requirement by Microsoft.   Essentially there are three times your end customer should complete and submit a License Verification form:  (This is from the verification form guide).

1. “When you deploy eligible licenses with an Authorized Mobility Partner. A new form is required each time you deploy additional licenses.”

2.” When you renew your Software Assurance.”

3.” When you renew your Volume Licensing Agreement.”

“The form can include multiple enrollments or license numbers under a single agreement, provided that they are supported by the same channel partner. However, you should complete a License Verification form for each agreement under which you are using License Mobility (for example, an Enterprise Agreement and a Select Plus agreement).”

How many verification’s forms have been completed?  Very few if any.  Since this is not completed, you (the service provider) can be on the hook.  If anything else, please make sure you make this mobility guide available to your customer to review.  Check it out here

Fact #3

When end customer use license mobility, they are transferring the licenses into your data center.  When you transfer licenses, they can only transfer the licenses away from your data center once every 90 days.  Good news – you keep the customer for a minimum of 90 days!  So let’s say they decide to go back to their own data center; same story – once every 90 days.  From the License Mobility FAQ Guide.

“Customers must assign licenses for a minimum of 90 days, after which they may move their licensed software from a service provider’s shared servers back to their local servers or to another service provider’s shared servers.  Instances run under a particular license must be run in a single server farm and can be moved to another server farm, but not on a short-term basis (90 days or less). A server farm includes up to two data centers each physically located either in a time zone that is within four hours of the local time zone of the other [Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and not Daylight Savings Time (DST)], and/or within the European Union (EU) and/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA).”

Fact #4

You need to include educational materials to your customers during the purchasing process.  I did not make this up, it’s part of the addendum you need to sign to take part in the program.  Azure does this via their website http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/license-mobility.  Amazon does this as well http://aws.amazon.com/windows/mslicensemobility/ Very few on the partner list makes this readily available on their website.  In fact, out of 10 random selected partners on the list, none have a written statement on mobility.  Perhaps you make this as part of your agreement with your customer; but not sure why you wouldn’t make this as part of your marketing strategy.  If you look up “authorized mobility partners” why wouldn’t you want them directed to your site? To prove my point  I looked up “authorized mobility partners” and only a handful of actual hosters show up in the top searches.  Make it your company.

Fact #5

I’ll make this one short; Windows does not have mobility rights.  You need to report Windows server via SPLA.

I know I am beating a dead horse with license mobility.  I just feel this is a big miss by providers and customers.  The bigger miss is SAL for SA  – check out my old post here

I hope you find these articles helpful.  Have any concerns, questions, or just want a second opinion – feel free to email me at blaforge@splalicensing.com

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 24, 2014 in License Mobility

 

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How the other guys do it

So you want to get in the hosting business.  You start looking around the web and notice that other service providers seem to charge less than what you can charge your customers.  You notice other’s advertising solutions that seem to conflict with the licensing rights.  You are at a loss.  You ask yourself, “how do they do it?”  You ask your reseller who seems just as confused.  So what do you do?  How do THEY do it?

Since this blog is about licensing, I’ll educate you on how other’s save costs based off licensing alone.  I’ll break this down into three parts – Exchange, Mobility, and VDI.  Those are probably the big 3 and more often than not, can make you scratch your head.   I will also add one more, and that’s your reseller.

Exchange Licensing

Exchange is your best friend and enemy. I say that only because it is so important and one of the reasons organization’s move towards the cloud.  They don’t want to babysit an Exchange server anymore, but it’s a must have.  Licensing aside, to deploy Exchange you must have redundancy (God forbid it goes down) you must have infrastructure (they have to receive email as fast as their eyes can focus) and finally administration (dedicate an employee(s) to make sure the former happens).  That’s pricey.  Now the licensing.

Exchange is licensed by user, which means all users who have access to the software needs a license.  To deploy Exchange, you also need Windows.  Windows is licensed by processor.  So let’s say you have 10 users and you provide those users access to your Exchange server. Exchange cost’s $5 per user (hypothetical).  Windows costs $20 for Standard edition or $100 for Datacenter edition.  Because Windows is licensed only by processor (not user) the more users, the less expensive Windows licenses become. See below. (example purposes only)

Hoster with 10 Exchange users on a two processor box

Exchange: $5 per user

Windows: 2*20= 40.  But if we do a per user cost it would equate to $40 divided by 10 ($4 per user for Windows).

The entire Exchange solution is $9 per user.  ($5 for Exchange + $4 for Windows)

Hoster with 1,000 Exchange users on a two processor box with multiple VM’s

Exchange: $5 per user

Windows: $100 per processor or $200 (using Datacenter, 2 processor box – multiple VM’s).  So $200 divided by 1000 users equals $.20 per user.

The entire Exchange solution is $5.20 per user.

So what do you do?  You either fight the good fight – offer something the bigger guys cannot offer – customer service, deployment services, kiss your server good night, etc. or if you can’t beat them…join them.  A lot of big providers offer partnerships in which they will provide the Windows server (think Amazon/Azure) but you provide the Exchange license via your own SPLA.  This is called Datacenter Outsourcing.  Perfectly legal, and part of your signed SPLA agreement.

Mobility

If you really want to get into Exchange hosting – this is the best way to do it.  (in my opinion).  You should offer license mobility.  For a complete definition of license mobility, check out my previous blog post here.  In short, this allows your customer who purchased Exchange with Software Assurance to transfer that license into your datacenter.  All you need to do is dedicate a VM for that customer but install it on shared hardware.  One caveat – you must report Windows via SPLA.  Windows is relatively inexpensive so it could be a win-win.  Just make sure you sign the mobility addendum to legally offer this solution and check with your reseller for eligibility

I also think you should consider SAL for SA.  This allows you (the service provider) to host the solution in a shared environment (VM and Hardware) using the Exchange license your customer purchased with SA.  You still report Windows and SAL for SA SKU via SPLA.  (way cheap by the way).  Difference between SAL for SA and License Mobility is under license mobility they are transferring the license to your datacenter.  Under SAL for SA, nothing is transferred, the original licenses can still be deployed on premise and in your cloud!  Great hybrid situation or ability to provide disaster recovery.  Reach out to me at blaforge@splalciensing.com to learn more

VDI

“I see they advertise VDI!!!”  You look online and see other providers offering VDI as a service.  Well, they are either out of compliant (more probable) or they are using Windows Server and RDS to emulate a desktop via SPLA.  Last option is to have the end customer bring their desktop OS licenses to a datacenter provider.  This is not likely since desktop OS does NOT have mobility rights.  This means the service provider would need to dedicate (server and vm) to one customer.  This is the least likely scenario, since dedicating an environment just for a desktop license makes little sense.

Moral of the story with VDI- there is NO way a service provider can offer a desktop license in a shared environment.
Conclusion

Do you ever wonder why you report licenses to your current reseller?  Is it just out of convenience or do they provide you strategic value?  My advice -don’t work with a reseller out of convenience.    Do they have their own cloud services that directly competes with you?  Hmmm…

Reach out to me at blaforge@splalicensing.com or linkedin.  Would love to review your options or simply offer a second opinion.

Thanks

SPLA Man

 

 

 

 

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Office needs mobility rights

The number one post on splalicensing.com is “Office 365 under SPLA”  To date over 20,000 users have read it, several have commented on it, and many more are still asking – what am I missing and why can’t I offer “SPLA Office” in the same fashion as Office 365?

Microsoft recently announced mobility rights for Remote Desktop Services  (RDS).  I wrote about it here I think that’s a great move by Microsoft as it provides more flexibility for both service providers and consumers.  In my opinion, we need Office mobility rights, and we needed it yesterday.

Think about your environment and the licensing restrictions around Office.  To legally deploy Office for a customer that has Office 365, you as a service provider would need to have your customer purchase 1 volume licensing copy of Office, install it on your server, and for each user for Office 365, they must allocate one of the five licenses (Office 365 allows 5 installations of Office on 5 devices per user) to access Office remotely.  The Office bits on Office 365 has issues with installing it on server. Thus, the reason for a volume license copy of Office.  (at least that’s my experience in the past, maybe that’s changed now) Doesn’t sound too bad.  Five devices is a lot anyways, and now with RDS mobility rights, the service provider can use the end customers RDS licenses (if they have software assurance).  YES!!!!

Ahh…but what about Office?  Does Office have mobility rights? The answer is….no.  Although the service provider can have customer RDS mobility rights, since Office is installed, the entire environment has to be dedicated.  Yes, that includes the hardware and the VM.  That’s the issue I struggle with and I am sure many of you do too.  Why offer RDS mobility rights but not Office?  This would solve some of the issues between Office 365 and the service provider community.  Office is expensive for SPLA’s, let’s allow end customers to leverage their existing volume licensing agreements to purchase it and allow service providers to host it in a shared hardware/ dedicated VM using mobility rights? Think of how many users would purchase Office under Office 365 if they did this?  Or if they didn’t purchase Office 365, they would at least need to purchase Office with Software Assurance.  Think of how many service providers would push volume licensing on behalf of Microsoft and the resellers if they allowed this? Either way Microsoft, service providers, and more importantly the end customer would win.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
19 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in License Mobility, Office 365

 

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RDS now has mobility rights!

Great news for service providers, Microsoft announced this week that RDS will have Software Assurance (SA) mobility rights!  This is a great move, it will allow service providers to have shared hardware, but dedicated VM’s (just like others under the license mobility program). Customers can leverage their existing volume licensing agreements (with software assurance) to install RDS in your datacenter.

Pay attention to which products are eligible for license mobility.  The products that are allowed are located in the Product Use Rights (PUR) not the SPUR, as this is a volume licensing use right, not SPLA.  To download a copy click here Service providers would still be required to report Windows under their SPLA agreement. Last, make sure your customers have active software assurance for all licenses used for license mobility!

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 12, 2013 in License Mobility, Office 365

 

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Features of Lync

Here’s a little blurb on the features of Lync.  I think Call management/Lync is a HUGE opportunity for service providers.  Not a lot of companies host it today and organizations are not keen on deploying it in house.  Let me know if you are interested in learning more or hosting Lync today.   Love to hear about your offering.  

Lync can be used for license mobility and it there is an option for the SAL for SA option.  This is great if you have a multi-tenant (shared) infrastructure.  Below is directly from the SPUR.  New edition of the SPUR is at http://spur.microsoft.com/products.aspx

The available SAL types are:

  • Lync Server 2013 Standard SAL (User / Device)
  • Lync Server 2013 Enterprise SAL (User / Device)
  • Lync Server 2013 Plus SAL (User / Device)
  • Lync Server 2013 Enterprise Plus SAL (User / Device)
  • Productivity Suite SAL (User only)

You do not need SALs for any user or device that accesses your instances of the server software without being directly or indirectly authenticated by Active Directory, or Lync Server.

Standard SAL

 

Each user or device for whom you obtain a Standard SAL or Productivity Suite SAL (user only) may use the following features of the server software.

  • All Instant Messaging functionality
  • All Presence functionality
  • All Group Chat functionality
  • All PC-to-PC computer audio and video functionality
Enterprise SAL

 

Each user or device for whom you obtain an Enterprise SAL or Productivity Suite SAL (user only) may use the following features of the server software.

  • The features of the Standard SAL described above
  • All Audio, Video, and Web Conferencing functionality
  • All Desktop Sharing functionality
Plus SAL

 

Each user or device for whom you obtain a Plus SAL may use the following features of the server software.

  • The features of the Standard SAL described above
  • All Voice Telephony functionality
  • All Call Management functionality
Enterprise Plus SAL

 

Each user or device for whom you obtain an Enterprise Plus SAL may use the following features of the server software.

  • The features of the Standard SAL described above
  • All Audio, Video, and Web Conferencing functionality
  • All Desktop Sharing functionality
  • All Voice Telephony functionality
  • All Call Management functionality
 
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Posted by on October 2, 2013 in License Mobility, Lync

 

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