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Category Archives: 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

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6 Comments

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

 

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Office…good, bad, ugly.

One of the biggest roadblocks hoster’s have is around Office.  Want to provide a integrated SharePoint solution?  Must include Office.  Have an application that reports back through Excel?  Must use Office.  Want to provide users the ability to create, edit, and view a Word document?  Must include Office.  In this article I focus on what’s happening around Office including the good, the bad, and possibly the ugly.

Let’s start with the ugly and bad.  I hate bad news, so let’s get this out of the way.  I think the ugly is Office under Office 365.  Surprise! We all know about installing on up to 5 devices and installing on RDS right/shared computer activation..right?  You can learn more about it here http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/09/03/office-365-shared-computer-activation.aspx

Pay attention to what is happening with Azure.  There’s a lot of changes in the way in which Office will be deployed in this environment.   More to come.

So there’s the ugly.  The bad is just the overall cost of deploying Office in a shared environment.  Office is expensive.  You not only have to report Office, but RDS and Windows as well and with currently no option for mobility, service providers have few options.  Remember, if you are providing Office remotely, your RDS licenses should match.  Last, if you think using Office Web apps is a good alternative you may have to think again.  To fully use Office Web Apps a copy of Office must also be licensed.

Here’s some good links around this topic including RDS, Azure and Office 365, as well as my own blog post “SPLA and Office 365”

Azure and RDS – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn782858(v=office.15).aspx

Overview of Azure/Office 365 from my friends at Code Magazine http://www.codemag.com/Article/1108021

SPLA and Office 365 https://splalicensing.com/category/office-365/

Now it’s time for the good.  Did you know you know you can report the Office components instead of the entire suite?  Did you know Office is a user based license which means if not all users need Office Pro, by all means do not report all users with Office Pro. SPLA Man needs Office Pro but SPLA Girl only needs the features of Office Standard, make sure to report us accordingly.  Here is a good link that compares the features within Office as well as the features of Office Pro and Office 365.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/buy/compare-microsoft-office-products-FX102898564.aspx

There’s a lot of information to digest in these links.  To summarize my point, you must get creative and you must pay attention to updates (especially Office 365)  Your customers will ask.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
4 Comments

Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Office 365

 

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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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Answers to your Top 5 SPLA Hosting Questions!

1. Is there an auditing tool available for SPLA in the marketplace?  Not at the moment, but reach out to me via twitter or LinkedIn and we can discuss further.  I have a few ideas up my sleeve 🙂

2. How do I lower my monthly reporting costs?  No easy answer with this one.  You need to really take an inventory/snapshot of your environment.  How many VMs are really running?  Can I eliminate server sprawl by virtualizing more heavily?  Am I reporting users when I should really be reporting processor or cores?  A lot of service providers report the same thing every month out of convenience.  Don’t do that!  Furthermore, if you are outside the United States, I have a few ideas for you as well.  Reach out to me via LinkedIn or Twitter @SPLA_Man

3. With volume licensing there is a 1-2 ratio, meaning 1 license covers two processors with Windows 2012.  Does the same hold true for SPLA?  No.  You must license all the processors on the machine.  Check out my blog post https://splalicensing.com/category/windows-virtualization/

4. How do I compete with Office 365?  You need to provide a service outside of the product itself.  Check out my blog https://splalicensing.com/category/office-365/

5. My application that we developed outputs data out of an Excel file.  Why on Earth would I need to license Excel?  Simple…because it uses Excel.

There’s a reason why Bill Gates is one of the richest men in the world.  You install it…you have to license it!

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2013 in Compliance, Office 365

 

Office 365 Under SPLA

Article update: We created a new website called MSCloudlicensing to help SPLA and CSP partners understand the different program options and use rights available to them. The site is designed to be a collaborative platform,  which includes a forum to ask and answer licensing questions, document library, and licensing articles.  It’s more in depth than a simple blog.  www.mscloudlicensing.com 

Document Library: Easy to read white papers on licensing and best practices. What really happens in an audit? How are other service providers handling CSP and Azure? AWS licensing? https://mscloudlicensing.com/document-library/
Forum: Experts always review and answer your licensing questions. https://mscloudlicensing.com/forum/
Articles: Most of the splalicensing.com articles you are used to reading and many more on CSP, Azure, AWS, and other cloud providers.
https://mscloudlicensing.com/subscription/

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With the release of Office 365, the Microsoft hosting community has been asking “What’s in it for us?”   At a glance, I would agree, especially when it comes to Office.   Office can be installed on up to 5 devices with Office 365, under SPLA, you have to install it on a server and have remote access into the server.  This would require not only Office, but RDS and Windows Server!  Microsoft did recently (January, 2014) announce RDS mobility rights. More details found here. I also wrote why Office needs to have mobility rights or else the entire “Office 365” type experience (from a licensing perspective) won’t work. Check it out here
If I was in the hosting business, I would not try to compete against Office 365 from a licensing perspective; I would embrace it.  The most successful service providers offer Office 365 as part of their solution.  For example, if you host SharePoint, like it or not the end customer is going to look at Office 365.  They will want to compare your solution to Microsoft’s. What differentiates your offering to Microsoft’s?  There’s the obvious – you are regional or local, you can offer customization, you can also offer dedicated or multitenant environments; but more importantly you can offer services. Customers want to move to the cloud, the question is “how do they get there?”  This is what you do.  This is what you are great at.  This is where you can increase your margins. Back to my SharePoint example, if you say to your customer – “here’s Microsoft’s SharePoint and here’s ours.  We will help you facilitate to Office 365 if you choose (become the partner of record) but here is what you will be missing.”  You are promoting your brand and not shunning Microsoft’s.  I like what FP Web is doing.  They are the SharePoint experts and are wiling to compare their solution to Microsoft’s on their website.  Check it out for yourself http://www.fpweb.net/why-us/compare-o365-fpweb/

From a SPLA licensing perspective, the only bundled SKU is the productivity suite.  This includes Lync Enterprise, SharePoint Standard, and Exchange Standard.  It does not include Windows, SQL, or Office. Windows processor licenses allows unlimited number of users to access, the more users, the less expensive it is. Eventually all you will be quoting is the Exchange license.  (if you are an Exchange only provider) That is how large service providers are able to hold down their costs.

Other option to Office 365 is to offer License Mobility.  License Mobility allows your end customers to purchase licenses (with Software Assurance) and bring it into your environment.  The advantage for the customer is volume discounts, and the advantage for the service provider is the ability to offer this in a multitenant hardware infrastructure.  The virtual instance has to be dedicated, but the hardware it resides on can be multitenant.  This is only if the customer has Software Assurance and the service provider signs the license mobility addendum.  Windows is not included and would have to be reported under SPLA.  I will write another blog on license mobility.  Stay tuned.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
22 Comments

Posted by on February 26, 2013 in Office 365

 

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