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Category Archives: SPLA General

Hosting Options for Charity Customers

We receive a lot of questions on how to properly license charity customers in a hosted environment.  Do they qualify for License Mobility?  Is there SPLA pricing for charity customers?  Is academic pricing the same?   Let’s take a look at these questions and more!

Can I sign an academic addendum and report the lower cost for a charity customer?

No.  The academic addendum is specific about what qualifies as an academic institution; unfortunately, charity is not one of them.

My customer purchased charity licenses without Software Assurance but refuse to pay for SPLA.  Any ideas on how to accommodate? 

Charities can provider their own Microsoft licenses that were purchased without Software Assurance in a 100% dedicated environment.  Charity products are treated the same as standard products.

My customer purchased charity licenses with Software Assurance.  Can they leverage License Mobility?

Yes. Charities can leverage this use right to run software covered by Software Assurance as a separate Virtual Machine on shared hardware at a service provider location.  Windows, must be reported in SPLA and reported at the corporate price.

Does SAL for SA qualify?

Yes. If a customer made the investment in Software Assurance(has active Software Assurance) they can run a second instance in a shared environment.  As the Service Provider, you will report the SAL for SA SKU for each user that has access to the solution.

Is there charity pricing in SPLA?

No.

Is there charity pricing in CSP?

Yes. You can read more here

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

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Posted by on August 31, 2017 in SPLA General, Uncategorized

 

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CAL’s, SAL’s and Multiplexing. 101 Licensing for on premise and cloud environments

 

In this article, we will take a closer look at CAL’s and SAL’s…what they are and how to license them.  We will also look at the User Subscription License (USL) for Microsoft Online Services.

Client Access License 

A Client Access License (CAL) provides the right to access a server.  Depending on the environment and product licensed, a CAL can either be a user or a device.   Many resellers, consultants, and even Microsoft, make it a lot more complicated than it needs to be.  The biggest trick to CAL licensing is remembering it is just a “right” not a technical requirement to access the server.  In other words, you can spin up a server, users can access it (in most cases with or without a CAL) and away they go.  Sounds great, but it’s not compliant, and I would argue that is the #1 reason customer’s fall victim to compliance.

SQL is a great example of this.  When I go to my SharePoint site, I pull reports, store information, share information, and perform many other tasks.  What I don’t know is SQL is used in the background to provide access to this information.  Did I log into a SQL Server?  No.  Did I “use” SQL?  Yes.  This is where multiplexing come into play. Multiplexing uses hardware and/or software to pool connections.  The best way to know if a user needs a license (and I’ve said this before) is to ask yourself “If I remove this from my hosted solution would it still work the same as it did prior?” If you answer “no” you need a license.  If your SQL Server is licensed in the Server/CAL model, you’re required to have CALs for any User or Device that accesses that application directly or indirectly. Very few users in an organization have credentials to a SQL Server.  One way to eliminate some of the risk with SQL is to license by core.  Cores allow unlimited number of users to access the server.  If they use the server or not, they are covered.

SAL Licensing

Under SPLA there is a Subscriber Access License (SAL).  SAL’s are licensed by user only (there are very few exceptions such as desktop applications and System Center).  Like a client access license, a SAL license is not concurrent.  This is important, since other vendors are based on concurrent licensing.  SAL is like your cable bill, your provider is going to charge you regardless if you turn your TV on or not, SAL licensing works the same way.  I’ve written about this before but it’s worth repeating – SAL is for any person that HAS access not who does access.  Unlike CAL’s, there is no need to purchase a server license in SPLA.

Online Services

To add a bit more complexity, let’s review Microsoft Online Services.  If you license Exchange Online or an Office 365 Suite, you will purchase a User Subscription License (USL).  A USL provides a user access to the online solution.  Unlike a CAL and like a SAL (that’s a mouthful) you do not need a server license to access the solution if it’s online.  If you want to run anything on premise or in another third-party datacenter, you would require a server license.  In other words, if you have SharePoint Online, the USL license will provide on-premises rights (essentially CALs) in addition to their online rights. This allows for the ability to migrate over time and have hybrid environments without incurring additional cost.  Keep in mind, when you run hybrid, you do require a server license on premise.

Additionally, if you to purchase an online suite (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Skype) you can run pieces of the suite on premise. For example, maybe you want to keep SharePoint on-premises but move Exchange to the cloud. An Office 365 Suite includes both online and on-premises rights for each product in the suite, which means you don’t have to pay for the E Suite and then buy Exchange CALs separately.   Just remember the server license!

Summary

It is very important to understand the licensing rules before purchasing any software.  There has and always will be a difference in the way in which technology can be deployed and the way it must be licensed.  Don’t waste money, time, and effort planning a cloud solution without considering the license impact.  I was on a call recently where a customer wanted to leverage their Windows Server with Software Assurance in a shared public cloud.  Unfortunately, Windows is not license mobility eligible.  They worked with a consultant or “expert” who told them one thing, but the rules state otherwise.  Yes, maybe they can take advantage of Windows HUB, but Azure unfortunately was not the right fit.  Pay attention to the license rules, it can save you.  Question?  Email info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 30, 2017 in Office 365, SPLA General

 

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If you could change ONE thing in SPLA…What would it be?

If you were THE Microsoft SPLA MGR in charge of the entire program, what would you change to help grow the SPLA business? (more importantly, YOUR SPLA business)  If you have multiple that’s ok.

Here’s a list from a colleague to get you started:

  • Allow Windows Desktop OS to be included in the unlimited virtualization rights of Windows Server DC
  • Allow MSDN to have License Mobility Rights.
  • Remove the SharePoint Enterprise SALs additive requirement.  Just make Enterprise more expensive.
  • Create cores for Excel and Access for ISV’s.
  • Expand the Productivity Suite and have O365 equivalents to align with O365 pricing.
  • Bring back SQL Enterprise SALs.
  • Add Power BI as a product
  • Reduce Office SPLA pricing!
  • Have the resellers require an End Customer Enrollment for deploying customer owned hardware, and open it up to include Windows PC’s.
  • Bring better clarity to RDS licensing.
  • Create a better way for Microsoft field reps to get credit for SPLA consumption.

You can tweet me at @SPLA_man or send me an email info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2017 in SPLA General

 

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What’s Your Licensing Strategy?

I love the question “What’s your cloud strategy?” It’s the new ice breaker for salespeople around the globe. My thoughts? Why bother asking customers about their cloud strategy if it does not include licensing?  The BIGGEST mistake service providers (SPLA’s) make is selling a solution first and worrying about the licensing impact later. They build data centers, talk about virtualizing, even talk about the savings of cap ex vs. op ex, but never talk about the licensing until someone brings it up or they get audited. Just because the technology enables something, does not mean you can license that way.

VDI is a prime example of this. “You can host virtual desktops as a service right? Install the desktop OS on a server and stream it? Why not? The concept has been around for years. I ‘Googled’ VDI as a service and several companies are doing this…it must be right…right?” Wrong! Yes, technically speaking you can host virtual desktops using Windows 7/8. Licensing gurus and the product user rights and the audit team will disagree with you. Unfortunately there’s no way to do this under SPLA. Next question that comes up is “why?” Wish I knew the answer, perhaps Microsoft is looking out after the OEM manufactures, but then again they launched Surface.

Microsoft is auditing everyone. There are few guarantees in life, but one guarantee is not everyone under the SPLA program is licensing correctly. Just a word of advice, know the licensing before implementing a solution.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
 

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Why Timing is Everything

Whether you’re signing a new SPLA or renewing your old one, timing is everything.  When you sign an agreement, you are bound by the use rights at the time of sigining.  For example, if you sign a new SPLA in April, 2013 you will be bound by the SPUR (product use rights) for April 2013. 

Why is this important?  As with technology, licensing is always evolving.  As an example, with the release of SQL 2012, Microsoft switched from a processor based licensing structure to a core based licensing structure.  Since the 2013 SPUR only has core licensing (not processor), you will be forced to license by core when you sign a new SPLA regardless of which version you have installed. In other words, anyone (whether renewing or new) who signs an agreement after December 31st, 2012 will be forced to license by core. 

Windows 2012 is another change that can impact your usage reporting.  With the release of Windows 2012 last August, anyone who signs a new SPLA after August 31st, 2012 will be forced to license by the 2012 use rights.  You can run previous versions such as 2008, but you will need to license by the current SPUR. 

What happens if you sign a new SPLA in August before the license change?  You will have 3 years (SPLA is a 3 year agreement) to license the old way.  The catch? If you migrate any servers to the 2012 version you will have to license those servers by the 2012 use rights.  For example, if you are running SQL 2008 R2 Standard edition and decide to migrate to SQL 2012 Standard edition, the new server will need to be reported by the core not by processor!

Ask in advance for the licensing impact before renewing your SPLA agreement.  Better yet, follow this blog for the latest updates and you will be well prepared!

Thanks for reading-

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Compliance, SPLA General

 

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What is SPLA?

thCA3NI2LZSPLA stands for Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA). The key difference between a SPLA license and a license that comes with a boxed product (similar to something you would buy at a retail store) is the person who uses the software. The software you buy at a retail store can only be used by the person who purchased it. SPLA on the other hand, is designed for hosting companies that provide software as a service to their customers. It is for third-party access, not internal employee access. For example, if a company wants to host an Exchange server on behalf of another organization, the Exchange license needed for this access would be SPLA. Some other common examples of organizations that use SPLA are companies such as Rackspace, Go Daddy.

SPLA is a month-month licensing program. If a service provider has 10 users who has access to the software in the month of February, they would pay for those 10 users in the first week of March. In March, if they have 10 users they would report those 10 users the first week of April, and so forth. SPLA is very flexible, it allows usage to scale up and down on a monthly basis. It is non perpetual, after the service agreement ends, no one actually owns the licenses. Think of SPLA as a leased software program designed for hosting companies who want to offer Microsoft software as a service.

Is the SPLA program right for your business? Here are some common business’ that fit the SPLA model.

Web Hosters

Independent Software Vendors

Application Providers

Hospitals

Managed Service Providers

Online Gaming Providers

Telco Companies

This program is only available for external users and is not designed for internal employees. For anything internal, you will need to purchase a volume licensing agreement not, SPLA.

Thank you for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2013 in SPLA General

 
 
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