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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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Microsoft SPLA – Services Provider Internal Self-Assessment Request: Did you just get audited?

Recently, I have received numerous enquiries from service providers who got an email titled “Microsoft SPLA – Services Provider Internal Self-Assessment Request”  The question that is asked is “Am I being audited?”

An email is not an audit by itself.  What it does mean is the vendor is looking at your usage much more closely and looking for gaps in the way you report.  The good news with SPLA is it is month-month.  The bad news with SPLA is it’s month-month.  Our job is to educate and coach you through the process to ensure you are reporting accurately and the most cost effective way possible.

There are several organizations who will try to take advantage of the situation, trust who you can trust and don’t spend the money without knowing who it is you are working with.  If you received an email and have questions, please email info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Top News in September

Here’s the latest news of the month for all MSP’s and SPLA providers.  Enjoy!

SQL 2017

This month is a month we will remember for the rest of our lives.  That’s right, today SQL 2017 is available to run on…a non-Microsoft system?

From the licensing guide: “SQL Server 2017 now supports deployment on RedHat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), Ubuntu, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). The SQL Server 2017 SKUs are platform agnostic, so customers can run the software on either Windows or Linux.” (check it out here)

What this means for those anti-Microsoft lovers is a customer who demands SQL can now install SQL 2017 on a Linux machine and not report Windows.  The machine cannot run any Windows guest VM’s for it not to be reported.  Pay attention to that last sentence as we get asked a lot about licensing individual VM’s instead of the actual host.  In Windows licensing, you license the physical host, not the VM’s.  If there are 100 Linux VM’s and only 1 Windows VM, you must license the host with Windows Datacenter to be in compliant.

Azure Stack Availability

The long await is over – Azure Stack is now shipping through the OEM channel (Dell, Lenovo, HPE)  You can read more about this announce here  From a licensing perspective, I think it is less expensive to license Windows through SPLA than pay as you use model.  It’s more of a predictable cost in my opinion.  This is one way Microsoft is attempting to extend Azure (public cloud) into your private cloud and have the best of both worlds.

“Hit Refresh”

Satya Nadella “Hit Refresh” book is available at a time when we are all in a strange way, hitting refresh.  The cloud transformation is only getting more complex – hybrid, dedicated, Google, AWS, Azure, every company is transforming to try and get the slightest edge over their competitors.  I look forward to reading it and every dollar goes to Microsoft charities.  Regardless of what you think of Microsoft, Satya seems like one of the good guys.  You can check out more about the book here

More to come –

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2017 in In My Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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SPLA Audit Season…

The air is getting colder (at least on this side of the hemisphere), the leaves are changing, and the aroma of burning firewood fills the night time air.  That’s right, audit season is upon us!

Why audit season?  Microsoft is concluding their first half of the fiscal year in December, which means revenue demand is a high priority.  It happens at the end of the year and in June when the fiscal year closes.  There’s no easier way to achieve revenue targets than going after organizations in the form of an audit.  Don’t be left in the dark.  If you are going through an audit, we have the resources to help support you.  Our team consists of:

Ex Microsoft auditors who know the game and negotiation tactics.

Licensing experts (who else has a blog dedicated to the nuances of licensing)

Cost optimization professionals

Audit tools and license management as a service

If you are going through a SPLA audit, don’t do it alone. You don’t want to pay more money than you have to just to please a vendor.  If you have questions on the process or need a recommendation, you can email blaforge@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2017 in Compliance, Uncategorized

 

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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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Free SPLA Licensing Consultation

The complexity of SPLA and CSP licensing is not getting easier. In fact, I would argue it's getting more challenging.  I am often asked about topics such as:

  • How does the CSP Qualified Multitenant Hosting work?
  • How do I know I am NOT being overcharged for my SPLA licenses?
  • How can I compete against AWS and Azure?
  • How does License Mobility work?
  • How about a second opinion?
  • How does an audit work?

If you are interested in the above "How's"  we are offering a free licensing consultation to get those questions answered. For a limited time, we will review  anything related to Microsoft SPLA licensing. We can sign an NDA if preferred.  It's for (1) 30 minute review and is valid only through 8/18/2017.

The catch?  I ask you to make a donation (large or small) to my buddy Brett.  If you think Microsoft licensing is hard – look at what this boy has gone through:

Brett was a healthy child until around May of 2014 (age 10) when he was diagnosed with a high grade brain tumor (anaplastic astrocytoma) shortly after experiencing many headaches, nausea and fatigue. Brett has endured 7 weeks of daily proton radiation, 5 brain surgeries on an ‘inoperable tumor’, 3 years of chemo, and multiple hospital stays and is now on immunotherapy. It has been a difficult journey, but Brett has always been hardworking and determined to get better.

The Make-A-Wish foundation told him he could meet any celebrity or go to any sport event he desires.  His choice?  He wanted to be a priest for just one day.   He got his wish.  I think this is a testament of his character, his family, and his desire to help others even though he is going through something no one (especially a child) should have to go through.

Let's solve the world's licensing problems while helping this boy out.  Email info@splalicensing.com and your donation and let's set up time to review.  Here's how to donate:  https://www.gofundme.com/team-brett-stay-strong 

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man #IHATECANCER

 
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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

Breaking down Microsoft’s Q4 and what it means for your business.

Microsoft reported earnings last night that surpassed expectations and gave us insight into their cloud business. I am not a stock analysts, but I thought I would spend some time reviewing some of the highlights and my opinion for what’s next for the software (I mean cloud, actually, no -I meant Intelligent Cloud) giant.

Azure – Microsoft did not provide specific revenue numbers for Azure, but did say revenue grew 97% y/y.  Although exact numbers for Azure revenue is not specified, Azure is part of the all-important commercial space, which includes Dynamics 365, Azure, and a little program called Office 365.  That revenue number combined was over 18B which more than doubled last year’s number.

Office/Dynamics and Competition – Office 365 subscription business just surpassed the traditional Office model with revenue up 43%.  When was the last time you went to a box retailer and purchased software?  That’s a telling sign that more and more organizations prefer subscription pricing over box products.   Dynamics 365 was up 74%, probably because Dynamics in SPLA is about as complex as it can possibly get.  Need help with a Dynamics licensing question?  Ask your reseller.  The reseller will ask Microsoft – and then it goes into a big, dark, black hole until someone loses their mind.  Nothing happens.  Microsoft also revamped Dynamics in SPLA to make it very difficult to compete.  The same can be said for Office.  Where I see concern for Microsoft is with Google, who is just getting their foot in the door in the enterprise space.  If they make traction (and they will) it will be interesting to see the two giants go at it.  Google’s cloud platform is growing exponentially as well.

Surface Sales – I guess you can say is one of the low points of the conference call.  Surface revenue dropped 2%.  Xbox sales also dropped and became less profitable with price drops and competition.  That’s the bad news – the good news?  Maybe with the new CSP Windows 10 thing Microsoft will include Surface as part of the program to those not already a Surface Authorized Distributor, or make Surface authorization available to every CSP Direct partner.

LinkedIN – Only Microsoft can spend over 26B for an acquisition and investors are still wondering what it is they bought; and more importantly, not hurt their quarterly earnings.  Yeah, they can tie it in for Dynamics and Yammer/Teams with all those users.   They also have a pretty impressive data list of users to sell additional collaboration products and services to.  I guess the jury is still out on this.

Opinion – Microsoft recently announced a major change in their sales organization. Their sales teams that were focused on the enterprise need to focus more on solution type selling.  A lot of organizations in the industry are going through the same transformation.  It’s also not an easy thing to do.  Time will tell.

I wrote an entire article without mentioning Amazon, they report earnings next week.  It will be interesting to see how they compare to Microsoft and how much they grew year of year in comparison.  Lots of analysis say Microsoft will surpass AWS as the king of the cloud.  I still think Google is lurking in the background and might surprise some people as well.

What does all this mean for SPLA?  In my humble opinion, I think Microsoft better be careful with the way they are handling their third-party hosters.  Those numbers they threw out yesterday were great, but they can get even better.

Microsoft built a program for partners who have their own datacenters, relationships, and sales resources to promote Microsoft products and technology.   There are close to 30,000 SPLA partners (rough estimate) that have datacenters spread throughout the globe.  Nobody, can have the reach like your SPLA partners.  Google and Amazon do not have 30,000 datacenters, why disrupt it?  Don’t audit them, partner with them and help grow this business to build a true hybrid cloud ecosystem.  The strategy should be their cloud – our cloud, and customers will thank you.  Teaming with Walmart makes sense too.  Say what!

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on July 21, 2017 in In My Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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