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Top 5 Licensing Questions….Answered

You have questions…We have answers.  Another month, and another list of licensing questions asked by the hosting community.

  1. I have a small hosting company that runs primarily Linux machines with a few Windows VM’s mixed in.  The only thing we do customer facing with Windows systems is a small number of users access our application via a published app over RDP Web.  Do I need SPLA?

Yes.  You have Windows running in your cloud environment.  It does not matter how small or large the environment is.  One thing you might want to check out is the Cloud Platform Suite.  You must run Hyper-V and System Center but it could lower your costs. 

  1. I get CSP from one reseller and SPLA from another.  Do I qualify for the new QMTH addendum or do I need to get it all from one source?  Totally confused.

In QMTH, you are the CSP partner, not someone else.  I am guessing you are using the CSP reseller to go indirect.  If that is the case, you must become CSP Direct authorized.  Purchasing CSP from a third-party does not qualify you for QMH.  That being said, your customer can purchase CSP from any organization and you can host it for them (if you are QMH authorized).

  1. The audit bug got me. I think it’s because my reseller refuses to submit my usage report even though I sent it to them several times.  Any advice?

Microsoft can audit any partner they choose.  There’s not one factor that triggers an audit.  More eyes will be watching if you are continually delinquent on your monthly report.  The biggest reason why a reseller does not submit a usage report is because the provider is delinquent on their payments. Are you up to date? All payments paid to the reseller?

  1. Can I rent a PC using the QMTH addendum? I know in the past I could rent a Windows desktop license in SPLA.  Can I do it now?

I think it makes sense to do so but unfortunately it is not part of the addendum.  I would love feedback here.  Section C of the QMTH addendum states” “This Amendment does not authorize Customer to resell, distribute, or otherwise provide End User or CSP Licensees direct access to Windows 10 Software” In order to lease a PC to a third-party you need to follow the Microsoft Leasing Agreement. 

  1. I report Office, Exchange, SharePoint and Skype. I heard rumors of a price increase coming in the pipeline from various resellers that I reached out to.  Any truth?

Let me put it to you this way – The products you just mentioned happen to be part of Office 365.  I don’t foresee Microsoft lowering pricing in SPLA for the same products offered by Microsoft.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

PS – What was the SPLA partner’s response to my answer for question 5?  “That’s BS Mate!”  My response?  “Don’t shoot the messenger.”  Have a question?  Email info@splalicensing.com

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Posted by on August 5, 2017 in Top 5 Licensing Questions

 

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Microsoft Online Services Terms – What you need to pay attention to before signing your Azure agreement

There’s a lot of benefits to moving to Azure, I’ll let your Microsoft account team review them with you.  On this website, we are not that concerned about the benefits, all we care about is the licensing.  In this article, we will review the Microsoft Online Services Terms.

What is the Microsoft Online Services Terms?  First starters, it used to be called Microsoft Online Services Use Rights or MOLSUR for short (or long).   It is now called OST pronounced OAST when speaking to Microsoft.  Basically the OST defines how you may consume online services through Microsoft.  You can download a copy here.  Although your legal team should review the document in its entirety, below are some of the highlights I think you will find relevant and are often overlooked.

License Reassignment 

“Most, but not all, SLs may be reassigned. Except as permitted in this paragraph or in the Online Service-specific Terms, Customer may not reassign an SL on a short-term basis (i.e., within 90 days of the last assignment). Customer may reassign an SL on a short-term basis to cover a user’s absence or the unavailability of a device that is out of service. Reassignment of an SL for any other purpose must be permanent. When Customer reassigns an SL from one device or user to another, Customer must block access and remove any related software from the former device or from the former user’s device.” (April, 2017 OST)

What does this mean?

Most Microsoft products cannot be reassigned on a short-term basis, that’s why Microsoft has the use right called license mobility.  In short, pay attention to which users are assigned a license and if/when they no longer need the service.

Hosting Exception “Customer may create and maintain a Customer Solution and, despite anything to the contrary in Customer’s volume licensing agreement, combine Microsoft Azure Services with Customer Data owned or licensed by Customer or a third party, to create a Customer Solution using the Microsoft Azure Service and the Customer Data together. Customer may permit third parties to access and use the Microsoft Azure Services in connection with the use of that Customer Solution. Customer is responsible for that use and for ensuring that these terms and the terms and conditions of Customer’s volume licensing agreement are met by that use.” (April, 2017)

What does this mean?

It allows you (a service provider) the right to use Azure as a datacenter provider.  The last sentence is very important in the above definition “Customer is responsible for that use and for ensuring that these terms and the terms and conditions of Customer’s volume licensing agreement are met by that use.”  In the above definition,  “customer” is you.  If you use Azure as a datacenter provider, purchase Azure via your own volume licensing agreement, and use SPLA for user based products (e.g. RDS) you must follow the OST, Product Terms, and the SPUR!

Azure Services Limitations

Customer may not “Allow multiple users to directly or indirectly access any Microsoft Azure Service feature that is made available on a per user basis (e.g., Active Directory Premium). Specific reassignment terms applicable to a Microsoft Azure Service feature may be provided in supplemental documentation for that feature.” (April, 2017 OST)

What does this mean?

Sounds similar to a SAL license right? “Directly or Indirectly access any Microsoft Azure Service.”  Although if you are using Azure as your datacenter provider, the likelihood of you consuming user based licensing through Azure is not very high.

Security

I encourage you to read the security measures and policy’s set forth by Microsoft for their online services.  You can read it here.  I included a breakdown of the difference compliance and security certifications below:

Microsoft Online Information Security Policy (as of April, 2017)

Online Service ISO 27001 ISO 27002

Code of Practice

ISO 27018

Code of Practice

SSAE 16 SOC 1 Type II SSAE 16 SOC 2 Type II
Office 365 Services Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Dynamics 365 Core Services Yes Yes Yes Yes* Yes*
Microsoft Azure Core Services Yes Yes Yes Varies** Varies**
Microsoft Cloud App Security Yes Yes Yes No No
Microsoft Intune Online Services Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Power BI Services Yes Yes Yes No No

 

Last and certainly not least, I get asked A LOT about language that you should include as a service provider.  I would encourage you to create your own online services terms for your hosted offerings.  Too many providers do not have basic language around compliance, licensing, and overall use rights.  At a minimum, you should include a copy of the End User License Terms for SPLA.  If you do not have a copy, please contact your reseller.  If you forget to include licensing terms and conditions, you could be on the hook during an audit.  Don’t be on the hook.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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The Cloud Insider Times

In this edition of The Cloud Insider Times, you will find articles on Dynamics 365, Desktop as a Service, and other cloud technologies.  If your company would like to be included in future articles, please email info@splalicensing.com

Data Resolution –  Dynamics 365 Transition Guide

Armor Defense Inc – Words of Wisdom: A True Campaign Goes Well Beyond Holding a Single Event

Schooldude.com  – A Process to Help Future-Proof Your Facilities

CyberlinkASP  Three Reasons Businesses Are Clamoring for Desktop-as-a-Service

Team Software – Are Workforce Management Tools Right for You?

The Kotter Group – 5 reasons why cloud computing is more secure than traditional data storage

Logicalis Group – Cities Are Getting Smarter This Year – and the IoT is Changing Everything

Information Builders, Inc – Dirty Data, Broken Trust (White Paper)

Asscociations Now – LIVIN’ ON THE EDGE: WHAT COMES NEXT AFTER CLOUD COMPUTING

K2 Technologies 4 Ways the Cloud Enhances How You Do Business

Netelligent – The Mid-Sized Business Conundrum

Interserver – The Backbone of a Web Hosting Company

Zumasys – Desktop-as-a-Service Platform Grows to 2,000+ Users in Less Than Two Years

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2017 in The Cloud Insider Times

 

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The Cloud Insider Times

We created The Cloud Insider Times as a way to provide valuable content to the splalicensing.com reader.  Each week our team will search the web for relevant information as it relates to SPLA and other cloud related technologies and solutions.  Have a question or hot topic or would like to be added to “The Cloud Insider Times” Contact me at info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on March 30, 2017 in The Cloud Insider Times

 

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Office Under Office 365 and Shared Environments…Can we do it or not?

There’s a rumor that Microsoft will allow a service provider the ability to host Office licenses under Office 365 in a shared cloud environment.  Is the rumor true?  Yes, it’s true.  But with everything in the world of licensing there’s always a catch.

For those that have read my blog for a while know that this blog is not a news source, but an education source.  I don’t care about late breaking news, I just want you to get the licensing right, the information right, and be profitable.

So what does Office under Office 365 really mean?  Some time ago, Microsoft created a use right titled “Shared Computer Activation”  For those playing at home this is code for installing end user Office license from O365 in a shared cloud infrastructure similar to license mobility.  In the past, this was only available in Azure.  (imagine that).  Fast forward to today and Microsoft is opening it up to the service provider channel as well.  Good news for you, and even better news for Microsoft.  If you would like to use this use right (SCA) you must meet the following criteria:

  1. You must be authorized for  Cloud Solution Provider Program (CSP Tier 1).  Thats why it’s good news for Microsoft.
  2. You must be managed by a Microsoft hosting team member.
  3. You must be an authorized SCA partner.  (Licensing Addendum)

If you don’t know if you are managed, let me know – I can see if you are.  Typically this is for SPLA partners that report not only high SPLA revenue (although not necessarily), but are also strategic in marketing activities with Microsoft.  If you are international, let me know and we can look into getting US authorized as well.  You can email me at info@splalicensing.com to learn more.  I also have a cool powerpoint.  (well, about as cool as powerpoint’s can go).  Although a bit out dated, here is a good overview as well on SCA: https://technet.microsoft.com/library/dn782860(v=office.15).aspx

Last, I sit on a licensing panel and would love to review the different use cases for this program.  Let me know how you may/may not benefit from Shared Computer Activation and we can voice our collective opinion to Microsoft.  info@splalicensing.com

There’s also a big change for rental PC’s.  Little teaser for an upcoming blog post.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on January 25, 2016 in Office 365

 

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Your Cloud…My Terms

“Oh Cloud” Steve Ballmer once shouted vociferously to an enthusiastic croud at the Microsoft’s World Partner Conference a few years ago. He was later quoted as saying “the cloud creates opportunities and responsibilities” This may sound generic, but feel he’s absolutely right.

I think for vendors such as Microsoft, the opportunity exists to better align themselves with a platform that is more adaptable to the cloud. (Just look at System Center, Office 365, and Azure as examples). I think for the Enterprise space, it means the opportunity to leverage their mission critical applications in a cloud environment with the end result being cost savings. Finally, I think for cloud hosters it means both (opportunity and responsibility). How can they differentiate themselves to end customers so they will be “all in” (another Ballmer line) their cloud and not someone elses, while ensuring their customer can sleep well at night knowing their information is secure?

At the Microsoft Hosting Summit this past spring, one of the presenters discussed ways in which hosters can increase confidence with customers and truly differentiate themselves in a competitive market. They concluded that customers will go to the cloud when they are in control. Things such as security, location of data, and disaster recovery were top of their list. That shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise, but do feel cloud providers must be prepared to address these concerns if they are to grow.

Managing the SPLA program in particular, I regularly hear cloud providers concerned over Office 365 and what other service providers are advertising. I understand, if I was in the hosting business I’d be concerned as well. We may not like it, but we must somehow acknowledge it. Office 365 is not going away, neither is Azure and neither are the other 8,000 SPLA partners. So what are you to do?

I agree with the presenter at the Hosting Summit. I feel customers want to outsource the headache of managing an infrastructure, but still want a sense of control over their data. I read a statistic that showed over 65% of companies would rather have a private and public cloud than hosting everything in-house. Their main concern as to why they do not do it today is security. I strongly believe that if you can create a brand that acknowledges end-user control, keeping the cloud on their terms instead of yours, and have strong (even public) SLA’s that customers can easily read (no small print) it will make switching from an on premise solution to the cloud that much more compelling.

I understand I am not writing something that you haven’t heard or read before, but do feel it is often overlooked. Even in searching the largest of the large providers on the web, I cannot easily find an SLA on their site. If knowing security is a concern, advertise how you address this issue and listen what your customers want. They will thank you later.

Thanks for reading.

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in In My Opinion, Uncategorized

 

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