Tag Archives: Hosting
Many CSP Direct partners who also have an SPLA agreement have asked if their SPLA usage reporting will go towards the 300k requirement to remain CSP Direct authorized. Unfortunately, they are two separate programs, and one does not affect the other.
The other question we get asked is: Can CSP replace SPLA for Windows, RDS, and SQL? The answer again is no. You are not allowed to host CSP products from your datacenter. You can; however, license CSP products on-premise for your customers or in Azure.
Whenever you license CSP for on-premise deployments, the software will follow the Product Terms, which (A) Prohibits hosting, and (B) Requires CALs. When you deploy in Azure, you can host to third-parties, and there’s no CAL requirement.
What is a service provider to do? If you already invested in a platform, services, and billing systems to enable CSP Direct sales and still feel nervous about achieving the 300k requirement, here’s a quick list of things you may want to consider.
- Microsoft recently discontinued the Open licensing program. In doing so, they added perpetual licensing to the CSP program. Do not think of CSP as a cloud-only solution, rather an opportunity to maybe expand your sales to include on-premise licensing sales. On-premise CSP sales will go towards your 300k number.
- If you are only CSP Direct authorized to have the QMTH addendum, make a cost comparison of running the same solution in Azure versus investing in sales and other activities to reach the 300k mark. Is it worth it, or can you forgo the CSP authorization and use Azure?
- Lower your cost for certain CSP products. You do not make money from the sale of CSP licensing anyway. Stop thinking your Exchange Online price increase is going to grow your bottom line. Lower your cost to win customers and raise it later. You can add services such as migration and cloud support to increase margins. The 300k will not be based on your margin; it is based on Microsoft’s revenue billed.
Those are only suggestions, and a lot of this requires a change in business strategy, not just licensing. Many service providers have asked about the future of SPLA. I recently wrote an article regarding the future of the SPLA program. You can download it here https://mscloudlicensing.com/product/whitepaper/ Some of the proceeds will go towards our charity, Mow Down Cancer, Inc.
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No. How about that for a short answer?
We have been asked multiple times on this topic. It is not impossible, but not really viable either. Let me explain.
If you are CSP Direct authorized (or CSP Reseller), you could resell your end customer Windows and/or SQL Server subscriptions through CSP and host it in a dedicated infrastructure. I do not think it is really worth the time and effort just to host Windows and SQL. The cost in licensing is not that substantial from SPLA. If Microsoft allowed a service provider to host it on shared infrastructure than that would be a different story. You cannot purchase Windows through CSP and host it. Remember, Server Subscriptions for on premise deployments follow the Product Terms, which of course prohibits hosting.
If you are an ISV and want to host your application from your own datacenter, I would consider CSP Servers. Under the current Product Terms, Microsoft will allow Self-Hosted rights. I think this reduces your compliance risk since SPLA is tricky to license to begin with.
Isn’t licensing fun? We provide consulting services around these offerings. If you have questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Will Azure be part of the SPLA program?
I wouldn’t think so and wouldn’t know how they could incorporate the two. Azure is Microsoft hosted and SPLA is partnered. Microsoft will want to keep SPLA and Azure separate.
Is Azure Stack part of SPLA?
Azure Stack by itself is not part of SPLA. What’s part of SPLA is the Windows licenses. As a service provider, you could deploy Azure Stack, pay the base consumption rate, and use Windows licensing with SPLA. In fact, I think it’s less expensive to do it this way.
If my customer wants to use their own Windows license on Azure Stack, do they also require CAL’s?
Yes. You need to pay attention to the Product Terms to ensure compliance. As an example, volume licensing prohibits hosting. You cannot install your own Windows licenses through volume licensing and host using Azure Stack.
Does Office 365 qualify for the SAL for SA product in SPLA?
The only Office 365 product that is eligible for SAL for SA is Skype.
Is SPLA pricing going up?
Yes and will not be decreasing anytime soon.
Since AWS offers dedicated hardware, could I transfer my customer’s license to their datacenter without Software Assurance?
Yes. If its dedicated hardware Software Assurance is not required.
What about Azure?
No, you would need Software Assurance.
Will Microsoft finally allow MSDN to be licensed in my datacenter?
Probably not. Although if you use Azure, MSDN is eligible to be transferred.
If I sell CSP through 2-Tier distributor, can I sign the QMTH addendum?
No. You must be CSP 1 – Tier to qualify for QMTH.
Can I outsource support for certain software through CSP?
Yes. You an resell the solutions you can support and leverage another partner for support for other products.
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- If a customer has 4 x SQL Server Standard (8 cores), does that mean I will also need to have 4 x SQL-SAL?
There’s no server + CAL model in SPLA. You license either per core or per user depending on the product. Remember, SAL is not licensed per server, but for each user that has access to that server. Your question indicates you might believe a SAL is licensed per server which is not true.
2. Is MSDN available through SPLA? Is it through Azure?
MSDN is not available in SPLA, but you can license the individual components through SPLA. If an end-user would like to bring their MSDN license over to your datacenter, you must dedicate the solution for your customer. Yes, Amazon must play by the same rules. Oddly enough, Azure (which is shared) does allow MSDN to be transferred over to their datacenter.
3. I received an audit notification. Should I respond?
Yes. But don’t work on their time, work on yours.
4. If I signed the SCA addendum, do I need to sign the new QMTH addendum?
Unless you are planning on hosting Windows 10 you do not need to sign the new addendum.
5. If I buy from a CSP indirect partner, do I qualify for QMTH?
No. Your company must be CSP 1 tier authorized in order to qualify.
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You have questions…We have answers. Another month, and another list of licensing questions asked by the hosting community.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
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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 email@example.com
There’s been a lot of talk as of late about the new QMTH addendum. I’ve written a couple of articles on the topic here In this article, we will summarize what is written in the addendum so there’s no surprises. I listed some (not all) of terms and conditions to ensure you are up to speed on the latest developments.
- CSP Membership – You (or affiliates) must be a Direct CSP partner. This means you cannot leverage an Indirect CSP partner for this program. In other words, if you receive CSP licensing from Ingram Micro or SherWeb (as an example) your partnership with those distributors/partner does not qualify for QMTH. Your organization must be CSP Direct authorized, not your partner.
- Must meet the system requirements – System Requirements can be found here
- Have an active SPLA agreement.
- Reporting Requirements – You will always need to report underlying licenses in SPLA. Those underlying licenses could be any software to deploy a VDI solution – (Windows Server and RDS). In addition, you must report (by the last calendar day of each month) the Windows 10/O365 licenses deployed. This is manual, meaning you will send an email to the QMTH alias for submission. Once automated reporting is available, you must enable Microsoft’s automated reporting tool. Microsoft will use the tool to collect your customer’s organization ID and tenant ID as well as the total number of users accessing the software.
- As the provider, you must report to your SPLA Reseller the program administrative fee. If you are currently in the SCA program, you will be familiar with this SKU.
- As the provider, you must make all education materials publicly available. You cannot just sign up for CSP, the education material should be like what’s on the QMH website.
- For each per user subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise, the end-user can only access up to four (4) instances of Windows 10 either on Azure or you, the QMTH hoster. This is like the SCA program in which the end user has five (5) instances of Office Pro Plus, Windows 10 works the same way.
Listed above is a summary. I encourage you to reach out to your Microsoft rep for additional information. I am happy to review it further, it’s a new program with pluses and minuses. Be sure to understand the minuses first 🙂
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Jimbo had a small IT firm for which he provided backup, security, and hosting for two clients. He also purchased Office 365 licenses for a handful of users directly from the Microsoft Office 365 website and would bill them accordingly. Jimbo also had an application he tried to develop to help end users better communicate with one another. It was similar to SharePoint, but more seamless and had better integration with third-party applications. He had a SPLA, and had one person who submitted their usage report to their reseller. Unfortunately, that person got sick and passed away. Jimbo was sad and so was the rest of the staff.
To put his mind at ease, he spent every waking hour improving his application. He thought it was going to be the next best thing. I experienced the application firsthand myself, and found it to be a powerful tool. I even asked to invest in it, but without any money, (Mrs. SPLA Man spent it all at Target), I had nothing to invest with.
Fast forward a year later. Jimbo is still working on improving the application, and he's still hosting. One day, Jimbo received an email from Microsoft. It was titled “Self-Audit”, Jimbo was getting audited. One thing left unmentioned, Jimbo is the nicest guy on the planet. He replied to Microsoft and in the end, provided them with everything. All his server information, customer name, and reporting history. It was an auditor’s dream.
Several weeks later, Microsoft provided Jimbo with the findings. He owed $450,000 in unreported licensing fees. Why so high? No usage was being reported since the lady who reported SPLA passed away. When she was reporting, she reported the wrong thing. Instead of licensing Windows Datacenter, she reported Standard. Instead of reporting physical processors and/or cores, she reported per VM. Everything was a mess. Jimbo, who neglected his hosting practice for months to focus on his application, was left feeling very uncertain about his future. He did not have the funds to pay for licenses.
It’s unfortunate, but Jimbo had to shut down his hosting business. The application he built? Stopped. He tried to sell it, and last I heard very few were interested.
Why such a depressing story and was it true? Yes, the story is true (although slightly embellished). Why share it? I am telling you the story because there are too many organizations doing the same thing. They have one person who manages the licenses, one person who was in contact with the reseller, and one person who knew what they were reporting. What happens if that person leaves? Too many organizations are also buying Office 365, but not getting the best discount.
Licensing is challenging, and in the case of Jimbo, his love wasn’t reporting usage, it was developing an application. He should have had allocated resources to help manage his SPLA, so he could focus on what he knows best, the technology.
I am always asked why I created splalicensing.com and what's so different about SPLA Man than other blogs. I think the main difference is honesty. I am your licensing Siri or Alexa. I am SPLAlexa. (that was bad). Don’t be Jimbo.
Thanks for reading,