Tag Archives: Microsoft Cloud
New SPLA Price Announcements Coming! Are you ready?
Answers to Your Cloud Licensing Questions
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.
Thanks for reading,
More SPLA Questions…More Answers.
Here is a list of some of the questions we received this month. Enjoy!
Why does Microsoft not allow a SPLA SQL VM to be installed in a public cloud? I understand if you were licensing the physical layer, but if you want to install on a VM, you can easily allocate the number of cores and report accordingly. Any ideas?
No. Honestly there is no reason outside of it’s just prohibited. You cannot license SPLA cores/processors in public clouds even if the VM is dedicated.
What can be installed in Azure through SPLA licensing?
Anything that is licensed by SAL can be moved to Azure. For your end customers, anything that has Software Assurance and is license mobility eligible can be transferred including: Windows 10 E3 (QMTH), Office 365 Pro Plus (QMTH) and MSDN. Your end customers can also leverage Azure HUB to get discounted pricing for the Windows Servers they purchased with SA. Check out the Azure FAQ site https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/licensing-faq/
Is Microsoft going to discontinue SPLA?
Nah. I bet it will be merged into a new program though. Just a hunch.
I received a compliance notification the other day. Am I in trouble?
Depends on the type of notification and if you are out of compliant :). If you have questions, we can review it with you. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org
Can I report Windows 2016 but run Windows 2012?
Yes. No problem there. What you cannot do is license Windows 2012 and run 2016. Don’t do that.
Thanks for reading,
Top 5 CSP Questions…Answered
Here are a few hot topics this week around CSP. Enjoy!
What would happen if I sell myself Office Pro Plus through my own CSP authorization? Can I do that?
No. You cannot sell yourself Office 365 Pro Plus licenses. You can purchase it through any volume licensing program or through another CSP provider. Might be a good way to check out the competition support processes though!
If you are CSP authorized in Australia, but have customers in UK, can you resell Office 365 through CSP?
No. You can only resell in the region in which you are authorized.
If my end customer purchased Office 365 Pro Plus through Volume Licensing, can I host it from my datacenter if I am QMTH authorized?
Yes. The end customer can purchase from any licensing program as long as it is Office 365 Pro Plus version. As the service provider, you must be QMTH authorized.
If I purchase CSP licenses indirectly from my distributor, do I qualify for QMTH?
No. You must CSP Direct authorized in order to that. You cannot purchase from a distributor and offer VDI or Office Pro Plus.
If I sell Azure through CSP, how do I know which region my data is located?
With Azure, you get to pick the region.
If I sell Office 365 through CSP, which region is my service hosted from?
The address on the invoice determines the location of the services.
***Watch out for the new Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA) coming in September. You can download the old version here
Thanks for reading,
Licensing Office Online for External Users
What happens if you have end customers who want to use Office Online for external users (non-employees of your organization). Is that SPLA? In this article, we will break down Office Online through three programs – SPLA, Volume Licensing, and CSP.
If you are hosting Office for another organization SPLA definitely fits. As an example, if you provide DaaS to your customers who are also licensed for Office, they can access Office Online. In this model, you license SharePoint (requirement for Office Online) Office by user, RDS per user, and Windows + SQL Server. Very expensive to simply offer a customer the ability to view and edit documents online.
Volume Licensing and Office 365
Office Online was added as a Software Assurance benefit for Office in 2016. End customer’s who simply want to view documents can download it directly from the Volume Licensing Services Center (VLSC). End customers that require document creation, edit/save functionality will be required to have an on-premises Office license with Software Assurance or an Office 365 ProPlus subscription. Any customer that purchased an Office 2016 suite through Volume Licensing before August 1, 2016 will not require SA through August 1, 2019. After August 1, 2019 they must buy SA for any on-premise Office licenses.
According to the Product Terms (May 2016) “If Customer has a License for Office 365 Pro Plus, then Customer may use Office Online services. Each of Customer’s Licensed Users of Office 365 Pro Plus may access Office Online services for viewing and editing documents, as long as they are also licensed for SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business.” It’s the last sentence that stings. In other words, you want Office Online? Better buy Office 365 E3.
Office Online for CSP
The same rules apply. In this scenario, the hosting company could sell Office 365 E3 through CSP program to their end users. In CSP, the end customer is paying month – month and paying for support.
Thanks for reading,
Top 5 Licensing Questions….Answered
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.
Thanks for reading,
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
Details of the Qualified Multitenant Addendum
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 🙂
Thanks for reading,
What is a Service Provider?
The year 2017 has brought on A LOT of change for the hosting community. A hosting company used to be an organization that hosted Exchange – fast forward to today and a service provider takes on a whole new meaning. In this article, we will take a look at defining a service provider and how it applies to licensing. Let’s play a little game called “Do they qualify” Have a question? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
An organization that provides or extends litigation software (that they leased from the publisher) to law firms and other legal entities who are not wholly owned by the organization providing the solution. Does this organization qualify for SPLA?
Yes. If you are an avid reader of splalciensing.com, you probably read my article on EMR Software The same holds true for any software (not just EMR) that runs on Microsoft technology that you do not own, but lease from a third-party. Remember “AS” If you are providing software AS a service that’s hosted from your datacenter environment, SPLA must be part of the equation. Why does this solution qualify for SPLA?
#1 they don’t own the software they are hosting
#2 they do not own the organization(s) who are consuming (using) the software for their benefit.
An organization who sells a product on a website to external users – do they qualify for SPLA?
No. Although they are selling something to consumers via the internet, the software used to deploy the solution benefits the e-commerce company, not the end-user. Where SPLA does fit is if the web company decides to host a website on behalf of another organization. The web company would fall under the SPLA rules. Who benefits from the access is a key question to ask yourself. Second question – is the access used to run their business or my own?
An organization who provides SharePoint to end users to share information. Do they qualify?
No. Simply sharing information does not qualify. If the organization was hosting SharePoint on behalf of another organization, that’s SPLA.
A company hosts Exchange on behalf of another organization but does not charge for this access. Does this qualify for SPLA?
Yes. Microsoft doesn’t care how much money you make from the solution. The question remains – are you providing this “as a service” for a third-party?
A company decides to use AWS as their datacenter provider to host an application they use internally. Do they need SPLA?
No. In this example, you are the end-user. AWS has a SPLA to cover all infrastructure products they host on your behalf. If you were to use AWS as a datacenter provider to host SharePoint to your end customers employees; you would pay AWS for Windows and SQL and report on your SPLA SharePoint SAL licenses.
I have 25 Linux machines that I host for my customers. Do I need SPLA?
No. You have 25 Linux machines. If you had 24 Linux machines and 1 Windows VM, you would have to license the host machine to cover that Windows VM through SPLA.
My reseller told me I didn’t need SPLA because the access qualifies for Self-Hosted. The auditors told me it does not qualify. Why?
All software used to deploy the solution has to be self-hosted eligible. I bet you are running an application that does not qualify as part of your solution. This would be SPLA. Secondly, if you did not buy the software with software assurance, that is out of compliant.
Thanks for reading,
Top 5 CSP Questions….Answered!
- Is the SCA addendum removed now that Microsoft announced the Qualified Multitenant Hoster addendum? Yes. SCA has been removed and replaced with the QMH addendum.
- If I have a CSP Indirect/Tier 1 authorization, can I resell Azure Stack but license Windows Server through SPLA? Yes. You will pay the base consumption rate because you A) Purchased the hardware through an authorized dealer and 2) paid for the Windows license through SPLA.
- If I am not authorized for CSP, can I still sell Office 365 to my end users? Not in the general sense. What you can do is resell CSP through a distributor or authorized CSP Indirect/Tier 2 partner. You can also partner with a CSP Direct partner to offer the solution. They would resell the actual license but you can provide services on top of it.
- I am a SPLA partner who wants to resell Office to my end users. What are my options? You can sell Office through SPLA and include RDS and Windows. You can become CSP Direct authorized and use the QMH addendum mentioned above. You can also use end customer owned Office licenses and host it in a dedicated environment.
- Will Microsoft offer QMH for Indirect partners as well? Not at this time. You must be CSP Direct to qualify, not Indirect.
Lots more on this.
Thanks for reading,
VDI Under SPLA? Maybe it’s possible after all – Multitenant Hosting Rights for Windows 10
Good news for those who have customers who want you to host Windows 10 in your shared cloud environment – they might now have that as an option. Microsoft recently announced “Multitenant Hosting Rights for Windows 10. You can read the announcement here
We also created a new website called MSCloudlicensing to help SPLA and CSP partners understand the different program options and use rights available to them. The new website is www.mscloudlicensing.com it’s designed to be a collaborative platform that includes a forum to ask and answer licensing questions, document library, and licensing articles. Check it out, it’s free.
What is it?
Allows customers who purchased qualified Windows 10 licenses the ability transfer those licenses over to a Qualified Multi-Tenant Hoster shared datacenter environment.
Why is this important?
For years SPLA partners have asked for VDI in SPLA. Although this is not technically VDI in SPLA, is does provide an avenue to implement a virtual desktop session from your shared server environment. At the end of the day, it gives your end customers deployment options.
Can I still license Windows Desktop in SPLA?
No. Windows desktop licenses were removed last year. You can read/download the lease agreement that outlines the details here
What are the requirements?
To no surprise, the SPLA partner must be CSP Tier 1 authorized. They must also sign the Qualified Multitenant Hoster addendum and have an active SPLA with Microsoft. To get the QMH (another Microsoft acronym) you can contact email@example.com or your Microsoft Reseller.
What happens if I offer dedicated environments? Do I still need the addendum?
No. If it is 100% dedicated (isolated hardware) you can always transfer end customer licenses over to your datacenter environment. Whenever it is shared – VM or hardware, you must consider SPLA or in this case the QMH addendum)
When is it available?
Program will be available August 1, 2017 for VL and September 6, 2017 to transact in CSP.
Can I bundle my customers Office solution they purchased as well as Windows 10 to offer a complete VDI experience?
Yes. This is a great way to bundle different desktop applications.
If you provide IaaS to your customers, this is definitely something you should consider. Any time you can offer your customers the ability to leverage existing investments the better. Azure is not going away. In fact, you don’t have to be QMTH authorized to leverage Azure as your datacenter provider. Please review the announcement, there will be a lot more information on this in the coming days. I will also write out several scenarios to make this more simple. As always, you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading,