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Tag Archives: Microsoft Hosting

Top 5 Licensing questions…Answered

  1. 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.

Thanks  for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2017 in Top 5 Licensing Questions

 

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Deep thoughts with SPLA Man

As we enter the new FY at Microsoft, I thought I would put together a list of topics that’s on everyone’s mind.

  • SPLA going away?  I don’t think so.  There’s too many SPLA partners to make an entire program disappear.  I also think this is one of the benefits Microsoft has over all it’s competitors.  If a customer wants to have an application hosted in one datacenter and use Azure for disaster recovery – Microsoft wins.  If Amazon is running Windows workloads (which they are) they must pay Microsoft for that usage through SPLA.  I also think SPLA is a way to move customers to Azure.  If you are a SPLA customer who just went through an audit, the SPLA customer might ask themselves why they continue to host at all?  Let’s use Azure and my compliance problems go away.  (they don’t but that’s for another article).
  • Is CSP/QMH really a must?   I guess the jury is still out (it hasn’t even launched yet for the partner community – September 2017).  There are a lot of restrictions to this program to consider – underlying Windows Pro licenses, becoming CSP direct authorized, not using CSP Indirect, RDS licenses when deploying VDI, etc.  If you decide to go down this route, pay close attention to what you can and cannot do.
  • Will SPLA pricing increase?  Yes.  No doubt about it.  Nothing stays the same for too long.
  • How can AWS win the cloud war?   Amazon has a revenue first, profit second mentality in my opinion.  Just look at their last earnings report (2017).  They can buy their way into the SaaS market at any cost.  They are not just a cloud company, they are an everything company.  They have the leverage to really get creative with their marketing and win businesses over.
  • How can Google beat AWS and Microsoft?  Google hasn’t scratched the surface with their footprint in the enterprise space.  One slip up by the other cloud powerhouses and Google becomes a very attractive offering.  Google has the power, the money, and the brand to make headway. Like AWS, they are not just a cloud/software company, they are an everything company.  I really think Google will surprise a lot of analyst in the near future with their cloud growth.
  • How can Microsoft beat them all?  Any organization that uses Microsoft software in a hosted environment must pay Microsoft for that luxury.  They already have a large footprint and very large customer base to move to Azure.  They also have 30k + SPLA partners (estimate) that are being used to sell their solution.
  • Will SPLA Man be able to afford a nice piece of jewelry for Mrs. SPLA Man?  For all the single women who read SPLAlicensing.com, don’t make the same mistake Mrs. SPLA Man made.  Poor Mrs. SPLA Man, when I first met her at the bar, she thought SPLA was something I created for the space station. Space Program Living Association.  S.P.L.A. – kind of like a home owner’s association but for space.  (I am not sure where she got that idea).  I do have a cool blog??!

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2017 in In My Opinion

 

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Top 5 CSP Questions….Answered!

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2017 in Office 365

 

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More Dynamics 365 Fun

Quick update for those interested in Dynamics 365 for SPLA and what you should remember when selling to your customers.

  1. No Enterprise Plans in SPLA
  2. No PowerApps in SPLA
  3. Transitions SKU’s are available in SPLA
  4. More differences found here

Not all bad news but not all good either.  You can read more about my opinion here

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2017 in Dynamics 365

 

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Azure Stack, SQL Stretch Database and the Hosting Summit

Last month, Microsoft held their annual Hosting Summit in Bellevue, WA. The good news is SPLA is not going away. Last quarter marked the 20th straight QTR of double digit growth for Microsoft SPLA. What is changing is the competitive landscape. Microsoft does not see SPLA partners as a competitor per se, they see SPLA as one of the biggest competitive advantages over other cloud offerings (IBM, AWS, Google, etc). They have over 30,000 SPLA partners worldwide, and they believe they can leverage those 30,000 partners to offer different cloud solutions.

Microsoft is betting big on what they define as “hybrid cloud” and that’s where they see service providers (SPLA) playing a significant part. Hybrid cloud is not just offloading workloads from on premise to another datacenter, it’s about leveraging different technologies to deliver solutions. As an example, late last year Microsoft offered solution called “Azure Stack” You can read about it here.

It’s the same APIs and same code as what Microsoft delivers through Azure. From a licensing perspective, Azure Stack is cheaper through SPLA (Windows) than it would be to pay through consumption. It will be available to offer this summer through the hardware manufacturers but you can download it now to test out.

The other big bet is SQL, and especially around the feature of stretch database. In laymen terms, it’s taking data that is not often consumed and offloading it to the cloud, reducing resources and consumption on servers locally.   You can read more about stretch database from our friends at MSDN

All said, it was good to meet old friends and say hello to new ones at this event.  If you were at the hosting summit and you did not have the chance to meet the infamous SPLA Man, email me at info@splalicensing.com.  Would love to learn more about your offerings and how we can work together to make licensing simple.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
1 Comment

Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Azure, In My Opinion, SQL 2016

 

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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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Disaster Recovery Rights and License Mobility

 April 2015 PUR

Fail-over server rights do not apply in the case of software moved to shared third party servers under License Mobility through Software Assurance.

Example

Let’s say an end customer purchased a license with software assurance that qualifies for license mobility.  Since SA allows failover rights, most service providers (if not all) are under the impression they would get the same benefit in their datacenter as they would on premise.  In this example, the end customer transfers a SQL license over to the hoster, the hoster spins up a secondary SQL fail-over server.  Given the statement above from the PUR, If they are enabling SQL fail-over they would need a second license under SPLA.

 Why is this important?

For starters, compliance.  If that secondary server is not properly licensed or your under the assumption that if it exists on premise it must also exist in the cloud you are mistaken.

What about Cold DR?

Doesn’t exist anymore.

What about SQL Failover for SPLA specifically?

SQL SPLA licenses have fail-over rights.  Read the SPUR

What about other products for disaster recovery?

The SPUR has specific language around DR, how long the server can be active (non-production), when Windows would need to be reported, etc.

Any workarounds?

SAL for SA – I think this would fit well for DR.  Customer can still run the software on premise and spin up a second server in the cloud.

Normal SALs- 1 user SAL license can access multiple servers.  Could be another option if the customer is against license mobility.

In the words of a famous hoster “it’s not how you license…it’s how long can you get away with not licensing that really matters”  He was audited immediately following that statement.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2015 in Disaster Recovery

 

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Office…good, bad, ugly.

One of the biggest roadblocks hoster’s have is around Office.  Want to provide a integrated SharePoint solution?  Must include Office.  Have an application that reports back through Excel?  Must use Office.  Want to provide users the ability to create, edit, and view a Word document?  Must include Office.  In this article I focus on what’s happening around Office including the good, the bad, and possibly the ugly.

Let’s start with the ugly and bad.  I hate bad news, so let’s get this out of the way.  I think the ugly is Office under Office 365.  Surprise! We all know about installing on up to 5 devices and installing on RDS right/shared computer activation..right?  You can learn more about it here http://blogs.technet.com/b/uspartner_ts2team/archive/2014/09/03/office-365-shared-computer-activation.aspx

Pay attention to what is happening with Azure.  There’s a lot of changes in the way in which Office will be deployed in this environment.   More to come.

So there’s the ugly.  The bad is just the overall cost of deploying Office in a shared environment.  Office is expensive.  You not only have to report Office, but RDS and Windows as well and with currently no option for mobility, service providers have few options.  Remember, if you are providing Office remotely, your RDS licenses should match.  Last, if you think using Office Web apps is a good alternative you may have to think again.  To fully use Office Web Apps a copy of Office must also be licensed.

Here’s some good links around this topic including RDS, Azure and Office 365, as well as my own blog post “SPLA and Office 365”

Azure and RDS – http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn782858(v=office.15).aspx

Overview of Azure/Office 365 from my friends at Code Magazine http://www.codemag.com/Article/1108021

SPLA and Office 365 https://splalicensing.com/category/office-365/

Now it’s time for the good.  Did you know you know you can report the Office components instead of the entire suite?  Did you know Office is a user based license which means if not all users need Office Pro, by all means do not report all users with Office Pro. SPLA Man needs Office Pro but SPLA Girl only needs the features of Office Standard, make sure to report us accordingly.  Here is a good link that compares the features within Office as well as the features of Office Pro and Office 365.

http://office.microsoft.com/en-001/buy/compare-microsoft-office-products-FX102898564.aspx

There’s a lot of information to digest in these links.  To summarize my point, you must get creative and you must pay attention to updates (especially Office 365)  Your customers will ask.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2014 in Office 365

 

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CRM Price Increases

For those that read my earlier post “Predicting the future” one intuition has already come true.  Microsoft announced price increases for Microsoft Dynamics CRM come January, 2015.

All 3 SPLA CRM SKU’s are effected  (Basic, Essentials, and Service Provider/PRO edition).  For complete breakdown I would suggest reaching out to your SPLA reseller.

So why the increase?  Microsoft stated “The CRM price change is intended to more closely align our online and on premises pricing.”  So there you have it.

Windows, Core Infrastructure Suite (CIS) and other Dynamics AX, NAV, GP will also see increases.  This was previously announced by Microsoft and communicated through the reseller channel.

Thanks

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2014 in CRM

 

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Datacenter Outsourcing

I’ve written before on how partnering with an established provider can save you money, especially as a short term solution to get your hosting business started.  What I haven’t really addressed is the licensing.

Data Center Outsourcing is essentially what the name applies.  “Data Center” and “Outsourcing”; you outsource your data center. Amazing how that works.  Microsoft definition is a bit more confusing – amazing how that works too. From the outsourcing guide:

  1. “A Data Center Provider is a Service Provider that provides Software Services, usually IaaS, to another Service Provider using Products licensed from Microsoft through its own SPLA..”

Microsoft Azure is a good example of a data center outsourcing company.  When you sign up for Azure, Windows will be included in the service.  They are essentially providing the infrastructure (Windows and/or SQL cores) and you provide the application licenses via your own SPLA.  When you leverage another service provider who provides the infrastructure, they must be providing the Windows licenses. Hmmm…here’s why.

Let’s say you have a signed SPLA agreement to offer Exchange to your clients and you decide to use Brett’s Hosting to provide the infrastructure.  Brett’s Hosting offers a public cloud environment (multiple customers sharing same resources).  Under this model, you will report Exchange licenses for each user that HAS access to the software and NOT report Windows under your own SPLA; Brett’s Hosting would report Windows via their own SPLA.  Why?  If it is a shared environment, there is no way Brett’s Hosting can allocate processors for you to report it.  SQL cores works the same way.  Still don’t believe me?  Check out the FAQ guide from Azure here. Notice under SQL it states you can purchase a VM or use SAL licenses.  Notice under Windows it states Windows is included with your agreement.

Here’s the bottom line, if you decide to outsource your data center to a public cloud provider, ask them how they manage the Windows OS.  If they say it is not included in the cost of the service and you should be providing the licenses, they are out of compliant.

Want more proof?  Download the outsourcing guide here

That being said, if you provide data center outsourcing services, I think you are in the right business. This is the fastest growing area within the hosting industry.  Windows is relatively inexpensive from a licensing perspective, especially as you add more VM’s and can capitalize on the Data Center edition.  (remember…unlimited VM’s).  SQL can get a bit more complex, but if you understand it I think that could be an added value over your competition.  Last, because you report Windows and SQL only and let the service provider control the user based licensing; it limits your compliance exposure.  (processors/cores are easier to track).

So are you a data center outsource or a service provider?  Do you work with someone to resell your solution or do it alone?  Would love to learn more about your offerings. If you need guidance or best practices or just want a second opinion from a licensing perspective you can email me at blaforge@splalicensing.com.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Data Center Outsourcing

 

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