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Tag Archives: Microsoft

Worried about Windows 2016 Cores?

Yes, it’s the talk of the town.  “Windows 2016!  Oh my!  It’s moving to cores!!!”  That part is true.  What is NOT true is even when Windows 2016 is released, it doesn’t mean you have to license by core – you can still license by processor for all 2012 and earlier editions.  The catch?  Once your agreement expires and you sign a new SPLA after October 1st (when Windows 2016 is released) you must license by core regardless which version you are running.

So what does this mean to you?  If I was a service provider that reports over 2k in Windows and SQL licenses,  I might readjust when my SPLA expires to extend processor based licensing.   Wait…What?   You can readjust when my SPLA agreement expires?  Sure.  I’m SPLA Man.  Anything is possible with SPLA Man.

Thanks for reading,

Windows 2016 Man

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13 Comments

Posted by on September 9, 2016 in Windows 2016

 

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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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How to reduce your SPLA reporting

It’s easier than you think.  ( and no, I am not saying you should be out of compliant).  The goal of this blog is to educate and help the service provider community with their licensing decisions.  Keep in mind that I do this as a hobby.  I also try not to solicit, as that can be frustrating to the reader. 

That being said, I do know the reseller channel well, I also know the agreement better than most lawyers.  If you are looking to potentially reduce your spend from a reporting perspective, reduce compliance risk, or just simply want to chat about a licensing scenario that can be unnerving, let me know.  Send me a message on LinkedIn or shoot over an email – blaforge@splalicensing.com

So how do you reduce your spend?  That’s a tough question without a quick answer.  I would have to review your report to understand exactly how you can potentially reduce costs.  Nonetheless, I’ll give her a try. Here’s my top 3 ways service providers can reduce their licensing costs –

1. Run multiple instances of SQL on the same VM.  A little blurb in the SPUR states “For each virtual OSE for which you have assigned the required number of licenses….you have the right to run any number of instances of the software in that virtual OSE”  (page 23 of the SPUR for your boredom).  Keep in mind, there’s a difference between running an “instance” and running a VM. 

2. License the Core Infrastructure Suite (CIS) to run Windows and System Center Servers.  If you are reporting System Center and Windows separately….STOP!  System Center needs Windows.  In other words, you have to report Windows regardless; might as well pay less. 

3. Do not report Windows Standard….report Windows Datacenter.  You have the option of running unlimited VM’s with Datacenter edition.  If you are reporting Windows Standard, that means you are not virtualized. Get virtualized.

One more for good measure…

4.  SAL for SA – I still don’t understand why service providers do not report this SKU.  It’s less expensive, your customer can still deploy on premise and in your cloud, and you will be unique.  (I’ve only seen it reported once). 

There are many more ways to reduce spend. (even outside of simply licensing/virtualizing, etc.) There’s too many scenarios to review on a blog post. How about this trade off – If I can reduce your spend, you owe me a beer at a hosting conference. (joke for the record). If I can’t, at least you know your reporting correctly.

Thanks,

SPLA Man

 

 

 

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 9, 2014 in In My Opinion

 

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VDI for SPLA?

If I received a dollar for every time I’m asked this question you and I can both retire!  Things are changing in the world of data center outsourcing, but for some reason this is still stuck in the mud.  Why no VDI today?

1) I have no idea

2) See answer 1

I wrote about this topic earlier, but my hunch is it has something to do with the OEM manufactures.  OEM is a big piece of Microsoft business, and they protect it.  (Although Surface kind of muddies that theory).  As an example of this, if you were to “lease” a desktop to an end customer, you would first need a OEM license pre-installed and use SPLA and/or volume licensing as an upgrade license.  So even under a rented desktop model, OEM is still a requirement.  If everyone used VDI and dummy terminals – OEM manufactures would be left out of the game.  (at least in volume)

The only thing that would change this model is if they received a very high number of requests to offer this through Azure.  Look at what happened with Remote Desktop Services (RDS).  RDS was never part of license mobility.  Azure comes along and before you know it- RDS has mobility rights! Check it out here

That being said, Microsoft can make the rules of their own game, and even know Microsoft can do it does not mean the service provider/partner community can do it.  Office 365 is a prime example of this.  Under O365, you can take Office and install it on up to 5 PCs. Try that under SPLA and you have to license every PC with a separate Office license, use Windows 7/8 upgrade license, have a OEM on the machine that you own, and sign a rental addendum.  That’s why I wrote “office needs mobility rights”

One new capability in the latest SPLA agreement is you can install software on customer owned hardware.  BUT guess what?  That does not apply to PCs.

I’m not sure if this will ever change.  Every conference that I’ve attended the past 10 years partners ask the same question – “Can I provide VDI under SPLA?” I don’t like the word “no” but unfortunately, the answer is “no.”

Would love to hear about your thoughts on the topic.  Have you tried Windows server and RDS as an alternative?  What about dedicated environments for VDI?

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
7 Comments

Posted by on March 26, 2014 in VDI

 

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Office needs mobility rights

The number one post on splalicensing.com is “Office 365 under SPLA”  To date over 20,000 users have read it, several have commented on it, and many more are still asking – what am I missing and why can’t I offer “SPLA Office” in the same fashion as Office 365?

Microsoft recently announced mobility rights for Remote Desktop Services  (RDS).  I wrote about it here I think that’s a great move by Microsoft as it provides more flexibility for both service providers and consumers.  In my opinion, we need Office mobility rights, and we needed it yesterday.

Think about your environment and the licensing restrictions around Office.  To legally deploy Office for a customer that has Office 365, you as a service provider would need to have your customer purchase 1 volume licensing copy of Office, install it on your server, and for each user for Office 365, they must allocate one of the five licenses (Office 365 allows 5 installations of Office on 5 devices per user) to access Office remotely.  The Office bits on Office 365 has issues with installing it on server. Thus, the reason for a volume license copy of Office.  (at least that’s my experience in the past, maybe that’s changed now) Doesn’t sound too bad.  Five devices is a lot anyways, and now with RDS mobility rights, the service provider can use the end customers RDS licenses (if they have software assurance).  YES!!!!

Ahh…but what about Office?  Does Office have mobility rights? The answer is….no.  Although the service provider can have customer RDS mobility rights, since Office is installed, the entire environment has to be dedicated.  Yes, that includes the hardware and the VM.  That’s the issue I struggle with and I am sure many of you do too.  Why offer RDS mobility rights but not Office?  This would solve some of the issues between Office 365 and the service provider community.  Office is expensive for SPLA’s, let’s allow end customers to leverage their existing volume licensing agreements to purchase it and allow service providers to host it in a shared hardware/ dedicated VM using mobility rights? Think of how many users would purchase Office under Office 365 if they did this?  Or if they didn’t purchase Office 365, they would at least need to purchase Office with Software Assurance.  Think of how many service providers would push volume licensing on behalf of Microsoft and the resellers if they allowed this? Either way Microsoft, service providers, and more importantly the end customer would win.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
19 Comments

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in License Mobility, 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

 
4 Comments

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

 

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Reporting SPLA Usage

Managing the SPLA program for as long as I have, I came to the conclusion that no one likes to report their SPLA.  For what it’s worth, Microsoft and resellers don’t like it either, but it’s the most important aspect of the SPLA program.  Here’s a list of reasons why you need to report on time.

  • It’s unlawful if you don’t report.  Think about this for a moment,  you did not pay for the licenses upfront, but you are charging customers for their access.  In some countries, that’s called stealing.
  • It is part of your signed North America SPLA agreement.   Page 11 section 11a –  “Customer must submit either a monthly use report or zero use report to its Reseller within 10 days after the last day of each month or on a date agreed to by the Customer and its Reseller.”
  • After the 10th, Microsoft runs audit checks.  This doesn’t mean you will automatically get audited, but it does mean Microsoft will be keeping a closer eye on what you report.
  • If you report on the 10th and your credit card has issues or you are on credit hold, the reseller cannot submit it to Microsoft.  That’s one reason you should report prior to the 10th to avoid any errors.
  • Make it routine – you pay your cable bill each month, you should pay your SPLA as well.
  • It’s the cost of doing business
  • Any way you slice it, you have to report something

I understand that no one likes to report.  In a lot of instances it’s your biggest cost as a company.  My advice is always report, the cost of your monthly licensing spend is a lot less than the cost of an audit!  Hope this helps.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
4 Comments

Posted by on July 16, 2013 in Compliance, SPLA Reporting

 

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