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More insight into the new Qualified Multitenant Program for CSP and SPLA

Over the course of the past week in a half, a lot of misleading information came about as a result of Microsoft’s announcement of the new QMTH program for hosting providers.  In this article, I will try to set the record straight and answer questions you may have.  Keep in mind, this is still developing, and the addendum is not available yet.  Please use this article as a general understanding, not a replacement for the Microsoft terms and conditions.  More information to come!  You can always email at info@splalicensing.com as well.

How do you I grasp QMTH in the simplest terms possible for my sellers?

Shared Computer Activation has been out for a long time, if your sellers understand SCA, QMH works in a very similar way.

Similarities to SCA 

  • Must be under SPLA to qualify and have the addendum
  • Must be CSP Direct authorized – check out qualifications and SCA here
  • Do not have to purchase Windows 10 directly from the hoster (the CSP Direct partner) they can purchase Windows 10 E3/E5 from other CSP partners but host it from your datacenter (as long as you are QMTH authorized)
  • Install on up to 5 devices.

Is SCA replaced with QMTH?

Yes.

If I’m SCA authorized, am I automatically authorzied for QMTH?

Yes/No.  You will need to update your landing page and you will need to sign the new addendum.  You will already be CSP Direct authorized if you are SCA authorized, it makes it a lot easier to transition.

Do I have to sell Office 365 with Windows 10?

No.  You can sell Windows 10 as a standalone product.

Can I still offer Windows/RDS for SPLA?

Yes.  Windows and RDS in SPLA is still available.  I would make it clear to the customer that you are not offering full Windows desktop but Windows Server.  I always liked Windows Server + RDS.  Shared environments, unlimited virtualization, etc. etc.

How does the activation and the licensing work? 

The base license for Windows 10 Enterprise is Windows 10 Pro.  It’s per user licensing, but the underlying qualified device needs Windows Pro.  The Windows 10 Enterprise features/bits is included with the Windows 10 Pro installation.  In other words, you install Windows 10 Pro, the Enterprise features are automatically turned off.  When your end customer subscribes to Windows 10 Enterprise E3/E5, those features will turn on.  When they unsubscribe, you guessed it – they are automatically turned off and the user goes back to Windows 10 Pro.  Check out this post from the Microsoft team Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP

What happens if I work in a hospital with a dummy terminal that has no underlying/qualified OS.  Are you saying I must buy a Windows Pro license even if I don’t need it?

No.  You can buy Windows 10 Enterprise with VDA.  (Virtual Desktop Access), it provides a user access to a VDI session on a device that cannot run a qualified OS.  If an end-user has a dummy terminal, that user can still access a virtual desktop through VDA.

Can I just sell the customer Windows 10 E3 without virtualization rights?  They don’t need a virtual desktop.  

Yes.  Windows 10 E3 can be purchased with or without VDI rights (with is more expensive than without).  If they have Windows E5 the virtual rights are included but that doesn’t mean they have to install it virtually.

What happens if I use Azure as my datacenter provider?  Do I still need the addendum?

You do not need to be QMTH authorized to use Azure.  QMTH just provides you the ability to host Windows 10 E3/E5 in a shared environment from your datacenter.

When is this available?

August 1, 2017 for Azure.  September 1, 2017 for third-party hosting providers.

I am sure you have more questions.  I am always looking to learn more and learn your specific scenario.  If you do have a specific question, let me know and I can update this post accordingly.  It’s also worth mentioning that this program isn’t available yet.  I am sure there will be more information and updates as we move along.

Other articles of interest

Windows BlogWindows virtualization rights coming to CSP…

ZDnet – Microsoft’ plan to move more small-business users to Windows 10…

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2017 in VDI

 

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Why Windows 10 in CSP stinks now but could be GREAT later

Microsoft made a pretty big announcement around Windows 10 and CSP.  Here’s a breakdown for those that are interested:

  1. Software Assurance is not included
  2. Windows 10 is available E3 and in CSP only
  3. Customers need a qualified OS license.  In other words, this is an upgrade license only.
  4. Not available under SPLA
  5. Not available in the shared computer activation model.
  6. Per user licensing with the ability to license on up to 5 devices per license.
  7. No minimum and surprise…no maximum either.
  8. Subscription is 1 year
  9. Pricing varies
  10. New use rights highlighted in the Product Terms

So why does this stink now but could be great later?  Pay attention to number 1, 4, and 5 in the list above.  That’s what stinks.   Think this will allow VDI?  Think again.

So why not?  Why the mystery around VDI and SPLA?  If I was Microsoft, I would go ahead and allow it but for only a select few SPLA providers.  Those providers are:

  1. Report on time.  Not one late payment/report during their agreement no matter what the excuse – “My reseller sucks” is not an excuse.  It’s a good reason to work with me though 🙂
  2. Deployed Hyper V (they must have some incentive to do this)
  3. Joined CSP program.

There you have it.  Microsoft wins big time – all that missed revenue from non reporters will get reported. Now you, the compliant service provider, will be allowed VDI in SPLA.

The likelihood of this happening is slim to none.  I do think Microsoft is missing out with the Windows 10/VDI restriction.  Ever since I started in SPLA, I’ve been asked about VDI (or the lack thereof).  That was 11 years ago.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2016 in VDI

 

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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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IaaS Gotchas…

In this post I will highlight new (and not so new) compliance gotchas as it pertains to providing infrastructure as a service.

Let’s start with a common example and go from there.  You provide the infrastructure such as Windows/SQL, your customer provides the applications.  Sound familiar?  You license Windows Datacenter, SQL Enterprise in a shared (aka public cloud) environment under SPLA. You have no idea or really care what applications your customer’s are installing right?  You just provide the support of the infrastructure.  That’s not your concern.  It’s their application, why should you care?  Ahhh…but maybe you should.

Have you ever wondered how they’re accessing the applications?  Are all applications web-based?  I will answer that question for you…no.  So how are they accessing the applications?  Do they use Citrix?  Do they remote into the application somehow?  There’s that word…remote.

If you enable the Remote Desktop Services role within Windows Server – you guessed it…you need to report RDS licenses.  The number of IaaS providers who just report Windows and SQL is astronomical. The number of IaaS providers now reporting RDS is also rapidly growing.  Did they wake up one day and decide they should start reporting RDS?  Unfortunately no.  They were audited.  Shoot me over an email and I will forward the guide that explains RDS and when it applies. Remember when you license RDS, you need to license each user that HAS access to RDS – not who does access.

Let me provide an example of how easily you could be underreporting RDS.   Let’s say your customer has an application from another vendor (outside Microsoft) that’s hosted in your datacenter.  That same vendor provides support to the application.  You are not hosting the application for the vendor but for your customer, you just provide the vendor access to support the application via remote connection.  SPLA allows 20 users to provide support and administration per datacenter.  If you exceed that limit, you are going to have to report those additional users.  Yes, even if you are not charging them.

Other IaaS Gotchas –

While we’re on the topic of customer owned applications, do you have it written in your agreement with the customer that you are not responsible for the applications they install?  What would happen if they install applications that you are not aware of and they don’t have the appropriate licenses…who’s responsible you or the end customer?  Kind of a trick question, it’s both.  You will get audited, it’s installed in your datacenter, you are ultimately responsible.  You need to ensure you have it written in your agreement that you’re not responsible so you can have a nice chat with your customer.  All the big boys do it…you should too.

What about SQL?  Are you virtualizing?  Why aren’t you reporting SQL Enterprise?  Are you utilizing all the use rights that come with SQL Enterprise – unlimited virtualization, DR, mobility within server farms, etc?  What about smaller environments?  Have you considered licensing by user instead of by core for SQL Standard edition?

SQL Web is tempting isn’t it?  Less expensive option but no one really understands what it is.   Here’s a quick synopsis – if you do not host public facing websites, SQL Web is not an option.

How are you managing your datacenter? Do you have System Center installed?  You should report the Core Infrastructure Suite.  Running Hyper V with few VM’s, license CPS. Both products include Windows.  You need Windows to run System Center, so you kill two birds with one stone so to speak.

Ask your customers if they have Software Assurance.  It’s no longer about latest version rights and annual payments.  It’s about moving to the cloud.  Let’s make sure it’s your cloud and not someone else’s.

Conclusion –

I’ve been around this game of SPLA for a long time.  The best advice I can give is to listen to your customers and don’t be afraid to change.  Cloud is evolving, you should evolve too.  Don’t report out of convenience, look into ways you can optimize what you are reporting.  It’s competitive out there, let’s make sure you are getting the most value out of your agreement.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

 
11 Comments

Posted by on January 31, 2015 in IaaS

 

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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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It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s VDI and SPLA!!!

We have all been there. You see an email come across in the subject line that you’ve seen before. You release a loud sigh, because you already know the response to the email before you even open it. How? Well you’ve been asked the same question before on numerous occcassions and give the same response. For me in particular, the subject in the email is “SPLA and VDI”  It’s not frustrating, it’s just I hate saying “no”  (just ask my son – a bit spoiled I admit)

I try to write about different topics, but I also like to give updates and understanding to various topics that really hit home; VDI is one of them. You can read my previous article here  In this post, I will break VDI into two parts: defining VDI and moving forward.

Definition

What is a virtual desktop in the licensing world? You should think about virtual desktop as a software assurance benefit. Like license mobility, software assurance is required. Unlike license mobility, there is no option to install in shared infrastructure. Let me repeat – no option to install in shared infrastructure. One more time…no option to install in shared infrastructure. What are the options?

Since VDI/VDA is a software assurance benefit, your customer must purchase their desktop OS with software assurance to have VDI rights. That means if they did not purchase with software assurance, there is no option for them to use virtual desktops from a true licensing perspective. What if the machine is a dummy terminal with no software assurance option available? The end-user would be required to purchase a VDA license for each device. VDA license is kind of like a device CAL, it just provides the user access to a virtual instance. If your customer has not purchased VDA or software assurance on the OS, they need to reconsider if they want a virtual desktop.

Some service providers are under the impression that they can sell a desktop OS perpetually to the customer and host it for them in a dedicated environment. They have the dedicated environment part right, but an OS sold to an end-user does not grant that end-user access to a virtual desktop without software assurance (SA). Secondly, you have to be an authorized reseller to sell perpetual licenses (non SPLA) to consumers. Third, you cannot buy a Windows desktop license yourself and host it to third parties. Anything you buy outside of SPLA is for your internal employees only. Last, not only should you not buy licenses and host, but do not install on servers that is also used for your internal use. That is a big compliance headache.  Where is it written that you cannot host on servers internal employees are also accessing?  It’s not.  That’s what makes it a headache.  Just don’t shoot the messenger!

So why can’t the end-user just go to Best Buy or some other retailer, purchase a retail copy, have you (the service provider) host it for them? That not only is a compliance risk, it is also not very economical. Download the FAQ guide here

Moving Forward

What are your options?  The good news is Azure, AWS, and all the others have the same rules.  They cannot offer desktop OS in the public cloud.  This is probably the best FAQ guide I’ve read around Azure and it applies really to all IaaS providers.  Check it out here

What you can do is offer Windows Server to emulate a desktop using RDS.  I get it, not the same thing but I think it is a more of a compelling solution from a cost perspective (and be compliant).  Dedicating a physical server and virtual server is not always the most profitable solution.  I’ve said this before, I think the bigger issue is Office.  RDS now has mobility rights, I think Office should too.

My Opinion

If I was a service provider, I would work with someone who is an expert in SPLA based licensing and an expert in software assurance benefits.  As you can see from my previous posts and with VDI, software assurance is a requirement for most cloud based licensing solutions.  In years past, SA (Software Assurance) was only leveraged for organizations that wanted the latest version on software and pay annually for the licenses under their agreement.  The “cloud” has changed that.  Fast forward to today and customers want to move to the cloud but leverage their existing licenses.  Have you been asked that before?  How do they accomplish that?  The answer is Software Assurance.  They need SA to use license mobility, they need SA for VDI, they need SA for hybrid scenarios such as the SAL for SA SKU’s, and they still  need SA for latest version rights and pay annually.  If I was a Microsoft shareholder, I would applaud that move.  It’s a way to add additional revenue on top of the licenses they purchased all the while giving customers the benefits they are after.

So if you ask, “why does Microsoft not allow VDI in a shared environment?”  My answer is “why would they?”

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
2 Comments

Posted by on August 13, 2014 in VDI

 

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200 Level SPLA Licensing Questions – Answered

Starting a new series on this blog “top licensing questions” Here’s a list of some often unanswered questions…answered!  In many instances it’s tough to go into great detail or specific customer scenarios via a blog.  Please email me at blaforge@splalicensing.com for specific scenarios.  Keep in mind, blogging is my hobby and I am relaying information from experience.  You should refer to the SPUR for specific/audit questions. (It’s a great read).  Microsoft has the final say. I am interested in feedback and/or ideas for new posts; let me have it!

1. Does a service provider need to report an extra Exchange SAL for non-authorized users, such as a conference room?

A mailbox that represents a room is defined as a resource mailbox and does not require a SAL.

2.  Can I use the same server I use internally to host software via SPLA?

No. Regardless of the licensing program, the license is always assigned to the hardware/VM.  If you choose to assign two licenses from two different programs to one hardware, some of the use rights will contradict each other.  SPLA is designed for external consumption whereas internal licensing is designed for your own employees.  Good news – SPLA allows 50% of what you are hosting externally to be used internally.  Let’s say you host 50 exchange licenses, you can use up to 25 internally.  These are not free, just reported under your SPLA. (Instead of reporting just 50 licenses, you would report 75).  Check SPUR for more details.

3.  Can I install Office on a device without reporting Windows desktop?

No.  This would fall under the managed PC use case.  There is an addendum that would allow you to rent out a desktop to third parties; to do this via SPLA, there is a “managed PC” addendum.  This would require you to license the desktop OS via an OEM license and report Windows 7/8 via SPLA (as well as Office if Office is installed).  Ugh.  Only other option would be to report Exchange “plus” Skus which includes Outlook.  (no other Office components) or install Office on a server and report Windows, RDS, and Office. (RDS & Office by user- Windows by processor)

4.  What are the rules of licensing additional users under License Mobility for Software Assurance? Can a service provider license additional users with SALs?

No. In License Mobility for SA scenario, the end customer has to maintain CALs in their perpetual licensing program to access the application servers. It is not possible to license additional users with SALs, because that would mean mixing/matching licensing for one Product.  Keep in mind that under license mobility – end customer’s are in essence transferring those licenses into your data center.  They can only transfer back after 90 days. To quote the mobility brief (download a copy here ) You may move your licensed software from a third party’s shared servers back to your servers or to another third party’s shared servers, but not within 90 days of the last assignment. Check mobility addendum.

6. What happens if my customer claims to have SA on these licenses but in actuality…they don’t.  Am I on the hook?

Yes. You are responsible for your own hosted offering.  I would ensure you have documentation of all customer owned licenses AND make sure this is part of your agreement with your customer.  You may get audited, but that does not stop you from auditing your customer.

7. Where do I report my SPLA licenses?

Contact the SoftwareONE SPLA team 1-800-444-9890 or SPLA.US@softwareone.com

Stay tuned for more questions but more importantly – answers to these questions!

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
5 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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