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Don’t be Jimbo

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,

SPLA Man/SPLAlexa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by on July 24, 2017 in Compliance

 

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Hybrid Use Benefit – HUB

Our friend Azure is at it again.  He’s offering Windows license mobility without calling it license mobility.  It’s called HUB – Hybrid Use Benefit.  And yes, it’s only available in Azure.

What is it exactly?  Well let’s say an organization purchased Windows Datacenter with Software Assurance.  Because they purchased the server with Software Assurance, Microsoft will allow them to run a separate instance in Azure and only pay the Linux VM rate.

This same customer can now deploy an image in Azure, pay a non Windows rate (in Azure), and still run an on premise server in their own datacenter to make a true hybrid scenario.  They can do this with Datacenter edition only, since Datacenter allows unlimited virtual instances.  They cannot run a true hybrid with Standard.  They must either run on premise or in Azure with Standard edition.  If you are on the fence about which version to purchase, Datacenter might just win out.

A couple of things to consider.  1) You have to pay attention to the number of licenses you purchased for your on premise servers.  If you purchased Datacenter that has two processor licenses, this will all you to run two instances up to 8 cores or 1 instance up to 16 cores in Azure.  In other words, you cannot exceed the number of licenses you purchased. 2) If you do decide to run Datacenter on premise as well as in Azure, you must maintain CALs for your on premise solution.  Azure does not require CALs, but that doesn’t mean your on premise CAL requirement goes away.

So there you have it.  Confused yet?  If not, wait until I write more about Office 365!  Questions?  Email me at info@splalicensing.com

Thanks for reading

SPLA Man

 

 
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Posted by on April 6, 2016 in Azure

 

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How I saved a company over $100K a year in reporting

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  This is a story about knowing what you are reporting and the reasoning behind it. Windows 2012 was launched a couple of years ago (give or take).  At that time there were several service providers reporting Windows Enterprise.  Their customers had applications that needed the functionality of Windows Enterprise, and since it wasn’t virtualized, Windows Datacenter was not an option. The service provider continued to report/license Windows Enterprise after the launch of 2012.  There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact, the terms of the SPLA agreement state you can continue licensing 2008 use rights up until your agreement expires.  What most providers don’t know is you can do the opposite.  You can run 2008 versions but report 2012.  Why would they do that?

In this case, they had Windows Enterprise installed; but since Windows Enterprise was discontinued with the release of 2012, they could downgrade to Windows Standard edition. Sounds funny doesn’t it?  DOWNGRADE to Windows Standard from Enterprise?  Yes, I said that correct.  Enterprise is discontinued. Again, nothing was virtual, and that is very important. If it was virtual, they would continue to report Enterprise up until the agreement expired and report Windows Datacenter moving forward.   Not only did he save on their monthly usage report, I’m guessing he had added margin since he was already contracted with his customer.

Quick note – not all products discontinued have the same outcome.  In most cases (such as SQL 2012 switch to cores) their costs actually went up

Ahh…but where is this written in the SPUR?  I’ll save you time, it’s not.  That’s why you need to read “Why Timing is Everything” You are bound by the SPUR (i.e.products/versions/use rights) available at the time of signing your SPLA agreement.  Those reporting SQL by processor better pay attention.

I receive 100’s of SPLA questions from the SPLA community about licensing and the cost associated with it. From the largest of the large providers down to a guy hosting Windows Web Server out of his parents basement (which is discontinued by the way), there’s always way you can reconsider your strategy. Moral of the story?  Pay attention to how you report and don’t report out of convenience…It can cost you.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2014 in In My Opinion, Windows Virtualization

 

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Licensing options in a virtual world

I thought I would update a post I wrote previously regarding virtualization.  In this article, I want to touch on three specific products (Windows, Core Infrastructure Suite, and the new Cloud Platform Suite).  Pay attention, this could save you money!

Windows

Windows must be reported, but oddly enough it is the most under licensed product during an audit.  (along with SQL). You have to license every processor on the host machine that will allow you to run 1 virtual instance (either Linux or Windows) for Windows Standard edition.  If you spin up another instance, you have to license every processor again!  In other words, to run two instances licensing Windows STD on a 2 processor machine would need 4 licenses!  Datacenter- you must license every processor on the host machine that will allow you to run unlimited VM’s.  Great bargain if you are highly virtualized!  Only caveat, it is going up in price in January.

Core Infrastructure Suite

CIS is a bundled SKU that includes Windows Server and System Center.  There are two editions, Standard and Datacenter.  They both come with the same technology, the only difference is virtualization.  Standard will allow 1 instance, Datacenter will allow unlimited. This SKU is licensed by physical processor and follows the same logic as Windows virtualization mentioned above.  Pay attention to the number of instances running on each host!

Cloud Platform Suite (CPS)

This is the baby of the SPLA family.  (actually hasn’t been born if your reading this prior to January, 2014).  I wrote about the basics in a earlier blog.  I think this could be a HUGE plus for service providers who report SPLA licenses and run Hyper V.  Why?  Mobility rights.  CPS is a bundled SKU of Windows and System Center.  The differences between CPS and the Core Infrastructure suite is the way you license the guests.  CPS you have to license the virtual guests, Core Infrastructure you don’t (as long as you license datacenter edition).  What will make CPS attractive is the cost.  The cost per host processor is a lot less than the cost of the Core infrastructure processor license.  Secondly, because you also license the guest (not that cheap but pretty valuable), the guest OS can move as long as you license both the guest and host.  This reduces your compliance risk tenfold.  If VM’s can migrate and you cannot track that virtual instance, this is the way to go.  Why wouldn’t you use CPS?  If you are not running Windows 2012, System Center 2012, and Hyper V (a requirement) you should stick with Windows Standard or Datacenter.  If you are heavily virtualized in Microsoft technology and running System Center, stick with Core Infrastructure Suite Datacenter.  You will need to sit down with your reseller and review  your options.  That’s why you need to work with someone who understands SPLA and has your best interest.  I always say “Make sure your compliant, but make sure you are licensing the most cost effective way.”

Good news is you have options, just make sure you pick the right one!

Thanks for reading.

SPLA Man

 

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