Why Sell Cloud Products under CSP?

There are a number of licensing programs to choose from so what makes CSP so special?  I would argue that although this site is csplicensing.com, CSP is not necessarily a licensing program but a solution program.   The main reason as to why its different is support.    There are numerous reasons why CSP, the list below are ideas you should thing about both for the end customers as well as the managed service provider who is building a CSP practice.

Monthly Billing – lower upfront costs.

Scale user adoption – You can scale easier.  Many organizations lose ROI on large upfront volume licensing agreements.

Support Included – Every one talks about moving to the cloud, very few actually tell you how.  CSP helps you migrate to the cloud quicker, by leveraging your CSP support partner (which is required to be a CSP authorized provider)

Reliable –  Most CSP partners have a platform to manage licenses, adoption, and customers through one portal.

Discounts – CSP is competitive.  This is good for the end user to shop around.  Many providers offer free migration or discounts for partnering.

If you are thinking of signing up to be a CSP partner, there are important things to consider as well.  Again, its not just about the licensing, it’s about controlling the end-end customer experience from support escalations to migration.  You are the first point of contact, resolve issues, and billing platform.

A great resource for CSP partners https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-solution-provider/resources

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

Leveraging Azure CSP instead of SPLA

Azure is just a data center outsourcer.  Designed for both enterprise customers and service providers, it provides solutions that fit both business models.  In this article, we will review four scenarios on how different solution providers and end customers can leverage CSP.

Scenario 1

An end customer has many vendors in which they purchase various technology services from. They would like to outsource their IT infrastructure to Azure but are concerned about adding another vendor to their already complex portfolio.  The ultimate goal is to consolidate vendors and work with one strategic partner.   How would CSP work for this customer?

The customer could purchase Azure from a Tier 1 CSP partner who has a platform to manage consumption and make recommendations based on spend.  Secondly, they can use the CSP Tier 1 partner for support.

Scenario 2

A hosting provider who has a signed SPLA agreement would like to resell Azure to their end customers.  The hosting partner has very limited resources internally but would like to still control the billing.  How would CSP work for this customer?

The hosting provider can partner with a  CSP Tier 2 partner and resell Azure to their end users.  The Tier 2 partner will provide the support, while the hosting partner provides the billing leveraging the Tier 2 partners platform.  Because the hosting provider is leveraging Azure, there is no need for SPLA.  All Windows and SQL would be provided by Azure.

Scenario 3

A hosting provider has an application that they lease from another company.   The hosting company  would like to provide this application as a service to their end users leveraging Azure.

The hosting partner can buy an Azure agreement (through CSP or any other program) and use Azure as a platform to host the application.  Again no need for SPLA, they are purchasing the licenses from Azure.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

How to Leverage Office 365 for On Premise Deployments

You often hear an “expert” talk or write about dual access rights for the cloud. What does this really mean? Am I really getting a two-for one deal when buying Office 365? In this article, we will review two deployment options – Partner Hosted scenario and an On-Premise scenario and explain what you will need to purchase.

The question of the day – can you leverage your Office 365 licenses on premise? Short answer…yes, but don’t forget about the server license! Let’s provide an example to illustrate how this will work.

On Premise

In traditional licensing, a customer who owns an Exchange Server license must also buy a CAL (Client Access License) to access that Server.  Let’s say their business expands and they add new employees.  For the new employees, they decided to test the waters and move them to the cloud using Office 365 E3.   For the Online Service, it doesn’t matter how they bought Office 365, it could be though CSP or another program, the use rights remain the same; the E3 licenses have the CAL equivalency to access their on premise Exchange Server.  Secondly, in regard to the version of the server they can access with the CAL, the Product Terms states that users can access current OR previous versions of the Server.  One last statement, make sure you have the right Office 365 User Server License equivalent.   As an example, if you have Exchange Enterprise, the CAL equivalent is Exchange Plan 2.   Here is a good chart from Technet highlighting the plan equivalent to an on-premise CAL.

Partner Hosted

If you decide to buy Office 365 (E3 as an example) and for whatever reason (security, etc) you decided to leverage another 3rd party service provider to host the solution on your behalf, you can still leverage your Office 365 USL licenses the same way as if you were deploying on-premise.  In this scenario, you are not deploying in your own datacenter, but using a third-party.  Let me provide an example:

You purchased Office 365 E3 for every user at your company.  Your CEO has a good buddy who owns a small hosting company down the street.  He decides he doesn’t want to use  Microsoft’s data centers, he would rather give the business to his buddy.  You realize that the USL licenses that you purchased have the equivalency of an on-premise CAL.  All you need to do is buy the server licenses the same as if you were deploying out of your own datacenter.  The hosting provider, can now deploy your solution from his datacenter in a shared hardware, dedicated VM environment.  In other words, he can leverage License Mobility with Software Assurance benefit.

In either scenario, it does not matter how you buy Office 365, the key to remember is having a USL license by itself doesn’t grant you the dual access right, but owning a USL license and server does.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

New Announcements for Microsoft CSP and MPSA Programs

Recently Microsoft announced that as of April 1, 2017, they will standardize all online services (OLS) durations to one year or less.  In other words, they will remove multi-year agreement programs for online services in the Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA for those playing at home). This applies to all Office 365, Dynamics 365, Windows, and all other OLS currently sold on MPSA.  What about Azure?  That was removed as of February 1, 2017.

Why the change?  I think it is to align programs.  One of the primary benefits of moving to the cloud is flexibility.  I think this move is good for the consumer and Microsoft.  For the consumer, it provides a way to migrate to the cloud without the long-term commitment.  For Microsoft, once you move to the cloud, you are almost always in the cloud.  There’s a lot of talk about moving to the cloud, very little talk about moving away from the cloud.  The reason?  Very few migrate away.  It’s like the mafia, once you think you are out, they drag you back in.

If customers want to purchase longer durations, they can still purchase it under the Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Open Value.  For all others, CSP, MPSA, direct, etc. its one year.  Existing customers with 2-3 year customers will not be affected according to the Microsoft Licensing Partner Guide.  It also mentions that if customers with multiple year agreements add new users after April 1, those users will have the same services subscription dates.  In other words, nothing will change.  Once they sign a new agreement, it will align to the new one-year model unless they purchase under the aforementioned Open Value or EA.