CSP Perpetual Licensing – Good or Bad?

Microsoft announced a new way for traditional enterprise clients the ability to purchase perpetual based licensing through the CSP program.

Historically, perpetual licensing fell into the Open Licensing or Enterprise Agreement bucket in which customers were offered volume discounts and software assurance benefits for Microsoft software they purchased.   A customer can still purchase under these programs, but it is clear Microsoft is heading towards CSP across all licensing programs.  You can read about it here (you will need a Microsoft account to sign in) https://partner.microsoft.com/en-us/resources/collection/software-in-csp#/

Is this a good thing?  I think it provides flexibility regarding who you purchase from and options for products you cannot move to the cloud.   This opens the door for VARs to sell into enterprise accounts that traditionally were only sold through the larger LSP resellers.   In addition, there’s no partner incentives or support included when an enterprise customer purchases licenses through an Enterprise Agreement or Open program like there is with CSP.  In a lot of ways, CSP makes a lot of sense.   So what are things that you should watch out for when looking at CSP over an EA?

CSP perpetual licenses are sold without Software Assurance (SA).  SA is a key ingredient if you want to move workloads to the cloud.  With CSP perpetual, this is an on premise solution as oppose to cloud.  That being said, under the same CSP agreement, you could buy Office 365 or Windows Server subscriptions which will allow flexibility for hybrid type environments.

The other thing to consider is upfront payments.  With traditional CSP, you are buying a subscription versus buying perpetual.  With CSP perpetual, you are paying upfront and you own that license.  There’s no minimum requirement and of course no maximum.   In short, this means there are no volume discounts.

There’s a lot more information coming with this new announcement.  We will certainly keep you updated.  I will be curious on your thoughts!  Drop us a note or leave a comment below.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

CSP Direct v Enterprise Agreements

Have an EA up for renewal and don’t know what to do?  Listed below is a brief breakdown of what you can get.  I like CSP Direct over an EA for a lot of reasons, the main being flexibility.  CSP Direct is like an a la carte model; you do not pay upfront for the whole year.

CSP Direct

  • 1 – year commitment
  • Pay as you go versus yearly.
  • Minimum 20 seats
  • Ability to fluctuate user counts
  • Account support – Partner provide support as well as leverage their Premiere Support agreement with Microsoft at no additional costs.
  • Decrease user counts
  • Increase user counts
  • Products – all cloud subscription licenses
  • Self – Service – Partner (LAR) will provide a platform to manage your subscriptions

EA

  • 500 seat requirement
  • 3 – year commitments (annual billing)
  • Annual true ups
  • Microsoft credits
  • Support – basic support (additional for premium)
  • Decrease – once per year. Cannot decrease perpetual products or reduce your O365 subscriptions below your original commitment
  • Increase user count – Anytime
  • Products – All Microsoft Products.
  • Self -Service – O365 portal and VLSC

If you are under SPLA, CSP Indirect may make the most sense to reduce your costs.  Check out www.mscloudlicensing.com to learn more or www.splalicensing.com 

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

The CSP Sales Motion

Here are a few guidelines to follow if you have an Enterprise Agreement with Microsoft and looking to decide whether or not to renew or work with a CSP partner to help you with your licensing needs.

Enterprise Agreement

The EA is a legacy program by Microsoft and in the current licensing world in which we live, is designed for organizations who are the largest and most complex environments.  In most of these customer situations, there are amendments, exceptions, and additional terms that need to be negotiated.  If this is you, a CSP model is probably not ideal for your situation.

Other hot buttons that will help you make the case to sign an Enterprise Agreement

  • All affiliates to be included in one agreement
  • Multi-tenant solutions
  • Fixed price requirement for 3 years
  • Existing agreement with existing licenses that will qualify them for discounts such as “From SA” or “Add-On” licenses

Cloud Solution Provider Program

The CSP program is designed to help customers move to the cloud.  The case for CSP can be summarized this way  – how dated is it to buy software that you have yet to deploy?  Many organizations make upfront commitments for licenses they will never use to get a better discount.  CSP is a program that supports pay as you go and deploy (or use) with little commitment.  Why pay for something that you haven’t used?

Other hot buttons that will help you make the case for CSP:

  • Less than 500 USL licenses
  • Partner requirement to help deploy and manage
  • Fluctuation in user count
  • Simplified workloads
  • Pay for consumed services (Azure) on a monthly basis

Without question this post is a generalization, but hopefully it will give you an idea of what to look for and questions to ask if you are signing a new agreement.  CSP or EA, it doesn’t matter, Microsoft still gets their fair share.

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

Enterprise Mobility and Security (EMS)

With the big push to the cloud, the Enterprise Mobility and Security offering emphasizes Microsoft’s mobile first, cloud first strategy.  EMS focuses on three areas:

  • Hybrid and Cloud Identity – Enabled through Azure Active Directory Premium
  • Mobile Device Management -Microsoft Intune.
  • Data Protection and Security – Azure Information Protection/ MS Advance Threat Analytics.

In this article, we will review each of these offerings and how it can help your business.

Azure AD Premium

Is a single sign-on or connection that links a user to multiple applications and multiple cloud solutions including social media accounts and other SaaS applications.  Almost all organizations have different applications users access; personal and business from the same device.  Azure AD also includes a full suite of identity management capabilities including multi-factor authentication (identifies the user) , self-service password management (retrieve password) , self-service group management and security monitoring and alerting (identify threats).

Intune

One of the number one questions asked around the BYOD concept is “what happens if my employee leaves”  One of the features of Intune is Selective Wipe, which allows IT staff to wipe corporate data remotely from that device via self-service company portal or admin console, but not touch the individuals personal applications (Facebook as an example).

In addition to mobile device management, it also helps IT administrators with the ability to push company apps automatically and allow users to easily install corporate apps from the self-service company portal.

One other feature of Intune is email.  If a company wants to protect an attachment through Intune security, IT administrators can set protection parameters on that attachment that will prevent the user from copying and pasting into another application.  Let’s say you have a company spreadsheet with private financial information.  In order to prevent  the user of just copying that application into another spreadsheet or word docs, the IT admin can use Intune to prevent unauthorized distribution.

Azure Information Protection (Azure Rights Management)

Using the email example above, Azure Info Protection allows an IT admin to set permissions of who can receive not receive the email.  As an example, let’s say you send an email to a vendor with personal information, using Azure Info Protection, the sender can set a no-forward policy or even an email expiration in which the email will auto delete so no unauthorized users can access that email.

Microsoft Advance Threat Analytics 

MS Advance Threat Analytics is a preventative security measure to protect the user from unauthorized use of personal information.  A credit card is a good example.  Using behavioral analytics, Advance Threat Analytics (ATN) will notice unusual activity on a customer’s account.

How to buy

You can purchase the EMS offering through various channels and programs.  Similar to most program, buying EMS as a package is more cost competitive than buying as individual components.

Volume Licensing:  When customers who purchased Windows Server CAL, Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, System Center Endpoint Protection and Microsoft Active Directory Rights Management Services CALs via the Microsoft Enterprise Volume Licensing agreements they will have the ability purchase the Enterprise Mobility + Security Add-on.  This is much cheaper than buying the full user license since you already made the investment in certain technologies.

CSP: When working with a CSP partner, you can either resell or consume EMS for your own internal use.  When using CSP, you either provide the support (as a CSP Direct/Tier 1 provider) or work with a distributor (CSP Indirect/Tier 2) to sell to your end customers as a managed service provider.  The cost varies depending on number of users and the support offering.

I hope this provides some insight into EMS.  More articles on this coming soon!

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

 

 

 

Office 365 Licensing

In order to understand a licensing program, it’s best to start at the beginning and go from there. Office 365 comes with various plans and product lines that can get a bit confusing to the average consumer.  In this post we will review Office 365 and Azure and the various programs to purchase them under.

Just purchased volume licensing and want to move to Office 365?  There’s a plan for that.  Need to buy the full license?  No problem.  Have Software Assurance (SA) and need to move to a User Subscription License (USL)?  Got it covered.  Here are 5 scenarios to help understand how to the licensing works.

Step-up-USL

John purchased an Office 365 E3 but really screwed up;  he really needed E5.  He’s midway through his agreement.  What does he need to do?  As long as he purchases the licenses under the same agreement, he can acquire a “Step-up USL” license at a cheaper rate than if he were to wait until his agreement ends and purchase E5 without the step-up discount.  Step-up USL is just a way to upgrade services during the term of the agreement. That’s a key fact to remember.  Step-ups expire when the step-up USL expires or the base USL expires (whichever expires earlier).

Add -on – USL

Bill is a bit of a nervous Nellie.  He has an on-premise volume licensing agreement but wants to try Office 365.  An Add-on-USL gives Bill the ability to migrate to Office 365 at a fraction of the cost.  This also must be purchased on the same agreement as the qualifying licenses.  In summary, it’s just a license that is purchased in addition to a previous acquired license at a fraction of the cost.

From SA USL

Mary is tired of managing licenses on premise.  She has an Enterprise Agreement (EA) and owns the Core CAL Suite.  She wants to move to the cloud, but wants to do it in the most cost-effective way possible.  Since she already purchased licenses with SA (a mandatory requirement when buying an EA), Microsoft recognizes (That’s nice of them) the investment they made with SA, and offers a discount to move to the cloud.  That discount is called “From SA USL”  Like everything else, you guessed it…it must all be purchased under the same agreement as they originally purchased under.

Full Blown License

Barbara hates Microsoft. For the past 10 years she has installed nothing but open software.  Her boss is tired of the incompatibility that comes with open source software and has recently told Barbara to either go to the Microsoft cloud or go home.  She decided to go Microsoft.  Since Barbara does not already own a Microsoft agreement (or any licenses for that matter) she must buy the Full USL license.  The Full USL is also applicable for those customers that let their agreement expire without migrating to the cloud prior.  Remember in the previous examples, all step-up, add-ons, and from SA must be purchased under the same agreement.

SAL for SA

This last example is not for everybody and is probably meant for a 500 level Office 365 licensing conversation.  That being said, I think it’s important to at least bring up.

Let’s say John bought Skype for Business USL license and for whatever reason his boss is hesitant about using Microsoft data centers.  Maybe it’s for disaster recovery or maybe there are compliance concerns (or maybe Barbara from the previous example went to work at John’s company 🙂 but regardless the reason, they do not want to use Microsoft.  How can they leverage their USL licenses but use another data center provider? It’s called SAL for SA.  The new data center provider can license through their Microsoft agreement a SAL (Subscriber Access License) that will allow John to leverage their existing USL license and pay a fraction of the cost.

There you have it.  Office 365 licensing 101.  The next post we will review the different products and plans to help you identify the right plan for you.

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.