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

 

 

 

Want Azure pay as you go? Forget about MPSA.

Last week at Microsoft conference, the new buzz was “Digital Transformation”  Essentially adapting to the way in which consumers and enterprises consume technology.  In January, 2017, the pay-as-you-go you once loved is removed from the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement.  I see this move as primarily positive, but for company’s that built out a service around MPSA and Azure as a challenge.   Change is not always bad, but an overnight program change is not always the best way to do it.

Existing customers currently purchasing Azure on a pay-as-you-go basis through the MPSA will see no change.  New customers will be opted for the CSP.  Good news if you are a CSP provider.

As mentioned in a previous post, way back when consumers signed up for BPOS but didn’t use it.  By moving customers to CSP, it encourages users to adapt and migrate to Azure.  This is no longer a licensing game, it’s  a platform/solution/service offering game. Get ready CSP, more products are sure to launch!

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

 

 

Upgrade benefits for Windows Cloud Subscriptions through CSP

Not all Microsoft licensing programs are created equal.  This past January, Microsoft announced that customers who subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 as well as Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5, can now upgrade their Windows 8 and Windows 7  devices to Windows 10 without the need to purchase upgrade licenses.  This is only available through CSP channel.

Last July, Microsoft made the announcement that allowed CSP partners the ability to provide a subscription to Windows 10 Enterprise Edition as part of a managed service.  Now adding the ability to upgrade older Windows versions at no additional costs is another benefit notch in the CSP belt.

To provision this solution, end customers must purchase Windows cloud subscription from one of the authorized CSP partners.

More changes ahead!  Stay tuned!

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

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.