Office 365 Licensing Scenarios Part 1

 

This is a new series on csplicensing.com called “Office 365 Scenarios.”  The goal is to provide the reader with a licensing scenario for a typical Microsoft enterprise customer.  Enjoy!

 Scenario 1

 M & A Corporation is a large private equity firm with 500 employees worldwide.  They currently have the Enterprise CAL suite under an Enterprise Agreement.  They have one datacenter for mostly Exchange and SharePoint.

Current Needs

  1. Free up IT resources to focus on other projects besides managing a datacenter
  2. Identify a cloud partner to outsource their server environment.
  3. Senior executives need to have both On Premise and cloud solution for the same device.
  4. Find a collaboration tool to enhance communication between departments.
  5. Identify a solution for compliance and legal hold and email retention.
  6. Needed the solution yesterday and do not have time to wait for their agreement to expire.

Solutions

  • Issue 1&2 – Free up IT resources/Cloud Partner – The best way for M&A to free up IT resources without jeopardizing performance is to outsource their server environment to a third party.  Office 365 plan E3 provides SharePoint, Exchange, Office Pro Plus, and Skype for Business.
  • Issue 3On-Premise and cloud deployment for the same user- Office 365 has dual access rights.  This means that if an end user who has a USL (user subscription license) has the equivalent of an on premise CAL.  It does not include the server license.  If M&A wants to continue to run on premise workloads using the dual access right, they must own the server license.  Secondly, if they want decide not to use Microsoft datacenters for Office 365, they can use their Office 365 User SLs (as covered above) to access their servers deployed on third party shared servers/datacenters via License Mobility through Software Assurance.  Again, they would need the server license with SA.
  • Issue 4Collaboration tool – Transitioning to Office 365 E3 will give them access to Skype for Business Plan 2.
  • Issue 5Compliance and Legal Hold – Office 365 E3 will give them Exchange Online 2 which includes Legal Hold; archives email for more than 10 years.
  • Issue 6Agreement doesn’t expire. Since they have the ECAL, they can use the bridge CALs to transition from on premise to cloud for workloads not offered through Office 365 (Windows/SQL).

Thanks for reading,

CSP Man

Disclaimer

The purpose of this article is for informational purposes only.  The names are fictional and created by the author’s imagination.  Any name or resemblance is pure coincidental.

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

What’s old news for some is new for others.

We wrote about some of these changes in an earlier post.  In this article, we will review the licensing in’s and out’s in greater detail.

What is it?

Windows 10 Enterprise E3 in CSP is a per-user subscription marketed primarily to small and medium sized businesses.

How is it licensed?

It is a per user subscription model.  Licensed users may install Windows 10 Enterprise on up to 5 devices.

Is it availalbe in SPLA?

Windows 10 Enterprise is not available in SPLA.  CSP and SPLA are two separate programs.

What are the requirements?

New and renewed CSP customers will need to accept the Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA)  to use Windows 10 Enterprise. The updated Product Terms use rights for Windows 10 Enterprise in CSP, which were published in the September 2016 Volume Licensing Product Terms review this change.  Click here to see the latest update.

What are some other licensing benefits or things to watch out for?

  •  Downgrade to Windows 10 Pro at any time. When a user’s subscription expires or is transferred to another user, the Windows 10 Enterprise device reverts seamlessly to Windows 10 Pro edition (after a grace period of up to 90 days).
  • Move licenses between users. Licenses can be reallocated from one user to another user.
  • Customers subscribed to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 can now upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PCs and devices to Windows 10 without the need to purchase separate upgrade licenses. Check out the blog post by Microsoft here
  • Customer that were subscribed to the Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5 can also upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 PC’s to Windows 10.  Secure Productive Enterprise is the new name for the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS).  It bundles Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and E5 with corresponding versions of Office 365 (E3 and E5) and the Enterprise Mobility + Security solution (EMS).

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

 

 

 

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

 

 

Why “MSP” is the new “Cloud”

I think the acronym, “MSP” is the new “Cloud”. From the beginning of the century and carrying on through today, the term “cloud” was thrown around faster than a Nolan Ryan fastball (horrible).   “You have to get in the cloud!  “Hybrid Cloud!” “We need more Cloud!”

Why is “MSP” the new cloud?  For one, everyone wants to be a managed service provider.  If you really want to upset a reseller, call them a reseller. What is a managed service provider according to Microsoft?  I am not sure it is clearly defined, but I’ll give it my best shot.  A managed service provider is an organization that performs three primary functions as it relates to helping end users migrate workloads from an on premise solution to another data center provider (cloud).  The three functions are:

  1. Cloud Assessments – help end users determine how ready they are to offload workloads and determine which workloads they can even migrate.  This includes ROI analysis, training, and perhaps even SAM.  (Software Asset Management)
  2. Cloud Enablement – perform Proof of Concepts (POC), System Integration, and compliance.
  3. Cloud Operations –  Network monitoring, bandwidth, backup, security, and assist with troubleshooting.

This is exactly what Microsoft is looking for in a CSP partner.  MSP’s bridge the gap between the end-user and the data center provider (either Azure, Office 365, AWS, or some other 3rd party hosting partner).  One unspoken function of a MSP is not just migrating customers to the cloud, but moving them back from the cloud.  You can argue that the three functions mentioned can help customers migrate from the cloud back to on premise.  Just replace “cloud” with “on premise”and you get the picture.

Another trend is how the cloud partner ecosystem has also evolved to include the MSP.  MSP’s are partnering with other MSP’s to provide a fluid customer experience; it’s the same with CSP.  A service provider, who perhaps has the customer relationship, can partner with a CSP Tier 2 partner to perform those three functions on their behalf.  To Microsoft, they don’t care how a customer migrates, just that they migrate and have the support to help them manage it.

I remember when BPOS (the old Office 365) was first launched.  The Microsoft account teams had a huge quota to have customers sign up for BPOS.  It didn’t matter if they actually consumed it, as long as they signed up for it.  Microsoft had thousands of end users sign up for BPOS, but very few actually deployed it. (very few knew they even signed up for it).  Microsoft learned a lesson from that initial project – it doesn’t matter who signed up, it’s who’s consuming it that matters.  In walks are friend Mr. MSP.

The days of being a transactional reseller are over, if you are not in the MSP game, find someone who is…and fast!

Microsoft Teams

When Microsoft Teams were first announced in November 2016, the first thing that came to mind was here’s another application, another “tool” to make life easier;  why not just use Skype, SharePoint, and Yammer?   In a way, that’s true.  Why not use the tools already in place?  I think what Microsoft Teams accomplishes is what those other three applications does separately.  I like to think of Microsoft Teams as a real-time forum to chat, review content, and even participate in voice and video conferences with the integration of Skype.

For a full review and demo of the product check out the Office 365 blog   It will be interesting to see how this will play with Project Online and other management tools.

At this time, only business subscribers in plans such as “Business Essentials, Business Premium, and Enterprise E1, E3, and E5” have access to Microsoft Teams.  E4 subscribers who bought that plan before its retirement also will get access.

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

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