Microsoft licensing changes for hosted and shared services

imageThe pace of change in licensing - in positive ways for education customers - is speeding up. Hot on the heels of the EES licensing (which is leaving most customers I'm talking to much better off), we've now announced changes to licensing that will make it easier (and cheaper) to license software as you move to the cloud - specifically where partners are hosting an application, or servers, in their own data centres.

Here's my quick summary of the changes from 1st July:

  • In what we're referring to as 'licence mobility', we're making it much easier when you are going to run software in a hosted data centre, by extending the licensing rights for a bunch of server technologies, so that you can run them on-site, or in a externally hosted shared data centre under the same licensing scheme.
  • The extension is for customers with active Software Assurance (you've automatically got this if you have a Campus, School or EES Agreement)
  • This will cover licensing for:
      • Microsoft SQL Server
      • Microsoft Exchange Server
      • Microsoft SharePoint Server
      • Microsoft Lync Server
      • Microsoft System Center servers
      • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • In addition, we're reducing the pricing and 'management overhead' for licensing Windows Server in hosted scenarios using our SPLA scheme (Services Provider Licensing Agreement), by eliminating use restrictions for conventional licenses, allowing us to remove Outsourcing licences
  • We've also added a Core Infrastructure Suite to SPLA licensing
  • This will help you with your flexible IT strategy - you can decide which of your on-site services you want to run in an off-site, third-party datacentre, without creating a big licensing headache. Tie this with the economies of scale from shared data centres, and things are looking up!
  • There's flexibility that allows you to move your applications to the cloud - and back - every 90 days

For education, this whole announcement is especially important, as education customers can normally buy licences significantly cheaper than commercial organisations - and this has sometimes caused a hiccup where a partner has been buying licences to run a shared data centre, and has paid full commercial pricing.

A typical scenario where this change is really helpful is where you are using the Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to manage your student and alumni relationships, and you are hosting it in your existing data centre. It's the ideal service to move to a shared, hosted data centre, as there are definite peaks and troughs in usage - and the server capacity required. In the past, you may have needed different (or additional) licences if you moved this to a shared hosted data centre - and because of this it often presented barriers to doing it.

There is a fuller description of the changes on our Licensing site, and you can expect to see more detail over the next few months as we get ready to implement these changes from 1st July

Learn MoreLearn More about the changes

Comments (3)

  1. Mark Adamson says:

    I'm still somewhat confused by the terminology. If, as a charity, we have previously bought Select licences for Exchange and SQL, can we migrate these licences to Azure VM hosting or Amazon EC2, or do we have to have Software Assurance?

  2. Mark Adamson says:

    Actually I think it might be an Open licence that we bought. I'm afraid my brain hurts whenever I try to understand the myriad of licensing options

  3. Ray Fleming says:

    Hi Mark,

    These changes will only apply to you if you have bought your licences with the Software Assurance element (and that's still active). Software Assurance is a bit like an additional subscription guarantee – it gives you the right to update to the latest version of the software when it is released, as well as a few other things.

    If you have bought your software with Software Assurance, you will know about this – it's not something that you're likely to do and not know about, as you'll be paying a small fee every year to keep the Software Assurance active.


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