Last week, I wrote about changes in our licensing, which introduced Licence Mobility, arriving from 1st July 2011. This will give customers much more flexibility in their decisions about deploying applications on-premise, and in shared data centres in the Cloud. For example, they can now use their licences to run key applications in a data centre which is shared between different customers (previously, a completely different licence type - called SPLA - was needed for shared data centres).
I've now found a more detailed presentation that steps through the scenarios, and explains in detail what is now possible. For example, this slide demonstrates the gap filled by the new licence mobility, and differentiates between this and the SPLA licensing. Basically, licence mobility allows you to run a dedicated application on shared hardware, whereas SPLA works for shared applications on shared hardware.
Here's an example of the way that the licence mobility might work in education:
A school wants to use a SharePoint-based learning management system - and rather than having it setup on a school server, they want their partner to run the servers in an offsite data centre. (This makes lots of sense, as the hoster is likely to provide 24x7 uptime support, which is exactly what students expect in today's learning environment. If they can't get to their revision notes at midnight before the exam, they get riled!)
The partner is happy to host the SharePoint, but wants to run it on virtualised servers (who wouldn't?) which means that the hardware is shared - there may be a bunch of other systems running on the same physical server.
Previously, the partner would have had to license this through SPLA licensing, and because this was complicated, it tended to put people off (both partners and customers).
With Licence Mobility, what now happens is that the education customer simply moves their Academic licences to cover the hosted setup, avoiding the potential duplication of licences, or confusion of multiple licence types. The partner is responsible for licensing the Windows Server hosts - which isn't a change for them - but the customer now buys or provides the licences (in this case SharePoint) for the applications.
As customers' attention turns to Cloud solutions, this opens up more opportunities for education partners to help them build a more agile and robust ICT system.