Last year, I wrote about changes in our licensing, which introduced Licence Mobility, which arrived last July. This gave customers much more flexibility in their decisions about deploying applications on-premise, and in shared data centres in the cloud – both Microsoft datacentres and those run by our partners. For example, you 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). For basic details of how the scheme works, take a look at my earlier blog post, but here's a couple of the key points:
- Licence mobility applies when you buy your Microsoft server software with Software Assurance.
For education customers, that's automatically included in our Subscription Agreements (EES, School Agreement and Campus Agreement), but if you buy your licences under Select or Open schemes, Software Assurance is an addition.
- Licence mobility covers servers for Dynamics CRM, System Center, Lync, SharePoint, SQL and Exchange
- There must be 90 days between each move to the cloud and back (so no moving your servers to the cloud just for the weekend )
There's 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.
So here's how an education customer can use licensing mobility with Dynamics CRM:
A university wants to run a student recruitment system with Dynamics CRM - and rather than having it setup on their own server, they want their partner to run the service in an hosted data centre. (This makes lots of sense, as the hoster is likely to provide 24x7 uptime support, a guaranteed SLA, and out of hours support).
The partner is happy to host the Dynamics CRM, and will run it on virtualised servers (who wouldn't?) which means that the hardware is shared - there may be a bunch of other systems from other organisations 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 Dynamics CRM Server) for the applications.
For the customer there's a bunch of benefits:
- The licences for Dynamics CRM can be rolled into their existing subscription agreement with Microsoft (most education customers in Australia will have an existing subscription agreement they can add this too)
- The customer can use Academic licences, which reduces the cost, and in many cases they will have a framework agreement in place that reduces the cost further (for example, universities can buy this through their CAUDIT agreement)
- Because it's using subscription licences, it means that the customer automatically receives licences for the latest version, so there are no upgrade costs going forward as we release future versions
- As the customer owns the licences, they can move them between their data centre, a partner shared data centre, or between different partner data centres, without having to re-licence their servers.
* Please bear in mind I'm not a licensing expert, so I'm basing everything above on my understanding of the way it works, and I've tried to simplify the vast amount of licensing information down to the basics.