I was recently tasked to understand and explain the SPLA licensing model to an ISV, and thought that the experience would be worth sharing. Since folks love to read about licensing about as much as they love, say, root canals, I'll be as brief as I can - here goes:
- SPLA stands for Service Provider License Agreement
- SPLA allows ISVs to offer our products on a per CPU per month basis
- In this case, CPU means "socket into which a chip is inserted" - so multi core and/or hyper threaded CPUs only count as 1 CPU for this model
- Prices are determined by the price list which comes as part of the SPLA agreement
For example, if you were considering hosting MOSS on a pair of 2-way dual core Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard servers with a 4-way dual core database server running SQL Server Standard on Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard behind, you would be charged for:
- 4 MOSS (2 servers x 2 sockets/server)
- 4 SQL Standard (1 server x 4 sockets)
- 8 Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard (1 server x 4 sockets + 2 servers x 2 sockets/server)
every month, and that's it - no CALs to worry about. You can even use the service yourself, but I think the only restriction there is that you cannot be the majority subscriber to your service in this case.
This is an option well worth considering if you plan to offer software as a service in a hosted or multi-tennant model.