Will these product and licensing changes from Microsoft affect you?

what you need to knowYou probably heard Microsoft is buying LinkedIn. But have you heard about MPSA’s evolution and the licensing changes for Windows Server 2016 and Office 365 (O365)?

Microsoft announced a handful of adjustments to select current licensing models, as well as new suites of products, over the past several weeks. Understanding these changes will help organizations effectively plan for upcoming renewals and/or new IT initiatives.

Let’s run down the latest Microsoft changes. Continue Reading…

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The clock is ticking: Are you ready for Microsoft’s Volume Licensing transformation?

Microsoft licensing changesWith only two months left in Microsoft’s Fiscal Year ending June 30, you’re probably wondering why I’m writing a blog post now on Microsoft’s Volume Licensing (VL) transformation. Change is constant in Microsoft licensing, so a firm understanding of Microsoft’s plans to transform its VL models and platforms will be integral to your current and future decision-making process on the acquisition and consumption of software and services.

Let’s dissect the three changes that will have an immediate impact on how commercial organizations acquire Microsoft products moving forward. Continue Reading…

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What you need to know about Microsoft’s changes to its Enterprise Agreement program

UpdateMicrosoft will change one of its biggest licensing programs – and your organization might have a decision to make.

Microsoft is raising the minimum desktop commitment on Enterprise and Enterprise Subscription Enrollments from 250 to 500 devices/users on July 1, 2016. The adjustment aligns with Microsoft’s ongoing transformation of how organizations acquire, license, and deploy software and services in their IT environment.

Let’s look at how the change will impact organizations moving forward. Continue Reading…

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What Microsoft’s per core licensing policy for Windows Server and System Center 2016 means to you

whats newMicrosoft recently announced details on the upcoming release of Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, anticipated in Q3 2016. This announcement provides insights into some of the significant changes slated to occur to the Windows 2012 R2 licensing model.

Let’s review these changes, and examine the impact the new licensing agreements may have on your organization. Continue Reading…

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Office 365 E5 is here – 4 things you should know

Do you knowMicrosoft has introduced its newest Office 365 (O365) enterprise service plan – E5. It features Cloud PBX, PSTN conferencing, end-user and organization analytics, and advanced security. In conjunction with these new capabilities, Microsoft has added additional features to the existing E1 and E3 plans. As organizations evaluate these new capabilities, it’s important to understand how the introduction of O365 E5 will impact licensing options moving forward.

O365 E5’s availability

  • O365 E5 is now available for commercial and government organizations. However, E5 is not yet available for Government Community Cloud (GCC) and Education customers; availability for these customer segments will be announced at a later date.
  • E5 without PSTN conferencing will be sold separately through all programs where O365 Enterprise Plans are available.
    • Due to limited availability, PSTN conferencing is being offered as a separate add-on SKU to E5 under an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or EA Subscription Agreement only.
    • An E5 with PSTN conferencing single SKU will be offered at a later date.
  •  Updated O365 enterprise service plans consist of E1, E3, and E5. Below is a breakout of each plan’s features:

MS-O365-chart

E5’s licensing options

O365 E5 includes a number of new features that can be licensed as part of the suite or as standalone offerings. How an organization licenses these new features will primarily depend on its current O365 service footprint. There are three purchase order options for licensing E5 or any of its new components.

  1. Step-up: A step-up license allows an organization with active Software Assurance (or service coverage if Online Service, or OLS) to migrate from a lower edition to higher edition of a given product. An example of this would be “stepping up” from O365 Plan E1 to O365 Plan E5.
  2. Add-on: An add-on license provides rights to additional services and features while maintaining an existing license investment. For example, an organization can add on PSTN conferencing to O365 E5 without PSTN.
  3. Full USL: A full user subscription license is applicable when an organization is purchasing online services without any underlying license investment. An example would be purchasing O365 E5 without PSTN full User Subscription License.

An organization’s purchase option carries pricing and licensing implications. With the introduction of E5 and its new services, the number of iterations available for organizations to choose from has increased, and it’s important to understand these various options before making a final decision.

The retirement date for O365 E4 is set

The release of O365 E5 means the impending retirement of E4, slated for June 30, 2016. Organizations currently licensed for E4 can use the current plan under their agreement until renewal. Organizations that fall into this bucket will have two options to move forward with their O365 services prior to or at their renewal date.

  1. Customers interested in moving to E5 prior to their renewal can purchase an O365 E5 step-up SKU for each E4 user licensed. This SKU accounts for the difference in cost between the E4 and E5 service plans.
  2. Customers not interested in E5 can renew into E3, and add the Skype for Business Plus CAL subscription.

The upgraded features in E1 and E3

New features added to O365 E1 include Skype Meeting Broadcast and Task Management. Skype Meeting Broadcast will allow E1 customers to host every kind of meeting, including one-to-one, one-to-many, and one-to-thousands. In addition, Work Management in E1 allows for project management capabilities for teams.

E3 customers will be granted the new features available in E1, and will receive expanded rights to Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and encryption.

Visit Microsoft’s O365 Roadmap for the company’s online services portfolio. As you evaluate your move to O365, or more specifically, the new features and capabilities of O365 E5, it is important to have a partner to help you navigate this path. Reach out to your SHI Account Representative to get started.

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This is how Microsoft’s upcoming product and pricing changes will affect you

confusionIn May, SHI detailed the upcoming price changes impacting Microsoft’s Client Access Licenses (CALs). These changes, which took effect Aug. 1, 2015, will result in an approximate 13 percent increase on the cost of User CALs.

But that was not the only change from Microsoft: In conjunction with the User CAL price increase, Microsoft adjusted additional products and pricing that impact multiple product offerings, SKUs, and licensing programs.

The following is a summary of the licensing and pricing changes effective Aug. 1, 2015. Continue Reading…

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Before upgrading to vSphere 6, read this

stop handYou’ve never seen virtualization work like this before.

vSphere 6, the newest installment of VMware’s cloud computing OS, is available now for upgrade. The latest version has hundreds of new features and capabilities, but its true power lies in its breadth: vSphere 6 can “vMotion” instances across virtual switches, vCenters, and long distances. Now an instance can be moved from any cluster of computers and servers in an organization to another, regardless of where the two clusters are, and regardless of the version of vCenter that the second destination cluster is running.

But as useful as this load-bearing capability can be for spreading virtual machines throughout a network to maintain uptime, it can also create issues with your Microsoft licensing. Before you upgrade to vSphere 6, make sure you know the potential conflicts and take steps to remedy them. Continue Reading…

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