The ultimate guide to Microsoft SQL Server licensing

MazeMicrosoft’s grant program for SQL licensing expires on April 1, 2015. If you haven’t taken advantage of the grant’s offer of free per-core licensing, it’s time to determine if you’re eligible and act.

This offer and deadline are just one piece of a larger update to the way organizations license Microsoft SQL Server. While the new rules were enacted with the release of SQL Server 2012, many organizations are still trying to understand what these changes mean for them.

To help you better understand these agreements, we’ve written a primer explaining the main ways SQL is licensed, and the many other factors you have to consider when determining your licensing requirements. Continue Reading…

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Act now before you miss this Microsoft SQL licensing grant

hourglassIf you run Microsoft’s SQL Server, mark April 1, 2015 on your calendar – it could save your organization thousands of dollars.

That’s because April 1 is the deadline for Microsoft’s processor-to-core conversion grant. You might recall that Microsoft updated its licensing policies along with the release of SQL Server 2012. These rules changed the way servers were licensed, shifting from processor-based licensing to licensing the physical core. Now, in order to run SQL 2014, customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) must true up their per-core licensing, and doing so before April 1 will grant them blocks of free licenses.

As part of Microsoft’s extended grant incentive, customers that true up their licensing before April 1, 2015 will receive SQL per-core licensing grants for actual cores in use. Organizations that wait to complete this process until after April 1 will receive the minimum grant for only four cores per processor, leaving organizations to cover the rest. Continue Reading…

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5 things to know about Microsoft’s free Windows 10 upgrade offer

UpgradeMicrosoft’s highly anticipated Windows 10 operating system is sounding even better than many expected. When Microsoft presented a deep look at Windows 10 on Jan. 21, it offered customers an added incentive to jump to its newest offering: The company revealed it will offer free upgrades to Windows 10 for qualified new or existing Windows 7, Windows 8.1, or Windows Phone 8.1 devices. For customers who have not yet upgraded to Windows 8.1 from XP or Vista, this provides an excellent opportunity to maximize value, and to modernize their legacy OSes.

Microsoft’s Windows 10 demo and incentive announcement generated a lot of buzz, but also many questions. I’ve detailed five key insights you should be aware of regarding the Windows 10 news, and how it relates to your volume licensing agreements: Continue Reading…

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Microsoft extends Office 365 ProPlus education benefits

benefitsLast year Microsoft announced it would give students free access to Office 365 (O365) through its Student Advantage program. Now the software giant is extending these benefits to school faculty and staff, and revealing a self-enrollment model that makes it even faster and easier for all parties to take advantage of these benefits.

Effective Dec. 1, 2014, any educational institution purchasing Office for its faculty and staff can now include an O365 Professional Plus (ProPlus) subscription at no extra cost for all students, faculty, and staff. Anyone with an active school-specific email address from eligible schools can sign up and install the following versions of Microsoft Office on up to five machines and five tablets of their choice:

  • Office 2013 Professional Plus
  • Office 2011 for Mac (and the new Office for Mac when it comes out next year)
  • Outlook for Mac (next generation)
  • Office for iPad (full featured)
  • Office for iPhone (full featured)
  • Office for Android tablet (when available)

Continue Reading…

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SHI earns Microsoft’s Operational Excellence Award for the 11th consecutive year

MicrosoftSHI is proud to announce it has won Microsoft’s Operational Excellence Award for the 11th consecutive year, and 13th time overall. This honor is bestowed on partners that have demonstrated “market-leading operational excellence” in support of Microsoft technology and solutions.

SHI’s goal has always been to help our customers maximize their investment in technology and better manage their IT environments by educating them about the Microsoft products, licensing scenarios, and updates that could have the biggest impact on their organization. We help them connect with these technologies and make educated IT decisions through our series of Microsoft webinars and blog posts about licensing changes and what they mean for customers old and new. We’re proud to once again be recognized for these efforts!

We’d like to extend a big thank you and congratulations to the SHI employees integral to this win. We could not have achieved this award for 11 consecutive years without your hard work and dedication. Thanks also to our Microsoft customers, whose dedication and support have helped SHI thrive for the past 25 years.

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Office for iPad: Answers to your most common licensing questions

Since Microsoft’s unveiling of Office for iPad two weeks ago, SHI has been inundated with phone calls and emails from customers asking about how they can get the new offering. This question would seem to have a simple answer given the nature of how easy it is to obtain apps on an iPad — just download it!

However, as organizations assess their current and future mobile device strategy, it stands to reason that the more robust capabilities available for Office for iPad require a more complete and thorough understanding of the licensing and cost models involved. For that reason, we’ve taken the time to address the five most common licensing questions organizations have asked about Office for iPad.

1. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Office 365 (O365) service plan?

In order to edit and create documents with Office for iPad, organizations must have an O365 ProPlus subscription. The following volume licensing (VL) O365 subscriptions include O365 ProPlus:

Microsoft-Office-365--Volume-Licensing-Plans

2. Is Office for iPad included in my existing Enterprise Agreement (EA)? Continue Reading…

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Microsoft updates licensing for Windows desktop operating system

Microsoft announced a change to licensing options for Windows Enterprise edition on March 1. Below I provide an overview of the changes and how they might impact organizations looking to take advantage of the features and functionalities.

Historically, Windows Enterprise edition has been only available through the acquisition of Windows Professional with Software Assurance (SA). Organizations that wanted these capabilities needed to purchase them through one of the following means:

  • A new upgrade License with SA
  • The renewal of existing SA
  • The acquisition of SA only within 90 days of OEM or a Full Packaged Product (FPP) purchase

These procurement options were accompanied by certain restrictions on the type of qualifying volume licensing programs. For example, organizations couldn’t acquire SA within 90 days of OEM or FPP purchase under the Enterprise Agreement program, only via Select or Open. In addition, the ability to renew existing SA depended on keeping maintenance current to ensure continuity of coverage. SA renewal rules are defined in the Microsoft Product List.

Microsoft will now provide Windows Enterprise edition as an upgrade License only offering moving forward, making the features of Enterprise edition available to organizations not invested in Windows annuity licensing or programs. In addition, SA will come standard with the Windows Enterprise edition only, eliminating the Windows Professional Upgrade with SA option. Organizations with active SA on Windows Professional will have the option to renew using the Windows Enterprise SA SKU. Continue Reading…

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Saying goodbye to Windows XP: 3 free tools for Windows deployment

By now everyone should know that Windows XP support ends on April 8. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has jumped into action. Despite a nearly two-year warning about this deadline, at the end of 2013 more than one in four PCs around the world had yet to break the XP habit. And while the number of PCs running on Windows XP is surely dropping, many organizations still need to step into the light and adopt Windows 7 or Windows 8.

While moving to a new version of Windows might seem like a hassle, organizations should look at it as an opportunity to inspect their entire IT infrastructure beyond just the OS they use and identify any room for improvement.

For those working to upgrade their OS in the next couple months, Microsoft offers three free tools for all organizations, no matter their size, infrastructure, or IT resources, to smooth the transition. Here’s how they can help: Continue Reading…

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Saying goodbye to Windows XP: 3 free tools for Windows deployment

By now everyone should know that Windows XP support ends on April 8. But that doesn’t necessarily mean everyone has jumped into action. Despite a nearly two-year warning about this deadline, at the end of 2013 more than one in four PCs around the world had yet to break the XP habit. And while the number of PCs running on Windows XP is surely dropping, many organizations still need to step into the light and adopt Windows 7 or Windows 8.

While moving to a new version of Windows might seem like a hassle, organizations should look at it as an opportunity to inspect their entire IT infrastructure beyond just the OS they use and identify any room for improvement.

For those working to upgrade their OS in the next couple months, Microsoft offers three free tools for all organizations, no matter their size, infrastructure, or IT resources, to smooth the transition. Here’s how they can help: Continue Reading…

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SHI enters elite Windows Azure Circle

Microsoft recently selected SHI to join the Windows Azure Circle, an elite group of partners that demonstrate excellence in assisting customers with planning, designing, procuring, and implementing Windows Azure solutions. Not every Microsoft partner is eligible to join this group since program acceptance requires a Microsoft executive sponsorship and a partner commitment to provide world-class solutions and support leveraging Windows Azure.

SHI has helped customers implement Windows Azure since Microsoft made it available through volume licensing in November 2011, and adoption continues to accelerate as customers move toward cloud-based solutions. SHI increased revenue generated through Windows Azure agreements by 259 percent in 2013 compared to 2012, and we continued to exhibit strong growth in early 2014. January’s revenue alone reflected an 816 percent increase compared to the same month last year.

In joining the Windows Azure Circle, SHI can now access even more Windows Azure training and technical resources to help us assess, develop, and implement Windows Azure for more customers. Membership in this group reinforces our commitment to providing customers one-of-a-kind, world-class support.

Have you considered implementing Windows Azure? Do you have questions about how Windows Azure will fit within your organization’s environment? If so, email your SHI sales representative today.

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