Windows 10 is here: Here’s what volume licensing customers need to know

windows-10Windows 10 is live, and with it comes product portfolio changes, adjustments to Software Assurance (SA) benefits, and a bevy of new features and enhancements. But perhaps the biggest change is how updates are delivered.

Here is the breakdown of these changes, and considerations for how to acquire Windows 10 licenses moving forward. Continue Reading…

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3 key takeaways from the latest update to Microsoft’s MPSA

update to MPSAMicrosoft is weaving Software Assurance (SA) into its Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), effective Sept. 1. This is one of several changes rolled out for MPSA that shed light on Microsoft’s direction for the program and make MPSA more attractive.

The addition of SA comes on the heels of Microsoft’s announcement that it’s retiring its Select Plus program, making MSPA a viable alternative for Select Plus now that it includes SA.

To put it simply, MPSA makes it easier for businesses of all sizes to understand the terms and conditions of their agreement, purchase new products, and receive Microsoft support. The addition of SA now allows for upgrades and support under these licenses as well.

Here’s what current and future customers need to know about the addition of SA to MPSA: Continue Reading…

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5 hidden benefits of Software Assurance

Treasure-Chest-OpensMention Microsoft Software Assurance to an IT manager and the first thing he or she will think of is maintenance. While Software Assurance (SA) does enable software upgrades to newer versions of the products it covers, there is a lot more to it than just that. SA provides Volume Licensing (VL) customers access to a variety of tools training, and other resources to aid in the planning, deployment, and support of Microsoft technologies. The benefits available vary based on the type of VL agreement and the specific licenses purchased, but they’re designed to maximize the value IT pros and end users can extract from an organization’s technology investment.

Many organizations often don’t realize the full potential of SA. Here are five of the most commonly overlooked features of your SA benefits. 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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How to prepare for Microsoft’s Server and Cloud Enrollment

Microsoft recently announced its plans to launch a new volume licensing program called Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE). Anticipated to go into effect in the fourth quarter of 2013, this new enrollment offering will give customers the ability to license Microsoft server, applications, and cloud technologies under a single enrollment structure. The server and cloud technologies include Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server, and Azure. Customers will also have the ability to enroll their Visual Studio Developer, BizTalk, and SharePoint Server licenses.

In addition, SCE provides organizations with pricing discounts, standard program terms, and a flexible licensing approach that offers the option to procure perpetual or subscription licenses, depending on deployment needs. Here’s everything you need to know about SCE.

How does SCE work?

SCE is a three-year commitment signed under a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA). It requires an enterprise-wide commitment to Software Assurance (SA) across the installed base of one or more of the components that make up the program. These SCE components are:

  1. Core Infrastructure (i.e., Windows Server and System Center)
  2. Application Platform (i.e., SQL Server. BizTalk and SharePoint can also be included)
  3. Developer Platform (i.e., Visual Studio)
  4. Windows Azure

By joining the SCE program, customers will receive the following benefits:

  • Discounts on new license and Software Assurance purchases
  • Discounts on Software Assurance renewals
  • New subscription-based licensing options, which replace the deferred SA approach offered in the EAP, and that will provide flexibility when retiring workloads or migrating to the cloud
  • Windows Azure pricing discounts
  • Full Software Assurance rights, including License Mobility and version upgrade rights
  • Unlimited problem resolution support for qualifying premier services customers
  • Consolidated enrollment covering both Core Infrastructure and Application Platform components

What does SCE mean for you? Continue Reading…

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