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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What education customers must know about Adobe’s licensing changes

Adobe Creative CloudAdobe Creative Cloud burst onto the market in 2012 as an easy way for customers to keep Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other applications up to date and accessible from anywhere. Over the last few years, subscription-based licensing has been the focus for many manufacturers, and Adobe has become an industry leader with more than 3 million Creative Cloud subscribers. In that time, Creative Cloud has replaced other licensing options for certain customers, and it’s about to become the exclusive source for the Creative Suite updates across all market segments.

Education customers should take note: On Feb. 28, 2015, Adobe will no longer offer Creative Suite 6 (CS6) through the Cumulative Licensing Program (CLP) or Transitional Licensing Program (TLP), with the expectation that customers will move to Creative Cloud.

CS6 was removed from commercial and government buying programs almost a year ago, compelling customers to purchase Adobe’s Creative Suite solely as an annual subscription through its Value Incentive Program (VIP). Adobe is now extending this change to education customers. Here’s what schools and universities need to know. Continue Reading…

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How Autodesk’s licensing change will affect you

ArtistComputerTabletThe subscription licensing model is here to stay, it appears. Microsoft and Adobe are two of the biggest recent examples of IT leaders moving toward subscription licensing, and now Autodesk has joined the fold. In order to simplify its offering and in recognition of the fact that most of its customers are on subscription, Autodesk has adjusted its software upgrade policy for certain licensed customers.

Starting Feb. 1, 2015, Autodesk will no longer offer its upgrade program for customers that own a perpetual license to a previous version of its software. Future editions of the company’s product suite will be available through the purchase of a new perpetual license for the current version, or as a Maintenance Subscription or Desktop Subscription benefit. All Autodesk products sold with perpetual licensing are covered by this policy change except for Creative Finishing products.

Who will the new policy affect? Continue Reading…

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Here’s what our readers considered a top IT priority in 2014

People around tableLooking back on 2014, it’s clear to us that IT asset management (ITAM), and more specifically software licensing, was a top priority for many organizations.

We published 93 posts in 2014, and eight of the 10 most-read articles explored various licensing changes from partners like Microsoft, Adobe, and Apple.

We’re not surprised. Software licensing is complicated, and the seemingly constant adjustments made during multi-year contracts make asset management that much more difficult. Because avoiding an audit is much more fun than responding to one, IT professionals must educate themselves on licensing changes, and how software licensing evolves over time.   Continue Reading…

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The 5 values that determine your product audit risk

In my first post in the calculating product audit risk (PAR) series, I discussed how organizations should have two different strategies for managing their overall software estate. For the set of products where the value to the business or the risk of non-compliance is high, we suggest a “manage the product” approach. For the rest of the software portfolio, we suggest a “manage the risk” approach. To help differentiate between these two segments of the overall estate, we introduced the PAR value.

As a reminder, here is the PAR formula:

SHI-Product-Audit-Risk-equation

In general, the PAR value is meant to quantify the relative financial risk a product represents within the overall software portfolio. But before you can complete the math, you need to know where to find the factors that go into the equation. Here’s how: Continue Reading…

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Software license management: Calculating product audit risk

When it comes to compliance risk, we suggest that organizations craft two very different strategies for their overall software estate. Depending on the software, companies should either manage the product or manage the risk.

Manage the product

For high-risk, high-value software products such as Microsoft SQL Server, IBM Websphere, and Oracle databases, companies should pay careful attention to what licenses are bought and allocated and how they are being used. Because these products represent a relatively large portion of software spend and compliance risk, the products should be watched and managed individually and reviewed continually to ensure license utilization is high and compliance risk is low.

Manage the risk

Lower cost or lesser risk software products generally don’t need the same level of attention. Because costs or compliance risks are relatively lower, these products represent a much smaller financial risk to your organization. Managing this group (which could include thousands of software titles) in the same way as high-value products is difficult and unnecessarily expensive. A more efficient approach is to set reasonable, firm policies to guide proper usage and compliance and then conduct occasional spot-checks to find and rectify situations in which those policies were skirted. Since this approach carries a bit more compliance risk, consider setting aside a small opportunity fund to deal with over-deploys or an adverse audit finding. Continue Reading…

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Adobe Creative Cloud: team versus individual licenses

Effective IT asset management hinges on flexibility and accuracy. Organizations that can quickly transfer software or hardware between users can keep up with changes in projects, responsibilities, and personnel. The introduction of Adobe Creative Cloud with subscription-based licensing simplified software deployment and the delivery of updates, but also left organizations confused regarding transfer rights.

I recently spoke with clients struggling to transfer or reassign Adobe Creative Cloud subscriptions from one user to another via Adobe.com. After investigating, I discovered that in each instance the software subscription was licensed for an individual instead of a team.

While Creative Cloud for individuals is perfect for small shops or freelancers, Creative Cloud team licenses are the optimal choice for creative groups within larger organizations. Team licenses give management full access to an administrator console that allows them to add, transfer, or revoke licenses as needed.

Team licenses are available under the Adobe Value Incentive Plan (VIP) program, an evergreen program that doesn’t require a minimum purchase. Customers receive one agreement number upon purchasing, and anything acquired throughout the year is co-termed with a single anniversary date. This allows for greater budget predictability, ensures compliance, and fosters collaboration among workgroups without sacrificing immediate access to the latest and greatest Adobe technology updates. Continue Reading…

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How to take control of your software entitlements

Managing all the hardware and software assets for an enterprise workforce is no easy feat. A large organization must manage thousands or tens of thousands of employee devices, all of which are loaded with myriad software subject to various maintenance dates, combinations of licensing agreements, and therefore a multitude of licensing rules.

With so much technology under one roof, it’s easy for a licensing event to slip through the cracks and harm an organization in the long run. For example, the use of unlicensed software could expose organizations to hefty fines and leave companies scrambling to purchase new licenses to bring them into compliance. Not only do missed events hurt an organization’s bottom line, they also damage corporate reputations and can increase scrutiny from other manufacturers and vendors.

To help customers avoid the risks of non-compliance and give them a better understanding of their software entitlements, SHI offers several tools that provide complete visibility into the software and quantities an organization is licensed to use. Here are two of the best: Continue Reading…

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How to get your maintenance renewals under control

If your organization always wants the latest and greatest products and most up-to-date support, chances are you buy your software and hardware maintenance from various manufacturers. The question is: How do you manage all of your purchases while ensuring you’re not overspending?

Renewal management can be complicated, involving a kaleidoscope of factors that can turn a simple process into a field full of potential land mines, including overspending and non-compliance. Here are some of the challenges IT organizations face while managing renewals and how to solve them.

1. Myriad buying programs. Every business unit has its own unique mix of hardware and software needs. When it comes to licensing Microsoft products, for example, some organizations excel with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) to license a particular number of seats at any time for any product. Other organizations utilize a Select Agreement to buy what they need when they need it. With other publishers, some parts of your organization might still rely on perpetual licenses while others need options like the subscription-based Adobe Creative Cloud. The range of potential ongoing agreements in any company is vast, and renewal dates are unlikely to align, creating the potential for under-licensing or budgetary “gotchas” if the various renewal dates aren’t closely tracked.

2. Multiple employees managing buying programs. Larger organizations have licenses with more manufacturers and for more products than any one person can manage alone. Of course splitting the workload, whether by division or manufacturer, reduces visibility into organization-wide renewal dates. Having employees manage licensing in a silo also limits potential cost-savings and cost-avoidance advantages for future licensing, as employees might not be aware that their combined purchases qualify them for the next level (price break) of cost-savings. Continue Reading…

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