How Microsoft Enterprise Cloud Suite licensing affects you

cloud networkMicrosoft will launch its new Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) offering on Dec. 1, 2014, the latest step in its broader shift in licensing models to a “mobile first, cloud first” strategy. ECS will be a bundled subscription SKU offering containing Office 365 (O365) Plan E3, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Windows Client OS Per User. This new offering will be available to organizations looking to transition to the cloud mid-term, at renewal, or as part of a new agreement.

ECS provides organizations with a true user-based licensing model, removing the per-device licensing requirements on the Windows Client OS. However, with any new licensing change come requirements on how organizations can procure and manage the new offering in their environment going forward. Provided below is an overview of the ECS offering and important considerations when moving forward.

Understanding the changes to ECS

The traditional on-premises Desktop Platform licensing options — e.g., Office Pro Plus and Windows Client OS — have primarily been device based. The Client Access License (CAL) offered per-user or device licensing depending on how an organization’s users/devices were accessing its server technology. With the introduction of O365, Microsoft initiated user-based licensing for Office Pro Plus, available in the form of a standalone Office Pro Plus for O365 subscription or as an O365 Subscription Plan E3/E4.

In April 2014, Microsoft introduced EMS, which provided even more flexibility to procure cloud services in a user-centric approach. The final transformation comes with the release of Windows Pro Per User subscription license, which shifts from device- to user-based licensing. This change is best illustrated in the chart below. 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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As Windows XP nears its end, businesses weigh Windows 8 upgrade

Microsoft will cease to support Windows XP on April 8, 2014. The operating system’s product lifecycle will come to an end, Microsoft will stop producing security patches and other updates, and organizations will be faced with a dilemma: To continue using Windows XP, one of the most popular versions of Windows, despite the security risks of running an unsupported system, or to upgrade to the unfamiliar Windows 8 or another more recent OS version.

Microsoft, for one, would prefer businesses to move off XP and has made this one of its top sales priorities for fiscal year 2014, along with winning over businesses to the benefits of Windows 8.

The Windows XP end-of-life date will affect more than 10 million PCs. If your business accounts for any of them, you might want to start considering an upgrade. The following video will highlight the new features released with Windows 8, explain how Windows 8 affects your volume licensing agreements, and offer next steps for implementing Windows 8 in your organization.

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What’s new in Windows Server 2012 and why does it matter?

The excitement about Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 is definitely hitting the marketplace, because last month I found myself fielding a ton of questions on both. When it came to Windows Server 2012 customers were concerned about the order in which they should perform their updates, the effect it will have on their existing cloud services, and the exclusive use of the Metro interface.

All of those are important issues, but the number one issue for SHI customers is how Windows Server 2012 will affect Windows OS licensing. That’s what I’d like to address today.

Windows Server 2012 will revamp the world of Windows Server OS versions, licensing, and capabilities in an effort to facilitate easy management and integration in highly virtualized public and private clouds. There are three major changes to the volume licensing of Windows Server 2012 that SHI customers need to be aware of:

Continue Reading…

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