Will these product and licensing changes from Microsoft affect you?

 In Microsoft, Software, Volume Licensing

You 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.

what you need to know

1. MPSA evolves with new Enterprise Advantage (EA) offering

The Microsoft Product and Services Agreement (MPSA) was introduced as a transactional volume licensing program designed to replace the Select Plus Agreement. Starting in January 2017, Microsoft will offer organizations Enterprise Advantage (EA) within MPSA. This EA is similar to the traditional Microsoft EA offering, but built on a new platform designed to support Microsoft’s volume licensing transformation.

Some of the key features of this new iteration of EA are:

  • Three-year, enterprise-wide commitment to on-premises and/or online services
  • True-up and true-down rights for services and subscriptions
  • Single agreement structure, which consolidates both transactional and enterprise-wide commitment
  • Self-provisioning and administration capabilities via Microsoft’s Business Center portal

2. Windows Client Operating System gets a license refresh

Microsoft is changing the licensing models for the Windows Client Operating System as it rebrands the Windows Enterprise name, creating a SKU offering that includes advanced security features.

  • Windows Enterprise E3: Formerly known as Windows 10 Enterprise with Software Assurance, this new model adds management and control features with the inclusion of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), as well as additional security.
  • Windows Enterprise E5: This new SKU offering includes everything in Windows Enterprise E3, plus advanced security services like Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection (WDATP), which gives customers the ability to detect, investigate, and respond to advanced security concerns on their network.

To support these offerings, new SKUs and licensing paths will be offered in a variety of options, including per device or per user, perpetual or subscription based, and add-ons that help move existing customers to higher editions. Options will vary based on an organization’s anniversary or midterm transactions, as opposed to new license purchases or renewals.

3. Microsoft introduces Windows Server Operating System servicing models

Microsoft announced new servicing guidelines for Windows Server 2016 that are similar to Windows 10. These new guidelines will provide customers with either Current Branch for Business (CBB) or Long Term Servicing Branch (LTSB) options later in 2016.

The licensing options for Windows Server 2016 depend on the installation option: Windows Server with Desktop Experience and as Server Core requires LTSB. Nano Server requires active Software Assurance, and will only be available through the CBB.

Depending on the server’s unique requirements, organizations will need to plan accordingly for the right installation option under each servicing model and appropriate licensing SKUs.

4. Office 365 receives new suites

Microsoft is rebranding and adding higher suites to O365, thus giving organizations new options for their digital transformation. The new suites, called Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) and the Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS), have similar licensing options as Windows Client, adding E3 and E5 offerings with an increased focus on security, and a new analytics tool.

  • Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE): Formerly known as Enterprise Cloud Suite, SPE brings together O365, Windows 10 Enterprise, and the EMS suite in a single package. There will be two licensing options available — SPE E3 and the new SPE E5, which provides an increased level of cloud-based security and productivity technologies. All of the details are available on the Microsoft Blog.
  • Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS): Replacing the old Enterprise Mobility Suite, EMS includes Azure Active Directory Premium (AADP), Intune, Rights Management, and Advanced Threat Analytics (ATA), which together provide a robust and secure mobility solution with mobile device management. A new EMS E5 offering will be available in Q4 2016, in line with other product changes; EMS E5 will add security for cloud apps under a new product called Cloud App Security (CAS).

If you need help understanding how these changes impact your current or future licensing plans, or want the latest information on Microsoft’s new product, program, or licensing offerings, please reach out to your SHI Account Representative.

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