News Analysis: Microsoft Licensing Update - May/June 2011

Keeping Up With The Latest In Microsoft Licensing
Given the vast array of Microsoft products and licensing categories, an organization may often feel overwhelmed by Microsoft's policies.  While there may be some complexity, these series of posts are designed to provide up to date commentary and analysis on new programs as they become available.  Feel free to reach out in the comments section with any questions, comments, and clarifications on the analysis.
Product And Program News
Below are the latest product and program news for the May/June 2011 time period:

  • Partner Addendum Available for License Mobility through Software Assurance. What is it?: Microsoft recently announced a new Software Assurance benefit, license mobility through Software Assurance. SPLA partners are invited to become authorized to offer License Mobility through Software Assurance and take advantage of the opportunities that license mobility can provide to their business. In addition to providing customers more flexibility on how they migrate to and utilize the cloud, the addendum enables customers with Software Assurance on many types of server-side licenses to reassign these licenses to multi-tenant servers at a hoster.  Who’s eligible?: All customers on Software Assurance. When’s it effective?: July 1st, 2011.

    Point of View (POV):
    License mobility allows customers and partners to move licenses to the lowest cost computing platform while preserving choice to the consumer.  It also frees the Microsoft partner providing the shared environment from paying Microsoft SPLA licensing fees for those licenses.  Keep in mind products eligible for License Mobility within Server Farms in the Microsoft Product User Rights (PUR) guidelines include products such as Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft SharePoint. However, infrastructure products such as Windows Server would not be part of License Mobility.

Microsoft Promotions Update
Here are the following known promotions:

  • Changes to SPLA Subscriber Access Licenses for Software Assurance. What is it?: Microsoft will be offering new software access licenses (SALs) for Software Assurance (SA) offerings within the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) program. In addition some SAL for SA prices are decreasing.  SALs for SA are available to be assigned to customers who have previously purchased these on-premises CALs and who continue to maintain Software Assurance on those CALs. With SALs for SA, these customers can migrate to the equivalent SPLA service at a discounted rate.  Who’s eligible?: Customers on CALs with Software Assurance (perpetual software licenses) for on-premises use.   When’s it effective?: Effective July 1, 2011.

    The move to SALs provides customers with a transition from on-premises to partner led hosting.  Microsoft sees this as a potential opportunity to help customers move to lower cost of computing over time.  Customers who strongly believe in the perpetual license on-premises model will most likely not take up this offer.  However, most newer customers will see this as an opportunity to shift from capex to opex.

The Bottom Line For The Customer - New Promotions Show Shift To Cloud

Recent policy changes and new offerings show a continued shift to providing customers an easy license transition to the cloud and hosting.  With partner led hosting an intermediate step to full cloud deployments, these moves make sense.  Look for more interesting announcements from the WorldWide Partner Conference in July.
Your POV
What do you think of Microsoft's recent promotions?  Are you challenged trying to manage your Microsoft Licenses? Do you find the licensing too simple or too complex?  Add your comments to the blog or reach me via email: R (at) ConstellationRG (dot) com or R (at) SoftwareInsider (dot) com.
Please let us know if you need help with your Microsoft and overall apps strategy and contract negotiations strategy.  Here’s how we can help:

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Related resources and links

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