Microsoft Licensing and Services Update October 2017

The latest solutions and services updates from Microsoft, for October 2017

  • Microsoft  EA renewals bookings grow 14%, and 9% in constant currency. Cloud profitability increased 8 points to 57% https://goo.gl/6cjiX5
  • Microsoft secure targeted $20B annual run-rate cloud commercial business.
  • Office365 up 42% and Azure up 90%  https://goo.gl/LBvHbc
  • Microsoft are completing moving their Azure customers to their ‘Modern Rating Engine’ to enable new billing and consumption models i.e. Azure Monetary Commit (AMC) and Reserved Instances (ARI)
  • Effective October 2nd 2017, SQL Server 2017 was made generally available.
  • You can now use Azure Information Protection BYOK with Exchange Online https://goo.gl/R6Hujt
  • Improvements to System Center Data Protection Manager 2016 incl. ‘workload aware storage’ for custom storage targets https://t.co/vNUcCmtODh
  • Microsoft confirm Skype to Microsoft Teams Roadmap https://goo.gl/As9BiL
  • Microsoft announce new ‘Secret’ Government capabilities for Azure Government https://goo.gl/VWmgeV
  • Microsoft ‘u-turn’ on unlicensed mailboxes https://goo.gl/TfeKDg
  • Microsoft365 F1 – a compelling market proposition, but pricing, licensing,  feature limitations may deter adoption https://goo.gl/jzuVQV (Service Description)
  • Reminder: Exchange and Outlook 2007 are exiting Extended Support in October 2017 https://goo.gl/eDDzTF
  • Office365 ProPlus Channels renamed: Monthly Channel, and Deferred ‘Semi Annual’ Channel with 18 Months Support. https://goo.gl/fFTJkN
  • Illustrating the expansive requirements for Premium features of Azure AD when running Office365 https://goo.gl/XcT9nv
  • Microsoft TechNet article on setting up Cloud Voicemail for Skype for Business Phone System and Calling Plans https://goo.gl/ZdPU1U
  • Microsoft compare Azure and AWS with a helpful service map- https://aka.ms/awsazureguide  [Download] https://goo.gl/mr4cTn  [Web]
  • Minimum Requirements for Windows Defender ATP for Windows 10 https://goo.gl/ufw2NX
  • SQL Server 2017 Licensing Datasheetsome welcome wording on readable replicas, and some new licensing additions https://goo.gl/fXM555
  • SQL Server 2017 ‘Modern Servicing Model’ CUs montly for 12 months, then quarterly for 4 years of mainstream support https://t.co/bSfqfwwCJ9
  • Windows10 KMS Activation approaches: A)Windows Server 2016 DC KMS or B) Windows Server 2012 R2 STD/DC for Windows10  https://goo.gl/dFk7WL
  • Cloud Spend Management (CSM) greatly improves with reporting Cloudyn acquisition integration for Azure https://goo.gl/txrmxS

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Microsoft EA Renewal

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA) is the primary contractual vehicle for enterprises to make volume, normally enterprise-wide commitments, to the increasingly expansive solutions and services stack from Microsoft.

For most businesses, this was a vehicle to optimally buy Microsoft Office and Windows, enable users to access Server Products like Exchange, SharePoint or Skype,  and in more recent iterations, commit to Microsoft Cloud service offerings like Office365 and Azure.

Modern Commercial Strategy

Redmond has sought to increase profitability of their cloud business and pivoting their licensing partner ecosystem towards cloud adoption, management and support services; and away from the associated cost of channel rebates, documents of sale, and growing monetary value of discounts incurred by Microsoft (enough to buy a company the size of Citrix).

In 2016, Microsoft reported 49% profitability for cloud services in earning reports to investors. In 2017, Microsoft EA renewals bookings grew 14% and 9% in constant currency. Microsoft Cloud profitability increased 8 points to 57% and Satya Nadella secured his target of a $20B annual run-rate cloud commercial business. The main drivers of growth, was Office365 up 42%, and Azure up 90% in 2017.

As licensing costs also increase, their end-customers are under pressure to seek independent advice, ensure value, and enable cost savings at their next EA renewal.

Microsoft’s modern commercial strategy greatly incentivises standardisation on an always-up-to-date platform for productivity and communication supported by the Microsoft Cloud. Microsoft exemplify this strategy through the cloud-supported solutions with ongoing security and feature updates provided by Microsoft.

The new generation of cloud supported applications and operating systems act as a ‘traffic light’ that are switched on from ‘red, to amber and then green’ with cloud services. Under the traditional on-premises software model, access to new features were accessed by upgrade of the office client to the latest software version, on a four or five year run lifecycle. Microsoft have increased this release and update cadence, with an extensive ecosystem of Office365 and Azure Identity Services accessed by Office, and Windows 10, and supported by SCCM, via a continuous service feature and support model, on a semi-annual release schedule.

To encourage upgrade of the Office ecosystem, Microsoft made a recent blog announcement  that as of October 2020, the traditional Office on-premise MSI application access to Office365 services will end at the expiration of “mainstream” support. Impacting customers limited to Office 2016 or 2013 releases and driving customers to ‘make a decision’.

Microsoft also announced recently that Office 2019 ‘perpetual’, aimed at on-premises customers, is expected in the second half of 2018; but how does this align with their wider ‘hit refresh’ strategy led by Satya Nadella, to deliver a $20 Billion run-rate cloud business? While Microsoft may have now confirmed a new traditional (MSI) release of Office 2019 for next year, the nomenclature of the announcement suggests this is targeted at customers who are running on-premises environments. Their support for “office perpetual” interoperability with Microsoft cloud services, and the available programmes it will be sold under, remains to be seen.

Accordingly, customers are responding to an eroding discount environment, with a strategic focus from Microsoft to position ‘premium’ tier 1 services within ‘expansive’ licensing packages, challenging Microsoft on both quantitative value and drive licensing cost savings.

A Structured Approach to Renewal

The advantage of  Microsoft Advisory Services is that we can work with the customer to understand their roadmap, and provide independent assurance to secure the right technology, on the right contracts, at the best price.

I normally recommend a ‘classical’ approach, enabled by data and human expertise, to assess the opportunity and impact of e.g. volume spend or platform commitment, mixed and joint bundling, licensing models, investment cadence, consolidation and bill of materials reduction and optimisation, to provide recommended client optimised scenarios and a clear commercial forecast, based on a customers own business and IT objectives.

Our consultants can help assess a true ‘baseline’, and optimum renewal scenarios for a client to enable structured analysis to empower the procurement team, illustrating the impact of new licensing metrics, software use rights changes, product price increases, price list increases, currency impact, business growth, end of life products, planned new IT projects and programmes, and assess current utilisation; to hold a vendor accountable for their commercial position and quantative or qualative deal principles.

Our team are dedicated consultants, backed by bespoke tools that allow us to provide analysis at a “dash”, giving us some advantage over other competitors are doing this analysis entirely manually, or indirectly. This allows to present reliable and accurate commercial models for fact based decision-making.

We have a proven track record of working on these renewal programmes and a passionate team who love what they do, we work collaboratively, and to your brief.

10 Recommendations for your Microsoft EA Renewal

  • Provide a renewal programme lead, with consultant resource from our Microsoft Advisory Services practice.
  • Independently assess renewal scenarios to provide for fact-based logical discourse with Microsoft.
  • Focus on different licensing and investment builds to provide an accurate commercial forecast.
  • Assess your current, and future investment in Microsoft solutions and services.
  • Secure advice on contract design, structure and terms aligned to that roadmap. The cost of the same bill of materials can vary greatly.
  • Seek independent analysis of any commercial offers from Microsoft, further enabled by current insight into current deal structures, sourcing options, and pricing.
  • Understand strategic solutions and services that are important to Microsoft.
  • Review licensing optimisation and bill of materials reduction for ‘big ticket’ server products like  SQL Server and Windows Server
  • Leveraging licensing assets for optimum investment in cloud services, whether Azure or AWS
  • Understand your curent-state environment, and assess software compliance, with a trusted advisor. Seek independent advice on your True Up.

We all know that there is increasing pressure on software buyers to control cloud spend, with demand for value realisation and clarity on the licensing TCO of cloud services. Accordingly, independent advice, and data supported insights can provide enterprises with confidence and clarity as they commit to the next wave of Microsoft products.

As Microsoft develop a modern commercial strategy to achieve economies of automation and consolidation, towards one product catalog, pricing engine and contract vehicle; the challenge for business and IT leaders is to retain negotiation advantage and assess quantative and qualative value, and enable spend management over the lifecycle of a contract.

But it’s also an opportunity for leaders in the market, to provide independent trusted consultancy services offering intelligence insights,  digital platforms and adaptive sourcing, and cloud spend management services, to answer the demands of the digital business. The Microsoft EA renewal remains a key moment to make decisions not only on adoption of technology, contracts, and sourcing, but how the cloud investment is managed and supported over the term to drive value and enable ongoing spend reduction.

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

 

Microsoft Licensing and Services Update September 2017

Hitting Refresh

This week we have seen updates coming out of the MS Ignite conference in the US. Microsoft have announced Office 2019 ‘perpetual’ aimed at on-premises customers, expected in the second half of 2018, but how does this align with their wider ‘hit refresh’ strategy led by Satya Nadella, to deliver a $20 Billion run-rate cloud business?

Microsoft’s licensing models and commercial strategy greatly incentivise standardisation on an always-up-to-date platform for productivity and communication supported by the Microsoft Cloud. Microsoft exemplify this strategy through the cloud-supported Office C2R client with ongoing security and feature updates provided by Microsoft.

The new generation of cloud supported applications and operating systems act as a ‘traffic light’ that are switched on from ‘red, to amber and then green’. Under the traditional on-premises software model, access to new server features where accessed by upgrade of the Office client to the latest software version on a four or five year run lifecycle. Microsoft have increased this release and update cadence, with an extensive ecosystem of Office365 and Azure Identity Services accessed by Office, and Windows 10, and supported by SCCM, via a continuous service feature and support model, without end-of-support dates on a semi-annual release schedule.

To encourage upgrade of the Office ecosystem, Microsoft made a recent blog announcement  that as of October 2020, the traditional Office on-premise MSI application access to Office365 services will end at the expiration of “mainstream” support. Impacting customers limited to Office 2016 or 2013 releases and driving customers to ‘make a decision’.

Microsoft may have now confirmed a new MSI release of Office 2019 for next year, but importantly, are inferring this is targeted at customers who are running on-premises environments. Their support for “office perpetual” interoperability with cloud services, and the available programmes it will be sold under, remains to be seen.

Microsoft News

Some principle recent Microsoft updates, for September 2017 –

  • Microsoft announce Office 2019 “Perpetual” https://goo.gl/LZNtF3
  • Office365 Use Metering and ‘Reader Role’ designation for Usage Reporting https://goo.gl/m5Ptn1
  • Office365 Usage Analytics and will reach general availability in the beginning of 208, including new metrics on teamwork and collaboration, usage data for Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Office 365 Groups https://goo.gl/m5Ptn1
  • Office365 Advanced Usage Analytics is also planned. Transmit the Office365 usage dataset to the Azure data store and join with user metadata from Azure AD. https://goo.gl/m5Ptn1
  • SCCM ‘Transition to Modern’ evolves from Windows10 and Office365 ProPlus, WSUS to WUfB, SCCM to Cloud Content Delivery, Win32 to Modern Apps
  • System Center release cadence, expect 1801 in 2018. Active Software Assurance for access to Semi-Annual channel.
  • Microsoft Azure competes with AWS with regional “Availability Zones” https://goo.gl/RZG1zB
  • Azure Cost Management services will be free for all customers. Microsoft Responds to demands of Cloud Spend Management https://goo.gl/cZGdEe
  • Microsoft EA (Enterprise Agreement) Azure cost reporting, enters preview  https://goo.gl/PBmtZN
  • Microsoft365 F1 a bold move to target a wider addressable market. At circa $10/u/m  and 2B users, you can see why https://goo.gl/WukgLu
  • Microsoft SQL Enterprise Edition SA and PowerBI Premium subscribers will access PowerBI report server https://goo.gl/jUzZh6
  • Microsoft announce SQL Hybrid Use Benefit to leverage SA for Azure SQL DB and discounted SSIS rates on data Factory https://goo.gl/M8gRWA
  • Azure SQL DB includes Database Managed Instance – offers managed PaaS  https://goo.gl/vkHpbS
  • SQL Server 2017 will be available for purchase in October 2nd https://goo.gl/rvU24Q
  • RedHat SQL offer – 30% off SQL 2017 subscription on Linux, and additive 30% off RHEL OS when purchased together https://goo.gl/bJS7aG
  • Microsoft announce Microsoft365 Education. New A3 and A5 flavours https://goo.gl/E1tQwo
  • Microsoft365 Education – A3 and E5. Office365 A1 also available. Compare plans : https://goo.gl/jjSb9j
  • Self-Password Reset and Writeback to on-premises AD is a popular Azure AD Premium P1 Feature. However, the licensing not enforced https://goo.gl/XhAxuN
  • Run a report to identify unlicensed users of Azure AD Premium i.e. users and apps using Conditional Access https://goo.gl/8VpiQn
  • New Azure flex CPU VMs “build burst credits” and access full vCPU when you need them: https://goo.gl/78mESL
  • Microsoft state direction of merging of Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams https://goo.gl/cyubH8
  • Skype Cloud PBX renamed to ‘Microsoft Phone System’, PSTN Services renamed ‘Calling Plan’ https://goo.gl/PxKdiX
  • You can now Restrict Windows 10 license reactivation and active state reporting to Microsoft https://goo.gl/8viqSt
  • Microsoft Teams – for users who leave the organisation, their chat history is maintained, with identity anonymised. https://goo.gl/v33KA2

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Microsoft Licensing and Services Update January 2017

In 2017, Microsoft continue to develop a modern digital licensing strategy, with a new focus on the ‘Cloud Solution Provider’ (CSP) and a deprecation of MPSA for strategic cloud services.
CPS enables Microsoft to develop a scalable ‘self service’ digital Office365 and Azure partner ecosystem, enabled with digital delivery and digital management platforms, cloud support, and managed services. Partner enabled “Self Service” web options enable on-premise and cloud native businesses to purchase, adopt, and manage their digital portfolio.

In the long term, Microsoft will improve “Microsoft Assisted” (EA) and Partner self-serve web options (CSP), hinting at continuance of both ‘MS Supported’ digital direct, and partner enabled indirect digital channels.

Accordingly, SoftwareONE, a digital platform, solutions and services company, are well place strategically in the market, with PyraCloud, Cloud Support and Managed Services to ‘wrap’ around the CSP model, while leveraging global scale for local support and sourcing intelligence.

Reflecting this strategy, from February 1st, Microsoft will stop adding new Azure customers through the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). [Edit: From April 1st, Microsoft will also only provide subscriptions to cloud services like Office365, EM+S, SPE, Windows 10 Enterprise CBB and Dynamics 365 to 1 year or less. Removing Multi-Year subscriptions for 2-3 Years.] MPSA customers who want to buy Azure and commit to Office365 will now be guided primarily to the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. An evolving programme which provides a platform for ‘self service’ and flexible access to Microsoft cloud solutions and services extensibly via rich partner ecosystem of digital platforms, support and managed services to enable a ‘digital ready business’.

Microsoft continue to direct customers towards ‘strategic cloud’ initiatives like Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) and Azure via EA, with classical resellers maintaining revenue streams based on rebates and incentives in the short term; but success for partners and customers will be dependent on their investment in digital platforms to enable and manage the cloud, technology and advisory services to enable return on investment and cost reduction over the digital lifecycle.

The Microsoft partners that thrive would have seen the course and not only reacted, but accelerated ahead of the competition, balancing Microsoft’s ‘modern licensing’ strategy with the needs and interests of their customers to manage a digital ready business. 

January and December saw a number of important licensing and solution updates from Redmond, including but not limited to:

  • Microsoft increased UK pricing goes into effect from January 1st. Office365 and Azure will now cost 22% more than in December, and on-premise solutions will increase by 13%
  • Microsoft removed 5% additional Azure discount from SCE in December as part of ‘flat’ pricing strategy for Azure across channels.
  • Microsoft VDA Subscription USL/ Upgrade USL now benefit from Windows 10 Ent CBB on Azure
  • Microsoft VDA Subscription Device will not benefit from the Windows 10 Enterprise CBB on Azure Benefit.
  • The Azure Hybrid Use Benefit (AHUB) is available from February 1st in all Azure regions https://t.co/VuHmYJ7UCJ pay only compute for Windows Server Images.
  • The Windows Server 2016 Nano Configuration will require CALs with SA
  • Microsoft clarify disabling cores for CIS, Windows Server and System Center 2016 DOES NOT reduce licensable cores in Volume Licensing.
  • System Center Client Management Suite is broken down to components from January 1st. Client MLs for DPM, SCOM, Service Manager, Orchestrator.
  • Effective March 2017, Windows Server and SQL Server Premium Assurance will be available as an SA add-on SKU https://t.co/OJgZ7P1J6Z
  • SQL Server 2016 SP1 includes Feature Updates. Microsoft assure customers Software Assurance (SA) is not required.
  • Standalone Yammer SKU retired on January 1st 2017. Existing EA customers can use retired SKU for 2 years, or for term or current EA
  • Software Assurance – Home Use Program (HUP) employees can now purchase Office Pro Plus 2016 AND Office Home & Business 2016 for Mac
  • Microsoft will standardise the naming for meters across all Azure services based on a common naming convention https://goo.gl/7I5JgV
  • Download Center: For all meters and their before/after attribute values: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=836939&clcid=0x409
  • Microsoft have released ‘talking points’ for SPE https://goo.gl/3nLbzY
  • Office365 Advanced eDiscovery is renamed ‘Advanced Compliance’ from January 1st with all E5 components being rebranded as ‘Advanced’ packages with ongoing features evolution. https://goo.gl/zFdN03

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Microsoft Licensing and Services Update July 2016

My brief update on some of the principle roadmap and licensing updates from Microsoft in July 2016.  Thank you to those of you who joined my recent webinars with SoftwareONE.

With the announcement of the indirect EA on MPSA in 2017, and Windows Server GA Per Core  on October 1st, and the new expansive ‘Secure Productive Enterprise’ (SPE) plans- there has probably never been a better time to challenge organisations to rethink how they work with their reseller, and what they need to enable and manage their digital transformation and cost reduction programmes.

  • Windows 10 Pro 1607 (14393) removes Group Policy Editor options for Pro i.e. display of ads/promos, Consumer Experience, Tips, Lock Screen, Cortana.
  • Microsoft Windows10 Enterprise E3 could EXCLUDE LTSB. Offering CB and CBB service branches only. Expect September. http://goo.gl/QV9eK0 (Reported by ZDNet) Update: I have asked ZDNet, and had confirmation it was from Microsoft presentation at partner show on E3 by Nic Fillingham ref: Mary Jo Foley.
  • CB, CBB Windows10 Servicing Updates would require Feature Updates for continued security patches. https://goo.gl/fJpnnn
  • Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) evolves from S-Plan pilot. Removes separate licensing on-prem application servers https://t.co/3Fv1kr35rd
  • Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) evolves from S-Plan Pilot. Supports one on-premise install of Office ProPlus MSI https://t.co/3Fv1kr35rd
  • Great little summary video from Microsoft on their ‘EA on MPSA’ programme changes https://goo.gl/Jw1UNw
  • Free Windows10 Pro Upgrade ended on July 31st
  • Office365 Feature exclusives worth considering incl. dynamic navigation in PowerPoint, ML enabled Editor in Word, and replacement of Clutter with Priority Inbox (Machine Learning) https://goo.gl/RaExF9
  • Azure AD Premium P2 within extended EMS E5 bundle in Q3 2016. ADP2 SKU on August Price File. Orders accepted September 1st
  • Microsoft to release Azure Stack in Mid CY 2017 with HP, Lenovo, Dell http://goo.gl/Hgf3OD
  • Always Encrypted in Azure SQL Database is Generally Available https://goo.gl/dsvF8e
  • Microsoft Stream in Freemium Preview. Named successor of Office365 Video https://goo.gl/r1E46K  shows cracks in MS integrated development
  • Azure Security Center is now Generally Available https://goo.gl/NnalYh  providing Breach Incident Reporting and Analytics across platforms (E5)
  • Microsoft Bookings comes to Office365 only for Business Premium Subscribers. E3 and E5 promised to follow https://goo.gl/qh0ndZ
  • Microsoft U-Turn on SA for CALs for License Mobility in the July PT (Updated Article) http://goo.gl/6hXVKm
  • New blog article ‘Enterprise Advantage on MPSA’ http://goo.gl/7cFZ32
  • Skype for Business Planning Tool https://goo.gl/Fg5Fn7  (Download)
  • SharePoint 2016 Feature Pack eligible SA will see Preview Lists in August w. Microsoft Flow and PowerApps to follow https://goo.gl/WyByCt
  • MOMS Upgrade Analytics (Public Preview) like MAP for Windows10 enables planning with App and Driver analysis https://goo.gl/AwpjES
  • Upgrade to Windows10? Skip 2012 R2. Look at SCCM 2016 Update 1606 (supports Anniversary Update) now rolling out! https://goo.gl/rdXmeu
  • Licensing comparison of Windows Server 2016 Editions https://goo.gl/VOLWOs
  • Microsoft publish tool to migrate Datazen content (dashboards and KPIs) to SQL 2016 Reporting Server https://goo.gl/rnFSFF   (download) illustrates integration into Enterprise Edition after acquisition.
  • Azure Decision Tree (Technology Selection) http://goo.gl/QdJYJr Really useful infographic.
  • Office365 Microsoft Flow (workflows) and PowerApps (forms) offer extensibility to updated UI SharePoint Lists https://goo.gl/SFFO09 look to future feature packs from Office365.
  • From July 1st, cloud OMS  Subscription extends to Incl. System Center on-premise. System Center OMS AddOn remains https://goo.gl/uTTsF1
  • System Center 2016 General Availability w. WinSvr 2016 October 1st. OMS extensibility, Linux and Unix Support https://goo.gl/sEKvu7
  • Office365 Education now available via supported CSP model via Resellers https://goo.gl/EjTi7t
  • Skype Meeting Broadcast will get transcription and translation end of CY 2016 https://goo.gl/EjTi7t
  • Skype PSTN Calling is now in UK and US. https://goo.gl/EjTi7t
  • Microsoft create Skype Operations Framework (SOF) planning and deployment methodology  https://goo.gl/Rty3FY
  • Microsoft Cloud updates summarised list https://goo.gl/SvYryo
  • Facebook likes Microsoft. Starts with Office365 Exchange Online and Delve  http://goo.gl/sAb8p8
  • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard w. 3 install options. Desktop GUI, Core w. PowerShell, and Nano https://goo.gl/rgFuua
  • Windows Server 2016 will also include LTSB vs CBB service branches. https://goo.gl/Mp01H2
  • Windows Server 2016 General Availability on October 1st. Get ready for Per Core with SoftwareONE https://goo.gl/yXPaf9
  • Microsoft pull support  for Win7 for next gen chipsets. Drives upgrades to Windows10  https://goo.gl/15zJED
  • Best article on TechNet on Windows10 feature update deferment models and withdrawal to security updates https://goo.gl/KDyafy
  • Microsoft pitch ‘Office in a Box’ strategy with expansive “Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) E5 bundle http://goo.gl/X2qvVk
  • Azure AD Premium P2 within extended EMS E5 bundle in Q3 2016. More robust identity privileged management features https://goo.gl/hsxjuZ
  • Secure Islands acquisition finds a home in Azure Information Protection Premium P2 within extended EMS E5 bundle https://goo.gl/z5K6K9
  • Microsoft integrate security EMS bundle across E3 + E5 offerings to align with “better” E3 vs. “best” E5 strategy https://goo.gl/z5K6K9
  • Microsoft play for integrated security layer, with “Secure Productive Enterprise” bundles http://goo.gl/X2qvVk
  • Windows10 “Premium” renamed Enterprise E5 Incl. Win Defender Advanced Threat Protection vs. Windows10 Enterprise E3 http://goo.gl/X2qvVk
  • SharePoint integration with Microsoft PowerApps and Microsoft Flow is coming! http://ow.ly/xmGP3000e7s
  • Microsoft has the largest channel network in the industry. Larger than AWS, Google and Salesforce combined. Ref: WPC16
  • “Consuming or Interacting” with PowerBI Pro content requires a license. Nice gotcha list from Microsoft: https://goo.gl/S927EU
  • July 1st PT License Mobility within Server Farms SA enabled use right maintained on Servers without SA on CALs (for now) Microsoft apparent U-Turn or “Clarification” http://goo.gl/6hXVKm
  • Future of SharePoint sees closer OneDrive integration w. sync features, and analytics with Delve https://goo.gl/jsh0n6
  • There’s a new (July 2016) Operations Management Suite Datasheet with full details about the new OMS Subscription https://goo.gl/87OkNX
  • SAP Hana on Microsoft Azure is a landmark strategic partnership https://goo.gl/lVU2DK
  • Enterprise Advantage on MPSA ‘cost effective’ <2400 Users. Margin w. rebates to drive Office365, Dynamics, Azure
  • Enterprise Advantage on MPSA in 2017. Microsoft shift EA under the MPSA framework. Gov and Edu Advantage on horizon https://goo.gl/RCZlW3
  • Dynamics CRM Online 2016 U1, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 SP1 now available in the June “Spring Wave” Release Notes: https://goo.gl/65wq51
  • Microsoft acquired Wand Labs https://goo.gl/ZwkPO5 leverage intelligent agents and cognitive services into chat experiences Bing, Cortana
  • SoftwareONE Blog Article on the 500 EA minimum user/device counts going into effect today http://goo.gl/yNfi8v
  • July EA enrolment:  SCE contract wording will support reservations for eligible products.
  • July EA: Indefinite Extended Term: Azure, after 12 month enrolment term expires, service will be continue indefinitely at level A plus 3%
  • July EA: Indefinite Extended Term: Online Services maintained for <year after enrolment (under which they were purchased) expires.
  • July EA Pricing: Certain consumption Online Services Price Protection exempt. Initially Skype for Business impacted w. “floating prices”.
  • July EA enrolment: clarification on effective date at renewal. The new contract period is the day after the prior contract ends.
  • July EA enrollment: new contract terms do not support fewer than 500 Qualified Users/Devices. Renew once via Enterprise Renewal Form
  • July EA – Downgrade Rights clarification – right to downgrade to prior versions, the use terms at time of purchase would apply.
  • Office365 Planner is now GA for all Enterprise Plans E1-E5
  • Project and Visio side-by-side compatibility with Office365 C2V versions https://goo.gl/4mOxNb. June PT provides MSI Install! (p59)
  • Skype for Business PSTN Calling FAQs https://goo.gl/pGAqyY  
  • SQL on Azure VMs FAQs https://goo.gl/8itpO1

About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

Assessing the Strategic Impact of SQL 2005 End of Support

Legacy software remains at the center of many essential business systems, which is why Microsoft offers such robust Extended and Mainstream Support for its critical enterprise software. For SQL Server 2005, Extended Support ends April 16, 2016, meaning SQL Server 2005 will no longer receive security and other fixes, impacting future performance, security, and reliability of business systems.

The decision to move off legacy software is often dependent on both business and technical criteria.

We recommend assessing the total impact of unsupported legacy software to the application portfolio to determine both the business justification and priority to either upgrade, migrate, or securely maintain affected systems.

The below “SQL Impact Grid” can help you understand the business justification and overall approach to your SQL modernization program.

SQL Impact Grid

SQL Impact Assessment Grid

 

Discover and Inventory All Assets that Support Your Application Portfolio

Understanding the scope for your program is vital to ensuring all affected applications have been captured. A good starting point is to discover and inventory all the software and hardware assets that support your application portfolio.

SQL Server will connect to a range of business applications and devices that could be at risk of data theft, destruction, unmonitored access, or failure, so it’s critical to obtain a complete inventory.

Business applications that are running on SQL Server 2005 will not receive security updates, so organizations will not be protected against undiscovered vulnerabilities.

Compliance requirements may also require customer systems to be on a supported platform, restricting the ability to do business.

The discovery phase can help determine the number and location of legacy software, and enable your business to work with application owners to decide what should be upgraded, or securely maintained.

Assess and Prioritize Essential Applications

Categorizing applications by type, importance and criticality, as well complexity, is crucial to identify and prioritize candidates for upgrade.

Identifying the use of deprecated features can flag areas of complexity where re-architecting the SQL environment may be required.

At this stage, many organizations will often omit assessing software license compliance to focus on business requirements and metering technical performance.

Assessment of license compliance and effective assignment of license assets is essential to ensure a modernization program also delivers IT cost optimization.

Target Your Future IT Ambitions

In the target phase, new feature enhancements can be mapped to the needs of the business.

Certain workloads and applications will logically lead to certain targets, driven by factors such as cost, functionality, or complexity.

The target phase delivers the ‘future state’ design and should set out your migration roadmap for secure consolidation, cloud server deployments, and workload migration options.

License Your Configured Solution

The licensing design phase plans for when you’re ready to move from legacy software and modernize your environment, whether private, via hybrid cloud, or public cloud services.

Commercial analysis of contract options and global sourcing options delivers a cost optimized licensing strategy. Often critical when evaluating migrating to cloud services or consolidating your SQL environment.

And of course, should you need help configuring your ideal solution, don’t hesitate to reach out to any of our experts by clicking the contact form below with our Microsoft Advisory Services team.

 

Enterprise Agreement True Up

Over the term of your Enterprise Agreement (EA), you can equip additional hardware, devices, or users with software and online services that you’ve already licensed, and then account for these changes through an annual reconciliation process known as “True Up”. If you have an Enterprise Agreement Subscription  (EAS), this process is known as an Annual Order, through which you can increase, or decrease your license subscription counts.

Once a year, you are asked to reconcile your Enterprise Agreement (EA) license quantities to account for the total number of licenses you’ve added in the previous 12 months. This effort culminates in an order you place (or an Update Statement you submit) that reconciles all the qualified devices, users, and processor/cores added or used by your organization over the course of the year.

Your annual reconciliation order (or Update Statement) are normally due 30 to 60 days prior to your Enrollment anniversary, supporting Microsoft and your LSP to provide eligible license transitions, but also both with annual commercial forecasts [Ref: Enterprise Agreement True-up Guide for more information]

A principle impact to organisations will be in the approach to the annual True Up. Updated wording in the 2014 contracts could significantly impact customers that have seasonal or other annual deployment fluctuations to impact the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA). This new approach, effective for customers signing the more recently revised contracts is defined as follows for the Enterprise Agreement enrollment (This wording is reflected in the 2014 and 2016 Enrollments, but please refer to your organisations binding documentation):

“True-up Requirements. Enrolled Affiliate must submit an annual true-up order that accounts for any changes since the initial order or last order. If there are no changes, then an update statement must be submitted instead of a true-up order.

(i) Enterprise Products. For Enterprise Products, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the number of Qualified Devices and Qualified Users (if ordering user-based Licenses)at the time the true-up order is placed and must order additional Licenses for all Qualified Devices and Qualified Users that are not already covered by existing Licenses, including any Enterprise Online Services.

(ii) Additional Products. For Additional Products that have been previously ordered under this Enrollment, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Additional Products used since the latter of the initial order, the last true-up order or the prior anniversary date and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.” 

For the counting of Enterprise Products, the wording in the enrollment does have an apparent conflict, that accounts for “any changes” over the term or since the last anniversary, but later also under the term Enterprise Products “at the time the true-up order is placed”. The common perception of many IT professionals was that the Enterprise Agreement offered some seasonal adjustment or allowance for temporary duplicate deployments, the revisited wording would clearly indicate a departure from a ‘trust based model’.

Taken in a wider context for customers renewing other enrollments, this tactical editing of the November 2014 Agreement Pack also extend to the Server Cloud Enrollment :-

“(ii) True-up order. Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Products used since the latter of the initial order the last true-up order, or the Enrollment’s prior anniversary and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.” [Ref: Server Cloud Enrollment 2014]

This approach has been reflected in other guidance, including deployment of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP):

“The Microsoft Assessment Planning (MAP) Toolkit features an IT-based Software Usage Tracker functionality that provides usage reports for the following server products: Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and System Center Configuration Manager. This automated software asset management–related functionality is designed to be used by Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. The Software Usage Tracker provides you with a view of your actual server usage, which can be valuable for comparing with your purchased CALs, or for True-up and agreement renewal discussions.” [Ref: EA Program Guide]

Microsoft have also been advocating adoption of Software Inventory Logging Aggregator (SILA) which uses features within Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 to Windows Server 2016 to collect licensable data from your environment on an ongoing basis. This will collect the following information over a period of time (not point-in-time).

  • CPU, Core and vCPU
  • Model and Type of CPU
  • Hyper Threading Enabled/Disabled
  • High Water Mark of Simultaneous Running VMs
  • High Water Mark of Simultaneous System Center Managed VMs
  • Host Locations of SQL VMs
  • Software listed in Add/Remove Program

This information is all incredibly important for capturing licensing metrics for SQL and Windows Server, and System Center. This could have a material impact of ESX Clusters do not have sufficient licenses assigned to support VMs across a cluster. It is strongly recommend you independently assess the impact of licensable VM distribution to identify any commercial risk for your organisation.

This change in written terminology may incentivise Microsoft to request metering of use over the contract term, or final year of a contract, to ascertain ‘maximum use’ therein driving revenues from final year True Up and subsequent renewal; underwriting the business case to move workloads to Azure. 

This audit centric adjustment to the contracts, is further extended under the MBSA (Microsoft Business and Services Agreement). The MBSA enables Microsoft to verify compliance with a third party auditor. If the auditor identifies more than 5% non-compliance, the organization will have to pay for the cost of the Audit, and 125% of the license price, based on the then-current price list a the customer price level (A-D) and not the agreed pricing of the relevant agreement(s). This can be problematic, not only due to the unbudgeted spend, but that non-compliance could be identified on non-strategic software. (For example, a ‘technical’ shortfall of Project or Visio deployed on a Citrix Environment, secured under AD Security Groups, which could impact the budget for strategic spend on Azure of Office365).

Recommendations

  • Check the terms of your enrollment(s), and any contractual amendments for your enterprise.
  • Microsoft expect either a ‘Zero True Up’, or a True Up declaration 60-30 days prior to the Anniversary.
  • The EA can become expansive when incorporating ‘managed devices’ and MDM and BYOD policies could extend the number of licensable devices under the Enterprise Agreement. So check the managed devices definition within the enrollment.
  • Please work with your existing toolsets, but I would strongly recommend both MAP and RV Tools for your SQL and Windows Server environment.
  • Optimum assignment of your Windows Server, System Center or Core Infrastructure Suite (CIS) CPU licenses can support with eligible core license grants for your subsequent renewal. There is some complexity in assessing the optimum license model(s) between CIS Datacenter and Standard Edition, or Individual Components, so I recommend soliciting specialist advice.
  • SQL Server remains a principle driver of unbudgeted spend, so I would recommend soliciting specialist advice to ensure optimum assignment of license assets, available license model(s), and ensure all optimum licensable metrics and licensable exclusions are covered. 

Thanks All


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn


Disclaimer

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Terms
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Terms or other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing, or product information could be subject to change.
  • This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • This is not official guidance from Microsoft or its subsidiaries.
  • The following article is based on open information shared with Licensing Solutions Providers (LSPs) and based on  personal inference and understanding.
  • This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.
  • Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.
  • The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author endeavors to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.
  • The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.
  • This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

SQL 2014 Licensing Update

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server.

  • This will look at the publicly available information upon general availability for SQL 2014 on April 1st 2014
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further product-specific conditions or limitations on use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

 


The Challenge

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation  on SQL Server to support clients whom continue to deploy  prior release(s) of SQL but want to understand the implications of the release of SQL 2014. This will look at a high conceptual level at the impact to disaster recovery and deployment of SQL instances on Virtual Machines (VMs) to establish the key recommendations to implement in your organisation.

 

Key Findings

Understanding Which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that an organisation should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2, 2012 or 2014 licensing schema.

  • Product Use Rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even when adopting downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights.
  • Upon upgrade from a prior version, the Product Use Rights for the version running apply, subject to exception from the Product List.
  • The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an Enterprise Enrollment will apply to the use of the then-current versions until upgrade to a new version.
  • Upon upgrade, the Product Use Rights in effect upon General Availability (GA) will apply.
  • In both cases, If Microsoft elect to update a subsequent release of the Product Use Rights, the software use terms will not apply unless they are elected to by the customer.
  • For customers that elect to leverage downgrade rights, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version running will apply.
  • Microsoft do caveat that should a legacy product have components not are not part of the version licensed, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply.

 

A Question of Support

Standard Edition technical specifications continue to improve with the release of SQL 2014, raising the physical memory maximum of 128 GB, representing double the previous maximum utilisation (see table below for a full comparison)The increased memory capacity, combined with a public mainstream support roadmap for SQL 2014 until July 9th 2019, and an estimated release cycle of 2 years would support confidence in continued investment in the edition and Software Assurance (SA). Customers that continue to run legacy versions 2008 R2 and 2008, should be aware of the termination of mainstream support on July 9th 2014 and termination of extended support on July 9th 2019.

image

The Critical Value of SA

Microsoft continue to drive the business case for Software Assurance (SA) through the incremental evolution in the licensing schema for virtualization rights.

  • The principal business driver for Software Assurance (SA) is not ‘New Version Rights’ but enablement of dynamic reassignment of licenses within a datacentre, to the Azure platform or an approved hosting partner.
  • The SQL ‘Failover Rule’ is now included within Software Assurance (SA);
    • Under prior precedent, a primary licensed server would include an extended use right to run a secondary passive SQL instance in a separate OSE, and also provide temporary support during a failover event (commonly interpreted as 30 days) in a secondary unlicensed server.
    • Upon release of SQL 2014, the extended use right to operate a passive instance was incorporated into Software Assurance (SA) and Microsoft confirmed a requirement for license reassignment at point of failover.
    • Upon expiration of Software Assurance (SA), the passive instances would become licensable.
    • The requirement for Software Assurance (SA) extends to all SQL CALs when adopting a Server/CAL license model

 

image

A Limitation on Multiplexing

Multiplexing is defined as a Universal License Term and will apply to all products licensed through Volume Licensing . Under the hierarchy of the Product Use Rights, a Universal License Term will apply unless explicitly retracted or amended under General License Terms and Product Specific License Terms within the document.

  • For  SQL 2012 Business Intelligence Edition, as licensed under  the Server+CAL licensing model, users and devices that indirectly access SQL Server data through another application or hardware device required CALs, and exposed some customers to a large or unknown number of external users
  • Microsoft reigned in the multiplexing rule for SQL 2014  BI Edition to exclude users or devices that access SQL solely through batching process.

 

image

Disaster Recovery – Check the Fine Print

Many organisations elect to leverage the extended use right of ‘Disaster Recovery Rights’ within Software Assurance (SA) but don’t critically evaluate the technical reality of the DR solution as compared to binding terms of the Product Use Rights 

Under the April 2014 Product Use Rights, the OSE on the disaster recovery server can run only during the following exception periods:

  • For brief periods of disaster recovery testing within one week every 90 days
  • During a disaster, while the production server being recovered is down
  • Around the time of a disaster, for a brief period, to assist in the transfer between the primary production server and the disaster recovery server

A notable exception within the April 2014 Product Use Rights – this excludes patch management.

 

Final Thoughts

Business Intelligence Edition 

The ‘Multiplexing Rule’ should reasonably protect and maintain a proportional and scalable commercial licensing model to ensure financial protection for Microsoft, and the Universal License Terms ensures this isn’t limited by hardware or software that pool connections, reroute information, or reduce the number of devices or users that directly access, or use a server product. Accordingly, interpretation and application of this rule for external users as well as internal users should be independently and respectively assessed based on the technical reality of the server infrastructure and processes; the update in policy to access solely via batch processes like ETL for Business Intelligence (BI) Edition is a welcomed revision.

 

Software Assurance

On April 1st 2012 upon General Availability (GA) of SQL 2012, Microsoft removed support for license mobility in the SQL Enterprise 2012 Edition ‘license’ and incorporated this extended use right within Software Assurance (SA). The prior omission of ‘license mobility within server farms’ was amended by inclusion of this within Software Assurance (SA) across all 2012 Editions. This incremental reassignment of business critical extended use rights from a perpetual license to within a maintenance model was continued under SQL 2014 with the curtailing of the ‘Failover Rule’. As most organisations have database sprawl across physical and high availability virtual server environments, the onus on optimum and correct assignment of license and maintenance assets is critical to support cost avoidance and limit commercial risk.

 

image

Recommendations

  • Organisations should review the effective date of all enrollments, and review all binding documentation to critically evaluate the software use terms to apply.
  • License mobility is a strong driver for Software Assurance if your organisation intends to deploy SQL in a virtual environment.
  • Software Assurance enables asset mobility to authorised 3rd party server environments, and supports cost avoidance of failover and disaster recovery solutions.
  • Stakeholders should critically evaluate the technical reality of server infrastructure to ensure conformity with software use restrictions of extended use rights i.e. passive failover instances and disaster recovery.
  • Optimum and valid assignment of legacy assets can support ongoing cost avoidance (with strict controls and policies to support ongoing compliance).
  • Organisations should consider upgrade from SQL Business Intelligence 2012 to 2014 to limit exposure to the ‘Multiplexing Rule’ Edit: The June Product List 2014 states (Page 26) the “CAL waiver for Batch Jobs described in the April 2014 PUR also applies to the 2012 version of that Product”. 
  • Implement a hardware and software discovery workstream to evaluate the technical reality of current (and planned) server infrastructure for SQL Server to ensure compliance and cost avoidance through optimum assignment of license and maintenance assets.
  • Evaluate deployed software products exiting mainstream and extended support – a comprehensive products exiting mainstream and extended support on July 9th 2014 are available here

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.

 


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.


An Overview of License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server. This will look at the publicly available information on the ‘failover right’ associated with SQL Server.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

An Overview

Many organisations adopt failover technologies to re-assign  workloads from a primary server to a secondary standby server when a production server fails.

Under the SQL 2008 R2  Product-Specific-License Terms for SQL Server, a standby server that is considered ‘passive’ (and not running any active workloads or reports) would generally not require a license to be assigned. This includes back-up and restore related tasks under the passive designation.

This passive failover server rule  would commonly support situations when a primary server suffers a hardware or software failure (or is taken offline for routine maintenance or patch management) and requires the secondary ‘passive’ server to take over completely for ‘temporary’ support.

A secondary server, utilised solely to maintain a copy of the database and will never take over from the primary does also fall under the ‘passive’ designation, however the passive failover server rule will only support a single designated passive server under the allowance for each primary licensed server.


The Product Use Rights

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in July 2010, Page 63 of 136) (the first PUR after 2008 R2 General Availability) explained this exception as follows:

“Fail-over Servers. For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”).

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in January 2012, Page 58 of 147) – the last archived PUR before general availability (GA) of SQL 2012 – uses almost identical wording and explains the exception as follows:

“For any OSE in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”

Upon the general release of SQL 2012, the Product-Specific License Terms do not appear to explicitly indicate a change in the passive failover server rule. For reference purposes, here is an extract from the latest PUR under the Product-Specific License Terms for SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition. This again uses almost identical wording to previous iterations.

“Fail-Over Rights

For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support.“

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2014, Page 37]

“Fail-over Servers

For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support. However, if you license based on Physical Cores and the OSE in which you use the passive fail-over Running Instances is on a separate Server, the number of Physical Cores on the separate Server must not exceed the number of Physical Cores on the Licensed Server and the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in that Server must be the same or lower than the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in the Licensed Server. If you license by individual Virtual OSE, the number of Hardware Threads used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of Hardware Threads used in the OSE in which the active Running Instances are used.”


Microsoft Advisory Guidance

Microsoft provided a guidance document, originally published way back in July 2008,  that provided a good insight into server ‘failover rights’, with an extract here as follows:

“When doing failover support, a server is designated as the passive server. The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails. A passive server does not need a license, provided that the number of processors in the passive server is equal or less than those of the active server. The passive server can take the duties of the active server for 30 days. Afterward, it must be licensed accordingly

[Ref: SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing, July 2008, Page 2 of 5]

The wording of the Product Use Rights and prior released guidance, (published in July 2008), may therefore support interpretation of  the passive failover server rule as actually two separate but ultimately connected allowances:

  1. A right to have running instances which are classified as passive instances ins a separate OSE.
  2. The passive instances can be used ‘for temporary support’, (with restrictions)


Restrictions

Operational logic of the failover right for SQL:-

  1. There can only ne one unlicensed passive node for every active node, the licenses assigned to the primary must be sufficient to cover the secondary.
  2. Passive servers do not require licenses to be assigned, but are unable to run any production workloads, but backup and restore related tasks are an important exception.
  3. When database mirroring, the secondary server cannot provide reporting functions.
  4. The backup server can take over during a failure or system maintenance, i.e. hardware or software failure, or routine system maintenance.
  5. The duration of the failover event is for ‘temporary support’, this is commonly interpreted as 30 days.
  6. The server cannot be sequestered for short-term transaction load-balancing.
  7. The passive node must takeover completely, no production workloads must remain, (so all databases must move together for database mirroring or log shipping), both active and passive nodes cannot be in an active production capacity.

Non-Binding Guidance on SQL 2012 – Failover Rights

Microsoft Volume Licensing communicated a change of how the operational logic of a failover event is conceptually approached, addressed in non-binding advisory guidance 16 months after general availability, this was via the popular technet blog; under the following statement:

“[…] You do not require SA for SQL Server Fail-over Rights, but once you activate the Passive Fail-Over server in a DR then that Passive Fail-over becomes the active server (during a fail-over event) and it must be fully licensed for SQL Server.  You can accomplish this by assigning new licenses to the (now active) passive server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server to the backup server once the instances of SQL Server on the primary server are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads.”

Wherein, Microsoft admit “What this means is that your SQL Server 2012 licenses without SA may only be reassigned once every 90 days.  This may not fit your fail-over strategy very well.”

The non-binding advisory content of the  TechNet blog indicates that under the software use terms for SQL 2012, during a failover event the primary licensed server would need to have the license reassigned to the passive server at point of failover. The legacy approach, to license only the ‘active’ node of an Active/Passive SQL Server cluster seems to have been curtailed as an extended use right, and would markedly depart from the license precedent of product-specific licensing terms for 2008 and 2008 R2.

The change in precedent was not explicitly referenced in the first non-binding advisory licensing guide document published two months after general availability in June 2012.

“The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server”.

“Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.”

“When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system”

[Ref: SQL Server Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 14 of 25]

To explore this a little further, in the advisory literature I have included the later amended  Licensing Guide, March 1st 2013, Page 15 extract in full:

“Failover Basics

For each properly licensed instance of SQL Server, customers can run a supporting passive instance in a separate OSE for temporary support—that is, to synchronize with the primary server and otherwise maintain the passive database instance in a warm standby state in order to minimize downtime due to hardware or software failure.

A passive SQL Server instance is one that is not serving SQL Server data to clients or running active SQL Server workloads. This passive failover instance can run on a server other than the licensed server.

The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server.

Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server.

•Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.

•When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system.

•In the event that a passive instance of SQL Server becomes active for any reason, then it must be fully licensed accordingly. This can be accomplished by assigning new licenses to the (now active) secondary server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server (once the primary instances are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads). License Mobility, a Software Assurance (SA) benefit, may allow for more flexibility with license reassignment. For details on reassignment considerations without SA, refer to the Licensing SQL Server for Application Mobility section of this guide.”

[Ref: SQL Server 2012 Licensing Reference Guide, March 1st 2013, Page 15]


Final Thoughts

Any conflict in interpretation, and likely the crux of the matter, could likely be  dependent on  the interpretation of  the “fail-over rights” as a single or two separate allowances:

  1. A right to have running instances which are classified as passive instances ins a separate OSE.
  2. The passive instances can be used ‘for temporary support’, (with restrictions)

The TechNet blog would appear to interpret the passive failover server rule as limited to an allowance under the primary licensed server to run a secondary passive failover server under the ‘passive’ designation, but at point of failover and the secondary passive failover taking over completely, the license on the assigned primary licensed server is required to be re-assigned.

This much later non-binding interpretation of fail-over rights in the TechNet blog could have a real impact for  organisations that adopt a 30 day patching cycle and would underwrite an even stronger case for Software Assurance (SA) for organisations seeking to enable ‘license mobility within server farms’ to allow re-assignment of SQL Licenses ‘as often as needed’ outside of the restrictive ‘90 rule’. This is compounded by the previous restriction of SQL Enterprise Edition license mobility under the 2012 schema as requiring active Software Assurance.

While the TechNet blog would be a subtle, but significant change to how the fail-over rights in the Product Use Rights are interpreted by Microsoft and its subsidiaries. It is  strongly recommended to refer to all binding-documentation, rather than relying solely on non-binding advisory documentation, even Microsoft’s own websites and blogs. While this interpretation is commonly shared by licensing professionals, trainers and Microsoft subsidiaries, always look directly at all relevant binding documentation to ascertain the true impact to your current failover model.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

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An Exploration of the Microsoft SQL Fiscal Cliff

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server. This will look at a high level at the impact of the release of SQL 2012 and the per core licensing model introduced on April 1st 2012.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email 

The Impact of the Per Core Metric

Many organisations  look pro-actively at cost saving and cost avoidance strategies for their software spend, but often don’t receive independent analysis derived from a global managed contract data-set.

SoftwareONE continue to conduct research cost analytics across their managed contract base to track trends in software licensing globally in over 80 countries.

As a simple example, our research unit conducted pricing analysis of SQL from from January 2010 to November 2013, in order to independently verify and asses the impact of the per core metric for Microsoft customers. The graph below, illustrates the impact of the implementation of the per core licensing metric based on Intel and AMD CPUs for SQL deployed in a POSE (Physical Operating System Environment) illustrates what we commonly term ‘the SQL fiscal cliff’.

This dataset accounts for:-

  • SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor 2008, SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor 2008 R2, SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2012
  • The core factor multiplier adopted by Microsoft to differentiate between Intel and AMD CPUs.
  • The cost impact of historical price increase aligned to the general availability of SQL Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 on May 1st 2010
  • The cost impact of the UK Price Increase in July 2012.

image

Key Takeaways

  • The continuation of the Per Processor licensing metric would not scale revenue generation to CPU power.
  • The core-based metric will require greater analysis of underlying server infrastructure to satisfy compliance and vendor reporting requirements.
  • Single and Dual Core CPUs have a positive multiplier and successfully maintained revenue for Microsoft
  • As core density increases, AMD Opteron CPUs may start to cost more than Intel Xeon (as the negative multiplier has less effect)
  • Organisations that have SQL under an Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Agreement Subscription, Enrollment for Application Platform are strongly recommended to plan for their contract renewal(s) pro-actively
  • It is recommended to work with SoftwareONE to plan your datacenter performance and optimisation strategy aligned to vendor licensing models.

Understanding which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that organisations should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether their current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2 or 2012 licensing schema.

image

The Product Use Rights (PUR) is a binding document, published quarterly by Microsoft and should be considered essential reading for organisations that are seeking to understand the software use terms for their SQL estate.

In June 2012, following general availability of SQL 2012 in April of the same year, Microsoft released an advisory licensing guide to assist customers with understanding the new licensing metrics, but also the transition rules for customers with existing investments in Software Assurance (SA) for SQL Server 2008 R2. This document was later updated in March 2013.

The virtualization licensing guide released in June 2012 (still available on the Microsoft SQL Website) provides a brief synopsis of the applicability of the Product Use Rights based on current or planned deployments of SQL Server:

“Product use rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even if using downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights. For example, if a customer purchases a SQL Server 2012 license, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply even if the customer deploys SQL Server 2008 R2 (or an earlier version)”.

“If customers (who are eligible through SA), have upgraded from a previous version, the product use rights for the version running apply. For example, if a customer upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply”

[Ref:  , June 2012, Page 10-11]

This is a good high-level synopsis, to be reviewed alongside the binding contract stack, including procurement contracts like an Enterprise Agreement and Select Plus Agreement.

  • The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA), provides a detailed overview on the applicability of a PUR; wherein (Section 4) it states:  “The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an enrolment will apply to the Enrolled Affiliate’s use of the then-current versions of each Product (excluding Online Services). For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are first released will apply. In both cases, subsequent changes made by Microsoft to the Product Use Rights for a particular version will not apply to Enrolled Affiliate’s use of that version, unless Enrolled Affiliate chooses to have such changes apply. […]
  • Product Use Rights for earlier versions (downgrade). If Enrolled Affiliate runs an earlier version of a Product other the version that was current on the Enrollment effective date, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version being run, will apply. However, if the earlier version includes components that are not part of the licensed version, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply to Enrolled Affilliate’s use of those components.”

[Ref: Please refer to your specific Enterprise Agreement, Section 4]

The Microsoft Select Plus Agreement, also provides a detailed overview of the applicability of a PUR; wherein (Section 5) is states:

  • “Summary: Generally, Microsoft agrees to lock-in the Product Use Rights at the start of the agreement, for current versions, and on the date of the first release, for new versions, so that any subsequent changes Microsoft makes to the Product Use Rights will not affect any Registered Affiliates. A Special rule applies in the case of downgrades, as described below.”
  • “a. Product Use Rights. Microsoft publishes Product Use Rights for each version of each product.
  • (i) Product Use Rights for current and future versions of Products. The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date on the agreement will apply to all Registered Affiliate’s use of then current versions of each product, regardless of the date of the Order. For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are first released will apply. In both cases, subsequent changes made by Microsoft to the Product Use Rights for a particular version will not apply to Registered Affiliate’s use of that version.”
  • “(ii) Product Use Rights for earlier versions (downgrade). If a Registered Affiliate runs an earlier version of a Product than the version that was current on the Agreement effective date, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version being run, will apply. However, if an earlier version includes components that are not part of the licensed version, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will to the Registered Affiliate’s use of those components.”

[Ref: Please refer to your specific Select Plus Agreement, Section 5]


Summary

To summarise the advisory and high level contract documentation,  current and future versions of a product under Volume Licensing models (like the Enterprise Agreement), the Product Use Rights in effect on the date of the Volume Agreement effective date will apply. For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect upon general availability will apply, subject to the caveats outlined in the contracts – but how does this work in practice ?

  • This means in practice, that a customer that procured SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Processor License(s) added at signing, via an  Enterprise Agreement (EA) with, for example, a contract effective date of June 2011, would refer to the the most current release of the Product Use Rights available on the effective date of their enrollment (March 2011).
  • As an example, over the term of their enrollment, that same customer would see the release of SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2012 (on April 2012) and would have had the choice to upgrade (under new version rights available when a license is procured with Software Assurance) or continue to run SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 R2.
  • Should an customer have subsequently decided to upgrade, as stated in the licensing guide: “If customers (who are eligible through SA), have upgraded from a previous version, the product use rights for the version running apply. For example, if a customer upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply”.

This is reasonably straight forward to ‘draw a line in the sand’ to understand the applicability of the relevant Product Use Rights. However this should be reviewed within the context of the whole contract stack to ascertain whether exceptions or special license grants could apply (see next section).


An Exception to Every Rule

The Product List is a binding document, published monthly by Microsoft is considered essential reading for organisations that are seeking to understand the software use terms for their SQL estate. It is critically important to refer to all binding product-specific terms to ensure your existing licensing and software assurance footprint is assigned and leveraged appropriately.

  • As  with SQL, the April 2012 Product List  (Note 88) Microsoft conferred under the then-current term, for a SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor License customer who is eligible under SA (Software Assurance), to upgrade from the 2008 R2 version, could  “upgrade to and use SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Core software in place of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise subject to the SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise processor license product use rights (as reflected in the January 2012 Product Use Rights).” [Ref: Product List, April 2012, page 143 of 166, Note 88].
  • As with SQL, the April 1st Product List  (Note 90)  Microsoft conferred under the then-current term, for a SQL Standard Edition Per Processor License customer who is eligible under SA, to upgrade from the 2008 R2 version, could “upgrade to and use SQL Server 2012 Standard Core software in place of SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard subject to SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard processor license product use rights (as reflected in the January 2012 Product Use Rights). Customers are additionally granted rights under License Mobility through Software Assurance and License Mobility within Server Farms. Customers should refer to the Product Use Rights for SQL Server 2012 Standard Core for license terms for License Mobility.”
  • This is a good example of the impact of the hierarchy of software licensing terms  (see prior article on this site) – on the software use terms for Microsoft Products. While the advisory guides are useful, they should be considered both non-binding  and also non-exhaustive in scope.

image

The Software Use Rights  for each Product Version are available within both the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List.


SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Datacenter Edition

Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Enterprise Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Enterprise 2012  per core licensing metric based on purchases made before, and planned on or  after,  April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Datacenter 2008 R2 Licenses with active Software Assurance bought prior to April 1st 2015
    • Please note: procured via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES / under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Server Datacenter Licenses procured on or after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015. This enables organisations to renew Software Assurance (SA) on SQL deployed under the legacy per processor licensing model.

The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions; wherein, for Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Datacenter Edition 2008 R2 processor license, the customer “may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b)” […]

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a. a number equal to the lesser of the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • i. Eight, OR
  • ii. the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor.  (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds eight, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b. a number equal to the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by eight.”

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 136 of 161, Note 80]

However, please note the caveat of the wording in the Product List, could impact license grants measurably, as exemplified by the following statement:  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights”.

-It is recommended organisation should ensure they have appropriate time/date stamped and cogent evidence of compliance to underpin renewal into the core licensing schema.


First Renewal (On or After April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

“Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015, may, for every server that is correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights, acquire Software Assurance as following:

  • As provided in the first paragraph of this product note, licenses acquired before April 1st 2015 are qualifying licenses and customers may renew SA as per the terms in the “First Renewal Term (Prior to April 1st 2015) “ section above and,
  • For licenses acquired after April 1st 2015 customers may renew SA for eight SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for every SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter processor license. For ongoing use of SQL Server 2012 on processors that require more than eight core licenses per processor customer has to acquire the additional core licenses.

Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering. The option to acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server core licenses is not applicable to renewal of coverage under subscription programs.”

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 136 of 161, Note 80]


SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Enterprise – Per Processor

For organisations that have committed to SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor Licenses with Software Assurance (SA); Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Enterprise Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Enterprise 2012 under the per core licensing metric based on purchases made before and planned on or  after planned April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Enterprise Edition Processor Licenses with active Software Assurance prior to April 1st 2015
    • This is completed via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Enterprise Edition Processor Licenses Licenses procured after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 142-3 of 161, Note 88]


At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) after general availability (GA), the customer “may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b)” […]

(-The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions)

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a. a number equal to the lesser of the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • i. Four, OR
  • ii. the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor. (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds four, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b. a number equal to the number of processor licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by four.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 143 of 161, Note 88]

However, as stated above, please note the caveat of the preceding wording in the Product List, (which could impact license grants measurably), as exemplified by the following statement:  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights”.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 143 of 161, Note 88]

It is strongly recommended that organisations should ensure they have appropriate time/date stamped and cogent evidence of compliance,   to underpin renewal into the core licensing schema to ensure SA maintenance renewals relying on license grants can stand the test of time when potentially scrutinised later by Microsoft or a  ‘forensic’ license auditor like KPMG or Ernst & Young, or PWC.


First Renewal Term (On or After April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

  • First Renewal Term (on or after April 1, 2015): Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015 will be provided an opportunity to acquire Software Assurance for core licenses for the qualifying licenses they acquire prior to that date. See the June 2012 Product List for details.
  • Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 43 of 161, Note 88]

The Product List for June 2012 makes the following statement [Section 89]:

  • “First Renewal Term (on or after April 1, 2015 Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015, may, for every server that is correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights, acquire Software Assurance as following:
    • As provided in the first paragraph of this product note, licenses acquired before April 1st 2015 are qualifying licenses and customers may renew SA as per the terms in the “First Renewal Term (Prior to April 1st 2015) “ section above and,
    • For licenses acquired after April 1st 2015 customers may renew SA for four SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for every SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise processor license. For ongoing use of SQL Server 2012 on processors that require more than four core licenses per processor customer has to acquire the additional core licenses.
  • Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering. The option to acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server core licenses is not applicable to renewal of coverage under subscription programs. Only qualifying licenses apply when determining the number of core licenses in a) and b) above.

SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Enterprise –  Server/CAL

Microsoft  extended certain rights to renew Software Assurance (SA) on SQL Server Enterprise  after the licensing model was discontinued on April 1st 2012.

The Product List provides details of exceptions and available license transitions, included as an extract below [Ref: Product List , November 2013, Page 164 of 187, Note 85]:

“SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL Customers — Special Software Assurance Renewal Option

  • “Customers with active Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL licenses as of April 1, 2012 may, as an alternative to renewing their coverage for Enterprise, acquire Software Assurance for an equal number licenses for SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence without acquiring the underlying licenses. Upon acquisition of SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Software Assurance under this offering, customers may no longer use SQL Server Enterprise under their qualifying licenses. Customers who acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Business Intelligence under this offering also will not have the option to revert to SQL Server Enterprise coverage for their qualifying SQL Server Enterprise licenses.”

SQL Server Buy-out Option under EAP

  • “Customers will have an option to renew Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL licenses after June 30, 2012, however their only buy-out option at the end of their enrollment term, will be for core licenses.”

Ongoing Use of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

  • “Software Assurance customers who continue to use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise under licenses acquired under their agreement or enrollment in effect on April 1, 2012 may use the software under SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise use rights during the current term and any renewal term. Customers who use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise under downgrade rights under licenses acquired after renewal of their coverage must use the software under the use rights for the version licensed.”

[Ref: Product List , November 2013, Page 164 of 187, Note 85].


The 20 Core Limit

While the November 2013 Product List does not make explicit reference to a maximum compute capacity, the updated March 2013 Licensing Guide does provide a table that states the 20 core limit for SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition on the Server+CAL Licensing Model.

This important ‘hard-coded’ limitation is of critical importance when seeking to determine the viability of maintaining the legacy licensing model, when in comparison SQL Enterprise Edition on the Per Core licensing metric is set at a maximum compute capacity set by the OS.

[Ref: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Licensing Guide, March 2013, Page 5 of 26]

Microsoft provided the following guidance, extracted from the March 2013 update:

  • “SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition software licensed under the Server+CAL model is intended and physically limited to only run on servers with a total of twenty cores or less:
  • »» There are now two versions of SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition software: a server-based version and a core-based version. Customers must run the software version for which they are
    licensed.
  • »» For customers running SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition server-based software instances in a physical environment, that OSE is only permitted to access a maximum of twenty physical cores. A per instance technical limit is also enforced.
  • »» For customers running SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition server licenses in virtual environments, each set of VMs associated with a single server license (up to four per server license) can only access up to twenty hardware threads of combined power at any time.”

[Ref: SQL Licensing Guide, March 2013, Page 25]


Planning for Renewal SQL Standard – Per Processor

For organisations that have committed to SQL Standard Edition Per Processor Licenses with Software Assurance (SA); Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Standard Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Standard 2012 under the per core licensing metric based on purchases made before and planned on or  after planned April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Standard Edition Processor Licenses with active Software Assurance prior to April 1st 2015
    • This is completed via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Standard Edition Processor Licenses procured after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

[Ref: See the Product List, November 2013, Page 168 of 187 Note 89]

At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Standard Edition 2008 R2 processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) after general availability (GA), the customer  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard processor license product use rights, the customer may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Standard core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b):”

(-The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions)

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a) a number equal to the lesser of the number of processor licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • Four, OR
  • the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor. (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds four, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b) a number equal to the number of processor licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by four.

Snapshot Overview of SQL Licensing Information Metrics

Under a Microsoft Audit, the assigned auditor will seek to ascertain and collect all information that can inform relevant licensing models applicable to your infrastructure; Therefore, taking a pro-active approach to understanding and tracking all applicable metrics can inform both undiscovered or unmitigated risk exposure for your organisation.

This can impact how much of an organisation’s existing licensing footprint can be leveraged, while informing a work-stream toward an eventual optimum approach to software procurement strategy.

This process will extend past what would be identified in a discovery tool. This is not just a matter of looking at the perpetual license footprint alone and mapping to the Version or Edition deployed. This requires a comprehensive overview of the estate from a “bottom-up” perspective and may require involvement of several stakeholders to ensure current and on-going approach to SQL is accurate, comprehensive and limits on-going risk exposure.

This includes, but not limited to:-

  • The Number of CPUs (Manufacturer, Model Series)
  • Physical Cores in the CPUs
  • Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Virtualization Platform and Configuration
  • Failover, DR and Cluster Configurations
  • Virtual Machines (VM) and DRS
  • Installed Software (Edition, Version)
  • Consolidation Strategy
  • New Project Requirements
  • Dev/Test databases
  • Licensing Dependencies
  • Implications of Multiplexing
  • Number of Internal and External Users

The information collected from your estate via discovery tool(s),  and stakeholder workshops as part of a systematic and comprehensive approach,  can help establish the full technical reality for your organisation to support an optimum licensing and investment strategy for SQL Server.


Licensing Update : License Re-Assignment

Under the Universal License Terms of the October 2013 Product Use Rights Microsoft provide the following guidance on the “Limitations of License Reassignment”:

  • Except as permitted below, you may not reassign licenses on a short-term basis (within 90 days of the last assignment) […]”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, Page 11 of 117]

Under the hierarchy of the software use terms the Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses or use of products are enshrined  in the Product List. Accordingly, Universal License Terms will remain in effect unless explicitly retracted or amended as specified in either the General License Terms or Product-Specific License Terms and Additional Terms within the Product Use Rights and subsequent exceptions within the Product List.

As an example, under the subsequent General License Terms for Servers on the Per Core licensing model, Microsoft state a requirement for Software Assurance (SA) to support  reassignment of licenses within a server farm outside of the ‘90 day rule’ enshrined within the Universal License Terms:-

  • You may reassign licenses for which you have active Software Assurance coverage to any of your Servers located within the same Server Farm as often as needed. You may reassign licenses from one server farm to another, but not on a short-term basis (i.e., not within 90 days of the last assignment).”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, General License Terms Page 46 of 117]

Understanding how Microsoft approach software use rights for license reassignment  is an essential area of focus if current and prior versions of SQL have been deployed in Virtual Machines (VM) and your organisation is seeking to understand whether they have sufficient licensing and Software Assurance (SA) ‘footprint’ to support the current (or planned) environment.

This is an important development, where upon general availability of SQL 2012 (April 1st 2012) Microsoft removed license mobility within server farms  as a benefit of the SQL Enterprise Edition License.

This departs from the legacy precedent of the extended use right being defined at within the Product-Specific License Terms for SQL Server Enterprise 2008 R2; wherein Microsoft continued to provide license mobility within server farms (as first introduced in September 2008) as an extended use right within the license:-

  • “License reassignment within a server farm. You may reassign software licenses to any of your servers located within the same server farm as often as neededThe prohibition against short-term reassignment does not apply to licenses assigned to servers located within the same server farm.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, July 2010, Page 64 of 136] (the first PUR publication following general availability of SQL 2008 R2 on May 1st 2010)

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2012, Page 54 of 147] (The last PUR prior to general availability of SQL 2012 – the next PUR available in the archive is listed as August 2012]

It is acknowledged that many organisations may not have anticipated this retraction to the extended Software Use Rights for SQL Enterprise Edition 2012 when first leveraging the benefits of server virtualization. This would not have been supported by vendor publication of advisory guidance on SQL Server Licensing two months after general availability:

  • License Mobility moved to an SA benefit with the release of SQL Server 2012. So any license covered with SA, regardless of which version or edition of the software is deployed, will have License Mobility rights

[Ref: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Virtualization Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 11]

The unmitigated risk impact for organisations  can be considerable if database ‘sprawl’ has continued unmonitored. Leading organisations sometimes unknowingly, to be pulled under new licensing schema.


License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event

Many organisations adopt failover technologies to re-assign  workloads from a primary server to a secondary standby server when a production server fails.

  • Under the SQL 2008 and SQL 2008 R2  Product-Specific-License Terms for SQL Server, a standby server that is considered ‘passive’ (and not running any active workloads or reports) would generally not require a license to be assigned. This includes back-up and restore related tasks under the passive designation.
  • This passive failover server rule  would also commonly support situations when a primary server suffers a hardware or software failure (or is taken offline for routine maintenance or patch management) and requires the secondary ‘passive’ server to take over completely for ‘temporary’ support.
  • A secondary server, utilised solely to maintain a copy of the database and will never take over from the primary does fall under the ‘passive’ designation, however the passive failover server rule will only support a single designated passive server under the allowance for each primary licensed server.

As as an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in July 2010, Page 63 of 136) explained this exception as follows:

  • “Fail-over Servers. For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”).

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in January 2012, Page 58 of 147) – the last archived PUR before general availability of SQL 2012 – uses almost identical wording and explains the exception as follows:

  • For any OSE in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.

Microsoft provided a guidance document, originally published in July 2008,  that provided guidance as on server ‘failover rights’ as follows:

  • When doing failover support, a server is designated as the passive server. The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails. A passive server does not need a license, provided that the number of processors in the passive server is equal or less than those of the active server. The passive server can take the duties of the active server for 30 days. Afterward, it must be licensed accordingly

[Ref: SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing, July 2008, Page 2 of 5]

Similarly, Microsoft provide a guidance document, published in May 2011 provides the following guidance:

  • “If you are licensed to use SQL Server, you are allowed to run a certain number of instances of the software for passive failover support without having to license these instances separately. You may run the passive failover instances on a server other than the licensed server.
  • For any OSE in which you run instances of SQL Server, you may run up to the same number of passive failover instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. For processor licensing, however, the number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running.”

[Ref: Licensing Management Series, A Guide to Assessing SQL Server Licensing, May 2011 – Microsoft Volume Licensing]

The wording of the Product Use Rights and prior released guidance, published in July 2008, seem to support interpretation of  the passive failover server rule as actually two separate allowances:

  1. A grant to use of  ‘passive failover instances’ on a ‘server other than the primary licensed server’.
  2. An ability to run SQL workloads on a single secondary server ‘running instances’ to support a  failover event ‘for temporary support’

Importantly, the requirement to assign a license to the passive server only comes into effect in a use scenario outside the terms of use enshrined within the passive failover server rule:

Restrictions

  • The passive failover server rule would not apply if the standby server is not considered ‘passive’ and is running active workloads or reporting functions while the active node is operating. This does not include backup and restore related tasks.
  • The passive failover server rule would not apply  if the duration of the failover event exceeded ‘temporary’ support, this is commonly interpreted as 30 days.
  • The passive failover server rule would not apply if the server is sequestered for short-term for transaction load-balancing. This would then be governed by the Universal License Terms and require license reassignment or assignment of a new license.

License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event under the 2012 Licensing Schema

Upon the general release of SQL 2012, the Product-Specific License Terms do not appear to explicitly indicate a change in the passive failover server rule outlined above.

However, Microsoft Volume Licensing have communicated a change of how the operational logic of a failover event is conceptually approached, addressed in non-binding advisory guidance 16 months after general availability in their technet blog; under the following statement:

“[…] You do not require SA for SQL Server Fail-over Rights, but once you activate the Passive Fail-Over server in a DR then that Passive Fail-over becomes the active server (during a fail-over event) and it must be fully licensed for SQL Server.  You can accomplish this by assigning new licenses to the (now active) passive server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server to the backup server once the instances of SQL Server on the primary server are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads.” Wherein, Microsoft admit “What this means is that your SQL Server 2012 licenses without SA may only be reassigned once every 90 days.  This may not fit your fail-over strategy very well.”.

The non-binding advisory content of the  technet blog indicates that under the software use terms for SQL 2012, during a failover event the primary licensed server would need to have the license reassigned to the passive server at point of failover. The legacy approach, to license only the ‘active’ node of an Active/Passive SQL Server cluster seems to have been curtailed as an extended use right, and markedly departs from the license precedent of product-specific licensing terms for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions that allow one unlicensed secondary under the license terms of the assigned primary.

When pressed for guidance, Microsoft will commonly refer customers to the Product Use Rights, wherein the significance of this change is not immediately apparent, and appears to adopt similar terminology as reminiscent in earlier publications:-

  • “For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support. However, if you license based on Physical Cores and the OSE in which you use the passive fail-over Running Instances is on a separate Server, the number of Physical Cores on the separate Server must not exceed the number of Physical Cores on the Licensed Server and the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in that Server must be the same or lower than the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in the Licensed Server. If you license by individual Virtual OSE, the number of Hardware Threads used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of Hardware Threads used in the OSE in which the active Running Instances are used.”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, Page 48 of 136]

This appears to re-iterate the role of the primary server as the ‘licensed server’. The change in precedent is also not explicitly referenced in the non-binding advisory licensing guide document published two months after general availability in June 2012, but admittedly the wording does create confusion :-

  • The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server”.
  • Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.”
  • “When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system

[Ref: SQL Server Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 14 of 25]


Final Thoughts

Any conflict in interpretation, and likely the crux of the matter, could likely be  dependent on  the interpretation of  the “fail-over rights” as a single or two separate allowances:-

  1. A grant to use of  ‘passive failover instances’ on a ‘server other than the primary licensed server’ under the ‘passive’ designation.
  2. An ability to spin-up ‘running instances’ on the secondary passive server to support during a  failover event ‘for temporary support’.

The technet blog interprets the passive failover server rule as limited to an allowance under the primary licensed server to run a secondary passive failover server under the ‘passive’ designation, but at point of failover and the secondary passive failover taking over completely, the license on the assigned primary licensed server is required to be re-assigned.

While the technet blog indicates a subtle, but significant change to how the fail-over rights in the Product Use Rights are interpreted by Microsoft and its subsidiaries, it is  strongly recommended to refer to all binding-documentation, rather than relying solely on non-binding advisory documentation, even Microsoft’s own websites and blogs.

This recent interpretation of fail-over rights could impact organisations that adopt a 30 day patching cycle and underwrites a strong case for Software Assurance (SA) for organisations seeking to enable ‘license mobility within server farms’ to allow re-assignment of SQL Licenses ‘as often as needed’ outside of the restrictive ‘90 rule’.

The half-life of the transactional approach to enterprise software procurement is certainly compounded by the revocation of SQL Enterprise Edition ‘license mobility within server farms’ as an extended use right, previously allowing re-assignment of SQL Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 and 2008  licenses  ‘as often as needed’ within the product-specific license terms; wherein upon general availability of SQL 2012, this has been sequestered and underwritten into the ever growing business case for SA.

For SQL Server Enterprise Server+CAL customers, organisations that are seeking to continue to leverage their legacy licensing investment should seek specialist advice.  While a legacy perpetual licensing footprint can be assigned to 2008 R2 or 2008 deployments of SQL Server; ‘database sprawl’, upgrades to server infrastructure, migration of workloads to 3rd parties or implementation of a virtualization platform can often pull an organisation, sometimes unknowingly, under a new licensing schema.


SQL Checklist

This is a non-exhaustive check-list to support your organisations approach to SQL Server when planning for contract renewal(s) or planning for a vendor audit:

  1. Request a Licensing Workshop and enable knowledge transfer.
  2. Assign an expert project team to manage your SQL Optimisation work-stream.
  3. Access and validate your Existing Volume Licensing and Software Assurance Footprint
  4. Get a clear understanding of all applicable Product-Specific License Terms as supported by all applicable binding documentation – assessed against  your business requirements.
  5. Adopt and assign all optimum Licensing Models as supported by all applicable binding-documents.
  6. Seek advice on identification of historical software license exceptions and license grants to minimise license spend.
  7. Request ‘vendor independent’ creation and analysis of an Effective License Position (ELP), usually completed under NDA.
    • Pursue a ‘clear line’ between  deployment,  licensing footprint and proposed final licensing solution.
    • Request independent review of adopted licensing metrics adopted in assignment of your license footprint to create the Effective License Position (ELP) and ask for this to be made transparent.
    • Seek independent advice on disclosure content and engagement strategy with software vendor.
    • Complete a valid Time/Date stamped inventory to support vendor license grants addressing all required license information metrics to ensure appropriate proof of license.
  8. Complete a datacenter Risk Assessment and construct a Risk Mitigation Strategy roadmap.
  9. If under audit, seek independent advice under NDA .
  10. Work with a SQL Architect to review current and planned Failover and DR strategy – optimally aligned to all applicable vendor licensing models.
  11. Request a comparative cost and investment analysis over 6 years, this should include all global sourcing options, with all applicable procurement contracts. – If appropriate build a negotiation team.

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


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