Microsoft Licensing FAQs for GCP

Here are a selection of common licensing questions and answers. I also recommend referring to binding documentation like the Microsoft Product Terms for guidance.

General

Q. How will GCP enable me to meet my license reporting obligations to Microsoft? License Usage – Self Reporting

·    In addition to enabling control of VM placement to launch your instances on a dedicated host, GCP will keep a record of how your instances use sole-tenant resources, which will allow you to create your own usage reports.

·    Windows Server is licensed by the physical cores on each host. GCP provides visibility, including but not limited to, the number of physical processors and physical cores, and number of Windows VMs running on the host machine to allow you to keep track of how your individual Windows Server VMs use the resources of the dedicated host.

·    Additionally, for SQL Server GCP provides reporting, including but not limited to, the physical processors and physical cores, and total number of VM instances running SQL Server on the host machine, and the number of virtual cores assigned to the VMs to allow you to keep track of licensable resources of the dedicated host.

License Mobility Self Reporting

·    When using ‘License Mobility through Software Assurance,’ you must complete a license verification process with Microsoft to confirm that you have the eligible licenses with active Software Assurance.

·    GCP enables you to meet your licensing reporting obligations to Microsoft. To start the verification process and review additional details, go to the Microsoft License Mobility verification form in the GCP Console.

·    This is required for all workloads of eligible Microsoft Server products, as defined in the Microsoft Product Terms, including but not limited to: Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, or Microsoft System Center, RDS CAL, BizTalk Server and eligible Dynamics products.

Q. I understand from the Microsoft Product Terms that a license cannot move to another region or physical server for at least 90 days. How is this managed in GCP sole-tenant?

 

·    Each sole-tenant node is associated with one physical server dedicated to hosting your VM instances. You can control VM placement to launch your instances to a dedicated host, and instance affinity will allow specific node affinities between your nodes and VM instances. This will enable you to control VM instance placement to satisfy the restriction of license re-assignment once every 90 days.[45]

·    The license re-assignment rule will apply to your licensing of Windows Server unless there is a permanent hardware failure. In this scenario when there is permanent failure of hardware[46]components, the sole-tenant node that is hosting the VM instances will use live migration47 to move the VM instances to replacement host hardware automatically. If there is complete hardware failure, the VM will crash and restart automatically and a host-error is logged.

Windows Server

   
Q. Can I bring my own Windows Server licenses to GCP? ·    Yes, you can bring your own licensing for Windows Server with your own images to GCP sole tenant and remain compliant for Microsoft licensing. Please refer to your product terms for Microsoft licensing.

·    Windows Server does not have License Mobility rights to enable bring your own licenses to GCP shared tenancy, so we only recommend deployment on our sole-tenant offering. Windows Server licenses can only be assigned to physically dedicated hosts.

·    If you opt to bring your own licensing for Windows Server, then this would also require Windows Server CALs. Your organization may already be licensed for Windows Server CALs through Core CAL, Enterprise CAL, or Office 365 license packages such as Microsoft 365 E3, and Microsoft 365 E5.

·    You may also require additional licenses for Windows Server Rights Management Services (RMS) CALs, or Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CALs. Please work with your preferred Licensing Solution Provider (LSP).

Q. Can I buy Windows Server licenses from GCP?

 

·    Yes, Windows Server per-core licenses are included in the cost of the Windows Server instances purchased from GCP.

·    Windows Server instances are available with the Windows Server OS pre-installed. In this case, the license is included in the cost. Windows Server CALs are not required.

·    If you require more than two connections to Remote Desktop for administration, you may require additional licenses for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CALs. Please work with your preferred Licensing Solution Provider (LSP) to purchase additional RDS CALs as required.

Q. I am using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) licenses on GCP shared tenancy. Do I require Software Assurance? ·    No, you may use your RDS User CALs for Windows Server software running in VMs on GCP shared tenancy servers48 without Software Assurance. You are required to submit ‘Microsoft License Mobility verification form when bringing your own licenses to GCP shared tenancy servers.

·    There is support for two administrative Remote Desktop Services (RDS) connections (Additional RDS licenses can be brought through License Mobility).

Q. When should I use Windows Server licenses from GCP versus bringing my own licenses? ·    Using Windows Server instances from GCP will be easier to manage as the license is included in the cost. Windows Server CALs are not required.

·    It can be cost effective to purchase Windows Server instances on-demand from GCP shared tenancy for use scenarios when the VM instance will be non-persistent. However, if you already have procured licenses for on-premises use, it may be cost effective to bring them to GCP and use on sole-tenant nodes.

 

SQL Server

   
Q. Can I bring my existing SQL licenses to GCP shared tenancy? ·    Yes, you can benefit from ‘License Mobility through Software Assurance’ to assign your SQL Server volume licenses to shared tenancy instances in the cloud.

·    Software Assurance is required to bring your own SQL Server licenses to shared tenancy Windows Server instances in GCP.

·    In this scenario, you are responsible for disclosing new license assignments used in GCP multi-tenant environments to Microsoft.

·    When using ‘License Mobility through Software Assurance,’ you must complete a license verification process with Microsoft to confirm that you have the eligible licenses with active Software Assurance.. To start the verification process and review additional details, go to the Microsoft License Mobility verification form in the GCP Console.

·    This is required for all workloads of eligible Microsoft Server products, as defined in the Microsoft Product Terms, including but not limited to: Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Skype for Business Server, Microsoft SharePoint, or Microsoft System Center, RDS CAL, BizTalk Server and eligible Dynamics products.

Q. Can I bring my existing SQL licenses to GCP sole-tenant?

 

·    Yes, GCP will enable you to bring your own licensing for SQL Server with your own images to both sole-tenant and shared tenancy while remaining compliant for Microsoft licensing.

·    You do not require active Software Assurance to bring your own SQL Server licenses to GCP sole-tenant. However, it may be beneficial to maintain active Software Assurance to enable access to ‘New Version Rights’ as new software versions are released49 and to leverage Software Assurance Benefits.

·    Sole-tenant is a dedicated host offering that provides a commercial benefit in licensing your sole-tenant(s) with SQL Server Enterprise Edition and active Software Assurance. This will support an unlimited number50 of SQL Server VM instances to run on the licensed host. This approach can be advantageous when you have a higher number of SQL Server VM instances running on the sole-tenant node and elect to license the physical cores of the host server.

Q. Can I buy SQL Server from GCP? ·    Yes, SQL Server per-core licenses are available and included in the cost of the Windows Server instances purchased from GCP.

Microsoft Application Servers

For the purposes of this section, ‘Microsoft Application Server’ products include Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Skype for Business, Microsoft System Center, RDS CAL, BizTalk Server, or Dynamics CRM etc.

   
Q. Can I bring my existing Microsoft Application Server licenses to GCP shared tenancy? ·    Yes, you can benefit from ‘License Mobility through Software Assurance’ to assign your Microsoft Application Server volume licenses to shared tenancy instances in the cloud.

·    Software Assurance is required to bring your own Microsoft Application Server licenses to shared tenancy Windows Server instances in GCP.

·    In this scenario, you are responsible for disclosing new license assignments used in GCP multi-tenant environments to Microsoft.

·    When using ‘License Mobility through Software Assurance,’ you must complete a license verification process with Microsoft to confirm that you have the eligible licenses with active Software Assurance. To start the verification process and review additional details, go to the Microsoft License Mobility verification form in the GCP Console.

·    This is required for all workloads of eligible Microsoft Server products, as defined in the Microsoft Product Terms, including but not limited to: Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Skype for Business Server, Microsoft SharePoint, or Microsoft System Center, RDS CAL, BizTalk Server and eligible Dynamics products.

Q. Can I bring my existing Microsoft Application Server licenses to GCP sole-tenancy?

 

·    Yes, GCP will enable you to bring your own licensing for Microsoft Application Servers with your own images to both sole-tenant and shared tenancy while remaining compliant for Microsoft licensing.

·    Active Software Assurance is not required to bring your own SQL Server licenses to GCP sole-tenant. However, it may be beneficial to maintain active Software Assurance to enable access to ‘New Version Rights’ as new software versions are released51 and to leverage Software Assurance Benefits.

Q. I have purchased Microsoft 365 and my SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Exchange Server licenses are covered under the Microsoft 365 User Subscription Licenses. Can I bring these server licenses to GCP? ·    Yes, but you can only bring your SharePoint, Skype for Business, and Exchange Server licenses to GCP sole-tenant. Microsoft licensing does not support deployment to GCP shared tenancy when covered under a Microsoft 365 E3/E5, or Microsoft 365 A3/A5 user subscription licenses.

·    This provision does not apply to Microsoft 365 purchased via a Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA).

Developer Licensing Options

   
Q. Can I bring my Visual Studio Subscription (MSDN) licenses to GCP? ·    Yes, Visual Studio subscriptions are eligible to be used with Google Cloud Platform sole-tenant for development and test purposes in non-production environments.

·    This is supported only on sole-tenant as a GCP sole-tenant is a dedicated server that is physically isolated for use by a single customer. All hardware resources and storage will remain fully dedicated for your use for the term of your subscription. In this case, the outsourcing wording within the Microsoft Product Terms will apply52.

·    Visual Studio subscriptions are not suitable for shared tenancy instances on Google Cloud Platform, and are not included within the ‘License Mobility Software Assurance’ Benefit. Visual Studio subscriptions can only be used on dedicated hardware.

Q. Can I buy Visual Studio Subscription (MSDN) licenses from GCP?

 

·    No, please work with your preferred Licensing Solution Partner (LSP).
Q. Can I bring my SQL Server Developer Edition licenses to GCP? ·    Yes, SQL Server Developer Edition is available as a free download. It is eligible for deployment in both sole-tenant and shared tenancy on Google Cloud Platform.

Windows Desktop Operating System

   
Q. Can I bring my Windows Desktop OS licenses to GCP sole tenant? ·    Yes, Microsoft licensing will support you to bring your own Windows Desktop OS licenses to enable access to genuine Windows Desktops running in GCP sole-tenant and remain license compliant.
Q. Can I bring my Windows Desktop OS licenses to GCP shared tenancy?

 

·    No, Microsoft licensing will only support a ‘genuine’ Windows Desktop OS to run on GCP sole-tenant.

·    You can run a desktop ‘experience’ based on Windows Server OS and Windows Server Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or similar technologies. Windows Server per-core licenses are available with the provided Windows Server instances purchased from GCP.

Q. Can I bring my Windows Desktop OS licenses to GCP, and use them with Google Chromebooks?

 

·    Yes, you can run Windows Desktop OS in GCP sole-tenant and access from a Google Chromebook.

·    Microsoft licensing rules will require you to bring your own ‘VDA Subscription’ licenses that are available through Volume Licensing.

·    If you have Windows Enterprise Per-Device, or Windows 10 Enterprise E3 User Subscription licenses, Microsoft licensing will require the accessing device to have a qualifying Windows desktop OS installed and licensed with an OEM license. This does not apply to Google Chromebook.

·    Google Chromebook will require a VDA user or per-device subscription license to be assigned to enable you to access genuine Windows Desktop OS on GCP sole-tenant.

Q. I am using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) licenses to deliver a ‘look and feel’ Windows Desktop experience on GCP shared tenancy. Do I require licenses for Windows Desktop OS?

 

·    No, a Windows Desktop OS license is not required when running a ‘look and feel’ server desktop on Windows Server with Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or similar virtualization technologies.
Q. I am using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) licenses to deliver a ‘look and feel’ Windows Desktop experience on GCP shared tenancy. What licenses do I require?

 

·    Windows Server per-core licenses are included in the cost of the Windows Server instances purchased from GCP.

·    Windows Server instances are available with the Windows Server OS pre-installed. In this case, the license is included in the cost. Windows Server CALs are not required.

·    You may require additional licenses for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CALs. Please work with your preferred Licensing Solution Provider (LSP).

Q. I am using Remote Desktop Services (RDS) licenses to deliver a ‘look and feel’ Windows Desktop experience on GCP shared tenancy. Do I require Software Assurance? ·    No, you may use your RDS User CALs with Windows Server software running in VMs on GCP shared tenancy servers54 without Software Assurance. You are required to submit ‘License Verification Form’ form when bringing your own licenses to GCP shared tenancy servers.
Q. My software licensing reseller has sold me a Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA); can I bring my Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 subscription licenses to GCP sole-tenant? ·    No, you cannot use Windows Desktop OS licensed via a Microsoft Cloud Agreement (MCA)55 (also known as Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) Agreement) on GCP.

·    You can use Windows 10 Enterprise Edition Per-Device Licenses, or Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 USLs, or Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 USLs, purchased via Enterprise Agreement (EA), Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), or other volume licensing programs.

 

   
Q. We would like to enable our employees to work from home on their personal devices, and access a ‘genuine’ Windows Desktop OS on GCP sole-tenant. Do I require Software Assurance?

 

·    Microsoft enabled this use scenario with ‘Roaming Rights’ as a Software Assurance Benefit for Windows. Roaming Rights will only apply when Windows Software Assurance or Windows VDA subscription licenses are licensed on a per-device basis.

·    Please be aware that this right for Windows Enterprise and Windows VDA was discontinued as of either January 31st, 2017, or the end of your existing Enrollment or Agreement term, whichever is later.56

·    ‘Roaming Rights’ do not apply for Windows Enterprise E3 or E5 User Subscription Licenses, as the licensed user can access the software remotely from any device.

Microsoft Office

   
Q. Can I deploy Office 365 ProPlus on GCP shared tenancy with License Mobility?  ·    No, Office 365 ProPlus may only be deployed on network servers in your organization’s on-premises or GCP sole-tenant servers that GCP ensure are fully dedicated to your use. You are responsible for the licensing of the software regardless of the physical location of the hardware.
Q. Can I deploy Office 365 ProPlus on GCP sole-tenant? ·    Yes, Office 365 ProPlus may be deployed on GCP sole-tenant with shared computer activation mode enabled.57
Q. How many devices can be activated via Shared Computer Activation? 

 

·    Office 365 ProPlus via shared computer activation will enable a licensed user to activate and access Office 365 ProPlus from any number of devices.

·    Any SKU that contains Office 365 ProPlus is eligible for Shared Computer Activation, including Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5, Microsoft 365 E3, and Microsoft 365 E5. All equivalent Government and Education SKUs are also included. Project Online Desktop Client and Visio Online Plan 2 are also included.

Q. Can I deploy Office Professional Plus on GCP shared tenancy with License Mobility? 

 

·    No, Office Professional Plus may only be deployed on network servers in your organization’s on-premises or GCP sole-tenant servers that GCP ensure are fully dedicated to your use.58 You are responsible for the licensing of the software regardless of the physical location of the hardware.
Q. Can I deploy Office Professional Plus on GCP sole-tenant? 

 

·    Yes, you can bring your own Office Professional Plus licenses and run them on dedicated servers59 and access the software remotely60 and remain compliant for Microsoft licensing.

·    GCP will ensure isolation of the hardware and other resources for each end-customer, to make sure it remains fully dedicated to your use.61 GCP will not support two customers to share the same set of resources, such as hardware or storage for the term of your subscription.

Q. We would like to enable our employees to work from home on their personal devices, and access Office Professional Plus. Do I require Software Assurance?

 

·    Yes, Microsoft enabled this use scenario with ‘Roaming Rights’ as a Software Assurance Benefit for Office, Project and Visio.62

·    ‘Roaming Rights’ do not apply for Office 365 ProPlus User Subscription Licenses, as the licensed user can access the software remotely from any device under shared computer activation.

 

[45] Please refer to Section 9 “License Assignment and Re-Assignment” in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 6 of 112.

[46] Please refer to Section 9 “License Assignment and Re-Assignment” in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 6 of 112.

47 The description of live migration for Compute Engine is available here.

48 Please refer to RDS ‘Extended Use Rights’ in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 47 of 112.

49 Microsoft confers ‘New Version Rights’ in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 78 of 112.

50 Please refer to ‘Server Licenses (per core)’ – Item 3 of the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 9 of 112.

51 Microsoft confers ‘New Version Rights’ in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 78 of 112.

52 Please refer to Section 8. “Outsourcing Software Management” in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 6 of 112.

54 Please refer to RDS ‘Extended Use Rights’ in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 47 of 112.

55 Please refer to the Microsoft Product Terms for the use restrictions for Microsoft Cloud Agreement (Ref: Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, Page 41 of 112).

56 Please refer to the Microsoft Product Terms for the curtailment of Roaming Rights (Ref: Microsoft Product Terms, February 2016 Page 5 of 92.

57 *This will only apply to Office 365 ProPlus per user licensing and does not apply or change the software use terms under Office Professional Plus per device licenses or Windows Desktop OS client licenses.

58 Please refer to section ‘Desktop Applications’- Item 1, of the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 9 of 112.

59 Please refer to section ‘Desktop Applications’- Item 1, of the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 9 of 112.

60 Please refer to section ‘Desktop Applications’- Item 5, of the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 9 of 112.

61 Please refer to Section 8. “Outsourcing Software Management” in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 6 of 112.

62 Please refer to “Office Desktop Applications” Section 4.“Software Assurance” in the Microsoft Product Terms, February 2019, page 22 of 112.

Thanks All


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