Microsoft is relaxing its volume licensing rules to allow customers to move existing servers to the clouds without paying extra. Dubbed "license mobility", the changes come into effect 1 July.
The changes are for customers with Volume License deals through Software Assurance for Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, Microsoft Lync Server, Microsoft System Center servers, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Microsoft Shares Licensing Updates at Microsoft Hosting Summit
BELLEVUE, Wash. — March 30, 2011 — Earlier today, Microsoft shared details regarding licensing enhancements to offer customers the flexibility to deploy application servers on-premises or hosted by Service Providers in the Cloud. These enhancements are referred to as license mobility. Microsoft is also announcing a reduction to the pricing and management overhead for Windows Server in the Microsoft Services Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) program by retiring all Outsourcing SKUs, eliminating use restrictions for Non-Outsourcing SKUs and adding the Core Infrastructure Suite to the SPLA program. These changes come into effect on July 1, 2011.
As customers evaluate and move their workloads and server applications to the cloud, they are looking to leverage existing licensing investments. This includes taking advantage of cost savings that Service Providers can deliver through shared infrastructure to achieve economies of scale and operational efficiency. To help address this, Microsoft will start offering license mobility in July to extend customers’ current Volume License investments under Software Assurance (SA) to the cloud. These terms also apply to future Volume License investments.
License mobility will cover Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, Microsoft Lync Server, Microsoft System Center servers, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Licenses for application servers that are covered under software assurance can be run in service providers’ datacenters on shared hardware for that customer’s dedicated use.
More details shared during the Hosting Summit included licensing enhancements for Service Providers. These include the introduction of a new and more affordable Core Infrastructure Suite to the SPLA program. At the same time, Microsoft is retiring the Outsourcing SKUs for Windows Server effective July 1, 2011. At the point of retirement, workload restrictions for "non-outsourcing" SKU will be removed thereby reducing the pricing and management overhead for Windows Server in SPLA and eliminating use restrictions for Non-Outsourcing SKUs.
Also notable, for customers who wish to use Software as a Service (SaaS) from their Service Providers, Microsoft will expand the Subscriber Access Licenses (SAL) for SA SKUs to cover Enterprise SAL licenses for Exchange Server, Lync Server and SharePoint Server.
Additional details about these developments during the Hosting Summit are shared in the Q&A below.
What enhancements is Microsoft making to license mobility?
Adoption of Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) continues to increase, compelling customers to move workloads and applications to the cloud. We understand that while customers are interested in moving to the cloud they are looking to leverage existing licensing investments.
To help address this, Microsoft will start offering license mobility in July to extend customers’ current Volume License investments under SA to the cloud. License Mobility will provide customers the flexibility to deploy certain server applications with active Software Assurance on-premises or in the cloud, without having to buy additional licenses. This includes Exchange Server, Lync Server, SharePoint Server, SQL Server and Dynamics CRM. This change provides customers with additional hosting flexibility and affordability.
How do these enhancements help service providers?
For Service Providers this change eliminates the prior requirement for dedicated hardware and enables improved economies of scale and operating efficiencies. The Service Provider Licensing Enhancements include:
- A new Core Infrastructure Suite in SPLA that will make licensing the infrastructure at the Service Provider's datacenter more affordable. This suite will include Windows Server Datacenter, System Center Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD) and Forefront Endpoint Protection.
- Reduced pricing for certain Subscriber Access Licenses for Software Assurance (“SALs for SA”) that will make shared application hosting more affordable for customers with active Software Assurance. Additionally, we will expand the SALs for SA SKUs to cover Enterprise SAL licenses for Exchange Server, Lync Server and SharePoint Server.
- Removing the Windows Server Outsourcer SKUs and associated price point will result in a lower single price offering across all Service Provider workloads.
Why is Microsoft making license mobility available to customers?
Microsoft is making enhancements to license mobility because our customers and partners have asked us to enhance the flexibility of our licensing to support the range of IT deployment options that are available to them today, including on-premises, Microsoft delivered cloud services and partner delivered cloud services.
How does this impact your customers who are thinking about or are moving “to the cloud”?
License mobility gives customers an additional licensing option to take advantage of cloud and other multi-tenant environments. Not only will license mobility make the transition easier for existing SA customers, it provides customers who prefer to purchase perpetual licenses the ability to continue doing so while still taking advantage of the efficiencies that the cloud offers. The cloud is critical to our customers’ business and we want to do whatever it takes to provide them with the support needed as they make the change.
Each customer is approaching the cloud at their own pace. That’s why it’s important that we offer them the flexibility that license mobility provides. This new licensing right helps disconnect the purchase decision from the decision of where the customer deploys the license.
If a customer moves their license to the cloud, will they have the right to move it back to their on premise server in the future?
Yes, for Volume Licenses, customers will have the flexibility to move the license once every 90 days between environments. This is similar to the current 90 day policy on license movement between on premise servers.
When will this be available and what is the purchase requirement?
License mobility enhancements will become available worldwide on July 1, 2011.
What products are covered by license mobility?
- Microsoft Dynamics CRM
- Microsoft Exchange Server
- Microsoft Lync Server
- Microsoft SharePoint Server
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Systems Center servers
What products are excluded from license mobility?
Products under the Windows Server operating system, Windows Client operating system, Desktop Applications and Developer Tools licensing models are excluded from license mobility. In addition, Windows Server Outsourcer SKUs are being removed which will result in a lower single price offering for all Service Provider workloads.
Why did Microsoft discontinue Outsourcing SKUs for Windows Server?
Microsoft continues to seek ways to simplify licensing offers and improve consistency across Microsoft products. With this in mind, and further motivated by partner feedback, Microsoft is retiring Outsourcing SKUs for Windows Server effective July 1, 2011. At the point of retirement, workload restrictions for “non-outsourcing” SKU will be removed. Thus, the “non-outsourcing” SKU will cover all scenarios currently covered by both SKUs. This change will significantly reduce the cost of Windows Server licenses for many service providers.
What are the benefits of retiring Outsourcing SKUs?
Removal of the Windows Server Outsourcing SKUs and associated price point will result in a lower single price offering across all Service Provider workloads. In addition, the change increases platform manageability by adding clarity to licensing terms and improving licensing consistency across Microsoft products.