Cloud Services Supported by Licensing Transformation

Posted by, Mark Croft
Director, WWLP Business Marketing Group, Microsoft

Often the hyperbole surrounding a hot topic ends up eclipsing the details that provide clarity on the topic itself. “Migration to the cloud” has become such a phrase, and is frequently batted around within the IT industry today - and yet only hand waves in four short words at a critical trend.  A more accurate notion is based on the perspective of bringing the power of cloud computing into your organization, at your pace, on your terms. It’s an additive ingredient to the IT mix rather than a departure and arrival at a different destination.

This was one of the key points made by Robert Wahbe during his keynote at TechEd. And just as the spectrum of IT infrastructure and delivery options are transforming, so must licensing models to meet the new demands and opportunities introduced by cloud computing.

Within the Microsoft Volume Licensing team we continuously listen to our customers, and we are hearing about their new challenges deciding on the optimum licensing programs for their technologies and services, both on-premises and off, so that they can deliver strategic benefit to their companies via IT infrastructure.  Cornerstone licensing programs such as the Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Software Assurance (SA) are undergoing a transformation to address the rapidly changing needs within the IT world and we’re delighted to be at TechEd to talk with customers and media one on one as well and host an interactive session as part of Office 365 track.

Throughout the conference we’ll be Tweeting updates via our handle - @MSFT_VL – so, please do follow us. In addition, as content comes available to share publicly we’ll link to it from this blog for reference. 

And lastly, below is a short summary on our updated Enterprise Agreement, License Mobility and new Software Assurance updates - which are all focused on helping organizations gain the flexibility they need to easily use  cloud services alongside their on-premises software.  It’s really about allowing you to tailor cloud computing to your business priorities, while making the most of your existing software licensing investments - and Microsoft Volume Licensing offers the flexibility to achieve your objectives today and in future.

If you’re considering the cloud for your business, read more at or give an authorized reseller a call today.

Updated Enterprise Agreement

Through the updated EA, businesses now have the flexibility to choose among on-premises software and cloud services to best suit their users’ needs, which helps optimize technology spend for changing business priorities.

Microsoft has expanded its portfolio of online services offerings available through Volume Licensing to include: Microsoft Office 365, Windows Intune, and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. All of these cloud based services are available to any size company and can be tailored to meet the profile of the workforce. The Enterprise Agreement provides the best way for any organization with 250 or more users or devices to license Microsoft’s on-premises software and online services within the same agreement.

As a result of utilizing the updated terms of the Enterprise Agreement, businesses can choose from a wide variety of on-premises software and cloud services for different types of users or IT environments. And customers can transition to cloud services at their own pace and scale, and even move back and forth over time as business needs dictate. This flexibility allows them to optimize technology spend for on-premises software licensing and online subscriptions to streamline asset management and software compliance across all Microsoft software and cloud services through a single agreement.

Software Assurance

In addition to updating the EA, Microsoft has added benefits to Software Assurance to support customers’ adoption of cloud services.  These benefits include License Mobility, Cloud Deployment Planning Services, Windows Thin PC and System Center Advisor.  Details of each of these new SA benefits are below:

License Mobility: As we continue to ensure that Software Assurance stays ahead of customers’ IT, deployment and support needs, we have added the ability to deploy certain application server licenses to the cloud or an alternative to on-premises solutions - so that you can take advantage of the lowest cost infrastructure for changing business priorities.

Each customer is approaching the cloud uniquely and at their own pace. That’s why it’s important that we offer them the flexibility that License Mobility provides. With Microsoft’s License Mobility, customers can assign instances of their existing VL application server licenses to run in a hosted environment on either shared or dedicated hardware at no additional cost via this new Software Assurance benefit.

Core Benefits include:

  • Enhanced deployment value at no extra cost for Software Assurance customers
  • Increased flexibility to use on-promises or cloud-hosting environments
  • Seamless integration of Microsoft cloud services with existing EA/SA Agreements
  • Eligible products include: SQL Server, Exchange Server, Lync, SharePoint Server, Dynamics CRM, System Center Servers

More information about license mobility is located at

Cloud Deployment Planning Services: the SA Deployment Planning Services have been expanded to include cloud deployment planning as well as on-premises deployment planning. This addresses customers’ needs to create practical, low risk cloud transition plans through expert advice and proven methodologies. This covers planning for productivity scenarios and includes Office 365 and its on-premises counterparts Office, Exchange and SharePoint.

Windows Thin PC (Win TPC): This benefit provides Software Assurance customers significant cost savings for their thin client computing model by supporting the repurposing of older PCs to thin clients without the need to purchase Windows VDA licensing.  More information about Windows Thin PC is located here.

System Center Advisor: Microsoft System Center Advisor is a cloud service that enables IT pros to assess their Microsoft server configuration and proactively avoid problems, while helping support staff to resolve issues faster by accessing current and historical configuration data, all with the security features that meet their needs.  Additionally, System Center Advisor helps reduce downtime by providing suggestions for improvement, and notifying customers of key updates specific to their configuration.  More information about System Center Advisor can be found here.

For more information about the benefits added to SA, please visit our Website at:

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