Microsoft Audit – Top tips how to navigate this process smoothly

microsoft-audit-top-tips-how-to-navigate-this-process-smoothlyWhenever the word “Audit” comes up, Microsoft customers and partners almost immediately start to worry. Microsoft audits can be a major pain and they are happening more often than ever. In one recent survey, “58% of executives said they have been audited by Microsoft in the last 12 months, whereas five years ago, these types of audits were rare and only encountered under specific situations.

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Windows Server 2016 Licensing Changes – Plan Accordingly!

Windows Server 2016 Licensing Changes

Windows Server 2016 Licensing Changes coming this September. Get ready.

With the upcoming release of Windows Server 2016 at the end of September, Microsoft is promising a lot, and if they deliver, this could be a game changer for you and your clients. The Softchoice SPLA team is here to simplify the licensing complexities and ensure you’re ideally positioned for future growth.

I encourage you to review the features I’ve attached in this blog post, but at a very high level, Windows Server 2016 boils down to this:

  • Increased cloud integration
  • Better security
  • Additional features in the Datacenter edition

Download Windows Server 2016 Feature Comparison

Download Windows Server 2016 Datasheet

Windows Server 2016 only available through core-based licensing

The biggest difference for the hosting world is that Windows Server 2016 will only be available through core-based licensing, with a minimum of 8-cores per processor. At the moment, the cost of 8-cores is expected to be identical to the cost of a single processor license, so anyone running 8 cores or less should not see a difference when moving to 2016. Anyone running more than 8 cores per processor will have to license those extra cores for an added cost when moving to 2016.

Important: When Windows Server 2016 comes out, all Windows Server editions will also move to core-based licensing, but Microsoft will allow you to continue reporting processors until the end of your agreement for all editions except 2016.

Very Important: Do you meet the following criteria?

  • Host Windows Server
  • Run more than 8 cores per processor
  • No immediate plans to upgrade to 2016
  • Your SPLA contract expires soon

If so, then you should renew your SPLA contract before the September release to protect yourself for 3 years and continue reporting processors.

The Softchoice SPLA Team is here to help you make sense of licensing in order to stay compliant and profitable. We give you the ability to report licenses through our unique online portal, which are then reviewed before being sent to Microsoft for processing. Our TechCheck teams can also arrange SPLA-specific assessments to help you gain a better understanding of your hosting environment.

If you have any questions about Windows Server or the SPLA program, let us know!

Click here if you want to learn more about other SPLA licensing changes.

 

SQL Server 2016 | Top 3 SPLA gotchas that will get you in compliance trouble

SQL Server 2016 Top 3 SPLA gotchas that will get you in compliance trouble

In a time where being first-to-market is paramount, having a powerful tool such as SQL Server 2016 will give insight into opportunities others can’t see. When it comes to your customers in the SPLA program, SQL Server 2016 is a welcomed addition without any changes to pricing or licensing.

What has changed in recent years, however, has been Microsoft’s increased efforts to ensure compliance in increasingly complex environments. On average, Microsoft is auditing 50% of its partners, and the average out-of-compliance penalty is $200,000. Many IT teams have been caught off-guard and even further exerted during the auditing process. As it pertains to SPLA, there are a few specific signs Microsoft looks at when trying to determine if you could potentially be out of compliance. Not surprisingly, most have to do with SQL.

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MPSA: Microsoft’s new licensing vehicle (and what it means for you)

MPSA: Microsoft's new licensing vehicle (and what it means for you)

Updated: May 6, 2016 (Originally published Sep 2014)

Many organizations have been taking advantage of the Select Plus Agreement over the past few years for ad-hoc purchases that don’t require a standardization across one of Microsoft’s three Enterprise Product sets. And whether using the Select Plus as a companion agreement to an EA, or as the main licensing vehicle, our clients have enjoyed the flexibility and control of their product selection.

Although the Select Plus is an “evergreen” agreement that was to never expire, Microsoft has recently introduced their next generation volume licensing agreement, the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA), that will soon take its place.

The two agreements have many similarities such as both being evergreen, but the main difference is that the MPSA was created to allow purchases of Online Service, which continue to be the focus for Microsoft. If you’re currently enrolled in a Select Plus, or are considering a purchase through an MPSA, here are a few things you should know:

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Microsoft increases seat minimums for corporate Enterprise Agreement

Microsoft Moving Corporate Enterprise Agreement User/Device Minimums From 250 To 500

Earlier this month, Microsoft announced that starting July 1st, 2016 any new corporate Enterprise Agreement (including Enterprise Agreement Subscriptions) will require a 500 user/device minimum. Before we get into the specifics, let’s all take a deep breath.

While at face value this may seem like a major change from Microsoft, in reality, the impact on existing EA customers is minimal. That’s because Microsoft is allowing all current EA customers, including those who sign up now until June, to have the ability to renew one (1) time for an additional 36-month term. That means that customers under 500 seats may still be in an EA for the next 6.5 years (if they sign or renew in June of 2016).

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Microsoft’s New 2016 SPLA Price Increase & Year-End Action Plan

Microsoft's New 2016 SPLA Price Increase & Year-End Action Plan

The end of 2015 is fast approaching. The weather is cooling, and it’s time for our friends in Redmond, WA to make changes to SPLA pricing and the way they manage partners.

To help our SPLA partners prepare for 2016, we have compiled a list of top 3 actions for December. [Read more…]