What to do with your SPLA Licenses

What to do with your SPLA Licenses

When it comes to software licensing, most of the time we discuss what you can’t do with the licenses. Today I thought I would touch on what you CAN do with Microsoft licenses as it pertains to the SPLA program. Here’s a list of ways you can take advantage of being a Microsoft hosting partner.

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How To Use SQL Enterprise 2012 Under A Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA)

I once had a sales leader say to me “where there is change, there is opportunity.” What we”ve found regarding SQL 2012 is there is a lot of confusion around virtualization, how this will affect the datacenter environment, and ultimately how will this affect costs. At the same time, it might mean opportunity!

I wrote in a previous blog post about SQL 2012 in a general sense, and today I would like to review my two reasons on why switching to SQL Enterprise 2012 may be a good move.

  1. SQL Enterprise  2012 allows unlimited virtualization
  2. SQL Enterprise 2012 allows license mobility

Those two things alone “might” be a reason to switch. With unlimited virtualization, you can license every physical core (minimum 4 cores per processor) on the host machine that allow you to spin up as many virtual instances of SQL on that host machine. This is a good move considering the cost of SQL Datacenter 2008R2 was outrageous. The issue now is SQL 2012 is licensed by the core not by the physical processor. For those service providers that built very robust servers with multiple cores this may be a price increase. (Thus, the “might” part in my explanation above in reasons to switch.)

So now that you have unlimited virtualization, what happens if those virtual instances (VM’s) can move from host to host or even across data centers?Theoretically you would need to license those physical hosts right?

To quote ESPN’s Lee Corso… “Not so fast my friend.[Read more…]

All About the Core – Key SQL 2012 Update for SPLA Partners

There’s significant buzz about the updates and changes afoot for SQL 2012, but what does it mean for our SPLA partners?

In general, the key takeaways from this product update include:

  • Replacement of Processor License with Core Licenses
  • Retirement of the Datacenter edition and the Workgroup edition
  • Retirement of SQL Enterprise SAL
  • Introduction of the new Business Intelligence SAL
  • SQL Web remaining with SPLA/Removed for other Microsoft vol. licensing programs

So what does all that mean to you?  Beginning in spring when SQL 2012 launches (or whenever you choose to deploy) you’ll be paying for the power that you need instead of the physical processors.  In addition, SQL Enterprise will offer unlimited virtualization rights. Given how pricey the Datacenter SKU has historically been, this could mean cost savings for service providers that were previously licensing Datacenter.

The new way of licensing SQL 2012 is a bit interesting.  Instead of licensing by the physical processor you will need to license by the core.  The cores will be approximately ¼ of the costs of SQL 2008R2 processor license.  However, there’s a 4 core minimum in order to report this SKU.  In other words, if you have a machine with two cores, you still need to report four cores! 

Here are some simple guidelines:

  1. Count the number of cores on the server
  2. Minimum four core licenses are required per physical processor
  3. Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses for the future
  4. Licenses are sold in packs – each pack includes two core packs. 

The transition process is a bit cloudy, (no pun intended).   One of the key benefits of SPLA is the ability to use the latest version and downgrade to previous SKU. This is an option within the parameters of specific dates:

  • Spring 2012: General availability for SQL 2012
  • January 2013:  SQL 2012 will be available on the SPUR and on the pricelists. There will be two SKUs for each product (1 for SQL 2008R2 and 1 for SQL 2012)
  • Spring 2012 – January 2013: SQL 2008R2 and SQL 2012 will be on the pricelist.  This means if you are not ready to move to 2012, you can continue to license 200R2 in the same fashion you’re doing it today (per physical CPU).  Once you migrate to 2012, you need to adhere to the 2012 use rights and report 2012 SKU.

More information on this coming soon!  Look for another blog post on SQL 2012 as more information becomes available.  If you have a volume licensing agreement, check out the other blogs on this at http://blogs.softchoice.com/microsoftnavigator/2011/11/04/sql-2012-denali-microsoft-outlines-upcoming-licensing-changes/

System Center 2012 – New Changes for SPLA Partners

Recent changes to Microsoft System Center means good news for our SPLA Partners. Microsoft announced a simplified licensing structure that provides more flexibility, particularly for  those with highly virtualized environments.

What’s new?  On the server front, there are now only two editions each with the same feature functionality; Standard and Datacenter.  Pricing has yet to be announced, but rest assured Datacenter will cost a bit more than standard.  Standard will only allow the management of 1 OSE per processor vs. Datacenter which will allow unlimited OSEs (as long as each physical processor is reported).  This is a processor based licensing structure, and all SAL licenses for the server components will be removed for the new model.

There are 3 SKUs for Subscriber Access Licenses (SAL); System Center Configuration Manager (includes virtual machine manager), System Center Client Manger Suite (includes Service Manager, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, and Orchestrator), and System Center Endpoint Protection 2012.

More information to come as we get closer to general availability (mid-year 2012).  

For additional information and training support, view:

More to Come!

The Path to Windows Virtualization for SPLA

How do you license Windows in a virtualized environment through the Microsoft SPLA Program?    Windows virtualization does not have to be complex, and in many ways can save you significant amount of money on your monthly SPLA usage report.  In this article, I am going to review the different ways of licensing as well as the virtualization rights available for Windows server.

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SPLA 101

What is SPLA?

SPLA stands for the Service Provider Licensing Agreement. The Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is for organizations that want to offer hosted software and services to end customers, such as Web hosting, hosted applications, messaging, collaboration, and platform infrastructure. SPLA partners have the ability to deliver a customized service with a flexible cost structure, no startup costs, no monthly sales minimums or required term of commitment. In short, it is for any organization that hosts Microsoft software to third parties.

What is the SPLA program? I figured since I started a blog about the licensing of the program I should probably start with the basics. [Read more…]