Licensing System Center 2012: It’s really that easy!

There’s no question that System Center is Microsoft’s flagship product that supports the management of virtual and physical IT environments. Unfortunately, up until now, the Licensing for System Center has been a difficult thorn to manage despite the benefits.  Good news for System Center customers this week. With recent changes announced by Microsoft to the licensing model for System Center 2012, things just got easier.

In the past, users of the System Center products have been required to license multiple components individually for different pieces of the solution. A license for the server; a license for the servers being managed and a license for all the clients being managed. This is all further complicated by the fact that System Center is a bundle of more than five technologies.

The products involved could be any of the following: Data Protection Manager, Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Service Manager, Virtual Machine Manager. The end result means many sku’s to choose from.  As if that’s not complicated enough, a variety of different bundles also exist (Enrollment for Core Infrastructure, Server Management Suite Datacenter, Server Management Suite Enterprise, System Center Essentials). These bundles often make using the different technologies under the System Center brand a very cost effective solution but knowing how to properly assess the licensing requirements  is a daunting and overwhelming task.  Microsoft took notice and made things simpler.

  • There are no longer any standalone management licenses.  They will now be sold through one of two suites for managing servers: Standard or Datacenter.
  • Everything you need to run System Center is included with each of these suites (yes, even SQL). 
  • Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD) and Server Management Suite Standard (SMSS) will be licensed per physical processor.  Each license will cover 2 physical processors.
  • SMSD will allow for the management of unlimited virtual OSEs.  SMSS will allow for the management of 2 virtual OSEs. The real distinction therefore becomes whether you want to manage a physical environment or a virtual one.

And it’s really that simple. There are of course implications to those who’ve already invested in these a la carte options for purchasing System Center. For customers invested in Software Assurance (SA) rest assured that there is a migration path that exists. The below table describes at a high-level what to expect.


The rest is history.

Office 365 plans: how to make the sweetest pick

Selecting the best plan for Office 365: Kiosk and Information workers

Forget what Forest Gump said, life doesn’t have to be like a box of chocolates, you can know what you’re goign to get. We want to help you be aware of the choices that are available to you and your business when licensing Microsoft Office 365. It’s not about chocolates, it’s about the skinny on what plan is right for you and your enterprise.

Office 365 Plans: The Basics
Office 365 plans are divided into two families, K Plans and E Plans. (There’s also a “P” plan, which would appeal to small businesses, of about 25 employees or less, but we don’t discuss that here today.)

[Read more…]

Cracking Office 365 licensing: Improvements and considerations

Everything you need to know about Office 365 licensing

Cracking into Office 365 licensing complexities

Licensing can be a tough nut to crack. The good news is that Microsoft is making the Office 365 licensing process a lot more flexible than with previous offerings.

With the announcement of the cloud-based suite, which includes hosted versions of the latest Lync, Sharepoint and Exchange, and a “full” version of Office apps, there’s plenty of buzz (and uncertainties) about what this new technology will mean for productivity and business needs. But one thing seems pretty clear: licensing as we know it is fundamentally different with Office 365. [Read more…]

Why Office 365 will push more to the cloud

Cloud in the shape of a question markSo you’ve heard about this cool “cloud” thing and how Microsoft is “all in.” Chances are, you’re nervous about making that leap of faith. Microsoft has just given you another reason to consider it.

Their flagship product Office is now going to be available through the cloud as well. Office 365 is Microsoft adding more functionality, applications, and a better experience for end users.

Office 365 will replace present day BPOS (Microsoft’s Business Productivity Online Suite), and then some.  What you get is a complete solution that is highly scalable (think adjustable user counts), backed by robust security and a 99.9% (financially backed) up-time guarantee.

It is set to release sometime near March, 2011 and combines the familiar Microsoft Office desktop suite with cloud-based versions of Exchange, Sharepoint and Lync.

[Read more…]

Microsoft Lync: More than just an instant messenger

A comment I hear all too often about this technology really doesn’t do it justice. Office Communications Server is not just Microsoft’s “Instant Messenger on steroids”. Have you thought about replacing your PBX with an IP-based solution that would drastically reduce telephony costs? What about all the money your organization would save by using Microsoft’s solution for conferencing and communicating between multiple global locations?

Next generation telephony” is just one of the ways that Microsoft describes the soon to be released, newly-chrsitened version of OCS (2010, unofficially). Here is a technology that provides a single, comprehensive unified communications solution that includes voice, instant messaging, presence, and audio, video, and web conferencing, all integrated with commonly used applications such as Microsoft Office and SharePoint, and infrastructure elements such as Microsoft Active Directory, Exchange and System Center Operations Manager. [Read more…]