Enterprise Cloud Suite Licensing Guide

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on Enterprise Cloud Suite

This will look at the publicly available information upon general availability on December 1st 2014

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further product-specific conditions or limitations on use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA, please drop me a note via email

Executive Summary

  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite combines three strategic elements for Microsoft to drive adoption of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Windows Desktop OS under a consistent Per User subscription model for the desktop
  • Windows offers a compelling Per User licensing model, but organisations should continue to track device profiles and associated underlying Windows device licenses
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite will enable remote home working and BYOD scenarios for organisation who opt to deliver a consistent Windows experience  via a VM-based VDI (dedicated image) or VM-based VDI (shared image) delivery model to a range of device profiles.
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite will be offered at a  advantageous price to incentivise adoption, driving ‘strategic bets’ for Windows 10, Office 365 and Enterprise Mobility Suite.
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite is available on the Enterprise Agreement (EA) and Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS). Customers should understand the impact of revised True Up reporting within November 2014 contracts.

Enterprise Cloud Suite Overview

Microsoft made Enterprise Cloud Suite generally available to  Enterprise Agreement customers December 1st 2014

The updated EA purchasing vehicle  combines three strategic elements for Microsoft to drive adoption of Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite, Windows Desktop OS under a consistent User Subscription Licensing Model.

The ‘Cloud Desktop Platform’ packages strategic objectives for Productivity and Cloud Services with Management across Devices

Cloud Desktop

  • Microsoft Intune provides a unified Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Mobile Application Management (MAM) across PCs and devices. This now includes management of Office Mobile Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) for iOS devices and restrict actions such as copy, cut, and paste outside of the managed app ecosystem.
  • Azure Active Directory Premium (AADP) provides User Identity and Federation via Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) to enable pass through authentication with SSO experience from on premise AD to cloud service providers like Office365 and Salesforce.com. Acting as a identity broker for SaaS Apps with support for Multi Factor Authentication (MFA).
  • Later this will include Microsoft Identity Manager (MIM) in H1 2015 as an on-prem Identity and Access Management (IAM)
  • Azure Rights Management Services enabling Information Rights Management (IRM) for  Office365 Services and On Premise SharePoint, Exchange and Windows Server File Services.

EMS

  • Microsoft Office365 Enterprise E3 is a flagship SaaS subscription offering of Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and the Lync Online, Yammer and Office365 Pro Plus

Office365

Windows Enterprise and SA

This represents a move from Microsoft to provide a consistent Per User licensing vehicle to enable a future ‘Cloud Desktop’ service offering. While Windows will be integrated with cloud services running on the Azure Platform; Whether the Windows service will be reflected in a consistent subscription based commercial model for Windows 10 remains to be seen.

Cloud Desktop


Windows SA Per User

Prior to General Availability of the Enterprise Cloud Suite and Windows SA Per User licensing Windows Client OS on any device under a per-user model was not an option.

Microsoft now provide four licensing options, a ‘full’ Windows SA Per User Subscription, a ‘full’ Windows VDA Per User Subscription and an Windows SA Per User ‘Add On’ Subscription and Windows SA Per User Migration 

Windows Per User

With the Windows SA Per User Subscription, organisations can license Windows Software Assurance on a per user basis. When the license is assigned primary user, the associated primary device must be licensed with a ‘qualifying OS’.

The Windows SA Per User ‘Add On’, provides the benefit of Windows Software Assurance per User, or Windows VDA per User, at a price point that recognizes existing ongoing investment. When the license is assigned to a primary user of a primary device that is already covered with active Software Assurance, the Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on grants the licensed user with all of the benefits of Windows Software Assurance per User. When you license the primary user of a primary device that is already covered with Windows VDA, the Windows Software Assurance per User Add-on grants the licensed user with all of the benefits of Windows VDA per User.

These Windows VDA Per User Subscription allows an organisation license Windows on a per user basis, and may be assigned to any user. Each licensed user has access to Windows Enterprise without the need to track the operating system license(s) on the user’s device(s), except for devices where the software is installed locally. This provides a user-centric licensing model, providing flexible options for organisations to deploy and access Windows across devices, and does provide improved license management for Windows.

The Windows SA Per User Migration  maintains the SA Only price point that is available to customers who own perpetual licenses with Software Assurance in an Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Select Agreement. Customers with active SA will receive special pricing for transition continuity, recognizing their equity investment in previous fully paid perpetual licenses. This is now available for existing renewal customers.

[Ref: Microsoft Price List Guide, December 2014]

Per Device vs. User Comparison

Enterprise Agreement Requirements

The Windows SA Per User Subscription for customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) should acquire Windows SA Per User for all “Qualified Users”

  • The “Qualified User” is defined in the Enterprise Agreement enrollment as “”‘Qualified User” means a person (e.g., employee, consultant, contingent staff) who: (1) is a user of a Qualified Device, or (2) accesses any server software requiring an Enterprise Product Client Access License or any Enterprise Online Service. It does not include a person who accesses server software or an Online Service solely under a License identified in the Qualified User exemptions in the Product List.” [Ref: Enterprise Agreement Enrollment 2014]
  • “To understand what “user of a Qualified Device” means, “Qualified Device” means any device that is used by or for the benefit of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise and is: (1) a personal desktop computer, portable computer, workstation, or similar device capable of running Windows Professional locally (in a physical or virtual operating system environment), or (2) a device used to access a virtual desktop infrastructure (“VDI”).
  • Qualified Devices do not include any device that is: (1) designated as a server and not used as a personal computer, (2) an Industry Device, or (3) not managed (as defined in the Product List at the start of the applicable initial or renewal term of the Enrollment) as part of Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise. At its option, the Enrolled Affiliate may designate any device excluded above (e.g., Industry Device) that is used by or for the benefit of the Enrolled Affiliate’s Enterprise as a Qualified Device for all or a subset of Enterprise Products or Online Services the Enrolled Affiliate has selected.”

[Ref: Enterprise Agreement Enrollment 2014]

  • The Microsoft define a ‘Primary User’ must be assigned to a License Device
  • The “Primary User” is defined as  “the user who uses a Windows Software Assurance, Windows Embedded Industry Software Assurance, or Windows VDA Licensed Device more than 50% of the time in any 90 day period.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2015, Page 75]

Product Licensing Requirements

  • The Licensed Device must be ‘already licensed’ for a ‘Qualified Operating System‘ of Windows as defined in the Product List
  • The Windows SA Per User Subscription does not require Software Assurance for an assigned to the Licensed Device
  • Microsoft clarify that Windows can be locally installed in a Physical OSE on Windows Pro and Enterprise devices and additionally on “integrated” screens with a size of 10.1″ diagonally or less
  • The Windows SA Per User Add On does require Active Software Assurance or active VDA Subscription Per Device License for the Licensed Device
  • The Windows SA Per User Add On can only be purchased for the maximum number of available SA or Windows VDA Subscription
  • The ongoing software use rights acquired through the purchase of Add-on User Subscription Licenses will expire with the the expiration of the SA coverage for the Qualifying License(s), or at the end of the subscription term for the Add-On USLs.
  • The VDA Subscription License is recommended  for User Profiles without a primary work device, or not considered a “Primary User” under the Product Use Rights 

Decision Tree Windows SA

[Ref: Product List –  January 2015, Page 33–35][Ref: Product List –  January 2015, Page 34]

This diagram below provides an overall view of the licensing options for Windows Per User. (As always, please refer directly to binding documentation for confirmation), but this diagram attempts to capture different device profiles and respected software use rights:

Windows Per User Graphic

Complexity of the Per Device Model

Please be aware that the Per User model is not completely abstracted from the device profile, or the requirement underlying licenses assigned to those devices.

  • It does comparatively offer less complexity when managing home workers accessing VDI from a personal device and the associated risk of unlicensed access to a virtual desktop or walking their personal devices onto the organisation premises, something restricted under the “Roaming Use Right”.
  • Adopting the Windows Per User Subscription Model without also adopting Office365 Pro Plus on a Per User Subscription Model could lead to commercial risk from non compliance.
  • For example, if a user is assigned with a Windows SA Per User Subscription, but continues to access Office Pro Plus 2013 off-premise, relying on the ‘Roaming Use Right’ available as part of Software Assurance, this would not impact the ‘Qualified Device’ count. However, should the user walk that personal device onto organisation premises, it may inadvertently ‘pull through’ a requirement to license an extended number of devices under the ‘Qualified Device’ definition.
  • Microsoft state “Roaming Use” can be used on ‘Qualifying Third Party Device’ defined by Microsoft as “a device that is not controlled, directly or indirectly, by you or your affiliates”. Organisations should be aware of the definition of “management of qualified devices” as defined in the Product List to include domain join, on premise authentication to use applications, or install of agents to enforce anti-virus, anti-malware, enforcement of group policies, or receives data about, and, configures, or gives instruction the OS on a device, or access to Windows in a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) outside of the off-premise “Roaming Use Right”. [Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2015, Page 9] [Ref: Product List, January 2015, Page 84]

The complexity of managing  home working VDI and uncontrolled BYOD scenarios drives the business case for a consistent Per User licensing model. Microsoft will continue to incentivise procurement under the Per User licensing model available for solutions and services within the Office365 and Azure portfolio to drive adoption of a ‘cloud desktop’ under a subscription or relational procurement model.

Windows Per Device Graphic


The Enterprise Cloud Suite

Microsoft now provide three licensing options on the price list to purchase the Enterprise Cloud Suite  a ‘full’ Cloud Desktop Per User, a Cloud Desktop Add On and an Cloud Desktop From SA 

  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite User Subscription License (USL) or Cloud Desktop Per User includes Office 365 Plan E3, the Enterprise Mobility Suite  (EMS) and Windows Enterprise SA per User.
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite Add-on or Cloud Desktop Add On can be added on to a Platform EA (which includes Office Pro Plus, Windows Enterprise and either the ECAL or Core CAL).
  • The Enterprise Cloud Suite From SA User Subscription License (USL)  or Cloud Desktop From SA provides the same functionality as the full priced Enterprise Cloud Suite USL, but at a beneficial price point for customers who own perpetual licenses with Software Assurance in an Enterprise Agreement (EA).  Customers with active SA will receive an better price point incentivise transition continuity, and recognize existing equity investment in previous fully paid perpetual licenses.  This is now available for existing renewal customers
  • Customers that see Lync Voice as a part of their future roadmap, may purchase the Lync Voice Add-On. While the Lync Voice Add-On is available from December 2014, Microsoft are careful to stipulate that no provisioning will take place upon procurement of the license.

Lync Voice Add On


The Impact of 2014 Contracts

In November 2014, Microsoft updated contract packs for the Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) and Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE).

Enterprise Agreement with Add Ons

  • Microsoft have aligned the Enterprise Plan E1, Enterprise Plan E3, Enterprise Plan E4, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) Add-Ons as “Enterprise Online Services”.
  • This will enable organisations to enroll a subset of users into a Per User licensing model or transition users over the contract term without committing Enterprise-Wide at outset of contract.
  • Microsoft continue to offer a ‘Platform’ SKU to incentivise ‘front loading’ a contract.
  • The Lync Voice Add-On is currently aligned as an ‘Additional Product’ enabling ‘price lock’ and not categorizing Lync Voice as an ‘Enterprise Online Service’.

Enterprise Online Services Only EA

  • Organisations that sign an Enterprise Agremeent (EA) or Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) for ‘Enterprise Online Services Only EA‘ must meet the minimum order requirements of the respective enrollment of 250 Enterprise Online Services USLs, including Enterprise Plan E1, Enterprise Plan E3, Enterprise Plan E4, Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS), and Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS), From SA and Full USLs  and Microsoft Intune Full USLs but no enterprise-wide commitment is required.
  • Enterprise Online Services can be reduced to a minimum of 250 USLs at Anniversary
  • Notably, All ‘Additional Products’ are eligible to be added to the contract

True Up Policy

A principle impact to organisations will be in the approach to the annual True Up. Updated wording in the contracts could significantly impact customers that have seasonal or other annual deployment fluctuations to impact the total cost of ownership (TCO) of a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement

This new approach, effective for customers signing the revised contracts is defined as follows for the Enterprise Agreement enrollment:

“True-up Requirements. Enrolled Affiliate must submit an annual true-up order that accounts for any changes since the initial order or last order. If there are no changes, then an update statement must be submitted instead of a true-up order.

(i) Enterprise Products. For Enterprise Products, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the number of Qualified Devices and Qualified Users (if ordering user-based Licenses) at the time the true-up order is placed and must order additional Licenses for all Qualified Devices and Qualified Users that are not already covered by existing Licenses, including any Enterprise Online Services.

(ii) Additional Products. For Additional Products that have been previously ordered under this Enrollment, Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Additional Products used since the latter of the initial order, the last true-up order or the prior anniversary date and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.”

For the counting of Enterprise Products, the wording in the enrollment does have an apparent conflict, that accounts for “any changes” over the term or since the last anniversary, but later also under the term Enterprise Products “at the time the true-up order is placed”.

Taken in a wider context for customers renewing other enrollments, this tactical editing of the November 2014 also extends to the Server Cloud Enrollment :-

“(ii) True-up order. Enrolled Affiliate must determine the maximum number of Products used since the latter of the initial order the last true-up order, or the Enrollment’s prior anniversary and submit a true-up order that accounts for any increase.” [Ref: Server Cloud Enrollment 2014]

This approach has been reflected in other guidance, including deployment of the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP):

“The Microsoft Assessment Planning (MAP) Toolkit features an IT-based Software Usage Tracker functionality that provides usage reports for the following server products: Windows Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server, SharePoint Server, and System Center Configuration Manager. This automated software asset management–related functionality is designed to be used by Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. The Software Usage Tracker provides you with a view of your actual server usage, which can be valuable for comparing with your purchased CALs, or for True-up and agreement renewal discussions.” [Ref: EA Program Guide]

This change in written terminology may incentivise Microsoft to request metering of use over the contract term, or final year of a contract, to ascertain ‘maximum use’ therein driving revenues from final year True Up and subsequent renewal; underwriting the business case to move workloads to Azure

The application of this term may be applied inconsistently by Microsoft, I would recommend an agreed approach to True Up with your respective Licensing Solution Provider (LSP).


Final Thoughts

The Enterprise Cloud Suite, as a commercial licensing vehicle provides a consistent Per User licensing metric across the desktop environment and “pulls through” Windows onto a subscription procurement model. This combined suite provides an incentivised price point to drive adoption and enable the strategy for a ‘Cloud Desktop’ delivering user-centric services from Azure.  This is reflected by the recent announcements for Windows 10 that will extend Windows as a ‘universal’ platform across device profiles for Office365 and Azure services.

The licensing model ensures securement OEM licensing business model by limiting abstraction from the device profile, or the requirement for underlying Windows licenses assigned to those devices . Microsoft  continue to leverage volume licensing as a strategic tool to drive customer behaviors toward subscription services and this will continue in 2015.

Organisations should review their current and planned utilisation of Microsoft Solutions and Services to evaluate alignment with the strategic objectives of their Microsoft Account Team. Microsoft will align personnel and resources to support customers that move toward Azure and Office365 but are enabled by the 2014 contract structure to secure short term revenue generation through True Up or via Audit.

Microsoft Advisory Services

SoftwareONE provide independent consultancy services from within our Microsoft Advisory Services to optimise our clients Microsoft Strategy, including but not limited to the following benefits:

  • Knowledge Transfer on Microsoft Solutions and Services, and Licensing, from Principal Consultants from our Microsoft Advisory Practice and Technical Solutions Division
  • Confirmation of current License Entitlement and Maintenance Entitlement
  • Optimised Commercial Investment plan for Microsoft Solutions and Services
  • Commercial Analysis across Contracts and Global Pricelists
  • Assessment of Commercial Options versus Microsoft Strategic Objectives to ascertain opportunities for Negotiation Advantage
  • Managed closure support with Microsoft Global Account Manager

About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Microsoft Advisory Services – Practice Lead at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.

SQL 2014 Licensing Update

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server.

  • This will look at the publicly available information upon general availability for SQL 2014 on April 1st 2014
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further product-specific conditions or limitations on use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

 


The Challenge

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation  on SQL Server to support clients whom continue to deploy  prior release(s) of SQL but want to understand the implications of the release of SQL 2014. This will look at a high conceptual level at the impact to disaster recovery and deployment of SQL instances on Virtual Machines (VMs) to establish the key recommendations to implement in your organisation.

 

Key Findings

Understanding Which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that an organisation should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2, 2012 or 2014 licensing schema.

  • Product Use Rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even when adopting downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights.
  • Upon upgrade from a prior version, the Product Use Rights for the version running apply, subject to exception from the Product List.
  • The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an Enterprise Enrollment will apply to the use of the then-current versions until upgrade to a new version.
  • Upon upgrade, the Product Use Rights in effect upon General Availability (GA) will apply.
  • In both cases, If Microsoft elect to update a subsequent release of the Product Use Rights, the software use terms will not apply unless they are elected to by the customer.
  • For customers that elect to leverage downgrade rights, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version running will apply.
  • Microsoft do caveat that should a legacy product have components not are not part of the version licensed, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply.

 

A Question of Support

Standard Edition technical specifications continue to improve with the release of SQL 2014, raising the physical memory maximum of 128 GB, representing double the previous maximum utilisation (see table below for a full comparison)The increased memory capacity, combined with a public mainstream support roadmap for SQL 2014 until July 9th 2019, and an estimated release cycle of 2 years would support confidence in continued investment in the edition and Software Assurance (SA). Customers that continue to run legacy versions 2008 R2 and 2008, should be aware of the termination of mainstream support on July 9th 2014 and termination of extended support on July 9th 2019.

image

The Critical Value of SA

Microsoft continue to drive the business case for Software Assurance (SA) through the incremental evolution in the licensing schema for virtualization rights.

  • The principal business driver for Software Assurance (SA) is not ‘New Version Rights’ but enablement of dynamic reassignment of licenses within a datacentre, to the Azure platform or an approved hosting partner.
  • The SQL ‘Failover Rule’ is now included within Software Assurance (SA);
    • Under prior precedent, a primary licensed server would include an extended use right to run a secondary passive SQL instance in a separate OSE, and also provide temporary support during a failover event (commonly interpreted as 30 days) in a secondary unlicensed server.
    • Upon release of SQL 2014, the extended use right to operate a passive instance was incorporated into Software Assurance (SA) and Microsoft confirmed a requirement for license reassignment at point of failover.
    • Upon expiration of Software Assurance (SA), the passive instances would become licensable.
    • The requirement for Software Assurance (SA) extends to all SQL CALs when adopting a Server/CAL license model

 

image

A Limitation on Multiplexing

Multiplexing is defined as a Universal License Term and will apply to all products licensed through Volume Licensing . Under the hierarchy of the Product Use Rights, a Universal License Term will apply unless explicitly retracted or amended under General License Terms and Product Specific License Terms within the document.

  • For  SQL 2012 Business Intelligence Edition, as licensed under  the Server+CAL licensing model, users and devices that indirectly access SQL Server data through another application or hardware device required CALs, and exposed some customers to a large or unknown number of external users
  • Microsoft reigned in the multiplexing rule for SQL 2014  BI Edition to exclude users or devices that access SQL solely through batching process.

 

image

Disaster Recovery – Check the Fine Print

Many organisations elect to leverage the extended use right of ‘Disaster Recovery Rights’ within Software Assurance (SA) but don’t critically evaluate the technical reality of the DR solution as compared to binding terms of the Product Use Rights 

Under the April 2014 Product Use Rights, the OSE on the disaster recovery server can run only during the following exception periods:

  • For brief periods of disaster recovery testing within one week every 90 days
  • During a disaster, while the production server being recovered is down
  • Around the time of a disaster, for a brief period, to assist in the transfer between the primary production server and the disaster recovery server

A notable exception within the April 2014 Product Use Rights – this excludes patch management.

 

Final Thoughts

Business Intelligence Edition 

The ‘Multiplexing Rule’ should reasonably protect and maintain a proportional and scalable commercial licensing model to ensure financial protection for Microsoft, and the Universal License Terms ensures this isn’t limited by hardware or software that pool connections, reroute information, or reduce the number of devices or users that directly access, or use a server product. Accordingly, interpretation and application of this rule for external users as well as internal users should be independently and respectively assessed based on the technical reality of the server infrastructure and processes; the update in policy to access solely via batch processes like ETL for Business Intelligence (BI) Edition is a welcomed revision.

 

Software Assurance

On April 1st 2012 upon General Availability (GA) of SQL 2012, Microsoft removed support for license mobility in the SQL Enterprise 2012 Edition ‘license’ and incorporated this extended use right within Software Assurance (SA). The prior omission of ‘license mobility within server farms’ was amended by inclusion of this within Software Assurance (SA) across all 2012 Editions. This incremental reassignment of business critical extended use rights from a perpetual license to within a maintenance model was continued under SQL 2014 with the curtailing of the ‘Failover Rule’. As most organisations have database sprawl across physical and high availability virtual server environments, the onus on optimum and correct assignment of license and maintenance assets is critical to support cost avoidance and limit commercial risk.

 

image

Recommendations

  • Organisations should review the effective date of all enrollments, and review all binding documentation to critically evaluate the software use terms to apply.
  • License mobility is a strong driver for Software Assurance if your organisation intends to deploy SQL in a virtual environment.
  • Software Assurance enables asset mobility to authorised 3rd party server environments, and supports cost avoidance of failover and disaster recovery solutions.
  • Stakeholders should critically evaluate the technical reality of server infrastructure to ensure conformity with software use restrictions of extended use rights i.e. passive failover instances and disaster recovery.
  • Optimum and valid assignment of legacy assets can support ongoing cost avoidance (with strict controls and policies to support ongoing compliance).
  • Organisations should consider upgrade from SQL Business Intelligence 2012 to 2014 to limit exposure to the ‘Multiplexing Rule’ Edit: The June Product List 2014 states (Page 26) the “CAL waiver for Batch Jobs described in the April 2014 PUR also applies to the 2012 version of that Product”. 
  • Implement a hardware and software discovery workstream to evaluate the technical reality of current (and planned) server infrastructure for SQL Server to ensure compliance and cost avoidance through optimum assignment of license and maintenance assets.
  • Evaluate deployed software products exiting mainstream and extended support – a comprehensive products exiting mainstream and extended support on July 9th 2014 are available here

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.

 


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.


Azure Licensing Guide

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on Azure.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or Online Service Use Rights other binding contractual documents
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email you can also follow via twitter

Pricing the Cloud

After experimenting and testing various cloud services on a portal Pay-As-You-Go consumption model,  many users will ask the simple question:  “How much will this cost?” and expect a simple answer that is correct.

While this shouldn’t be difficult to answer, for many, the answer they receive is often inaccurate or incomplete; cloud service providers will often adopt different units of measurement and restricted-access pricing models making balanced comparison seem impossible.

This is compounded by the ‘barrier of entry’ to view restricted global price lists, price waterfalls connected to volume procurement contracts that are commonly only available to a limited number of accredited global organisations.

Access to an accurate cloud pricing analysis platform, requires an independent advisory practice (with expertise across commercial, governance and technical disciplines) interoperable with global accreditation as a ‘cloud broker’ for all principal service providers. Arguably, only this level of accreditation, global presence and independent consultancy across disciplines, (which is principally vendor agnostic) can support a framework for comparative pricing analysis of cloud services.

The objective for a clear cloud strategy roadmap, requires by necessity, a comparative approach across cloud service providers. Analysis should capture both commercial opportunity and associated risk of scalability and predictability for any ‘in scope’  cloud service providers. This should capture all commercial models and metrics, factoring in available procurement contracts and purchasing regions aligned to the customer  business roadmap. This should extend across operational silos of commercial review, governance and compliance and technical disciplines.

A full comparative approach to cloud strategy analysis, while not in scope of this article, can be explored with SoftwareONE Advisory Services.


An Exploration of First Azure Commercial Models

This article will first review the commercial models for Azure prior to the November 1st 2013 changes for customers purchasing Azure within the Enterprise Agreement (EA) purchasing model:

Microsoft first developed the enterprise commercial model for Azure  within the existing framework of the Enterprise Agreement (EA). This  contractual amendment enabled purchase of scale cloud platform services in accordance with the service level agreement (SLA).

The service was accessible for one year or under a co-terminus subscription aligned to the software volume agreement; access to this incentivised price-point typically required an up-front monetary commitment, billed annually, with any overage calculated monthly and billed quarterly.

A customer could adopt to choose a forecast commitment amount ‘at signing’ to obtain better price on those units. This up-front monetary forecast, allocated monthly over the term, would support utilisation of resources of Platform Services for up-to 125% of forecast before the price point switched to ‘overage’. A customer could add to their existing ‘credited’ commitment on the first day of the subsequent month. However, any unused portion of the upfront commitment would not carry over from expiration. This was a ‘use it or lose it’  consumption model. image[Original Information Source: Microsoft Operations: Changes In EA – FY14 Azure Licensing Changes]

If the committed resources promised were not available to a customer, Microsoft promised an entitlement to refund of 150% of the monetary value of the unavailable services at ‘commitment rates’, up to the total monetary value of the monthly forecasted amount based on the agreed commitment rates. If the unavailability of resources also qualified the customer for a ‘service credit’ under the Service Level Agreement, the customer would only receive the single remedy with the highest monetary value. [Ref: EAEnrAmend(Dir)(WW)(ENG)(Feb2011)]

For Windows Azure Compute, any resource commitment was calculated on the number of concurrent instances (and not the total number of compute hours represented by those instances). If the balance of upfront commitment was less than the monetary value of the forecast amount, the resource commitment would be reduced such that the remaining upfront commitment equals the monetary value of the monthly forecast amount.

Microsoft’s early embarkation into utility computing lacked the flexibility associated with elastic utility based cloud computing services. The overage consumption rate was applicable to all usage in excess of the upfront commitment and/or indeed, all usage if the customer opted to not make the upfront commitment to Microsoft.  All usage that exceeded the resource commitment would only be available for consumption on an ‘as available’ basis.

Microsoft would provide 30 days written notice prior to the addition of any new platform services, and 90 days written notice prior to revocation of any existing feature of functionality (unless expedited by security, data privacy or system performance considerations). Suspension to customer access to platform services would occur if a direct or indirect threat was identified to the function or integrity of the Azure platform or other customers use of the platform. This was extended to include breach of terms within the overarching binding contractual documents (Master, Enrolment or Amendment(s)) or excess resource requirements over the pre-agreed credit limit.

Summary

  • Customers commit to an annual monetary amount and receive discounted commitment rates for usage against this pre-paid credit.
  • Services utilised in excess of the annual monetary amount were charged at overage rates
  • Utilisation of annual monetary commitment subject to the customer only being guaranteed 125% of their monthly breakdown of the monetary commitment. Usage in excess of this amount was on an “as available” basis
  • Both commitment and overage rates include the customer’s EA level discount
  • The service was accessible for 1 year or co-terminus with the volume agreement
  • Price protection against price increases were enshrined in the Customer Pricing Sheet (CPS)
  • Customers concerned about price decreases were recommended to order via the 1 year option.
  • Overage billed quarterly, with an annual option only available on an exception basis, requiring business desk approval and approval from the operations centre’s credit and collections team.
  • The actual detailed SKUs were ‘lead status’.
  • The CPS included all rates for all Windows Azure SKUs within the  “Future Monthly Subscription” Pricing section.
  • As this was a pre-paid credit model, Microsoft required an initial upfront commitment over three years for co-terminus option (which can be prorated if a mid-term) or the 1 year equivalent on the 1 year subscription.
  • Any unused monetary commitment was lost at the end of the commitment term under a ‘use it or lose it’ model.

New 1 Year Subscription

  • This subscription ran for 12 full months beginning with the next full calendar month after the subscription is processed.  For example, if the Azure amendment and CPS were processed in February the CPS should be set up to reflect 12 full months beginning March 1.
  • Customers received the full 12 months to use their aggregated monthly commitment. Any unused funds at the end of the subscription term were not carried forward to a future subscription or refunded.

Existing 3 Year Agreement – Co-Terminus Option

  • This subscription ran from the 1st of the month following when the amendment and CPS are processed to the end of the Enrollment term.
  • Any unused monetary commitment was lost at the end of the commitment term
  • Any subscription ‘added at signing’ for the duration of the Enrollment term was also considered a co-terminus subscription.

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Azure changes in the Enterprise Agreement

Pricing Simplification

On November 1st 2013, Microsoft first announced a refreshed approach to their commercial models for Enterprise Agreement customers. The premise was to simplify their approach to pricing, aligning it to the Microsoft EA price band ‘waterfall’ (Level A-D) and removal of the previous combined approach of tiered percentage (%) discounts for the up-front monetary commitment.

Prior to November 2013, the consumption pricing assigned to the Monetary Commitment was a combined product of the Volume Agreement price band (Level A-D) and Commitment Volume (The Commitment Volume providing an additional discount off consumption rates via the Azure Enterprise Portal). Conversely, the Azure refresh on November 1st 2013 provided a simplified pricing model, with the Customer Pricing Sheet (CPS) providing the ‘actual price’ of Azure services aligned to Microsoft EA pricing waterfall.

Overage Pricing and Consumption Allowance

On November 1st 2013, Microsoft  removed the penalty pricing for overage consumption above the consumption allowance and consolidated to a single subscription option, with an ability to adjust services at agreement anniversary. Microsoft adopted to reign in  the ‘use it or lose it’ perception of the service.

Ordering was simplified by removing the complex, and ever expanding  ‘future pricing table’ embedded within the Customer Pricing Sheet (CPS). This continues to be an optional inclusion, and incorporated subject to customer request or following a non-programmatic price discount.

  • Higher usage rates were in place for consumption of Windows Azure services in excess of Monetary Commitment
  • On November 1st 2013, the ‘overage penalty’ was removed for both direct and indirect agreements, and the Commitment SKU Price was matched to the pricing of the Overage SKU.

This reflected a drive to incentivise adoption of greater Windows Azure resources without the perceived risk associated with the overage penalty model and align consumption of Azure to the EA purchasing model.

This was extended in Microsoft’s approach to the ‘consumption allowance’ for direct contract customers. Wherein, the threshold was extended to 50% overage of the annual Monetary Commitment to resources. Any additional usage over the monetary commitment, but below the consumption allowance, is invoiced annually in arrears; any additional usage over the monetary commitment, and in excess of the consumption allowance, is invoiced quarterly in arrears.

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[Original Information Source: Microsoft Operations: Changes In EA – FY14 Azure Licensing Changes]

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[Picture Reference: http://www.windowsazure.com/en-us/pricing/enterprise-agreement/] – Last checked 02/03/2014


Subscriptions Option and Service Reduction

Customers who previously signed a 36 month or  co-terminus subscription to Azure  would commit to the Monetary Commitment value (£) for the term of the enrollment; Microsoft responded to this unbalanced approach to commitment versus risk to allow an annual service reduction. This allowed service reduction programmatically, devolved to the licensing solutions provider (LSP) within channel managed METEAOP process.

Customers who previously elected for the preferred 12 Month subscription model are permitted to ‘top up’ the then existing term, but upon renewal, subscription terms must be realigned to be co-terminus with the agreement enrollment.

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[Original Information Source: Microsoft Operations: Changes In EA – FY14 Azure Licensing Changes]

Existing customers who committed to Azure within the EA procurement model framework will receive the existing commercial service use transition over the then current term; the new commercial model are summarised in the table below.

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Azure Purchasing Programs

  • Organisations can add Azure to an existing (or new) EA by making an upfront monetary commitment.
  • The resource is consumed throughout the year by using any combination of the cloud services available within Windows Azure.
  • If usage exceeds the upfront ‘credit’ amount, the licensee will be billed in arrears for that usage (importantly without penalty) annually for up to an additional 50% of the monetary commitment, and quarterly for any overage for direct contracts.
  • If the annual consumption does not meet the monetary commitment by the next anniversary, any unused monetary commitment is still forfeited. The hope of Microsoft, is that the annual service reduction allowance mitigates the commercial risk associated with earlier commercial models

Microsoft have extended the Enterprise Agreement (EA) model to act as a primary purchasing platform for all service usage, supporting aggregation of internal use requirements and optional support for a hosted/managed service business (only as part of a solution) under a single contract and management portal.

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Product Licensing Overview

A comprehensive review of license asset mobility is strongly recommended for organisations that elect to move workloads to hosted services and public cloud offerings. Understanding when a existing license asset, is eligible for re-assignment to a hosted datacenter is critical to understand an optimum approach and compliance with software use terms. Microsoft introduced License Mobility as defined at the product level for certain server applications. This drives two intended behaviours, driving a relational contract with Microsoft for current on-premise deployments to ensure ongoing asset mobility, and underwrites a case for the portfolio of extended use terms with Software Assurance (SA) outside of the commonly associated soft benefits and new version rights.

The comparison between an ongoing commitment to maintenance in a volume agreement may principally come down to whether this is intended as a ‘full time’ workload or a ‘short term’ workload; with a overall comparison of Windows Azure versus an annualised commitment to Software Assurance (SA) for the relevant application servers.

  • Windows Server is not covered under License Mobility, but Microsoft have extended the software use terms for Volume Licensing customers, to support upload of Windows Server to Windows Azure (if they are bringing it as part of another License Mobility eligible product).
  • Microsoft will continue to charge for the Windows Server VM at the service rate applicable for the instance.
  • Windows Server CALs are not required for accessing Windows Server running in Windows Azure as access rights are included in the “per-minute” charge for the Virtual Machines
  • Customers can also adopt the License Mobility extended use right under Software Assurance (SA) to assign System Center 2012 license(s) to a Windows Server instance running on Windows Azure.
  • System Center Standard license can be assigned to manage 2 VMs
  • System Center Datacenter, can be assigned to manage 8 VMs
  • Customers can adopt two approaches for SQL Server, the first approach is to obtain the relevant SQL image from Windows Azure on a “pay-per-minute” service rate; the second approach is to upload the relevant SQL image under the License Mobility extended use terms available under ‘active’ Software Assurance (SA).
  • Similarly, if the customer is a hosted service provider, and the end-customer is not able to assign eligible license assets under the extended use terms, upon signing of the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) the hosted service provider can:
            • Obtain a SQL image from the Windows Azure VM gallery and pay the per-minute rate of SQL Server, or
    • Install or upload a SQL Server Standard image with Subscriber Access License (SAL), reported via your SPLA
    • Please note that in either case, running multiple SQL instances within a single Windows Azure VM from the gallery is not supported as of 10.03.2014
    • In an Active/Passive configuration. Each Windows Azure VM deployed will continue to require assigned licenses for SQL Server. To accomplish this, for each VM a customer must do the following:
    • Install or upload your own SQL Server image using the License Mobility benefits under Software Assurance, or,
    • Obtain a SQL image from the Windows Azure VM gallery and pay the per-minute rate of SQL Server
    • Effective January 1, 2014, Volume Licensing customers who have active Software Assurance on their RDS User CALs are entitled to RDS CAL Extended Rights, which allow use of their RDS User CAL with Software Assurance against a Windows Server running on Windows Azure or other service providers’ shared server environments.
    • This RDS User CAL Software Assurance benefit allows each User to access RDS functionality only on one shared server environment (i.e. Windows Azure or a third party server) in addition to access the respective on premise servers.
    • To avail this benefit, please complete and submit the License Mobility Verification form to either Windows Azure or an Authorized Mobility Partner where the hosted graphical user interface will be running. More details are available in Appendix 2 of the Software Assurance benefit section of the PUR (Product Use Rights).
    • Microsoft care careful to emphasise that Windows 7 or Windows 8 are not available as a multi-tenant Desktop-as-a-Service on Azure or any other Service Provider.

    [Ref: Windows Azure Pricing and Licensing FAQ. Last Accessed: 10.03.2014]

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    • MSDN: At the point in time of  June 1st, 2013, any current MSDN subscriber who activated their subscription may run most of the software licensed under MSDN on Windows Azure VMs, providing greater flexibility for developing and testing  applications.
    • This cloud use right applies to all software included in the MSDN subscription except Windows client and Windows Server.
    • Windows Client OS (Windows 7, Windows 8) is only licensed to run on local devices.
    • MSDN subscribers can run Windows Server on Windows Azure VMs, but since this is not included as part of the cloud use rights, subscribers will be charged at the rate of Windows Server Virtual Machines.
    • This cloud use right be available through Qualified MSDN Cloud Partners as well.
    • More details on this new program will be made available soon. Please consult the Visual Studio and MSDN licensing white paper for additional details on cloud use rights.
    • In addition to this new use right for MSDN subscribers, Microsoft updated the Windows Azure MSDN benefit to provide MSDN subscribers a monthly credit to use toward Windows Azure services and reduced rates for running Windows Server Virtual Machines.

    [Ref: Windows Azure Pricing and Licensing FAQ. Last Accessed: 10.03.2014]

A full comparative approach to cloud strategy analysis, while not in scope of this article, can be explored with SoftwareONE Advisory Services.


2014 Summary

  • Microsoft aim to provide more transparency, customers commit to an annual monetary amount as part of an Enterprise Agreement (EA) purchasing programs and receive an incentivised price point aligned to the EA waterfall (A-D)
  • Microsoft publicly promise to match AWS prices on compute, storage and bandwidth, promoting ‘best pricing available via EA purchasing model’
  • Services utilised in excess of the annual monetary amount are charged at the agreed consumption rates, overage rate was discontinued.
  • Annual up-front monetary commitment can be forfeit if consumption is below assigned credited amount.
  • Service reduction available at Anniversary (Upon request).
  • The service is co-terminus with the chosen volume agreement
  • Pricing in the Customer Price Sheet (CPS) and detailed ‘future pricing table’ available only upon explicit customer request
  • The consumption allowance for direct contract customers,  allows a threshold of 50% overage of the annual Monetary Commitment to resources, billed at the end of the year.  Threshold notices are sent at 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% of threshold.
  • Any additional usage over the monetary commitment, but below the consumption allowance, is invoiced annually in arrears; any additional usage over the monetary commitment, and in excess of the consumption allowance, is invoiced quarterly in arrears.
  • >50% beyond commitment initiates quarterly billing
  • Organisations who pre-commit to set upfront commitment may be eligible for monetary service credit to Windows Azure Account.
  • Organisations can also leverage an accredited partner for support with activation, testing and deployment.

As discussed in this article, it is recommended to work with a expert with access to an accurate cloud pricing analysis platform, this may require an independent advisory practice (with expertise across commercial, governance and technical disciplines) interoperable with global accreditation as a ‘cloud broker’ for all principal service providers. Arguably, only this level of accreditation, global presence and independent consultancy across disciplines, (which is principally vendor agnostic), with visibility of on-premise approaches can support a framework for comparative pricing analysis of cloud services.

A full comparative approach to cloud strategy , taking into account on-premise software strategy  (while not in scope of this article) can be explored with SoftwareONE Advisory Services.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Microsoft Advisory Services – Practice Lead at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


MSDN Subscriptions Comparison

If you’re looking for a quick online resource for comparing MSDN Subscriptions check out this table on the Microsoft Website

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Hope you find of value [Last checked 03/03/14]

– Tony Mackelworth


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Managing and Reporting Microsoft Licensing on SPLA

This may be of value to organisations that host services based on the Microsoft Technology Stack. The  Software Lifecycle Portal  enables hosted service providers to manage and transact licenses on behalf of their customers.

Hope you find it of value – also worth checking out my colleagues blog http://splalicensing.com/

– Tony Mackelworth


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


An Overview of License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server. This will look at the publicly available information on the ‘failover right’ associated with SQL Server.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

An Overview

Many organisations adopt failover technologies to re-assign  workloads from a primary server to a secondary standby server when a production server fails.

Under the SQL 2008 R2  Product-Specific-License Terms for SQL Server, a standby server that is considered ‘passive’ (and not running any active workloads or reports) would generally not require a license to be assigned. This includes back-up and restore related tasks under the passive designation.

This passive failover server rule  would commonly support situations when a primary server suffers a hardware or software failure (or is taken offline for routine maintenance or patch management) and requires the secondary ‘passive’ server to take over completely for ‘temporary’ support.

A secondary server, utilised solely to maintain a copy of the database and will never take over from the primary does also fall under the ‘passive’ designation, however the passive failover server rule will only support a single designated passive server under the allowance for each primary licensed server.


The Product Use Rights

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in July 2010, Page 63 of 136) (the first PUR after 2008 R2 General Availability) explained this exception as follows:

“Fail-over Servers. For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”).

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in January 2012, Page 58 of 147) – the last archived PUR before general availability (GA) of SQL 2012 – uses almost identical wording and explains the exception as follows:

“For any OSE in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”

Upon the general release of SQL 2012, the Product-Specific License Terms do not appear to explicitly indicate a change in the passive failover server rule. For reference purposes, here is an extract from the latest PUR under the Product-Specific License Terms for SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition. This again uses almost identical wording to previous iterations.

“Fail-Over Rights

For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support.“

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2014, Page 37]

“Fail-over Servers

For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support. However, if you license based on Physical Cores and the OSE in which you use the passive fail-over Running Instances is on a separate Server, the number of Physical Cores on the separate Server must not exceed the number of Physical Cores on the Licensed Server and the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in that Server must be the same or lower than the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in the Licensed Server. If you license by individual Virtual OSE, the number of Hardware Threads used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of Hardware Threads used in the OSE in which the active Running Instances are used.”


Microsoft Advisory Guidance

Microsoft provided a guidance document, originally published way back in July 2008,  that provided a good insight into server ‘failover rights’, with an extract here as follows:

“When doing failover support, a server is designated as the passive server. The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails. A passive server does not need a license, provided that the number of processors in the passive server is equal or less than those of the active server. The passive server can take the duties of the active server for 30 days. Afterward, it must be licensed accordingly

[Ref: SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing, July 2008, Page 2 of 5]

The wording of the Product Use Rights and prior released guidance, (published in July 2008), may therefore support interpretation of  the passive failover server rule as actually two separate but ultimately connected allowances:

  1. A right to have running instances which are classified as passive instances ins a separate OSE.
  2. The passive instances can be used ‘for temporary support’, (with restrictions)

Restrictions

Operational logic of the failover right for SQL:-

  1. There can only ne one unlicensed passive node for every active node, the licenses assigned to the primary must be sufficient to cover the secondary.
  2. Passive servers do not require licenses to be assigned, but are unable to run any production workloads, but backup and restore related tasks are an important exception.
  3. When database mirroring, the secondary server cannot provide reporting functions.
  4. The backup server can take over during a failure or system maintenance, i.e. hardware or software failure, or routine system maintenance.
  5. The duration of the failover event is for ‘temporary support’, this is commonly interpreted as 30 days.
  6. The server cannot be sequestered for short-term transaction load-balancing.
  7. The passive node must takeover completely, no production workloads must remain, (so all databases must move together for database mirroring or log shipping), both active and passive nodes cannot be in an active production capacity.

Non-Binding Guidance on SQL 2012 – Failover Rights

Microsoft Volume Licensing communicated a change of how the operational logic of a failover event is conceptually approached, addressed in non-binding advisory guidance 16 months after general availability, this was via the popular technet blog; under the following statement:

“[…] You do not require SA for SQL Server Fail-over Rights, but once you activate the Passive Fail-Over server in a DR then that Passive Fail-over becomes the active server (during a fail-over event) and it must be fully licensed for SQL Server.  You can accomplish this by assigning new licenses to the (now active) passive server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server to the backup server once the instances of SQL Server on the primary server are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads.”

Wherein, Microsoft admit “What this means is that your SQL Server 2012 licenses without SA may only be reassigned once every 90 days.  This may not fit your fail-over strategy very well.”

The non-binding advisory content of the  TechNet blog indicates that under the software use terms for SQL 2012, during a failover event the primary licensed server would need to have the license reassigned to the passive server at point of failover. The legacy approach, to license only the ‘active’ node of an Active/Passive SQL Server cluster seems to have been curtailed as an extended use right, and would markedly depart from the license precedent of product-specific licensing terms for 2008 and 2008 R2.

The change in precedent was not explicitly referenced in the first non-binding advisory licensing guide document published two months after general availability in June 2012.

“The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server”.

“Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.”

“When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system”

[Ref: SQL Server Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 14 of 25]

To explore this a little further, in the advisory literature I have included the later amended  Licensing Guide, March 1st 2013, Page 15 extract in full:

“Failover Basics

For each properly licensed instance of SQL Server, customers can run a supporting passive instance in a separate OSE for temporary support—that is, to synchronize with the primary server and otherwise maintain the passive database instance in a warm standby state in order to minimize downtime due to hardware or software failure.

A passive SQL Server instance is one that is not serving SQL Server data to clients or running active SQL Server workloads. This passive failover instance can run on a server other than the licensed server.

The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server.

Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server.

•Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.

•When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system.

•In the event that a passive instance of SQL Server becomes active for any reason, then it must be fully licensed accordingly. This can be accomplished by assigning new licenses to the (now active) secondary server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server (once the primary instances are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads). License Mobility, a Software Assurance (SA) benefit, may allow for more flexibility with license reassignment. For details on reassignment considerations without SA, refer to the Licensing SQL Server for Application Mobility section of this guide.”

[Ref: SQL Server 2012 Licensing Reference Guide, March 1st 2013, Page 15]


Final Thoughts

Any conflict in interpretation, and likely the crux of the matter, could likely be  dependent on  the interpretation of  the “fail-over rights” as a single or two separate allowances:

  1. A right to have running instances which are classified as passive instances ins a separate OSE.
  2. The passive instances can be used ‘for temporary support’, (with restrictions)

The TechNet blog would appear to interpret the passive failover server rule as limited to an allowance under the primary licensed server to run a secondary passive failover server under the ‘passive’ designation, but at point of failover and the secondary passive failover taking over completely, the license on the assigned primary licensed server is required to be re-assigned.

This much later non-binding interpretation of fail-over rights in the TechNet blog could have a real impact for  organisations that adopt a 30 day patching cycle and would underwrite an even stronger case for Software Assurance (SA) for organisations seeking to enable ‘license mobility within server farms’ to allow re-assignment of SQL Licenses ‘as often as needed’ outside of the restrictive ‘90 rule’. This is compounded by the previous restriction of SQL Enterprise Edition license mobility under the 2012 schema as requiring active Software Assurance.

While the TechNet blog would be a subtle, but significant change to how the fail-over rights in the Product Use Rights are interpreted by Microsoft and its subsidiaries. It is  strongly recommended to refer to all binding-documentation, rather than relying solely on non-binding advisory documentation, even Microsoft’s own websites and blogs. While this interpretation is commonly shared by licensing professionals, trainers and Microsoft subsidiaries, always look directly at all relevant binding documentation to ascertain the true impact to your current failover model.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.


Empowering Microsoft Commercial

Microsoft release a commercial that speaks of the empowering capacity of technology

If your exec team would benefit from  a Microsoft Experience Center onsite in your offices, as always, please get in touch.

– Tony Mackelworth


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Top Microsoft Licensing Searches of 2013

In January 2014, this obscure licensing blog reached the milestone of a half million visitors  from 201 countries worldwide.

Thank you for all the kind comments from IT professionals around the world who have reached on over Email and Twitter to connect

Here are some of the top  searches via Google, Bing, Twitter and TechNet blogs that bought the IT community to MicrosoftLicenseReview .com in 2013 :-

Thank you for using this website as a resource in 2013, I hope to provide more useful and detailed content in 2014 to support the ever changing landscape of software portfolio management.

– Tony Mackelworth


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

As always, If you would like to reach out for a coffee or a meeting under NDA, Email or connect via Twitter or LinkedIn 

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Your Vote for Articles in 2014

As my 100th post,  let me know about some of the topics you would like to see on this blog in 2014

– Tony

An Exploration of the Microsoft SQL Fiscal Cliff

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server. This will look at a high level at the impact of the release of SQL 2012 and the per core licensing model introduced on April 1st 2012.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email 

The Impact of the Per Core Metric

Many organisations  look pro-actively at cost saving and cost avoidance strategies for their software spend, but often don’t receive independent analysis derived from a global managed contract data-set.

SoftwareONE continue to conduct research cost analytics across their managed contract base to track trends in software licensing globally in over 80 countries.

As a simple example, our research unit conducted pricing analysis of SQL from from January 2010 to November 2013, in order to independently verify and asses the impact of the per core metric for Microsoft customers. The graph below, illustrates the impact of the implementation of the per core licensing metric based on Intel and AMD CPUs for SQL deployed in a POSE (Physical Operating System Environment) illustrates what we commonly term ‘the SQL fiscal cliff’.

This dataset accounts for:-

  • SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor 2008, SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor 2008 R2, SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2012
  • The core factor multiplier adopted by Microsoft to differentiate between Intel and AMD CPUs.
  • The cost impact of historical price increase aligned to the general availability of SQL Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 on May 1st 2010
  • The cost impact of the UK Price Increase in July 2012.

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Key Takeaways

  • The continuation of the Per Processor licensing metric would not scale revenue generation to CPU power.
  • The core-based metric will require greater analysis of underlying server infrastructure to satisfy compliance and vendor reporting requirements.
  • Single and Dual Core CPUs have a positive multiplier and successfully maintained revenue for Microsoft
  • As core density increases, AMD Opteron CPUs may start to cost more than Intel Xeon (as the negative multiplier has less effect)
  • Organisations that have SQL under an Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Agreement Subscription, Enrollment for Application Platform are strongly recommended to plan for their contract renewal(s) pro-actively
  • It is recommended to work with SoftwareONE to plan your datacenter performance and optimisation strategy aligned to vendor licensing models.

Understanding which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that organisations should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether their current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2 or 2012 licensing schema.

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The Product Use Rights (PUR) is a binding document, published quarterly by Microsoft and should be considered essential reading for organisations that are seeking to understand the software use terms for their SQL estate.

In June 2012, following general availability of SQL 2012 in April of the same year, Microsoft released an advisory licensing guide to assist customers with understanding the new licensing metrics, but also the transition rules for customers with existing investments in Software Assurance (SA) for SQL Server 2008 R2. This document was later updated in March 2013.

The virtualization licensing guide released in June 2012 (still available on the Microsoft SQL Website) provides a brief synopsis of the applicability of the Product Use Rights based on current or planned deployments of SQL Server:

“Product use rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even if using downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights. For example, if a customer purchases a SQL Server 2012 license, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply even if the customer deploys SQL Server 2008 R2 (or an earlier version)”.

“If customers (who are eligible through SA), have upgraded from a previous version, the product use rights for the version running apply. For example, if a customer upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply”

[Ref:  , June 2012, Page 10-11]

This is a good high-level synopsis, to be reviewed alongside the binding contract stack, including procurement contracts like an Enterprise Agreement and Select Plus Agreement.

  • The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA), provides a detailed overview on the applicability of a PUR; wherein (Section 4) it states:  “The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an enrolment will apply to the Enrolled Affiliate’s use of the then-current versions of each Product (excluding Online Services). For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are first released will apply. In both cases, subsequent changes made by Microsoft to the Product Use Rights for a particular version will not apply to Enrolled Affiliate’s use of that version, unless Enrolled Affiliate chooses to have such changes apply. […]
  • Product Use Rights for earlier versions (downgrade). If Enrolled Affiliate runs an earlier version of a Product other the version that was current on the Enrollment effective date, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version being run, will apply. However, if the earlier version includes components that are not part of the licensed version, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply to Enrolled Affilliate’s use of those components.”

[Ref: Please refer to your specific Enterprise Agreement, Section 4]

The Microsoft Select Plus Agreement, also provides a detailed overview of the applicability of a PUR; wherein (Section 5) is states:

  • “Summary: Generally, Microsoft agrees to lock-in the Product Use Rights at the start of the agreement, for current versions, and on the date of the first release, for new versions, so that any subsequent changes Microsoft makes to the Product Use Rights will not affect any Registered Affiliates. A Special rule applies in the case of downgrades, as described below.”
  • “a. Product Use Rights. Microsoft publishes Product Use Rights for each version of each product.
  • (i) Product Use Rights for current and future versions of Products. The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date on the agreement will apply to all Registered Affiliate’s use of then current versions of each product, regardless of the date of the Order. For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are first released will apply. In both cases, subsequent changes made by Microsoft to the Product Use Rights for a particular version will not apply to Registered Affiliate’s use of that version.”
  • “(ii) Product Use Rights for earlier versions (downgrade). If a Registered Affiliate runs an earlier version of a Product than the version that was current on the Agreement effective date, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version being run, will apply. However, if an earlier version includes components that are not part of the licensed version, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will to the Registered Affiliate’s use of those components.”

[Ref: Please refer to your specific Select Plus Agreement, Section 5]


Summary

To summarise the advisory and high level contract documentation,  current and future versions of a product under Volume Licensing models (like the Enterprise Agreement), the Product Use Rights in effect on the date of the Volume Agreement effective date will apply. For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect upon general availability will apply, subject to the caveats outlined in the contracts – but how does this work in practice ?

  • This means in practice, that a customer that procured SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Processor License(s) added at signing, via an  Enterprise Agreement (EA) with, for example, a contract effective date of June 2011, would refer to the the most current release of the Product Use Rights available on the effective date of their enrollment (March 2011).
  • As an example, over the term of their enrollment, that same customer would see the release of SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2012 (on April 2012) and would have had the choice to upgrade (under new version rights available when a license is procured with Software Assurance) or continue to run SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 R2.
  • Should an customer have subsequently decided to upgrade, as stated in the licensing guide: “If customers (who are eligible through SA), have upgraded from a previous version, the product use rights for the version running apply. For example, if a customer upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply”.

This is reasonably straight forward to ‘draw a line in the sand’ to understand the applicability of the relevant Product Use Rights. However this should be reviewed within the context of the whole contract stack to ascertain whether exceptions or special license grants could apply (see next section).


An Exception to Every Rule

The Product List is a binding document, published monthly by Microsoft is considered essential reading for organisations that are seeking to understand the software use terms for their SQL estate. It is critically important to refer to all binding product-specific terms to ensure your existing licensing and software assurance footprint is assigned and leveraged appropriately.

  • As  with SQL, the April 2012 Product List  (Note 88) Microsoft conferred under the then-current term, for a SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor License customer who is eligible under SA (Software Assurance), to upgrade from the 2008 R2 version, could  “upgrade to and use SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Core software in place of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise subject to the SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise processor license product use rights (as reflected in the January 2012 Product Use Rights).” [Ref: Product List, April 2012, page 143 of 166, Note 88].
  • As with SQL, the April 1st Product List  (Note 90)  Microsoft conferred under the then-current term, for a SQL Standard Edition Per Processor License customer who is eligible under SA, to upgrade from the 2008 R2 version, could “upgrade to and use SQL Server 2012 Standard Core software in place of SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard subject to SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard processor license product use rights (as reflected in the January 2012 Product Use Rights). Customers are additionally granted rights under License Mobility through Software Assurance and License Mobility within Server Farms. Customers should refer to the Product Use Rights for SQL Server 2012 Standard Core for license terms for License Mobility.”
  • This is a good example of the impact of the hierarchy of software licensing terms  (see prior article on this site) – on the software use terms for Microsoft Products. While the advisory guides are useful, they should be considered both non-binding  and also non-exhaustive in scope.

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The Software Use Rights  for each Product Version are available within both the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List.


SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Datacenter Edition

Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Enterprise Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Enterprise 2012  per core licensing metric based on purchases made before, and planned on or  after,  April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Datacenter 2008 R2 Licenses with active Software Assurance bought prior to April 1st 2015
    • Please note: procured via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES / under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Server Datacenter Licenses procured on or after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015. This enables organisations to renew Software Assurance (SA) on SQL deployed under the legacy per processor licensing model.

The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions; wherein, for Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Datacenter Edition 2008 R2 processor license, the customer “may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b)” […]

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a. a number equal to the lesser of the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • i. Eight, OR
  • ii. the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor.  (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds eight, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b. a number equal to the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by eight.”

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 136 of 161, Note 80]

However, please note the caveat of the wording in the Product List, could impact license grants measurably, as exemplified by the following statement:  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights”.

-It is recommended organisation should ensure they have appropriate time/date stamped and cogent evidence of compliance to underpin renewal into the core licensing schema.


First Renewal (On or After April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

“Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015, may, for every server that is correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights, acquire Software Assurance as following:

  • As provided in the first paragraph of this product note, licenses acquired before April 1st 2015 are qualifying licenses and customers may renew SA as per the terms in the “First Renewal Term (Prior to April 1st 2015) “ section above and,
  • For licenses acquired after April 1st 2015 customers may renew SA for eight SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for every SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter processor license. For ongoing use of SQL Server 2012 on processors that require more than eight core licenses per processor customer has to acquire the additional core licenses.

Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering. The option to acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server core licenses is not applicable to renewal of coverage under subscription programs.”

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 136 of 161, Note 80]


SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Enterprise – Per Processor

For organisations that have committed to SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor Licenses with Software Assurance (SA); Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Enterprise Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Enterprise 2012 under the per core licensing metric based on purchases made before and planned on or  after planned April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Enterprise Edition Processor Licenses with active Software Assurance prior to April 1st 2015
    • This is completed via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Enterprise Edition Processor Licenses Licenses procured after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 142-3 of 161, Note 88]


At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) after general availability (GA), the customer “may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b)” […]

(-The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions)

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a. a number equal to the lesser of the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • i. Four, OR
  • ii. the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor. (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds four, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b. a number equal to the number of processor licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by four.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 143 of 161, Note 88]

However, as stated above, please note the caveat of the preceding wording in the Product List, (which could impact license grants measurably), as exemplified by the following statement:  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights”.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 143 of 161, Note 88]

It is strongly recommended that organisations should ensure they have appropriate time/date stamped and cogent evidence of compliance,   to underpin renewal into the core licensing schema to ensure SA maintenance renewals relying on license grants can stand the test of time when potentially scrutinised later by Microsoft or a  ‘forensic’ license auditor like KPMG or Ernst & Young, or PWC.


First Renewal Term (On or After April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

  • First Renewal Term (on or after April 1, 2015): Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015 will be provided an opportunity to acquire Software Assurance for core licenses for the qualifying licenses they acquire prior to that date. See the June 2012 Product List for details.
  • Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 43 of 161, Note 88]

The Product List for June 2012 makes the following statement [Section 89]:

  • “First Renewal Term (on or after April 1, 2015 Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015, may, for every server that is correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights, acquire Software Assurance as following:
    • As provided in the first paragraph of this product note, licenses acquired before April 1st 2015 are qualifying licenses and customers may renew SA as per the terms in the “First Renewal Term (Prior to April 1st 2015) “ section above and,
    • For licenses acquired after April 1st 2015 customers may renew SA for four SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for every SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise processor license. For ongoing use of SQL Server 2012 on processors that require more than four core licenses per processor customer has to acquire the additional core licenses.
  • Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering. The option to acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server core licenses is not applicable to renewal of coverage under subscription programs. Only qualifying licenses apply when determining the number of core licenses in a) and b) above.

SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Enterprise –  Server/CAL

Microsoft  extended certain rights to renew Software Assurance (SA) on SQL Server Enterprise  after the licensing model was discontinued on April 1st 2012.

The Product List provides details of exceptions and available license transitions, included as an extract below [Ref: Product List , November 2013, Page 164 of 187, Note 85]:

“SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL Customers — Special Software Assurance Renewal Option

  • “Customers with active Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL licenses as of April 1, 2012 may, as an alternative to renewing their coverage for Enterprise, acquire Software Assurance for an equal number licenses for SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence without acquiring the underlying licenses. Upon acquisition of SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Software Assurance under this offering, customers may no longer use SQL Server Enterprise under their qualifying licenses. Customers who acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Business Intelligence under this offering also will not have the option to revert to SQL Server Enterprise coverage for their qualifying SQL Server Enterprise licenses.”

SQL Server Buy-out Option under EAP

  • “Customers will have an option to renew Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL licenses after June 30, 2012, however their only buy-out option at the end of their enrollment term, will be for core licenses.”

Ongoing Use of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

  • “Software Assurance customers who continue to use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise under licenses acquired under their agreement or enrollment in effect on April 1, 2012 may use the software under SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise use rights during the current term and any renewal term. Customers who use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise under downgrade rights under licenses acquired after renewal of their coverage must use the software under the use rights for the version licensed.”

[Ref: Product List , November 2013, Page 164 of 187, Note 85].


The 20 Core Limit

While the November 2013 Product List does not make explicit reference to a maximum compute capacity, the updated March 2013 Licensing Guide does provide a table that states the 20 core limit for SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition on the Server+CAL Licensing Model.

This important ‘hard-coded’ limitation is of critical importance when seeking to determine the viability of maintaining the legacy licensing model, when in comparison SQL Enterprise Edition on the Per Core licensing metric is set at a maximum compute capacity set by the OS.

[Ref: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Licensing Guide, March 2013, Page 5 of 26]

Microsoft provided the following guidance, extracted from the March 2013 update:

  • “SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition software licensed under the Server+CAL model is intended and physically limited to only run on servers with a total of twenty cores or less:
  • »» There are now two versions of SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition software: a server-based version and a core-based version. Customers must run the software version for which they are
    licensed.
  • »» For customers running SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition server-based software instances in a physical environment, that OSE is only permitted to access a maximum of twenty physical cores. A per instance technical limit is also enforced.
  • »» For customers running SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition server licenses in virtual environments, each set of VMs associated with a single server license (up to four per server license) can only access up to twenty hardware threads of combined power at any time.”

[Ref: SQL Licensing Guide, March 2013, Page 25]


Planning for Renewal SQL Standard – Per Processor

For organisations that have committed to SQL Standard Edition Per Processor Licenses with Software Assurance (SA); Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Standard Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Standard 2012 under the per core licensing metric based on purchases made before and planned on or  after planned April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Standard Edition Processor Licenses with active Software Assurance prior to April 1st 2015
    • This is completed via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Standard Edition Processor Licenses procured after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

[Ref: See the Product List, November 2013, Page 168 of 187 Note 89]

At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Standard Edition 2008 R2 processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) after general availability (GA), the customer  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard processor license product use rights, the customer may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Standard core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b):”

(-The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions)

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a) a number equal to the lesser of the number of processor licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • Four, OR
  • the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor. (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds four, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b) a number equal to the number of processor licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by four.

Snapshot Overview of SQL Licensing Information Metrics

Under a Microsoft Audit, the assigned auditor will seek to ascertain and collect all information that can inform relevant licensing models applicable to your infrastructure; Therefore, taking a pro-active approach to understanding and tracking all applicable metrics can inform both undiscovered or unmitigated risk exposure for your organisation.

This can impact how much of an organisation’s existing licensing footprint can be leveraged, while informing a work-stream toward an eventual optimum approach to software procurement strategy.

This process will extend past what would be identified in a discovery tool. This is not just a matter of looking at the perpetual license footprint alone and mapping to the Version or Edition deployed. This requires a comprehensive overview of the estate from a “bottom-up” perspective and may require involvement of several stakeholders to ensure current and on-going approach to SQL is accurate, comprehensive and limits on-going risk exposure.

This includes, but not limited to:-

  • The Number of CPUs (Manufacturer, Model Series)
  • Physical Cores in the CPUs
  • Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Virtualization Platform and Configuration
  • Failover, DR and Cluster Configurations
  • Virtual Machines (VM) and DRS
  • Installed Software (Edition, Version)
  • Consolidation Strategy
  • New Project Requirements
  • Dev/Test databases
  • Licensing Dependencies
  • Implications of Multiplexing
  • Number of Internal and External Users

The information collected from your estate via discovery tool(s),  and stakeholder workshops as part of a systematic and comprehensive approach,  can help establish the full technical reality for your organisation to support an optimum licensing and investment strategy for SQL Server.


Licensing Update : License Re-Assignment

Under the Universal License Terms of the October 2013 Product Use Rights Microsoft provide the following guidance on the “Limitations of License Reassignment”:

  • Except as permitted below, you may not reassign licenses on a short-term basis (within 90 days of the last assignment) […]”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, Page 11 of 117]

Under the hierarchy of the software use terms the Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses or use of products are enshrined  in the Product List. Accordingly, Universal License Terms will remain in effect unless explicitly retracted or amended as specified in either the General License Terms or Product-Specific License Terms and Additional Terms within the Product Use Rights and subsequent exceptions within the Product List.

As an example, under the subsequent General License Terms for Servers on the Per Core licensing model, Microsoft state a requirement for Software Assurance (SA) to support  reassignment of licenses within a server farm outside of the ‘90 day rule’ enshrined within the Universal License Terms:-

  • You may reassign licenses for which you have active Software Assurance coverage to any of your Servers located within the same Server Farm as often as needed. You may reassign licenses from one server farm to another, but not on a short-term basis (i.e., not within 90 days of the last assignment).”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, General License Terms Page 46 of 117]

Understanding how Microsoft approach software use rights for license reassignment  is an essential area of focus if current and prior versions of SQL have been deployed in Virtual Machines (VM) and your organisation is seeking to understand whether they have sufficient licensing and Software Assurance (SA) ‘footprint’ to support the current (or planned) environment.

This is an important development, where upon general availability of SQL 2012 (April 1st 2012) Microsoft removed license mobility within server farms  as a benefit of the SQL Enterprise Edition License.

This departs from the legacy precedent of the extended use right being defined at within the Product-Specific License Terms for SQL Server Enterprise 2008 R2; wherein Microsoft continued to provide license mobility within server farms (as first introduced in September 2008) as an extended use right within the license:-

  • “License reassignment within a server farm. You may reassign software licenses to any of your servers located within the same server farm as often as neededThe prohibition against short-term reassignment does not apply to licenses assigned to servers located within the same server farm.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, July 2010, Page 64 of 136] (the first PUR publication following general availability of SQL 2008 R2 on May 1st 2010)

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2012, Page 54 of 147] (The last PUR prior to general availability of SQL 2012 – the next PUR available in the archive is listed as August 2012]

It is acknowledged that many organisations may not have anticipated this retraction to the extended Software Use Rights for SQL Enterprise Edition 2012 when first leveraging the benefits of server virtualization. This would not have been supported by vendor publication of advisory guidance on SQL Server Licensing two months after general availability:

  • License Mobility moved to an SA benefit with the release of SQL Server 2012. So any license covered with SA, regardless of which version or edition of the software is deployed, will have License Mobility rights

[Ref: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Virtualization Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 11]

The unmitigated risk impact for organisations  can be considerable if database ‘sprawl’ has continued unmonitored. Leading organisations sometimes unknowingly, to be pulled under new licensing schema.


License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event

Many organisations adopt failover technologies to re-assign  workloads from a primary server to a secondary standby server when a production server fails.

  • Under the SQL 2008 and SQL 2008 R2  Product-Specific-License Terms for SQL Server, a standby server that is considered ‘passive’ (and not running any active workloads or reports) would generally not require a license to be assigned. This includes back-up and restore related tasks under the passive designation.
  • This passive failover server rule  would also commonly support situations when a primary server suffers a hardware or software failure (or is taken offline for routine maintenance or patch management) and requires the secondary ‘passive’ server to take over completely for ‘temporary’ support.
  • A secondary server, utilised solely to maintain a copy of the database and will never take over from the primary does fall under the ‘passive’ designation, however the passive failover server rule will only support a single designated passive server under the allowance for each primary licensed server.

As as an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in July 2010, Page 63 of 136) explained this exception as follows:

  • “Fail-over Servers. For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”).

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in January 2012, Page 58 of 147) – the last archived PUR before general availability of SQL 2012 – uses almost identical wording and explains the exception as follows:

  • For any OSE in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.

Microsoft provided a guidance document, originally published in July 2008,  that provided guidance as on server ‘failover rights’ as follows:

  • When doing failover support, a server is designated as the passive server. The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails. A passive server does not need a license, provided that the number of processors in the passive server is equal or less than those of the active server. The passive server can take the duties of the active server for 30 days. Afterward, it must be licensed accordingly

[Ref: SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing, July 2008, Page 2 of 5]

Similarly, Microsoft provide a guidance document, published in May 2011 provides the following guidance:

  • “If you are licensed to use SQL Server, you are allowed to run a certain number of instances of the software for passive failover support without having to license these instances separately. You may run the passive failover instances on a server other than the licensed server.
  • For any OSE in which you run instances of SQL Server, you may run up to the same number of passive failover instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. For processor licensing, however, the number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running.”

[Ref: Licensing Management Series, A Guide to Assessing SQL Server Licensing, May 2011 – Microsoft Volume Licensing]

The wording of the Product Use Rights and prior released guidance, published in July 2008, seem to support interpretation of  the passive failover server rule as actually two separate allowances:

  1. A grant to use of  ‘passive failover instances’ on a ‘server other than the primary licensed server’.
  2. An ability to run SQL workloads on a single secondary server ‘running instances’ to support a  failover event ‘for temporary support’

Importantly, the requirement to assign a license to the passive server only comes into effect in a use scenario outside the terms of use enshrined within the passive failover server rule:

Restrictions

  • The passive failover server rule would not apply if the standby server is not considered ‘passive’ and is running active workloads or reporting functions while the active node is operating. This does not include backup and restore related tasks.
  • The passive failover server rule would not apply  if the duration of the failover event exceeded ‘temporary’ support, this is commonly interpreted as 30 days.
  • The passive failover server rule would not apply if the server is sequestered for short-term for transaction load-balancing. This would then be governed by the Universal License Terms and require license reassignment or assignment of a new license.

License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event under the 2012 Licensing Schema

Upon the general release of SQL 2012, the Product-Specific License Terms do not appear to explicitly indicate a change in the passive failover server rule outlined above.

However, Microsoft Volume Licensing have communicated a change of how the operational logic of a failover event is conceptually approached, addressed in non-binding advisory guidance 16 months after general availability in their technet blog; under the following statement:

“[…] You do not require SA for SQL Server Fail-over Rights, but once you activate the Passive Fail-Over server in a DR then that Passive Fail-over becomes the active server (during a fail-over event) and it must be fully licensed for SQL Server.  You can accomplish this by assigning new licenses to the (now active) passive server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server to the backup server once the instances of SQL Server on the primary server are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads.” Wherein, Microsoft admit “What this means is that your SQL Server 2012 licenses without SA may only be reassigned once every 90 days.  This may not fit your fail-over strategy very well.”.

The non-binding advisory content of the  technet blog indicates that under the software use terms for SQL 2012, during a failover event the primary licensed server would need to have the license reassigned to the passive server at point of failover. The legacy approach, to license only the ‘active’ node of an Active/Passive SQL Server cluster seems to have been curtailed as an extended use right, and markedly departs from the license precedent of product-specific licensing terms for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions that allow one unlicensed secondary under the license terms of the assigned primary.

When pressed for guidance, Microsoft will commonly refer customers to the Product Use Rights, wherein the significance of this change is not immediately apparent, and appears to adopt similar terminology as reminiscent in earlier publications:-

  • “For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support. However, if you license based on Physical Cores and the OSE in which you use the passive fail-over Running Instances is on a separate Server, the number of Physical Cores on the separate Server must not exceed the number of Physical Cores on the Licensed Server and the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in that Server must be the same or lower than the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in the Licensed Server. If you license by individual Virtual OSE, the number of Hardware Threads used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of Hardware Threads used in the OSE in which the active Running Instances are used.”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, Page 48 of 136]

This appears to re-iterate the role of the primary server as the ‘licensed server’. The change in precedent is also not explicitly referenced in the non-binding advisory licensing guide document published two months after general availability in June 2012, but admittedly the wording does create confusion :-

  • The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server”.
  • Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.”
  • “When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system

[Ref: SQL Server Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 14 of 25]


Final Thoughts

Any conflict in interpretation, and likely the crux of the matter, could likely be  dependent on  the interpretation of  the “fail-over rights” as a single or two separate allowances:-

  1. A grant to use of  ‘passive failover instances’ on a ‘server other than the primary licensed server’ under the ‘passive’ designation.
  2. An ability to spin-up ‘running instances’ on the secondary passive server to support during a  failover event ‘for temporary support’.

The technet blog interprets the passive failover server rule as limited to an allowance under the primary licensed server to run a secondary passive failover server under the ‘passive’ designation, but at point of failover and the secondary passive failover taking over completely, the license on the assigned primary licensed server is required to be re-assigned.

While the technet blog indicates a subtle, but significant change to how the fail-over rights in the Product Use Rights are interpreted by Microsoft and its subsidiaries, it is  strongly recommended to refer to all binding-documentation, rather than relying solely on non-binding advisory documentation, even Microsoft’s own websites and blogs.

This recent interpretation of fail-over rights could impact organisations that adopt a 30 day patching cycle and underwrites a strong case for Software Assurance (SA) for organisations seeking to enable ‘license mobility within server farms’ to allow re-assignment of SQL Licenses ‘as often as needed’ outside of the restrictive ‘90 rule’.

The half-life of the transactional approach to enterprise software procurement is certainly compounded by the revocation of SQL Enterprise Edition ‘license mobility within server farms’ as an extended use right, previously allowing re-assignment of SQL Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 and 2008  licenses  ‘as often as needed’ within the product-specific license terms; wherein upon general availability of SQL 2012, this has been sequestered and underwritten into the ever growing business case for SA.

For SQL Server Enterprise Server+CAL customers, organisations that are seeking to continue to leverage their legacy licensing investment should seek specialist advice.  While a legacy perpetual licensing footprint can be assigned to 2008 R2 or 2008 deployments of SQL Server; ‘database sprawl’, upgrades to server infrastructure, migration of workloads to 3rd parties or implementation of a virtualization platform can often pull an organisation, sometimes unknowingly, under a new licensing schema.


SQL Checklist

This is a non-exhaustive check-list to support your organisations approach to SQL Server when planning for contract renewal(s) or planning for a vendor audit:

  1. Request a Licensing Workshop and enable knowledge transfer.
  2. Assign an expert project team to manage your SQL Optimisation work-stream.
  3. Access and validate your Existing Volume Licensing and Software Assurance Footprint
  4. Get a clear understanding of all applicable Product-Specific License Terms as supported by all applicable binding documentation – assessed against  your business requirements.
  5. Adopt and assign all optimum Licensing Models as supported by all applicable binding-documents.
  6. Seek advice on identification of historical software license exceptions and license grants to minimise license spend.
  7. Request ‘vendor independent’ creation and analysis of an Effective License Position (ELP), usually completed under NDA.
    • Pursue a ‘clear line’ between  deployment,  licensing footprint and proposed final licensing solution.
    • Request independent review of adopted licensing metrics adopted in assignment of your license footprint to create the Effective License Position (ELP) and ask for this to be made transparent.
    • Seek independent advice on disclosure content and engagement strategy with software vendor.
    • Complete a valid Time/Date stamped inventory to support vendor license grants addressing all required license information metrics to ensure appropriate proof of license.
  8. Complete a datacenter Risk Assessment and construct a Risk Mitigation Strategy roadmap.
  9. If under audit, seek independent advice under NDA .
  10. Work with a SQL Architect to review current and planned Failover and DR strategy – optimally aligned to all applicable vendor licensing models.
  11. Request a comparative cost and investment analysis over 6 years, this should include all global sourcing options, with all applicable procurement contracts. – If appropriate build a negotiation team.

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


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