Hierarchy of Software Licensing Terms


“Copyright has two main purposes, namely the protection of the author’s right to obtain commercial benefit from valuable work, and more recently the protection of the author’s general right to control how a work is used.”

A Plethora of Resources

It is becoming critical for organisations to understand whether the written guidance on licensing relied upon to inform IT decision makers are considered influential or ‘binding’ by the software vendor.

An organisation may often refer to written guidance and specific terms extracted from a wide range of publicly available information published by Microsoft (and other 3rd party commentators) to support their interpretation and implementation of Microsoft Software. This becomes critically important when attempting to quantify risk (in preparation or in response to a vendor audit) or in assessment of the ‘real’ total cost of ownership of new technology choices.

An organisation’s hardware environment, software deployment footprint, processes and infrastructure topology and technology choices can all be impacted by Microsoft’s commercial licensing models. This may affect the outcome of a vendor ‘review’ or official audit or contribute to unmitigated risk when considering a merger, acquisition, divestiture or sale.

Accordingly, an organisation’s IT department may have referred to guidance from a plethora or resources to inform their approach, including but not limited to:

  • Microsoft Business and Services Agreement (MBSA)
  • Volume Agreement – Master Agreement
  • Volume Agreement – Enrollment
  • Product List
  • Product Use Rights  (PUR)
  • Microsoft Websites
  • Microsoft Training Resources
  • Microsoft White Papers and Licensing Briefs
  • Written statements by Large Account Reseller (LAR) or Enterprise Software Advisor (ESA) or Software Asset Management (SAM) and IT Asset Management (ITAM) or Independent Consultants.
  • 3rd Party White Papers, Licensing Guides, Websites, Blogs and Written Statements.
  • Responses in Online Forums and Wikis.
  • Oral guidance from trusted advisors.

In the current economic climate it is increasingly important to understand what software use terms, definitions, and explanatory guidance are ‘binding’ on your organisation. If this is understood, it is possible to start understanding the total and extended risk for your organisation. It is now estimated that 1 in 4 dollars spent on IT will be aligned to risk management.

The Hierarchy of Binding Documentation

The most important documents to refer to our the Volume Agreement(s) your organisation has procured licenses through and the Product List and Product Use Rights. These contract documents are considered by Microsoft as ‘binding’ upon your organisation.

It is important to understand what Microsoft Volume Agreement(s) your organisation has signed with Microsoft. This may include, but not limited to, Select Agreement(s), or Enterprise Agreement(s) or other specialist Enterprise Enrollment(s) along with any signed contractual amendments/exceptions

These documents, in conjunction with the relevant applicable releases of the Product List(s) and Product Use Rights documents for your deployed software, are your bespoke canon to understanding the appropriate software use terms for your deployed (and planned) software footprint.


The diagram below illustrates the subsequent precedence of the Product List  and then illustrates the hierarchy of software use terms within the Product Use Rights. 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.

Getting a view of all applicable terms involves a ‘little bit of reading’ (I use this phrase lightly) especially If you have both current and prior releases deployed or are trying to map existing footprint versus post-consolidation, or future requirements.

The diagram below is intended to give a ‘high level’ top-down view as to precedence of ‘binding’ documentation. While not a definitive guide for all situations, it provides an overview of the hierarchical precedence of Microsoft licensing documentation and distinguishes between ‘binding’ and ‘non-binding’ advisory documentation from Microsoft and 3rd parties.


While its recommend to look at the source documentation, as an example, the ‘License Mobility’ rules are further amended and defined at the Product-Specific level.


A Comprehensive Approach

Ultimately, appropriate licensing resources should be combined with a systematic approach to discovery, metering, management, analysis, optimisation and negotiation strategy to deliver the returns your organisations demands of It’s IT.

A systematic approach could include, but not limited to:

  • Balance of extended benefits and total cost of ownership against  Vendor “lock-in”.
    • Awareness of “lock-in” when reviewing procurement models.
  • Awareness of associated rights and benefits aligned to vendor licensing and maintenance programmes:
    • Awareness of associated Extended Software Use Rights
    • Awareness of associated Product Licensing Dependencies
    • Awareness of requirements for accessing Extended Functionality
    • Awareness of requirements for special Rights of Purchase
  • Comparative analysis of available Software procurement “Packages” and “Suites” reviewed against individual product/component based procurement.
  • Understanding Impact of respective Ownership and Service Levels of Service Infrastructure from Service Providers.
  • Understanding required accreditations and reporting obligations of Service Providers. Procurement Options dependent on the Service provided.
  • Availability and Analysis of Price Protection for committed spend  versus transactional procurement model(s).
  • Fast and flexible analysis of Procurement Models, Price Lists, Global Sourcing.
  • Vendor Procurement Contract Management
  • Full Software Asset Management (SAM) and IT Asset Management capabilities.
    • Advising on optimum datacenter implementation and consolidation strategy aligned to vendor licensing metrics.
    • Access to in-house expertise (not white labelled) and resources to support multiple vendor environments.
      (Some SAM Service providers do not have in-house knowledge for Multiple Toolsets or vendor licensing models)

    • While some SAM Service providers may recommend a toolset or combination of toolsets, are they inherently toolset agnostic?
    • Secondly, do they have the global vendor relationship to access a better price (and support) for discovery and metering toolset(s).
    • If your organisation is global, a SAM Service provider with local teams to access your worldwide  location(s).
  • Vendor Negotiation Support – look for a provider with a global reach. This will reveal intelligence across regions and vendor subsidiaries in terms of available exceptions and discounts.

If you would like to have a brief exploratory conversation, in confidence (or under NDA) please drop me an email or contact me on Twitter

A Question of Interpretation

As exemplified from this extract from the Product Use Rights, explanations within the binding documentation are often ‘limited’ and indeed, Microsoft themselves may be unable to refer to wording, explanations or definitions solely in binding documentation (Product Use Rights or Product List) when seeking to explain (or enforce their view). 

Microsoft does  provide guidance that where official contract definitions are unavailable that the contract terms should be interpreted under ‘generally accepted officially recognised English words defined and protected within’ but may ultimately determine unilaterally whether an organisation has used the software in a way that conform to the limited guidance within the binding contract documents. There remains no independent regulator for the software licensing industry (as advocated by www.clearlicensing.org)

It is the personal view of the author, that an organisation should ensure that the technical reality conforms to the reasonable IT industry interpretation of the terminology of the publicly available binding documentation (where specific vendor definitions are not publicly available) of the Vendor. However, this will have limited impact If the vendor takes a different perspective.

Advisory documentation rarely refer to source ‘binding’ documentation like the Product List or Product Use Rights and increasingly, it should be recognised that Microsoft licensing briefs, white papers and training resources, and 3rd party commentators, while useful, are not contractually binding documentation.

As an example, the Microsoft ‘Multiplexing Rule’ (see previous article)was created to  protect and maintain a proportional and scalable commercial licensing model; to ensure financial protection for the software vendor for their server product(s) that will not limited by “hardware or software you use to pool connections, reroute information, reduce the number of devices or users that directly access or use the product”.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, April 2013, Page 11]

However, the  ‘Multiplexing Rule’ when reviewed solely on the limited guidance provided in ‘binding’ documents like the  Product Use Rights could potentially be used to support the widest possible interpretation of those terms. Microsoft can apply this logic unless there is an explicit exception sourced from binding documentation. Microsoft will not have to consider written terms, explanations or exceptions sourced from non-binding sources (even those written by Microsoft) even If your organisation may consider reliance on Microsoft advisory literature to inform their software deployment as fair use.

As a hypothetical example, if a member of the public accesses a public website and enters information into a web portal of an ‘eCommerce company’, it could be deemed to “access or use the product” under the ‘Multiplexing Rule’ if that data is subsequently used by some internal SQL Server(s) for internal business analytics by the eCommerce company; the general public could potentially considered licensable as an ‘external user’ and licensable for the ‘access or use’ of the internal servers use for business intelligence.

While it may seem unlikely to your IT or Security Team that a member of the general public would “access or use the product” when SQL is deployed internally for soles purposes of business analytics of (for example, analysis of anonymous and aggregated user data – by internal eCommerce staff); the overarching precedence of the Multiplexing Rule as a Universal License Term  within the Product Use Rights and ‘limited’ guidance and definitions within the Product Use Rights or Product List could potentially support the ‘widest possible’ interpretation by the Vendor (and often does).

* It is unclear how this interpretation would impact the fair use of SQL 2012 Business Intelligence Edition sold and commercially licensed only on a Server/CAL metric to eCommerce organisations.

Final Thoughts

While it is accepted than many Microsoft licensing briefs, and websites may state that they are to be used as a ‘guide only’ (while often quoted by the Microsoft subsidiary to support their own view), the customer must ultimately look to the ‘binding’ terms and extrapolate how this could be interpreted, implemented and controlled for their current and planned environment.

It is now, more often than not, that non-binding advisory documentation is of limited influence unless it directly supports the ‘current’ view of the vendor. (There is no independent ombudsman or regulator to adjudicate that interpretation) . It is therefore recommended to extrapolate the ‘widest possible’ risk assessment of vendor interpretation of your deployed software footprint when evaluating and seeking to limit risk and cost associated with enterprise software.


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 / Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email or connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


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 or other Software Vendor product.

This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other contractual documentation.

Please be aware that nothing on this website constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material on this website may have been prepared some time ago, may have errors, and  may have been superseded. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

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

The contributing authors and owner of the website 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.

The information presented herein is intended exclusively as a guide offered by the author(s). The publishers product use rights, agreement terms and conditions and other definitions prevail over the information provided herein.


Open Focus – End User Computing

The Challenges

Organisations need to meet both the current and evolving needs of their employees and the provision and use of client computing services can be an emotive subject.

Within the organisation the objective of client computing is primarily to provide employees with the right level of access to corporate applications and data from a variety of access devices for a increasingly distributed and mobile workforce.

However, organisations are now asking how they define the “workplace”. The traditional on-site desktop environment now needs to evolve to include support for remote and mobile working, better collaboration and communication services; extending from traditional email and standard files shares to include presence, conferencing and social collaboration.

The challenges include meeting the expectations of the work force, who often have access to better technologies and services on personal devices than they have access to from work.

This isn’t just providing new devices to address expiring technology that has reached the end of lifecycle. Users expect communication+collaboration services that are comparable to what they have at home, allowing them to extend the working day seamlessly outside of the office.

Organisations have several drivers and challenges when looking at end-user computing:

  • Emergent collaboration and social tools are increasingly important to support an interconnected cross-organisational collaborative model.
    • Users are able to work across geographic or organisational boundaries with project based units, functions or teams.
      • Access to Instant Messaging, Collaboration and Presence Technologies.
  • Reduction of carbon footprint through technology – whether via device profiles or communication+collaboration tools.
  • Organisations are seeking to reduce time from the requirement to delivery (or self-delivery), with responsive agile IT service platforms.
  • Maintain support for required legacy applications.
  • Use of appropriate User profiles to support the correct level of provisioning.
  • Reduce Capital and Operational Spend where possible. “Get more for less”.

Gary Hammel (Business Thinker, Author) anticipated in 2006 that new collaborative and increasingly heterarchical organisations will mean:

“People are drawn to a community by a sense of shared purpose, not by economic need. In a community, the opportunity to contribute isn’t bounded by narrow job descriptions. Control is more peer based than boss based. Emotional satisfaction, rather than financial gain, drives commitment. For all those reasons, communities are amplifiers of human capability.” (Hamel 2006: 81)

Technology has become part of the essential fabric of the business, and competitive advantage. Organisation change programmes, whether Supply Chain or Operational often include an integral IT component.

The decision isn’t just an IT function, but is becoming part of a wider integrated technology investment that increasingly needs board oversight.

Software Procurement Considerations

Virtualization has decoupled this relationship of OS and Applications to the physical hardware and provides a more flexible and diverse opportunities for delivering end user computing.


Licensing for the modern end user computing is complex and entirely dependent on the context of the organisation and final technology choices. In the current economic climate, it has never been so important to minimise unnecessary spend.

Accordingly it is recommended to work pro-actively with a global licensing expert to get a holistic view, including but not limited to:

  • Balance of benefits and total cost of ownership against  Vendor “lock-in”.
    • Awareness of “lock-in” when reviewing procurement models.
      • Awareness of associated Software Use Rights
      • Awareness of associated Product Licensing Dependencies
      • Awareness of requirements for Extended Functionality
      • Awareness of requirements for Rights of Purchase
  • Comparative analysis of available Software Procurement “Packages”
  • Availability of Price Protection for committed spend  versus transactional procurement models.
  • Vendor Procurement Contract Management and consolidation
  • Full Software Asset Management capabilities.
  • Vendor Negotiation Support

Working with a trusted advisor has never been so important when evaluating strategic technology decisions and software license procurement.

Tony Mackelworth works at SoftwareONE and will now be providing licensing expertise through their licensing  services portfolio.

– Tony Mackelworth

Ref: Hamel, G. (2006) ‘The Why, What, And How of Management Innovation’ Harvard Business Review – February

Licensing Focus – Re-Imaging PCs

Many IT Pros may be looking at re-imaging their pre-installed OEM images with a standard image. However, It’s less clear how this works from a licensing perspective. I have included some of the rules around re-imaging your PCs and the caveats that you should look out for to not fall foul of mis-licensing.

Re-Imaging Criteria

  1. Volume Licensing customers who have licensed Microsoft software products from an OEM, through a retail source, or under any agreement other than their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement may use copies made from Microsoft Volume Licensing media to re-image their devices.
  2. Re-imaging is permitted if the copies made from the Volume Licensing media are identical to the originally licensed product .
  3. Customers can use these copies from Microsoft media only if they are the same product and version, contain the same components, and are in the same language
  4. Re-imaging using the full version media requires that customers must also have licensed  full OEM or full FPP retail product
  5. Re-imaging with an "upgrade license", the device must have a full underlying OEM or full FPP retail license.
  6. If the customer has a FPP upgrade, and wants to re-image with Volume License Media, there again must be an underlying ‘qualified’ base license.
  7. Organizations do not have the right to reimage using OEM media.
  8. This must have the same Version, Edition, Components and Language

It is important to recognize that under the Microsoft Re-imaging criteria, the image must be the same product, for example Office Professional cannot be re-imaged with Volume License Media Office Professional Plus. (This is not considered the same product and does not have the same components)

This is explained in the Microsoft White Paper on Re-Imaging.

“The 2007 Office system sold through Microsoft Volume Licensing programs is an Enterprise Product with a different user interface, bypass enablement, and tools. Designed for enterprises, the 2007 Office system sold in Volume Licensing empowers IT administrators with tools for deploying, managing, and customizing the product, and provides end users with additional functionalities.” (Microsoft White Paper)

Microsoft view the Office Suite acquired under Volume Licensing as a different product. Conversely this does restrict how customers can re-image OEM with VL . (Since the versions must have exactly the same component products)

Do I have the right to reimage with a prior version of my licensed product?

You may reimage using a prior version if the license terms accompanying the software that you wish to reimage permit you to use a prior version in place of the licensed version.  Again, the eligibility requirements as stated above regarding product and version, components, and language apply.

Different components: The 2007 Microsoft Office system suites must have exactly the same component products. For instance, Microsoft Office Professional 2007 licensed through the OEM, system builder, or FPP channel and Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2007 licensed through Microsoft Volume Licensing are not the same product. They also do not share the same components. Therefore, you cannot reimage in this example.

Enrollment of OEM Office 2010 Licenses into Volume Licensing

Customers who want to buy Software Assurance for certain Office 2010 licenses acquired from an OEM may do so in the Open License and Select programs within 90 days from the date those licenses are acquired. Customers under Open Value may acquire Software Assurance for Office 2010 licenses within 90 days from the date those licenses are purchased (this does not apply to the Open Value company-wide option).


By acquiring Software Assurance coverage for an OEM copy of Microsoft Office 2010, the customer is eligible to “step into” an equivalent edition of Office 2010 offered through Volume Licensing. This includes every application included in the Volume Licensing edition. The following table shows the mapping of OEM versions to Volume Licensing versions when Software Assurance is purchased.

Note: OEM Office Professional 2010 maps to Volume Licensing Office Standard 2010 rather than Office Professional Plus 2010. This is because Office Professional Plus 2010 contains several components (e.g., Communicator 2010, InfoPath 2010, SharePoint Workspace 2010 and the Advance Server Integration Features), that are not present in the OEM version of Office Professional 2007.

On enrolling OEM licenses into the Microsoft Volume Licensing Program, customers are eligible to purchase Step-up Licenses from Office Standard 2010 to Office Professional Plus 2010.

Microsoft Office 2010 Product Snapshot

Microsoft Office 2010 provides a wide range of powerful new ways for people to do their best work from anywhere—whether they are using a PC, Smartphone, or Web browser.* To provide customers with more flexibility to best meet their unique needs, Microsoft offers a variety of Microsoft Office 2010 suites.

The Microsoft Office 2010 suites available through Volume Licensing include:

  • Microsoft® Office Standard 2010
  • Microsoft® Office Professional Plus 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2010 suites available through Retail and / or OEM:
  • Microsoft® Office Starter 2010 (OEM only offering)
  • Microsoft® Office Home and Student 2010
  • Microsoft® Office Home and Business 2010
  • Microsoft® Office Professional 2010
  • Microsoft® Office Professional Academic 2010

VL Migration


New PC

Office 2010 Starter – It comprises of Word Starter and Excel Starter. As pointed out earlier, this is a new SKU. Both applications it includes are limited-functionality, advertising-based ones. They are intended as a free alternative which will be pre-installed on new machines only (actually it replaces Microsoft Works), and will allow customers not traditionally paying for a new version of Office (or not ready to buy Office 2010 at the time of PC purchase) to try the new applications. It is licensed only for the PC it came pre-installed in, and it includes no installation media. Once again: It’s free of charge.

OEM and FPP and PKC (Product Key Card)

2010 Home & Student
– It comprises of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It is strictly for non-commercial use. The concept behind this Suite is known from the same-name Office 2007 suite; when OEM or PKC it is licensed only to the PC it was sold with, while when FPP it can be installed in up to 3 PCs.

Office 2010 Home & Business – It comprises of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. One thing to note is that Outlook no longer comes with the Business Contact Manager (BCM) in the OEM, PKC and FPP Office Suites; Outlook with BCM is only available in Volume License SKUs. As pointed out earlier, this is a new SKU; it is intended for home-based businesses and dual users. It is the entry-level commercial Office 2010 Suite.

Office 2010 Professional – It comprises of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook (again, no BCM), Publisher, and Access. This Suite is the most upscale from the ones available outside of Volume Licensing.

Volume Licensing (VL) only:

Office 2010 Standard – It comprises of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook with BCM, and Publisher. This is the basic Suite for businesses that have bought a VL program (requires at least 5 PCs).

Office 2010 Professional Plus – It comprises of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook with BCM, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, Communicator, and SharePoint Workspace (formerly Groove). This Suite is optimized for server integration and is the perfect SKU for all the Exchange, SharePoint and UC capabilities. It features advanced IRM (first introduced in Office 2003), Instant Messaging and Presence.


Microsoft SAM Guide (Part One)

What a Microsoft Licence Review means for you and your organisation

This guide has been put together to address any questions or concerns you may have about undergoing a licence review with Microsoft. I understand that you will want to know what’s involved, how the process works, what Microsoft would expect from you, and what you will get in return. If you need extra information or clarification, please get in touch with your Microsoft contact (or your Reseller) at any time during the course of your review […]

Read On

Discovering SQL Instances to help determine compliance

There are many Discovery tools on the market, from Snow to Centennial (FrontRange Solutions). However, If you are responding to a vendor audit, might be worth at exploring the following options.

Discovering Instances of SQL Server can be achieved using the Microsoft Assessment Planning Solution Accelerator (MAPSA) Tool.

Install the MAPSA tool from: ttp://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=67240b76-3148-4e49-943d-4d9ea7f77730&DisplayLang=en

Having discovered which machines are running SQL Server it is then necessary to discover which version and edition is being used, and if it’s clustered. 

Install the SQL Server Health and History Tool (SQLH2) from: ttp://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=EEDD10D6-75F7-4763-86DE-D2347B8B5F89&displaylang=en

  1. Discovering Instances of SQL Server can be achieved using the Microsoft Assessment Planning Solution Accelerator (MAPSA) Tool.  A function of this tool is to capture software inventories of machines on the network.  The data is stored in a SQLExpress instance that is downloaded and installed as part of the MAPSA tool installation process.  Full details for using the tool are included in the following this Walkthrough [Below]
  2. Having discovered which machines are running SQL Server it is then necessary to discover which version and edition  is being used, and if it’s clustered. [Determining Licensing Modes – Below]
  3. To gather this information we can use the SQL Server Health and History tool (SQLH2) available here
  4. SQLH2 can be configured to collect SQL instance information from a list of servers held in a single column text file.  This file can easily be created using the data in the spreadsheet referred to in paragraph above
    1.  De-duplicate the machine names in the first column using the ‘Remove Duplicates’ option on the Data menu.
    2. Create a blank txt file using notepad and then simply copy and paste the list of unique machine names into the blank file.
  5. During SQLH2 setup you will create a SQLH2Repository database – this can be created in the SQLExpress instance installed by the MAPSA tool.
  6. You can either configure the tool through a wizard immediately after running setup (check the ‘launch configuration utility after setup finishes’ option during installation) or through the configuration utility (SQLH2Cfg.exe).
  7. Please be aware  there is a feature that requires the utility be closed and re-started prior to re-editing the configuration.
  8. Having configured SQLH2 you need to run the application itself from the command line – being in the UK this will most likely require the date format switch to avoid date conversion errors eg C:\SQLH2\sqlh2 /DDMY (you must use the capitals).
  9. To extract the additional instance details gathered by the SQLH2 you can either use the same instructions below xtracting data into a spreadsheet, only this time you will need the following query:SELECT mgr_server.name AS [Server Name], mgr_instance.name AS [Instance Name], hs_instance.version, hs_instance.edition, hs_instance2.IsClustered, hs_instance.plevel, mgr_instance.IsDefault, hs_instance.run_id, hs_instance.IsRunning
    FROM mgr_server
    INNER JOIN mgr_instance
    ON mgr_server.srv_id = mgr_instance.srv_id
    hs_instance ON
    mgr_instance.srv_id = hs_instance.srv_id
    AND mgr_instance.inst_id = hs_instance.inst_id
    LEFT OUTER JOIN hs_instance2 ON
    hs_instance.srv_id = hs_instance2.srv_id
    AND hs_instance.inst_id = hs_instance2.inst_id

SQL Server Discovery with Microsoft Assessment Planning Solution Accelerator (MAPSA) ToolCreate a new database

After installing the tool, create a new database using the “Select a database” link in the upper right-hand corner of the main page.  Remember the name of the database you create, you’ll need this name later in order to run queries against the database to find the SQL Server instances.

Run an inventory

To find the machines in the environment with SQL Server installed, you’ll need to have MAPSA run an inventory of your environment.  Here are some things to keep in mind when running an inventory:

  • The queries we’re providing today to find SQL Servers will find ALL installed instances of SQL Server, regardless of whether it’s a version of SQL Express or a FPP version. 
  • If you like, you can limit where MAPSA will inventory machines to exclude machines that are likely to have SQL Express but not a FPP version of SQL Server.  This will cut down on the amount of noise you have to filter through later.

To start an inventory:

  • Choose “Identify servers that are capable of running Windows Server 2008”   (don’t worry if you want to inventory clients as well, they won’t be filtered out by this choice)
  • On the “Select Reports and Proposals” page of the wizard, accept the default and click “Next” (you can add additional reports if you want to)
  • On the “Choose Computer Discovery Methods” page, you’ll now have the ability to start filtering out machines you don’t want to inventory.  Here are some ideas for filtering:
    • If you have all your servers in a particular domain or in a particular OU and only want to inventory those servers and nothing else, then choose the “Use Active Directory Domain Services” checkbox only, and specify which Domain or OU within a domain is to be inventoried.
  • If you have a specific list of computer names that you’d like to inventory (that you perhaps got from System Center Configuration Manager or another tool), you can import that list using the “Import Names from a file” option and only those machines will be inventoried if you disable all other checkboxes on this page.
  • If you have a specific IP address range or ranges that you’d like to inventory, then choose the “Scan IP address range” option, and only the IP addresses you specify will be inventoried if you disable all other checkboxes on this page.
  • Make your selection on the “Choose Computer Discovery Methods” page and click “Next”.  Depending on which options you choose here, you’ll be shown additional pages to configure the inventory methods.   When prompted for WMI credentials, make sure to provide credentials that have the equivalent of “Administrator” privileges on the machines being inventoried (a domain admin credential, for example).
  • After configuring all the discovery methods and entering WMI credentials, the inventory will run and a set of reports will be generated.  These reports will be interesting, but won’t contain a list of all installed SQL servers.
  • There are several tools available for querying SQL Server, including Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, osql.exe, and the SQL Server Management Studio.  You can use any of these you feel comfortable with, but we’ll only be describing how to use Excel 2007 to run the queries to get the data.  
  • Create a new workbook
  • On the Data tab, in the Get External Data group, click From Other Sources, and then click From Microsoft Query.
  • On the “Choose Data Source” dialog, click <New Data Source> and click OK
  • Enter a name for the datasource, such as the name of the database you created for inventory
  • Select “SQL Native Client” for the driver
  • Click Connect, and enter machineName\MAPS in the “Server Name” field.  For example, if you computer is named “MyLaptop”, enter MyLaptop\MAPS, click the “Use Trusted Connection” checkbox then click the “Options” button to expand the options
  • Under Database, choose the name of the database you created for inventory
  • Click OK to dismiss the “SQL Server Login” page
  • Click OK to dismiss the “Create new datasource” dialog
  • Make sure the datasource name you just created is selected in the “Choose Data Source” dialog, and click OK
  • Click the ‘+’ next to “all_colums” to expand the list, then click the top item in the list under “all_columns” and press the ‘>’ button to move the item to the right-hand list.
  • Click “Next”
  • Click “Next” to skip the “Filter Data” page
  • Click “Next to skip the “Sort Order” page
  • On the “Finish” page, click “View or Edit data in Microsoft Query” and press “Finish”
  • Click the “SQL” button
  • Erase the query displayed in the “SQL” dialog.
  • Paste in the query for getting all SQL Servers from earlier in these instructions
  • Click OK, then click OK again to dismiss the “SQL Query can’t be represented graphically” warning.
    The MAPSA application uses a dedicated database instance called “MAPS”.  To connect to this database instance on your local machine, you’ll use the server name localmachinename\MAPS   For example, if your machine is named “mylaptop”, use mylaptop\MAPS as the database server name.The database name will be whichever name you specified when creating the inventory in the steps above.SELECT COALESCE(d.[ad_dns_host_name],


    WHEN (RTRIM(LTRIM(LOWER(d.computer_system_name))) != RTRIM(LTRIM(LOWER(d.dns_host_name))))

    THEN d.computer_system_name + ‘(‘ + d.dns_host_name + ‘)’



    ) AS ‘Computer Name’,











    CASE WHEN PATINDEX(‘MSSQL$%’, s.name) > 0 THEN

    SUBSTRING(s.name, 7, 999)



    END AS ‘Instance Name’

    FROM Services s INNER JOIN devices d on d.device_number = s.device_number

    WHERE s.Path_Name like ‘%SqlServr.exe%’

    To get the list of machines with Analysis Services installed (2000, 2005, 2008):

    — returns for 2000, 2005

    SELECT COALESCE(d.[ad_dns_host_name],


    WHEN (RTRIM(LTRIM(LOWER(d.computer_system_name))) != RTRIM(LTRIM(LOWER(d.dns_host_name))))

    THEN d.computer_system_name + ‘(‘ + d.dns_host_name + ‘)’



    ) AS ‘Computer Name’,











    FROM Services s INNER JOIN devices d on s.device_number = s.device_number

    WHERE s.Path_Name Like ‘%msmdsrv.exe%’

    To get the list of machines with Integration Services installed (2005, 2008)

    SELECT COALESCE(d.[ad_dns_host_name],


    WHEN (RTRIM(LTRIM(LOWER(d.computer_system_name))) != RTRIM(LTRIM(LOWER(d.dns_host_name))))

    THEN d.computer_system_name + ‘(‘ + d.dns_host_name + ‘)’



    ) AS ‘Computer Name’,











    FROM Services s INNER JOIN devices d on s.device_number = d.device_number

    WHERE s.Path_Name Like ‘%MSDTSSrvr.exe%’

To run a query from Excel 2007

    At this point, MSQuery will be invoked in Wizard mode.   You don’t actually want to use the wizard, but unfortunately, you have to step through it to get to the point where you can enter your own SQL Query.   To get through the wizard:The main UI for Microsoft Query will now be displayed.  Click the “SQL” button at the top of the page to enter the query you want to run.  TO get a list of all SQL Servers: At this point, you can close MSQuery (File->Return Data to Microsoft Excel).  Excel will prompt you for a range on a worksheet to place the data in.Once the data for the first query has been placed in Excel, you can repeat the same steps to execute the queries for Analysis Services and Integration Services if you like.  Be sure to place the results of these queries on different tabs in the workbook so you don’t overwrite the data from other queries.Note that Excel automatically turns on the Auto Filtering mode, which will allow you to use the drop-down menus at the top of each column to apply filters to the data.  See the sample workbook in the folder for an idea of what this looks like.

Tracking SQL Server Modes

Tracking License Information in SQL 2005

SQL 2005 does not track (Server CAL Model or Per Processor) registry entries. SQL 2005 still reads the registry for this information, but the SQL 2005 setup doesn’t put licensing information in the registry during setup as it did SQL Server 2000.
Supported Resolution

Since SQL 2005 still queries the registry for licensing information, add the following key and values and ServerProperty(‘LicenseType’) will return license information.
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Microsoft SQL Server\90\MSSQLLicenseInfo\MSSQL9.00

If you want to configure SQL Server for Per Processor then add these Registry Values under that Key adjusting for the number of processors you have a license for:

Name                         Type                           Value
Mode                         REG_DWORD           2           ß LICENSE_MODE_PERPROC   
ConcurrentLimit        REG_DWORD           4           ß Number of Processors

If you want to configure SQL Server for Per Seat licensing then add these Registry values under the Key adjusting for the number of seat license you have purchased.

Name                         Type                           Value
Mode                         REG_DWORD           0            ß LICENSE_MODE_PERSEAT   
ConcurrentLimit        REG_DWORD           100         ß No. of client licenses registered for SQL Server in Per Seat mode.

Test in SQL Management Studio

You need to stop and restart SQL Server 2005 before the information will be available to ServerProperty() as the registry is read on start-up of SQL Server.

With the above settings you would see the following when you restart SQL Server 2005.

SELECT  ServerProperty(‘LicenseType’) as LicenseType, ServerProperty(‘NumLicenses’) as ProcessorCount

[Ref: Emma Healey]

Volume Licensing Sevice Center (The what happened to eOpen? Thread)

1) I am asked to provide a valid business email. Why?

An important new change, Microsoft noew require a Windows Live ID and a valid business email address. The valid business email adress may be different from your Live ID and must match the email address on the Volume Agreement or Open License order.

The Registration process, the customer’s Windows Live ID and Business email are linked together. Accessing the “My Permissions” page will display a User’s valid business email address.

If you are the System Administrator and recieve the error, you will need to verify that the business email entered on the signed Volume Agreement matches the email being used to Register on the site. If this is all correct and still no luck, go on “Contact Us” to go to the local Regional Support Center for your Region.

2) What are the issues and how should I approach it?

Some customers will not be able to register because their email has not been associated with the Volume License Agreement number (7 numbers). There is an exception process in place that can be initiated through the Microsoft Call Center. I understand this will take some time to manually check.

Secondly, as part of the increased security, some Microsoft Partners will have some limited access to work on behalf of their customers without permissions.

3) Check your Firewall and SPAM filter

It might be worth checking SPAM filters for the Microsoft Validation email. In addition, If Open Program customers haven’t accessed eOpen for over 24 months, again worth looking at Call Center support.

Microsoft have a team in place responding to issues so get in contact with them to get the ball rolling.

4) Support Documentation

Microsoft Volume License Center User Guide

Also check other FAQs on this Website.

Importing Software Licenses Into Asset Intelligence System Center Configuration Manager 2007

Importing Software Licenses Into Asset Intelligence System Center Configuration Manager 2007

The following sections describe the procedures necessary to import both Microsoft (and non-Microsoft software) licensing information into Config Manager 2007 using the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard

Importing Microsoft Volume Licensing (MVLS) Software License Information

Microsoft software license information can be imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue directly from a Microsoft licensing spreadsheet (Excel). Before importing software license information, the MVLS spreadsheet must be converted to an .xml file. The following procedure describes how to convert an MVLS licensing spreadsheet file to .xml format using Microsoft Office Excel.

HINT  Either Microsoft Office Excel 2003 or Microsoft Office Excel 2007 can be used to complete this procedure. However, if you attempt to convert an MVLS spreadsheet created in Microsoft Office Excel 2003 (.xls) with Microsoft Office Excel 2007 (.xlsx), this procedure will fail. Before beginning this procedure, ensure that the MVLS statement file type is the same as the version of Microsoft Office Excel that will be used. 

HINT  Make sure the import file is comprehensive as existing license data will be wiped and overwritten.

HINT  If you wish to software licenses from license information files into the site database, please be aware that you will need the full NTFS Permisions to the file share that will be used to import software license information.

Step by Step guide

To Convert a Microsoft Volume Licensing Statement to .xml Format

  1. Open the spreadsheet and ensure that the License Summary tab is selected.
  2. From the Microsoft Office Excel file menu, save the file in .xml format. When using Microsoft Office Excel 2003, the file created should be saved as an XML Spreadsheet formatted file. When using Microsoft Excel 2007, the file created should be saved as an XML Spreadsheet 2003 formatted file.
  3. Copy the .xml file to the file share that will be used to import software license information into the Asset Intelligence catalogue using the “Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard”.
  4. From within the Configuration Manager console, use the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard to import the newly created .xml license information file.
  5. Run the Asset Intelligence License 14A – Microsoft Volume Licensing Reconciliation Report to verify that the licensing information has been successfully imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue.

Importing non-Microsoft Volume Licensing (MVLS) Software License Information

Non-Microsoft software license information can also be imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue using a manually created license import file in .csv file format. When creating a non-Microsoft license import file, you will need to include descriptive information including the usual information Product Name, Publisher, Version, Language, Support Purchased, Support Expiration, PO Number, Effective Quantity, Date of Purchase and Reseller.

Step by Step guide

The following procedure describes the process that can be used to create a non-Microsoft software license import file using Microsoft Office Excel.

To Create a non-Microsoft License Import File Using Microsoft Office Excel

  1. Open Microsoft Office Excel
  2. On the first row of the new spreadsheet, enter all software license data field names.
  3. On the second and subsequent rows of the new spreadsheet, enter software license information as required. Ensure that at least all of the required software license data fields are entered on subsequent rows for each software license to be imported. The software title name entered in the spreadsheet must be the same as the software title that is displayed in Resource Explorer for a client computer after hardware inventory has run.
  4. From the Microsoft Office Excel file menu, save the file in .csv format.
  5. Copy the .csv file to the file share that will be used to import software license information into the Asset Intelligence catalogue using the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard.
  6. From within the Configuration Manager console, use the Asset Intelligence License Import Wizard to import the newly created .csv license information file.
  7. Run the Asset Intelligence License 15A – Third Party Software Reconciliation Report to verify that the licensing information has been successfully imported into the Asset Intelligence catalogue.

How to Import Software License Information

In the SSCM Console > Site Database > Computer Management > Asset Intelligence.

HINT  If you have the action pane up, Click “License Import Wizard” .

Then run the Import and browse to the location of your XML Formatted licensing information file on the standard network share folder.


10 Reasons to Implement SAM

Why should you implement a Software Asset Management (SAM) Plan in your business?

Financial Security

The complexities of managing software across an organization make controlling costs a big challenge and can leave you feeling financially vulnerable. Implementing a good SAM plan controls your costs with standardization throughout the software life cycle. You can thereby secure the information needed to choose the most cost-effective licensing programs, provide better IT forecasting for budgeting, and receive tax benefits associated with software depreciation.

Volume discounts for better price points

SAM can help you save when purchasing your licenses, improve relations with your software resellers, and give you an advantage in future negotiations. These benefits and others are possible because a fully implemented SAM plan gives you a better understanding of what types of licenses—and how many—your organization has purchased and deployed, and what you are actually using and therefore need. Should you buy on a per-PC basis, or could you save money through volume licensing? Your SAM plan will provide you with the insights to help you make efficient and effective decisions for the unique needs of your organization.

More liability control

A good SAM plan helps you avoid financial penalties and legal costs by ensuring that your licenses are compliant, and helps prevent any potential damage to your reputation that could arise from a lawsuit. SAM can also help you achieve compliance with government regulations that require strict standards of IT governance and controls.

Good corporate governance

Effective corporate governance begins with two basic steps: identifying the risks facing your business, and controlling and mitigating those risks before they can have an impact. SAM can help you identify your business and compliance risks associated with software management (or lack thereof) and establish a set of well-defined best practices that help ensure consistent management of these assets throughout your organization.

Increased employee satisfaction

A good SAM plan will give your employees the right tools they need to do their jobs. Trouble-free software and IT systems that function as they should will result not only in increased efficiency, but also in better overall employee morale.

Smoother operations

Your entire organization runs better with SAM. Initially, by providing better automation and standardizing processes to help reduce complexity, SAM optimizes your software and IT resources and lets you focus on running your business. Infrastructure Optimization can take your business from a non-managed reactive state to a proactive, optimized, and dynamic state. You also have an added peace of mind by ensuring your software is genuine and not pirated. This provides an extra layer of security and efficiency that pirated software cannot, and which might in fact interrupt your IT systems and overall business.

Reduce/eliminate waste and redundancy

Overlapping, non-integrated, and outdated applications are just harder to manage. SAM gives you the information you need to make the best use of your software assets and to pay only for what you use. Thorough and ongoing reconciliation can reveal software overlap, as well as software that you no longer use and can consequently retire but are still maintaining. SAM therefore enables you to reduce/eliminate maintenance plans and additional fees on software you no longer use.  *Always check your license agreements before transferring software. Certain agreements may limit the transfer or redeployment of software.

Better market position

SAM can help your business gain the competitive advantage it needs in the marketplace. Up-to-date licensing and an extensive, comprehensive documented media library can result in faster, easier processes and streamlined software functionality throughout the organization; both with day to day activities and in times of mergers and acquisitions.

Increased long-term business value

Implementing SAM can increase your organization’s agility and enhance its future value by ensuring that you make strategic use of resources in times of changing business conditions. With consistent and effective SAM practices in place, your business is more efficient and can respond quickly to market conditions and opportunities. Following the best practices in your SAM plan results in better information for decision making and a higher degree of operational excellence; ultimately driving long-term business value.

Flexibility for the future

SAM gives you better insight into your future software needs and provides a scalable foundation for growth. Instead of buying all the newest software and updates available, you’ll be able to decide exactly what software is needed and when you’ll need it. With SAM, you can plan for your future needs now.

[Ref: http://www.microsoft.com/sam/en/us/reasons.aspx]

Mobility Rights

I have included below from a licensing perspective around transitioning to a datacenter.

Moving an instance of software from one server to another is not the same as reassigning a software license from one server to another. Moving an instance of software means to move the software bits from one server to another. Reassigning a software license means to assign that license to another server so that it becomes the server licensed to run that software.

Microsoft license by running license only and not create and store. Where you execute the software into memory and it is enabled to run you need a license. Once the license is assigned, you are enabled to run that instance.

Microsoft have had some changes to the reassignment of licenses. Prior to this, It had to be kept on the hardware it was reassigned to for 90 days. Please be aware Windows Server licenses have not changed with regard to server mobility.

September 1st 2008 customers onwards Customers are able to move their licenses acquired under Volume Licensing programs for any of the 41 different Microsoft Server applications within a ‘server farm’ as often as necessary so that customers can create more dynamic computing environments.

A ‘server farm’ consists of up to Two datacenters each physically located within the European Union (EU) and each datacenter must be part of one server farm. You may reassign a datacenter from one server farm to another but not on a short-term basis, so not within 90 days of the last reassignment.

For your current and planned move to a datacenter.

• You must assign a license to your intended device
• After the license is assigned, the device is now considered the licensed device.
• Customers can now reassign server applications freely within a server farm.

When it comes to your intended plans for movement to a new datacenter, and you have a license assigned, and the server has capacity. You can move Instances from one server to another server. This is nothing to do with re-assigning licenses. If the destination server has sufficient licenses to have capacity for the Instances you wish to move and copy on it than this can go ahead.


Microsoft Waiving the 90 day reassignment rule means customers can set up far more dynamic, agile IT infrastructure that make the most of the flexibility that virtualization offers. Please refer to the detail here in the MS White Paper:


Secondly,  if your customer has active SA for SQL Server 2008, they have “Cold server backup” right as well. The Server needs to be turned off in this scenario.


• If your current SQL Server and Windows Server have been deployed without a license assigned to them a license must be acquired and assigned.
• If you are looking at consolidation, from a compliance perspective, please be aware this does not address the current deployment of Microsoft software on servers that do not have a license assigned. You must ensure all your servers are licensed correctly before any re-assignment can be made.

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Genuine Windows Software

1) Full Windows License

Each PC must have a full underlying Windows Client OS license. This can be acquired with the PC from Dell or other Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or purchased as a Retail copy (PC World)

2) Volume Licensing

Volume Licensing for Windows Client OS are Upgrades and require a qualify base license.

3) Whats a Qualifying Operating System for Windows

Commercial Volume Licensing customers (Excluding Academic) cannot have PCs with Windows Home or Starter Edition and use them as base to upgrade and re-image with Windows Business or Ultimate.

4) Volume Activation

Activation is a required aspect of deployment for deploying a Volume License image of Windows 7.

5) How do I activate Windows?

Key Management Services (KMS) is used for customer-local activation and Multiple Activation Key  (MAK) for activation with Microsoft. [Ref: www.Technet.com/volumeactivation]

6) How do I get this sorted?

Get Genuine Windows Agreement (GGWA) is a way to acquire full Windows Licenses on Volume Licensing with your Large Account Reseller (LAR).

The Get Genuine Kit (GGK) is for all customers to correct non-genuine or mislicensed Windows. [Ref: www.micosoft.com/piracy/knowthefacts/legalization.spx]

7) How do I go about getting Genuine Windows?

There is a Pre-Signed Agreement for Large Organisations. The Reseller can find this at https://www.explore.ms Please be aware this includes an Audit clause.

The Large Account Reseller (LAR) will confirm the pricing with your Microsoft Business Manager and submit the agreement with pricing to the customer. The customer is responbile for signing the Agreement and agreeing the quantity and returning to the LAR.

The Large Account Reseller (LAR) will then submit the agreement to the Microsoft Regional Operations Center (ROC) who will set up the Agreement and then process the order under the Agreement.

The customer and the LAR will both recieve an emailed copy of the agreement from Microsoft.

There is also a straightforward non-signed commitment. However, it implies a non-signed commitment to buy legal going forward. There is no Audit clause. This is ordered like any other Volume License on Open. GGWA-SMO is on the Open Price List with a  5 License minimum. GGWA-A is on the Academic Open Price list.

The customer can continue to order through the term of the Agreement of two years. The Reseller will obtain a copy of the Get Genuine Addendum for the Customer from the Distributor. The licenses are ordered through the authorized Microsoft OEM distributor, who orders from Microsoft.

The Customer will be able to review licenses online on Volume License Service Center (VLSC). Any physical licenses are sent in a Welcome Pack.

8) This seems overly complex. So what Legalization route should I follow?

GGWA-LO Volume Licensing for Large Organisations.  The Customer has identified counterfeit or alternatively has Linux  or has re-imaged with no underlying  Operating System on the box (bare-metal). This is also applicable where the Customer has Windows Home or Starter as an underlying license on the machine.

GGWA-SMO (Small and Medium Organisations) covers Small to 250 seat organisations.

GGWA-A (Academic) is a Volume Licensing solution for Academic customers. Please ensure your organisation qualified under Academic criteria.

GGK (Get Genuine Kit) Licensing purchased from OEM Channel for all customers. If the customer is concerned about making their identity known to Microsoft, this is an anonymous route to legalization.

GGOK (Get Genuine Online Kit) This is for Windows 7. This is purchased online direct from Microsoft and is available option after failing Windows Activation Technology Validation.

WGA (Windows Genuine Advantage) for Windows XP and Vista. This is purchased online direct from Microsoft and is available option after failing Windows Activation Technology Validation.

Retail (Full Packaged Product) is a full perpetual license available from retail as a boxed copy. This is available for all customers, however this is not the most cost-effective option and in terms of a large number of mislicensed PCs isn’t best on Price and in terms of recording and managing those licenses going forward.

9) What is the Microsoft Partners’ commitment?

Per Section 4(e)(2) of the Microsoft Partner Program Agreement; Company will not engage or participate in the unauthorized manufacture, duplication, delivery, transfer or use of counterfeit, pirated, unlicensed or illegal software or other Microsoft Materials. Company will not otherwise infringe any of Microsoft’s intellectual property rights. Company must reasonably cooperate with Microsoft and its Affiliates in the investigation of counterfeit, pirated, unlicensed or illegal software and other Microsoft Materials. Company must promptly report to Microsoft any suspected counterfeiting, piracy or other copyright infringement in computer programs, manuals, course material, marketing materials or other copyrighted materials owned by Microsoft or its licensors.

10) Resources

Microsoft Genuine Software www.microsoft.com/genuine/
Microsoft Volume Licensing www.microsoft.com/licensing