Windows Server 2016 Licensing Guide

There’s a brand new (May 2017) Windows Server 2016 Licensing Guide released by Microsoft. It’s a delicious 31 pages of licensing loveliness, but here are our highlights:

  • Core Packs: there’s confirmation of the new 16-core packs on page 7, but an interesting note points out that although the cost of eight 2-packs equals one 16-pack, they may not have the same point count in Volume Licensing programs where this matters – MPSA or Open, for example. There’s also confirmation on page 21 (Q4) that the licences from a multi-pack can be split across servers, they’re not joined forever at purchase point
  • Nano Server: this is a deployment option available only if you have SA on your Windows Server licences, and page 6 confirms that you also need SA on any Windows Server CALs too
  • Core Migration: there’s a lot of guidance on migrating from Processor-based to Core licences and, in particular, there are a couple of pages of FAQs starting on page 26, including what happens with Core licence grants if you have a subscription agreement, and how the grants appear in your licensing portal
  • Standard or Datacenter: there’s a useful table on page 25 which shows the breakeven point for virtual machines running on a 2-processor server which has 8 cores per processor. You’ll find that if you’re running 13 or more virtual machines on this server, then it’s cheaper to license with Datacenter edition

As usual, you can find this Licensing Guide with all of its Licensing Guide family and friends at: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Dynamics 365 Enterprise Licensing Guide

There’s an updated (May 2017) Dynamics 365 Enterprise Licensing Guide with two main changes. Firstly, the inclusion of the new Operations Activity USL for those users who are heavy users of Operations but don’t need the use rights of a full user. It’s introduced on page 12 and you can see what rights this USL gives in the tables on page 35 onwards. The other change is the removal of tiered pricing for the Team Members USL with page 24 confirming that it’s now just available for Plan 1 USLs.

Get the guide at the usual place: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

SharePoint Server Volume Licensing Brief

There’s an updated (April 2017) Licensing SharePoint Server Volume Licensing Brief from Microsoft. There are no significant changes but this is a useful document if you haven’t come across it before, covering the licensing of SharePoint in intranet, extranet and Internet scenarios.

Find it in the Application Servers section of our Licensing Guides emporium: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Office 365 ProPlus Updates

Microsoft announce changes to the way updates in Office 365 ProPlus are managed.

Firstly, the channel names are changed: from “Current Channel” to “Monthly Channel”, “First Release for Deferred Channel” to “Semi-annual Channel (Pilot)” and “Deferred Channel” to “Semi-annual Channel (Broad)”. The names tell us of another change – that unless you’re on the Monthly Channel, updates will now be twice a year rather than three times. This aligns with Windows 10, and updates will be in March and September. And the final change is that Semi-annual channel releases will now be supported for 18 months rather than 12 months.

These updates also apply to Visio Pro for Office 365 and the Project Online desktop client and will take effect in September 2017.

The full announcement is here: http://bit.ly/2qYqGD6 where you’ll also find recommended next steps and exact dates for the upcoming schedule of Office ProPlus releases.

Power BI Premium

Microsoft announce Power BI Premium, a new member of the Power BI family joining Power BI Desktop and Power BI Pro. So, what’s new? Well, today, Power BI Desktop is free and it’s aimed at personal use, while Power BI Pro costs $9.99 per user per month and enables collaboration. Under the current licensing, if an organisation has a few users who publish reports and many users who consume them, then everyone needs to be licensed with a Power BI Pro licence.

Power BI Premium will be generally available late in the second quarter of 2017 and will be licensed by capacity. This means that a Power BI Pro licence will still be required for users publishing reports, but consumers will no longer need to be licensed if their organisation is covered by Power BI Premium. And how does the capacity licensing work? Well, it’s by node and luckily there’s a calculator available to work out just how many nodes you’re likely to need based on your estimated number of Pro, frequent and occasional users. Find the calculator here: http://bit.ly/2qTdPlG.

But what’s a node?! A server? An end-user endpoint? No. Properly called capacity nodes, they’re just a way of purchasing a certain number of virtual cores, memory and bandwidth, dedicated to a customer, that will be sufficient to power the required BI system. At launch, there will be three sizes – inspiringly called P1, P2 and P3 which, for example, give access to 8, 16 and 32 virtual cores. There’s a Microsoft Power BI Premium Whitepaper which gives you some more information on this and you can find it in the “Other” section of the “Application Servers” area in our Licensing Guides emporium at: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

But that’s not the end of the story. There’s also an option for customers who want a hybrid solution and that’s possible with the new Power BI Report Server. When you purchase Power BI Premium you can use the same number of cores that you’ve purchased in the cloud with Power BI Report Server on-premises.

Find the Power BI Premium announcement here: http://bit.ly/2pXo1wt.