Skype for Business Online

Some of the Skype for Business Online services are renamed: PSTN Calling is now Calling Plan, PSTN Conferencing is Audio Conferencing, Cloud PBX is Phone System, and PSTN Consumption is now Communication Credits.

This is a useful page to find out more about these services and their licensing: http://bit.ly/2y71dyv, and page 6 of the October 2017 Product Terms summarises the changes.

Microsoft 365 F1

Microsoft 365 is all about making it easy to license users for Windows 10, Office 365 and EMS with a single user subscription licence. There’s now a new member of the family – Microsoft 365 F1 which is aimed at “firstline” workers, the two billion people in roles that make them the first point of contact between a company and the world it serves. If these type of workers are new to you then this infographic might be interesting: http://bit.ly/2gaF77o.

Microsoft 365 F1 gives access to Office 365 F1, Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and relevant security and management components of EMS. Find a comparison chart of Office 365 F1 and Microsoft 365 F1 at the bottom of the announcement page here: http://bit.ly/2g05wkH.

There’s also an FAQ here: https://aka.ms/fwpartnerfaq which has some useful licensing questions starting at question 17.

Office 365 ProPlus Update Channels

The new names for the Office 365 ProPlus update channels are live – with another slight change. From September 2017 these are the final names:

  • The “Current Channel” becomes the “Monthly Channel” with monthly feature updates
  • The “First Release for Deferred Channel” becomes the “Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted)” with feature updates in March and September and each release supported for 18 months
  • The “Deferred Channel” becomes the “Semi-Annual Channel” with feature updates twice a year, 4 months after the Semi-Annual Channel (Targeted) release in January and July, and each release supported for 14 months

There’s a useful blog post here: http://bit.ly/2qYqGD6 where you’ll also find recommended next steps and exact dates for the upcoming schedule of Office ProPlus releases.

Azure Reserved VM Instances

Microsoft announce Azure Reserved VM Instances (RIs). There’s no word on launch date, but customers will be able to make big savings on Azure virtual machines by committing to 1 or 3 year terms for a particular VM type in a particular Azure region.

There will be flexibility for customers too with the ability to cancel the RI, or exchange it for another VM type in another data centre. Scott Guthrie’s blog post is here (see second to last paragraph): http://bit.ly/2ybA0dZ, and there’s useful information on azure.com too: http://bit.ly/2fV95bC.

SQL Server 2017 Licensing Datasheet

There’s a brand new SQL Server 2017 Licensing Datasheet to support general availability of this product on 2nd October 2017. There aren’t changes to the fundamental licensing but this datasheet is a nice summary including useful information such as the differences in SA benefits between Standard and Enterprise editions.

Find it in the Application Servers section here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

SQL Server 2017

Microsoft announce that SQL Server 2017 will be generally available on 2nd October 2017. The blog post announcement is here: http://bit.ly/2xDEo4E and gives you some detail on the (actually quite exciting) new features that will be part of SQL Server 2017.

However, if you’re more interested in a summary, here are the top three things to know from a licensing perspective:

  • A new “Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server” allows customers to re-use existing on-premises SQL Server licences to run database-as-a-service in Azure
  • R Server is renamed “Machine Learning Server for Hadoop” and is now available to all SQL Server Enterprise edition customers as an SA benefit
  • It’s the first version of SQL Server to run on Windows Server, Linux and Docker, and there’s a new “SQL Server on Red Hat Enterprise Linux offer” which gives discounts off both SQL Server 2017 and the operating system to help with migrations

Microsoft 365 Education

Microsoft announce Microsoft 365 Education. This will be available from 1st October 2017 and will include Windows 10, Office 365, EMS and Minecraft: Education Edition. As with its commercial counterpart, it will licensed via a single User Subscription Licence and there will be two different flavours: Microsoft 365 Education A3 and A5. Find the announcement on the Microsoft Education blog here: http://bit.ly/2wPJ9sZ, with a couple of relevant videos.

Office 365 for Education remains a free product and is renamed to Office 365 A1 and there’s a useful comparison of the features and functionality included in this free product and the new Microsoft 365 Education A3/A5. Find it towards the bottom of this page: http://bit.ly/2wh9g7N by clicking on the “Compare Microsoft 365 Education Plans” link.