Extended Security Updates

Microsoft announce Extended Security Updates for Windows Server and SQL Server 2008/2008 R2. These products go out of extended support in the near future: 9 July 2019 for SQL Server, and 14 January 2020 for Windows Server. Extended Security Updates give three more years of support and, if the workloads are moved to Azure, then there’s no charge. Customers with Enterprise Agreements may purchase Extended Security Updates for their remaining on-premises deployments, if required. Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2uAxwmw and a Datasheet and an FAQ here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Windows 10 Subscription Activation

If you’ve got questions on Windows 10 subscription activation then add this article to your reading list: http://bit.ly/2zHV4Lf. There’s lots of useful information including a short history of Windows deployment, the prerequisites and advantages of using the Windows 10 Enterprise subscription model and how it works, and how you enable Windows 10 subscription activation for virtual machines in the cloud. If you’re interested in the differences between acquiring licences in an Enterprise Agreement and CSP then there’s some great information on that too.

Server Subscriptions

Microsoft announce the immediate availability of Server Subscriptions through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program. Server Subscriptions are available for Windows Server and SQL Server and are paid upfront for either a 1-year or 3-year term. They give access to the Azure Hybrid Benefit which means that customers may install the products on-premises or use them to license the products within an Azure virtual machine. You should consider them to be best friends with the new Reserved Instances since they now offer the most cost-effective way to license predictable Windows and SQL Server workloads in Azure.

You can find the announcement here (http://bit.ly/2m6NfFj). There’s a whole host of resources on both Server Subscriptions and Reserved Instances here (http://bit.ly/2NIC5n1) where you’ll find a sales sheet, an Operations Guide, overview presentations, and an FAQ.

Skype for Business Online Plan 1 Retirement

Microsoft announce that Skype for Business Online Plan 1 will be retired from the CSP program, effective 1 August, 2018. If you want information on the plans to migrate customers to, and how to do it, then this is the page for you: http://bit.ly/2MGp63I. It’s worth noting that most Office 365 plans do now actually include Skype for Business Online Plan 1 functionality.

“Using the Windows Server Azure Hybrid Benefit”

Customers who have Windows Server licences with active Software Assurance can take advantage of the Azure Hybrid Benefit which allows them to assign these licences to Azure. This means that they can run Windows Server virtual machines at a reduced cost, paying just the base compute charges in Azure. It’s possible to deploy a new VM using the Azure Hybrid Benefit or to update an existing running VM to use this benefit. This is a useful article if you want to see how this is done and to get a view of which deployed VMs are using the Azure Hybrid Benefit: http://bit.ly/2tgbUdC.

Microsoft Calling Plans

Microsoft Calling Plans let users make and receive phone calls. From a licensing perspective there are Domestic and Domestic and International Plans available as User Subscription Licences and all users need to be licensed with a Phone System User SL too. The most recent availability of Calling Plans is in Canada (http://bit.ly/2IJ2MZM) from 1st May 2018, where calls to the US (and vice versa) are considered to be domestic .If you’re interested in a spreadsheet which shows availability throughout the world and how many minutes are included in the different regions, then this is download-must: http://bit.ly/2JbycHs.