Microsoft announce upcoming changes to three Software Assurance benefits. Here’s the summary and key dates:
- 1 February 2020: cloud services offerings will be retired
- 1 January 2022: last day to redeem Planning Services vouchers for all
- 1 February 2020: Azure training courses will be retired
- 1 January 2022: last day to redeem Training Vouchers for all courses
24 x 7 Problem
- 1 February 2021: incident-based support will be replaced with as-needed
support and credit towards Unified Support
And the reason for these changes? There’s a useful “Software Assurance changes overview” document which you can find in the “Volume Licensing Programs” section of our Licensing Guides emporium here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
In this document you’ll find that customers are encouraged to move to FastTrack for deployment services, that Microsoft Learn provides some excellent Azure training courses – although new training and certification offerings are in development, and that Microsoft’s future overall support strategy focuses on the Unified Support model.
The Software Assurance website is also updated with this news here: http://bit.ly/2kXtbbA.
There’s an updated (October 2019) Dynamics 365 Business Central Licensing Guide. You’ll find it updated for the PowerApps licensing changes that will happen in October 2019, as well as a useful table added on page 10 to show the difference in use rights between the different levels of Business Central licences.
Find this guide here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
Microsoft announce that a monthly payment option is now available for some Azure Reservations. There aren’t any additional costs for choosing to pay monthly rather than upfront, although if you’re in a non-US-dollar market the actual monthly payment may vary dependent on the exchange rate. Monthly payments are available for the following services: virtual machines, SQL Database, SQL Data Warehouse, Cosmos DB, and the App Service stamp fee, and it’s an option you select when you buy the Reservation from the Azure Management Portal.
Find some good pictures of the process and some FAQs here: http://bit.ly/2maim6g.
The original announcement is here: http://bit.ly/2lILGR0.
There’s an updated (July 2019) Windows 7 and Office 2010 End of Support FAQ. Use it to answer questions such as: which programs are the Extended Security Updates available in (currently EA/EAS/EES, but CSP too by the end of 2019); who’s eligible for free ESUs (EA/EAS customers with active Windows E5 or Microsoft 365 E5/E5 Security subscriptions); and in which Windows environments is Office 365 ProPlus supported (it depends, see pages 12/13).
Find this document, as usual, here: http://bitly/MSLicensingGuides.
There are several different editions of Windows 10. If you want a detailed comparison chart showing the differences between the editions, then you can find one here: http://bit.ly/2H9XbJ6.
If you want to learn more about Azure Cost Management to optimise spending in Azure, then have a look at the ACM YouTube channel. There’s a whole host of playlists, including a Quickstart one for a useful collection of short introductory videos. Find the channel here: http://bit.ly/2U55fA7.
If you provision an all-inclusive SQL Server virtual machine from the Azure Marketplace then you’ll be charged a single fee which includes the cost of SQL Server. If you want to bring your own SQL Server licences to that virtual machine via the Azure Hybrid Benefit, then you need to change the licence type of the virtual machine. You do this in the Azure Management Portal and simply change the licence type from Pay As You Go to the Azure Hybrid Benefit in the Configure settings of the VM. You can find instructions for that here: http://bit.ly/2Pd6miy.
If you’ve self-installed SQL Server on an Azure virtual machine, then again, you’re probably intending to bring your own licences. The Product Terms states that you need to indicate when you’re using the Azure Hybrid Benefit – which is what happened above – but this time you need to first register the SQL Server VM with the Resource Provider, and then activate the Azure Hybrid Benefit as before. You’ll find instructions for the process of registering a SQL Sever VM in Azure with the SQL Server VM Resource Provider here: http://bit.ly/324kGLx.
There’s an updated (July 2019) PowerApps and Flow Licensing Guide with text added to indicate that the Common Data Service will allow integration with Outlook and SharePoint. Find out more about the facilities enabled for app users here: http://bit.ly/2KIntEm, and find the guide in the brand new PowerApps and Flow section at http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
Azure Advisor is a free tool which helps you to optimise your Azure resources for high availability, security, performance, and cost by providing free, personalised recommendations based on your usage and configurations. If you’re new to Advisor, find a nice overview video here: http://bit.ly/2KRYT2N. If you want to know more about the ways that Advisor can save you money – for example optimising virtual machine spend by resizing or shutting down underutilised instances, then this is a useful page: http://bit.ly/2ZdW6X0.
If you’re responsible for the management of Azure resources then you’ll be familiar with the Azure Management Portal. Are you using its baby brother – the Azure mobile app? The idea is that you can keep track of your Azure resources while on-the-go, whether it’s keeping informed of alerts and health issues, or taking corrective action like starting and stopping VMs and web apps.
Find out more with links to download the app here: http://bit.ly/2ZcEdf9.