Microsoft 365 Licensing Updates

Microsoft’s December 2018 Licensing News article has three topics of interest covering Microsoft 365 licensing updates. Firstly, EA and MPSA customers can now take advantage of a single SKU for Microsoft 365 which means that they see a single item in their Admin Centers and License Summaries, rather than seeing Office 365, Windows and EMS as separate components.

Secondly, there’s details of Microsoft’s new Home Use Program offer. Historically, HUP has been a Software Assurance benefit where users of devices licensed with Office + SA could purchase Office for their home PCs at a heavily discounted price. That benefit still exists for Office 2019 but the article reveals that this will come to an end on 30 June, 2019.

The new HUP offer allows individuals to purchase Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal annual subscriptions at a 30% discount. This is available to customers who have Office with Software Assurance but is also available to customers who qualify with a certain number of Office 365/Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 licences: 2,000 for commercial organisations, and 13,000 for education or charity institutions.

Now, this isn’t available worldwide yet and although you can see it’s live in most countries (see the UK site here, for example, the article states that China and Japan will have this benefit on 1 April, 2019, and if you check out the US site ( there’s a message telling you that the US launch will be in early 2019.

And finally, there’s an update on the dual use rights available when a customer has a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 From SA licence. Currently there are special rights detailed in the Product Terms which allow customers to install “traditional” Office Professional Plus as well as Office 365 ProPlus. The article states that these rights will be removed from 1 August, 2019 so customers renewing agreements after that date will no longer be entitled to the special installation rights.

Find the December 2018 Licensing News article here:

A Bluffers’ Guide to the Server and Cloud Enrolment

If you’re a Microsoft licensing expert you probably feel you should have at least a fundamental understanding of the new Server and Cloud Enrolment from Microsoft, due to be released in the last quarter of 2013. If you haven’t yet done your swotting up, take the easy option and read on for the “must know” facts about this enrolment in the first part of our series on this new licensing option.

The Enterprise Agreement
The Server and Cloud Enrolment (SCE) is signed under the Enterprise Agreement. Does this mean that it’s only targeted at Microsoft’s largest customers? No, absolutely not, and although customers do have to meet some minimum commitments, it’s well within the grasp of many customers. Customers don’t have to have an existing Enterprise Agreement and if they like what SCE offers, they can sign a new EA with just this enrolment. Given that the enrolment is signed under the EA, certain EA attributes filter through – namely that it’s a three-year term, and Software Assurance is included.

The Products
So, what products are we talking about? A “traditional” EA is all about Windows, Office and the CAL Suites; the SCE is all about Windows Server, System Center, and SQL Server. Now, there ARE other products – for instance, Visual Studio and Windows Azure – that you can buy under this enrolment but we’re going to save those details for later in the series. If you’ve heard about the Enrolment for Application Platform (EAP) or Enrolment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) in the past, then the SCE replaces these. EAP was mainly about SQL, and ECI about Windows Server and System Center, so this makes sense.

Windows Server and System Center
Windows Server and System Center are sold together under the SCE as the Core Infrastructure Server Suites, or (thankfully) the CIS Suites. These Suites come in Standard or Datacenter flavours to reflect the editions of Windows Server and System Center. As you would expect, the CIS Standard Suite includes Windows Server Standard and System Center Standard, and the CIS Datacenter Suite includes the Datacenter editions of both products. The licensing of the CIS Suites mirrors the licensing of the included products, being Processor-based with one licence covering up to two processors on the same machine.

Customers need to commit enterprise-wide to the CIS Suites which means that they have to buy one or other of the CIS Suites for every Windows-based server in their organisation and there’s a minimum purchase requirement of 25 licences. In a later post we’ll look at what happens if they already have Windows Server or System Center licences with SA for their installed base.

SQL Server
Alternatively, a customer can use SCE to purchase their SQL Server licences, and it’s important to note that these purchases are completely independent of the CIS purchases. A customer could have one enrolment with both products included, or an enrolment with just one; there are no additional discounts available for committing to more than one product.

Buying SQL Server licences is very similar to acquiring the CIS Suites. There’s a commitment for a customer to cover their entire SQL Server estate with the latest versions of SQL Server with Software Assurance, and there’s a minimum size of this estate: if they license via the Server/CAL model it’s 5 Server licences and 250 CALs, if they’ve opted for the Core licensing model, there’s a requirement for 50 Core licences.

And now…
Ready to check that you’ve thoroughly digested these key facts? Watch out for our Bluffers’ Guide SCE test coming shortly. And if you score a passing grade in that then you’re ready for Part 2…

SCE v EAP Price Changes – the Maths!

Those who know me may recall that I started life as a maths teacher, so a chance to dabble in a bit of algebra is always a treat. And for those of you who hate algebra and could never see a use for it – well, here it is – a way of working out the price changes in SCE (the new EA Server and Cloud Enrolment) and EAP (the old Enterprise Application Platform Enrolment).

We know that in the EAP, licences are split into either Standard or Enterprise flavours and customers get either 15% or 40% discount off the price of a new licence and no discount off the compulsory three year’s SA. So, for a SQL Standard licence costing “S” the price paid over 3 years is 0.85 x S + 3 x SA. Since SA is 25% of the licence price, it’s 0.85 x S + 3 x 0.25 x S = 1.6 x S. In other words, if you know the list price of a SQL Standard licence, the customer actually pays 1.6 times that through the lifetime of the EAP.

Good. Let’s do the same with a SQL Enterprise licence. Using a similar approach with “E” being an Enterprise licence, the price paid over 3 years is 0.6 x E + 3 x SA or 0.6 x E + 3 x 0.25 x E = 1.35 x E. So the customer pays 1.35 times the price of an Enterprise licence through the EAP.

And what about SCE? Well, there’s no differentiation between Standard and Enterprise licences (good) and there’s a 15% discount off the TOTAL L&SA price (interesting). Again taking a SQL Standard edition licence costing “S” we can work out that the customer pays 0.85 x S + 0.85 x 3 x SA or 0.85 x S + 0.85 x 3 x 0.25 x S which (finally) comes to 1.4875 x S. Luckily, since the calculations are the same for the Enterprise edition, we’re done!

And the conclusions? Well, for a SQL Standard licence, the customer pays 1.6 times the licence in an EAP and 1.4875 times the licence in SCE. Dividing 1.4875 by 1.6 gives 0.9296 which tells me that it’s a 7% decrease in price for the total L&SA price over the life of the SCE. For SQL Enterprise, it’s 1.4875 divided by 1.35 which gives 1.101 which represents a 10% increase. So, not huge changes in price for a customer.

So don’t you wish you’d paid attention in your maths lessons? 😉