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…