EA Minimum Requirements

Microsoft announce that the minimum requirements for both the subscription and perpetual flavours of the Enterprise Agreement will go from 250 users/devices to 500 from 1st July 2016.

The recommendation for smaller customers is to buy through the MPSA or CSP, but existing customers CAN renew their EA by extending it for an additional 36-month term if they want to – even after 1st July.

Read the full Microsoft blog post here: http://bit.ly/1Klwhfg

Enterprise Agreement Program Guide – updated April 2014

If you need an overview of the EA then this Enterprise Agreement Program Guide might be just the ticket. Updated in April 2014 it includes licensing changes for Windows Enterprise, and covers Azure as well as the Server and Cloud Enrolment. There’s also advice on SA credit if you’re renewing SA from another agreement.

Download it here: http://bit.ly/1j8qQli.

Microsoft Webcast on Azure and its Licensing

Really rather good Microsoft webcast on Azure and its licensing. Useful takeaways:

  • pricing comparison (the Azure list price will always be the same as Amazon Web Services, and the Azure EA price will always be lower);
  • how to purchase Azure in an EA (make an upfront payment, pay any additional usage either annually – for up to 50% overage – or quarterly for more than that);
  • how existing EA customers are impacted (overage penalties go away immediately, existing quarterly payments remain in place with annual payments starting at renewal).

This webcast was originally aimed at Enterprise customers in the US and the licensing portion starts at 13:49 but I’d recommend the whole thing if you want to get a handle on the positioning of Azure too. http://bit.ly/19lQ5uq

More Flexibility in Purchasing Windows Azure through an EA

Announcement from Microsoft regarding more flexibility in purchasing Windows Azure through the EA: “On Nov 1, Microsoft will offer Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers access to discounted Windows Azure prices, regardless of upfront commitment, without overuse penalties and with the flexibility of annual payments.” Read the full press release here: http://bit.ly/1e5qNRy

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? 😉