Azure and the MPSA

Microsoft announce that from 1 February 2017 new customers will not be able to buy Azure consumption services through the MPSA, but confirm that existing customers are unaffected.

Advice to partners is that they should recommend the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) channel for any new pay-as-you-go Azure customers going forward.

Read the blog post here: http://bit.ly/2j0dACN.

August 2016 MPSA Licensing Manual

The MPSA Licensing Manual is updated for August 2016 with the main change being that all of the rules governing SA benefits have been moved to the Product Terms document – see our blog post for details: http://bit.ly/2aUDKBq.

Other amendments include references to the new Microsoft Business Center portal (updated from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center), confirmation that Azure services are billed quarterly in arrears (page 5), and that Step Ups and other licences for transitions are available through the MPSA (page 5).

Find the MPSA Licensing Manual here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

Software Assurance: August 2016 Product Terms

The Software Assurance section in the August 2016 Product Terms document is updated.

The main change is that the rules governing SA benefits for the MPSA have been moved into the Product Terms from the MPSA Licensing Manual.

Previously, Training Vouchers could not be converted to Planning Services Days within the MPSA but that restriction is now lifted (page 74), although it’s still not possible to convert 24×7 Problem Resolution Support Incidents to Premier Problem Resolution Support hours in this agreement (page 78).

Secure Productive Enterprise Plans

Microsoft give some more detail on the Secure Productive Enterprise plans which will replace the Enterprise Cloud Suite.

Firstly, there’s news that licensed users will be allowed one on-premises install of Office Professional Plus, and then there’s confirmation that SPE E3 and E5 will be available through the EA and MPSA at launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, and then later through CSP too.

Read the full announcement here: http://bit.ly/2aaKDR7.

MPSA: Enterprise Advantage

Microsoft announce that “Enterprise Advantage” will be added to the MPSA in 2017.

Today, the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) allows customers with 250 PCs+ to purchase traditional licences, with or without Software Assurance, and Online Services on a transactional basis.

Enterprise Advantage will add a way for customers to purchase on a committed basis with similar requirements to the existing Enterprise Agreement. This, of course, is significant since 1 July marked the change of the minimum requirements for the EA from 250 to 500 users/devices.

Find the Microsoft announcement here: http://bit.ly/29dVfMI.

Microsoft Business Center FAQ

The Microsoft Business Center was launched worldwide on 16 May, 2016. This is the new portal for MPSA users and while it looks different at first glance, carrying out tasks such as viewing licences, downloading keys, and managing SA benefits is the same.

There is, however, a new URL (businessaccount.microsoft.com), but existing credentials will still work, and we’re told that future plans include the ability to see purchases made through other Volume Licensing agreements – hurrah!

This FAQ is a good overview document: http://bit.ly/1TMOhSm.

MSDN Dev/Test Offer

There’s a new offer for MSDN subscribers who want to run dev and test workloads in Azure.

Essentially you set up an MSDN Dev/Test Subscription in your EA or MPSA and then you get special rates on certain services (such as virtual machines) and the usual EA/MPSA rates on other ones. Even better, it’s all managed through the usual Azure Enterprise Portal.

Note that this is completely unrelated to the Azure credit that MSDN subscribers also get, and if a customer doesn’t have an EA/MPSA then there is a similar MSDN Dev/Test offer on a pay-as-you-go basis.

Find full details here: http://bit.ly/1VDYthQ.

March 2016 MPSA Licensing Manual

The major changes to this very useful document are the inclusion of the alternative ordering terms for both licences with Software Assurance and Online Services. How do these work? I’ve explained them below, but you can find the information on page 6 of the Manual if you’re interested in the official wording.

First of all, Software Assurance. We’re used to SA purchases aligning to the third Purchasing Account Anniversary and this has the benefit that all of your SA purchases in a single year will be due for renewal at the same time – which is nice and easy to manage of course. The alternative option now is to purchase a full 36 months of SA – which over time could potentially mean that you’ve got SA renewal payments to make every month. However, it’s an option if customers want it, and for both alternatives they can pay in full upfront, or upfront annually on the Purchasing Account Anniversary or the Order Anniversary.

And then there’s Online Services. In the beginning, these subscriptions were always aligned to the first Purchasing Account Anniversary and then renewals were for a full 12 months. Now this remains one option but you can also purchase a full 12 months at any time. If you buy more subscriptions for the same service within a Purchasing Account then it will align to the original order of the service.

But that’s not all because last year some of the Online Services were made available to be purchased for two or three years and these were always aligned to the second or third Purchasing Account Anniversaries. Again, this is still an option but you can also choose to purchase full 24 or 36 month subscriptions if that’s better for you. And the payment options? Well, it’s the same as the SA options – you can pay for the whole period upfront, or upfront annually on the Purchasing Account Anniversary or the Order Anniversary.

And that’s still not all! The other change to Online Services, which is documented in the Manual, is the introduction of short-term subscriptions. This is where you can buy anything from 1 to 11 months of a service with no alignment to a Purchasing Account Anniversary. With this option, subsequent orders of the same service DON’T have to align to the first order.

The other changes that the Manual contains are small in comparison: some customers will now be using the Microsoft Business Center (MBC) as their management portal rather than the Microsoft Volume Licensing Center (MVLC) and you’ll see that change on page 4. There are notes throughout that certain SA benefits (Planning Services, Training Vouchers, Problem Resolution Support, and Enhanced Hotfix Support) are not available for Academic Purchasing Accounts, and the final change is that the Office Multi-Language Pack is removed as an SA benefit since the rights to it are now included with the licence.

You can find this Manual in the Program Licensing Guides section in our Microsoft Licensing Guides emporium here: http://bit.ly/MSlicensingguides.

MPSA: short-term subscriptions

Microsoft announce the availability of short-term subscriptions in the MPSA from March 2016.

This new option is available for selected Online Services (E1 and EMS among them) and allows customers to subscribe for one to eleven months.

This means that they don’t have to commit to a minimum of 12 months or even align to their Purchasing Account Anniversaries, making it a good choice for short-term projects or to cover seasonal variations.

Read the full Microsoft blog post here where there’s also a complete list of the eligible Online Services: http://bit.ly/1Uq7bOt.