Windows Server 2016 Licensing Guide

There’s a brand new (May 2017) Windows Server 2016 Licensing Guide released by Microsoft. It’s a delicious 31 pages of licensing loveliness, but here are our highlights:

  • Core Packs: there’s confirmation of the new 16-core packs on page 7, but an interesting note points out that although the cost of eight 2-packs equals one 16-pack, they may not have the same point count in Volume Licensing programs where this matters – MPSA or Open, for example. There’s also confirmation on page 21 (Q4) that the licences from a multi-pack can be split across servers, they’re not joined forever at purchase point
  • Nano Server: this is a deployment option available only if you have SA on your Windows Server licences, and page 6 confirms that you also need SA on any Windows Server CALs too
  • Core Migration: there’s a lot of guidance on migrating from Processor-based to Core licences and, in particular, there are a couple of pages of FAQs starting on page 26, including what happens with Core licence grants if you have a subscription agreement, and how the grants appear in your licensing portal
  • Standard or Datacenter: there’s a useful table on page 25 which shows the breakeven point for virtual machines running on a 2-processor server which has 8 cores per processor. You’ll find that if you’re running 13 or more virtual machines on this server, then it’s cheaper to license with Datacenter edition

As usual, you can find this Licensing Guide with all of its Licensing Guide family and friends at:

Multi-Year Duration Options retired in the MPSA

Microsoft announce the retirement of multi-year duration options for Online Services purchased through the MPSA.

This means that customers purchasing new licences for Online Services will pay upfront for a maximum of 12 months.

Existing customers aren’t affected if they already have multi-year subscriptions in place.

Find the announcement here:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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 (, 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:

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: