Visual Studio Subscription Management Resources

Do you manage the formerly-known-as-MSDN Subscriptions for your organisation? You may know that they’re now known as Visual Studio Subscriptions and there’s change afoot for the management portal.

Find an FAQ detailing what’s happening, as well as administration guides for the current VLSC and MPSA portals here:

Visual Studio Standard Subscriptions

Name change alert! You might be familiar with MSDN Subscriptions and it’s useful to know that they’re now called Visual Studio Standard Subscriptions. Note that this is distinct from a monthly or annual subscription to Visual Studio Professional/Enterprise which is called a Cloud Subscription.

There are two useful documents which might help you at this transition time: “Understanding Visual Studio Standard Subscriptions” and “Managing Visual Studio Standard Subscriptions”.

You can find them with the rest of the Microsoft licensing guides here:

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:

MSDN Administrators’ Guide – MPSA

Organisations buying Visual Studio with MSDN through the MPSA will use a brand new portal to manage their MSDN subscriptions.

There’s a just-released Administrator’s Guide which has 24 pages of useful knowledge including admin for large teams and external contractors, how to add administrators to the portal, as well as all the day-to-day tasks of assigning subscriptions along with instructions for the Bulk Upload facilities.

Get the guide here: but note that existing subscriptions are still managed through VLSC, so the VLSC Admin Guide is worth a look too:

January 2015 Visual Studio Licensing Whitepaper

There were changes to Visual Studio licensing effective from January 2015 and the Visual Studio 2013 and MSDN Licensing Whitepaper is updated to reflect this. And what were the changes?

Simply that target servers receiving automated deployment from Release Management Server no longer require a Visual Studio Deployment licence.

The only other change to the document is that the recently added requirement for a “Declaration of MSDN Licenses” is removed. Get the guide here:

November 2014 Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing Whitepaper

There’s an updated (November 2014) Visual Studio and MSDN Licensing Whitepaper, so here’s a summary of those November changes and you can download the document here:

  • There’s a section added for Visual Studio Community 2013 which is the new collection of the Visual Studio Express SKUs. It’s free to download and any individual developer can use it to create their own free or paid apps. Businesses are also allowed to use it with various restrictions in place for commercial activities, but all organisations are able to use it for a classroom learning environment, for academic research, or for contributing to open source projects. There are a couple of useful scenarios on page 10 to clarify the usage rights
  • There are some changes to the licensing of the Release Management solution. Previously, each node or endpoint to which an application was deployed needed to be licensed with either Visual Studio Deployment 2013 Standard or Datacenter. However, from 1 January 2015, target servers receiving automated deployments from Release Management Server will no longer require a Visual Studio Deployment licence as per page 32

The last time we reviewed this document was July 2014 and there were further releases (it transpires) in August and October 2014, so the following changes may also be interesting to you:

  • Visual Studio Online: there is clarification on page 6 showing how the different MSDN subscriptions correlate to the various Visual Studio Online plans, and confirmation that an unlimited number of stakeholders can join a Visual Studio Online account to carry out tasks such as entering and editing work items and submitting feedback. Details on purchasing Visual Studio Online via an Azure subscription are also confirmed on page 12
  • The MSDN Cloud Use Rights are updated throughout to allow the running of MSDN software on Azure VMs only rather than also on VMs run on shared servers owned by third parties – previously known as Qualified MSDN Cloud Partners. See page 16 for example
  • There are some enhancements to the rules around assigning MSDN subscriptions to external entities on page 22 and new text states that customers must track assignments for all external entities and could be asked to provide a “Declaration of MSDN Licenses” amendment that is signed both by the customer and its outsourced entity
  • There is also clarification throughout that MSDN Subscriptions obtained as benefits of the Microsoft Partner Program can’t be used for direct revenue-generating activity and that organisations must purchase subscriptions – see page 22 for example
  • And finally there is some relaxation of the rules for when a Team Foundation Server CAL is required: page 26 confirms that one is not required for entering, viewing or editing any work items (previously it was just ones you had created) and on page 32 the requirement for having a CAL for anyone triggering the release pipeline sequence is removed