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:

EMS available in Open from 1 March 2015

Microsoft announce that the Enterprise Mobility Suite will be available through Open and Open Value licensing programs from 1 March 2015. From early March it will also be available to partners as part of the Internal Use Rights licences they receive through the Action Pack or Silver and Gold competencies. Read the announcement here:

Office 365 through Open: Test and Handout

Want to give your brain a workout and check that you know everything you should on acquiring Office 365 through the Open programs? Take our short test (10 questions) or settle down with a cup of coffee for the full version (30 questions). If you need a helping hand you can download the handout as you start either test.

Short version:

Full version:

Changes for SMB Customers Buying Office 365

Again, that very useful Office 365 Microsoft webcast has provided most of the information for this post. View it at where the SMB-related information starts at 31:28. However, don’t rush off – I’ve summarised the main points here so feel free just to read on.

In summary, there are three key things happening for SMB customers who buy or have bought Office 365. These will be implemented between July and September 2013 so let’s see what’s happening month by month.

July 2013: Easy switching of Office 365 plans
July gave customers who have purchased their Office 365 licences through MOSA the opportunity to switch EASILY between plans. Customers have been able to switch plans in the past but it involved purchasing a new subscription and then cancelling the old one. Now there’s the “Switch plans wizard” which makes a number of upgrades simple to implement. Essentially, the wizard allows customers to switch plans in two key scenarios. Firstly, they can switch between plans in the same service family; for example customers currently subscribed to Office 365 Small Business can move to Office 365 Small Business Premium. Then, secondly, they can move from a standalone plan to an Enterprise plan; for example, from Exchange Online Plan 1 to Office 365 Plan E1. Outside of these scenarios (perhaps moving to a different service family) customers will need to switch manually (without using the wizard), although word has it that more switches will be added to the wizard as 2013 moves on.

I thought these resources were also useful:
Switch plans wizard announcement on Office 365 Technology blog at:
Can I switch to a different Office 365 plan or subscription? FAQ page at:

August 2013: Dynamic PINs
August is all about the new Dynamic PIN functionality, and Office 365 M SKUs with this new functionality appeared on the August price lists for the Open, Open Value and Open Value Subscription programs. This new functionality helps customers who order multiple seats (you’d think that would be most customers!), and the example used in the webcast is a good one focussing as it does on a customer who wants to buy 87 seats for the M plan. Previously, the M SKUs within the Volume Licensing programs were associated with a certain number of seats which customers had to combine to end up with the required number. So, our customer wanting his 87 seats would have had to have purchased 1 x 50 seat SKU, 1 x 25 seat SKU, 2 x 5 seat SKUs and 2 x 1 seat SKUs. Now I like all things mathematical but even I can see this is a bit tedious for normal people. So the new and improved way of doing things is to purchase a single subscription which has a single key; that key is linked to the amount of seats ordered and will activate that precise number of seats. Lovely!

September 2013: More enterprise offerings in Open
And what can we look forward to in September? Well, this is the month that some of the most popular Office 365 offerings get added to the Open, Open Value and Open Value Subscription price lists. It won’t just be the M plan anymore, all of the following will be available too:

  • Office 365 ProPlus
  • Office 365 Plan E1
  • Office 365 Plan E3
  • Exchange Online Plan 1
  • Exchange Online Protection