Power BI Report Server

The Power BI team announce a new version of Power BI Report Server. This product facilitates the distribution of interactive Power BI reports, traditionally within the boundaries of an organisation’s firewall. It’s not available to be purchased; the rights to install and use it are granted for customers who have active SA on SQL Server Enterprise Core licences, or Server Subscriptions for SQL Server Enterprise Core licences, or who have purchased Power BI Premium P SKUs.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3sZad3Y.

Licensing changes for hosted solutions

Microsoft announce some upcoming licensing changes for hosted solutions. These will allow partners to offer more solutions (notably hosted desktop solutions comprised of Windows and Office), and will allow customers more flexibility in where they use their existing licences.

This increased flexibility will come via changes to Software Assurance which will expand to allow customers to use their Windows, Office and Windows Server licences with any Cloud Provider partner on dedicated or multi-tenant hardware.

There’s no word yet on when exactly these changes will be implemented, but in the interim you can read the (very long) blog post here: https://bit.ly/3lkgvqD.

Windows Server Subscriptions for Azure Stack HCI

Azure Stack HCI is a virtualisation platform for Windows and Linux virtual machines, and customers have a choice as to how they license the Windows part of the VMs. Firstly, they can bring their own licences, and there’s no Software Assurance required when Azure Stack HCI is running as an on-premises solution dedicated to the customer.

From 1 April 2022 there’s a new option with the launch of special Windows Server Subscriptions specifically to license the guest (VM) operating systems on Azure Stack HCI. As is usual with Windows Server, you license at the physical core level, and a Windows Server Subscription costs $23.30 per physical core per month, with the first 60 days free.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3LrZXZd, and a useful page comparing the Windows Server licensing options for Azure Stack HCI here: https://bit.ly/3EW9zcz.

Update on SA 24×7 Problem Resolution Support benefit

Microsoft announce that they will fully retire the 24×7 Problem Resolution Support SA benefit effective 1 February, 2023. Previously, the plan had been to retire the benefit and replace it with as-needed support for customers with SA spend of more than £250,000, but now customers will need a Unified Support contract or pay for supports on a per-incident basis via Microsoft Professional Support.

Find the announcement, and some links to learn more about the different support options, here: https://bit.ly/3EsEc93.

General availability of SharePoint Server Subscription Edition

Microsoft announce the general availability of the next on-premises version of SharePoint Server – the Subscription Edition.

Customers with active SA are entitled to use this edition and will need to maintain the SA to keep using it; if the SA lapses then the customer retains rights to SharePoint Server 2019.

There’s no change to the Server/CAL licensing model or pricing, or existing CAL equivalence rights, but note that there is no longer the option to purchase just a licence for this product.

Project Server Subscription Edition is a part of the SharePoint Server Subscription Edition installation and thus also available.

Find the announcement article here: https://bit.ly/3qCdRAo.

VLSC Software Assurance Guide

There’s an updated (January 2021) VLSC Software Assurance Guide. This is a useful document detailing how customers manage their SA benefits through the VLSC, and it’s fully updated for the imminent retirement of Training Vouchers and Planning Services.

Find this guide here: https://bit.ly/2QWvNWL.

Retirement of SA Planning Services and Training Vouchers

From 1 February, 2021 Planning Services days and Training Vouchers will no longer be allocated on new or renewing Software Assurance, and thus they are removed from the Product Terms website. Customers can redeem existing days and vouchers through December 2021, and the Software Assurance website is useful for further information: http://bit.ly/2kXtbbA.

Software Assurance benefit changes

Microsoft announce upcoming changes to three Software Assurance benefits. Here’s the summary and key dates:

Planning Services

  • 1 February 2020: cloud services offerings will be retired
  • 1 January 2022: last day to redeem Planning Services vouchers for all offerings

Training Vouchers

  • 1 February 2020: Azure training courses will be retired
  • 1 January 2022: last day to redeem Training Vouchers for all courses

24 x 7 Problem Resolution Support

  • 1 February 2021: incident-based support will be replaced with as-needed support and credit towards Unified Support

And the reason for these changes? There’s a useful “Software Assurance changes overview” document which you can find in the “Volume Licensing Programs” section of our Licensing Guides emporium here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.

In this document you’ll find that customers are encouraged to move to FastTrack for deployment services, that Microsoft Learn provides some excellent Azure training courses – although new training and certification offerings are in development, and that Microsoft’s future overall support strategy focuses on the Unified Support model.

The Software Assurance website is also updated with this news here: http://bit.ly/2kXtbbA.

Microsoft 365 Licensing Updates

Microsoft’s December 2018 Licensing News article has three topics of interest covering Microsoft 365 licensing updates. Firstly, EA and MPSA customers can now take advantage of a single SKU for Microsoft 365 which means that they see a single item in their Admin Centers and License Summaries, rather than seeing Office 365, Windows and EMS as separate components.

Secondly, there’s details of Microsoft’s new Home Use Program offer. Historically, HUP has been a Software Assurance benefit where users of devices licensed with Office + SA could purchase Office for their home PCs at a heavily discounted price. That benefit still exists for Office 2019 but the article reveals that this will come to an end on 30 June, 2019.

The new HUP offer allows individuals to purchase Office 365 Home or Office 365 Personal annual subscriptions at a 30% discount. This is available to customers who have Office with Software Assurance but is also available to customers who qualify with a certain number of Office 365/Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 licences: 2,000 for commercial organisations, and 13,000 for education or charity institutions.

Now, this isn’t available worldwide yet and although you can see it’s live in most countries (see the UK site here, for example http://bit.ly/2B6guQG), the article states that China and Japan will have this benefit on 1 April, 2019, and if you check out the US site (http://bit.ly/2sOPW1Q) there’s a message telling you that the US launch will be in early 2019.

And finally, there’s an update on the dual use rights available when a customer has a Microsoft 365 E3 or E5 From SA licence. Currently there are special rights detailed in the Product Terms which allow customers to install “traditional” Office Professional Plus as well as Office 365 ProPlus. The article states that these rights will be removed from 1 August, 2019 so customers renewing agreements after that date will no longer be entitled to the special installation rights.

Find the December 2018 Licensing News article here: http://bit.ly/2R3bV2u.