November 2015 Visual Studio Licensing Guide

There were some changes to Visual Studio licensing in November 2015 and the Licensing Guide is updated to reflect the two main changes: Visual Studio Online is renamed Visual Studio Team Services, and there are now monthly and annual subscriptions available for Visual Studio Professional and Enterprise – the guide does a good job of detailing which MSDN benefits you get with these new subscriptions.

Read our summary of the changes to the licensing here: and download the new guide in the Developer Tools section of our Licensing Guides emporium here:

November 2015 Changes to Visual Studio Licensing

There are some changes to Visual Studio licensing for November 2015 – let’s take a look!

Firstly, Microsoft’s Brian Harry confirms that Visual Studio Online is now Visual Studio Team Services. Hurrah! I’ve long wanted this to happen so that this hosted service more closely matches its on-premises cousin’s name – Visual Studio Team Foundation Server.

This page is a useful resource on Visual Studio Team Services pricing ( with the following points of interest:

  • As many stakeholders as you want can be added to a Visual Studio Team Services account free of charge
  • The first 5 additional users that you add are free
  • Any users with active Visual Studio with MSDN subscriptions have free access
  • You can’t buy Visual Studio Team Services subscriptions through an Enterprise Agreement but you’re eligible for special pricing
  • All Visual Studio Team Services subscriptions include a Visual Studio Team Foundation Server CAL

Secondly, Visual Studio Cloud Subscriptions are now available enabling you to buy either monthly or annual subscriptions to Visual Studio Professional and Enterprise. Monthly subscriptions are $45/$250 and the annual ones $539/$2,999, and this page is useful for the details (  It’s also worth knowing the following:

  • The Cloud Subscriptions can only be purchased through the Visual Studio Marketplace rather than through a Volume Licensing agreement
  • The full MSDN benefits are only available if you commit to an annual subscription

Brian Harry’s blog post is here ( with a complete list of what’s new technically for Visual Studio and its friends in November 2015.

Visual Studio 2015 Licensing Guide

An updated Licensing Guide is available for Visual Studio 2015, so here’s an overview of the changes to the licensing which are all documented in the guide

Visual Studio Editions

  • Two editions remain unchanged (Visual Studio Professional and Test Professional), and two editions (Premium and Ultimate) are replaced with a single Visual Studio Enterprise edition (page 7)
  • These editions come with an MSDN subscription, although Visual Studio Professional is available without MSDN in some Volume Licensing programs
  • These products are no longer available as Full Packaged Product
  • Customers with active Visual Studio Ultimate/Premium with MSDN subscriptions are automatically converted to Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN (page 31)

MSDN Subscriptions

  • The MSDN Operating Systems subscription is discontinued, and MSDN Platforms remains (page 7)
  • Extra functionality is added into the MSDN Platforms subscription – Lab Management and IntelliTrace (page 15)
  • Active MSDN Operating Systems subscribers can renew into Visual Studio Professional with MSDN (page 31)

Team Foundation Server

  • Team Foundation Server is licensed with the Server/CAL model but there are some tasks that actually require users to be licensed with more than a CAL ie with Visual Studio Enterprise or Test Professional, or with an MSDN Platforms subscription. The list of features that are available with only a CAL is increased and you can find the list on page 25. If you want a bit more detail and explanation, then Microsoft’s Brian Harry’s blog is a great place to go (

Visual Studio Team Explorer

  • Visual Studio Team Explorer is no longer available as a standalone product (page 27) and again, Brian Harry’s blog gives some great background to this decision and also recommends some alternative ways of working

You can download the Visual Studio 2015 Licensing Guide here:

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:

Visual Studio 2015

Microsoft announce the new line-up for Visual Studio 2015. These are the headlines:

  • Premium and Ultimate editions are replaced with a single, new Enterprise edition
  • Existing Premium and Ultimate with MSDN customers will get a free upgrade to Enterprise
  • The price of Enterprise will be less than today’s Ultimate pricing
  • VL customers will be able to upgrade from Professional to Premium between 1 May and 30 June and then be eligible for Enterprise edition;
  • Release time is summer 2015.

The announcement is here – – and pricing/upgrade information is here –