The moment of Windows Intune is upon us

Software Products require maturity and time, and what looked indifferent before may now be the “way”, maybe the most optimal way to get the best results of a technology.

I think it the Windows Intune moment, however in a different perspective than what the general marketing of Intune shows, Microsoft is just starting to show the full potential.

Intune is more than mobile device management services. It is a new way to control soft assets and Cloud usage. Intune is the future of IT management and Application delivery, only that is here already.

As a Microsoft partner I recognize that relevance comes from trust in the branding presented to our clients, doing a good job, and always improve in innovation. When we portray an image of the future of IT and the enablement capabilities of the Cloud, is obvious that the Hybrid Server Cloud Infrastructure, the total mobility of devices and the total freedom of OS usage is the “way”.

Intune is different from other Microsoft products as it is born in the Cloud, observes the best of on premise practices and innovates on application delivery management. Allows for more “freedom” and choice.

I have found many potential services through Intune from the features that it provides. It even includes an OS subscription being a disruptive entry to the traditional Volume Licensing models. As a Software Asset Management expert, it is exciting to see how licensing evolution is driven by the way we consume IT instead of the non-related influences that make licensing so complicated.

In my opinion, it is the time of Windows Intune…

Licensing the Cloud with Microsoft.

To subscribe to the Cloud directly is easy, is a simple transaction based on consumption, however the co-existence of old traditional Volume licensing, or Service Provider licensing programs with the new Cloud subscriptions is not that easy. In fact to make sure that new benefits for the Cloud enablement like the Software Assurance Mobility Rights are properly used requires attention to the licenses allocated to the servers on Windows Azure, for example. Understanding the real rights and possibilities is another variable to contemplate when measuring compliance.

Hosted providers do not offer much guidance with respect of what their clients can allocate on licensing into the Cloud environments, and is often a conflict of responsibilities when the vendor audits the hosted provider or the end-user client.

In the Microsoft Product Use Rights for example we can observe the limitations of the licenses covered by SA with respect to their Cloud options with the Mobility Rights: (see table below)

Understanding the right coverage of the license is important in order to maintain not only compliance but also to predict Cloud budgets.

Clients with an Azure consumption negotiated on their Enterprise Agreement can use any of the services and increase without difficulty, and as they evolve using the Cloud services will be important to understand the ROI of the existing licenses versus the newly consume and fully subscribed licenses. In a way Cloud has enable transitions of existing licensing investments however at the same time is creating a conflict:

Is the Cloud subscription directly on Microsoft Azure a better option than the SA Mobility Rights?

As prices vary, the Cloud footprint extends and upgrade cycles arrive, the SA renewal will be confronted by the commitment to Azure subscriptions in a way that customers will choose one or the other.

For Microsoft clients using other third-party hosted providers the question is:

Have I allocated the compliant rights of use on the Cloud? and if I consume SPLA, is my hosted provider compliant? Am I compliant? Or am I at risk due to hosted provider error?

I can confidently say that Software Asset Management has become more relevant in the Cloud era.

(SAM Mobility Rights table as per PUR July 2014)

PRODUCT LICENSINGMODEL PRODUCT OR PRODUCT TYPE LICENSE PERMITTED NUMBER OF OSES PERLICENSE/PERMITTED NUMBER OF

CORES PER LICENSE

Server/CAL External Connector Licenses Each External Connector license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE per license
Server/CAL SQL Server Each Server license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE per license
Per-Processor All eligible Products Each Processor license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE with up to 4 virtual processors per license
Per-Core All eligible Products Each Core license with active Software Assurance coverage One virtual core (subject to the Product Use Rights including the requirement of a minimum of 4 cores per OSE)
Management Servers System Center ServerManagement Licenses

(versions prior to System

Center 2012)

Each Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 Managed OSE per license
Management Servers System Center Server Management Suites Each SMSE or SMSDlicense with active Software Assurance coverage 4 Managed OSEs per License
Management Servers System Center 2012 R2 Standard Each System Center 2012R2 Standard Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage 2 Managed OSEs per license
Management Servers System Center 2012 R2 Datacenter Each System Center 2012R2 Datacenter Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage 8 Managed OSEs per license
Management Servers Visual Studio Deployment 2013 Standard Each Visual StudioDeployment 2013

Standard Server

Management license with active Software Assurance coverage

2 Managed OSEs per license
Management Servers Visual Studio Deployment 2013 Datacenter Each Visual StudioDeployment 2013

Datacenter Server Management license with active Software Assurance coverage

8 Managed OSEs per license
Specialty Servers HPC Pack Enterprise Each Server license with active Software Assurance coverage 1 OSE per license

 

You will be Audited

Sounds like a title for a doomsday licensing movie… however besides the dramatic title it is very certain that if you are an organization using software, specially from the usual suspects: Microsoft. Adobe, Oracle, IBM… you will be audited!!!

Is written on the terms and conditions you may have not read when deploying the software, or on the contract the reseller provided you to sign. And as a practice to ensure compliance the software vendors periodically will request from you licensing information to make sure everything is alright.

Now… to fall in non-compliance situations is very easy:

  • Many software vendors don’t restrict the use of software to avoid misuse.
  • Many organizations don’t track licensing use and compliance with Software Asset Management Tools
  • Licensing rights, terms and conditions are subject to change, and they change often!.

For this reason through AMTRA Solutions and its partners, plus this blog I will start a campaign of awareness and practical examples plus Q&A to help you be prepared and ready with the information gathered from my experience. I consider that a “fair trial” has to be performed when all parties had fully knowledge of consequences and clear understanding of complexities. Stay tuned for more content and invitations to listen and see coming up.

Cheers

The Licensing Guru: Josef Hans Lara

“The Guru” joins AMTRA Solutions

AMTRA SOLUTIONS appoints Josef Hans Lara as Director of SAM & CLOUDAMTRALogoFinal_FullColor (1)

“The Licensing & Cloud Guru” new addition to the AMTRA team.

Calgary, AB, March 7, 2014– Amtra Solutions appoints Josef Hans Lara as Director of SAM & Cloud. Josef, also known for his online presence as the “Licensing & Cloud Guru” through his publications, speaking engagements and social media presence will direct the Amtra SAM efforts bringing an innovative way to offer AMTRA clients the best of Software Asset Management and Cloud transformation.

Josef depth of experience started in Europe leading the marketing and sales efforts on hardware and software licensing channel and solution sales in Europe. Continued building his career in North America becoming a builder of award winning Large Account Resellers, SAM consulting services and an evangelist for Cloud Computing.

Josef vision on SAM goes beyond the standards and provides synergies between application management, IT infrastructure transitions like Cloud computing, and a full understanding of compliance for multiple software vendors. Josef’s work has given him presence and reputation in the IT industry as a leader, helping multiple industry and public sector organizations across Canada, USA and Europe to achieve compliance and embrace models to adopt new technologies, truly approaching Business Intelligence to IT SAM compliance models.

Currently is a member of the Ingram Micro Services Advisory Council North America, IAMCP Canada National Executive, SRC Technology Group BC, and serves as a volunteer economic development commissioner in Maple Ridge, BC.

About AMTRA

AMTRA Solutions is a North American leader on Application Management and IT Innovation. Our consultants are highly seasoned application packagers, developers and deployment & operations experts – each with several years of experience. They have all worked within strict and demanding environments such as Petrochemicals, Energy, Banking, Finance and the Pharmaceutical industries. We understands the importance of adherence to standards and industry regulations

AMTRA is the North American distributor of all ATEA software and services. Products include Application Manager, JumpStart, AppMarket and Service Market. ATEA is known for their high-end, high capacity client management and application packaging factory which is the largest of its kind in Europe.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact 1-855-326-0533.

SQL and Microsoft audits – the money maker

Recently my level of engagements with SQL licensing has increased due to the Software Asset Management team at Microsoft strong campaign delivered earlier this year performing audits to Microsoft customers.

SQL on test environments, for third-party applications support, embedded into cloud offering and the change from per processor to core licensing have created great complexities that without careful review can become a real issue on non compliance .

When you evaluate your SQL footprint make sure of the following:

  • You know which instances are on test environments and that you have enough Visual Studio licenses with appropriate SQL capabilities for your development team.
  • Understand which software vendors have a subscription SQL database that will be their responsibility to license
  • Understand the number of users that access each instance .
  • Be aware of inactive SQL databases still showing on your inventory reports but not accessed by anybody.

If you carefully review your SQL footprint you may take advantage of a “cleaning exercise” to make sure any audit will not force you to purchase unnecessary licenses.

good luck!

Let me know if you require assistance.

 

Office 365 on EA, the transition…

Office 365 is offered to Microsoft customers with an Enterprise Agreement (EA) as a subscription add-on, now offering the ability to use a “bridge CAL” to transition the use of Microsoft Cloud.

The complexities of changes on the licensing Customer Price Sheet, amendments and exceptions is going to be a very significant subject for existing EAs. Customers need to carefully understand the service delivery of Cloud, security liability and data recovery protection, to build the terms and conditions appropriately.

One example could be the initiative to license Office Pro Plus for Office 365 on an EA. Today there is no information to validate the use of VLKs (Volume Licensing Keys) for product activation on Citrix or Remote Desktop Services environments. The rights of use are there but not how to deliver it.

Another careful consideration to add to terms and conditions is the Kiosk License, to also include shared mailbox features, to allow continuing practices by users while re-educating them to use SharePoint if necessary.

For the Enterprise it is necessary a careful consideration of terms, definition and delivery practices. It may be a good moment to adventure yourself into discussions with Microsoft to accommodate your EA needs to your use of the Cloud and build with Microsoft the necessary processes to effectively go Cloud.

Ultimately I am hoping Microsoft licensing will understand and accommodate real technical delivery soon in the Office 365 service delivery details to mitigate concerns.

 

Audited!!!! the balanced role of the licensing professional

Audited!!!! the balanced role of the licensing professional.

As a non regulated profession you find many types of licensing professionals, read my previous blog Types of licensing Professionals

Time and time again I have been engaged to consult on an audit that is requested right after another licensing professional involvement, specially from a vendor. Audits made on the suspicion of non compliance are normal these days when more software vendors are fishing for dollars disrupting with inquiries even the smallest of the companies.

It may not be the licensed professional fault at all that a company gets audited, however certain good practices can be established upfront:

  • The clarity of commitment to represent a costumer or a vendor
  • The clarity before  the customer and vendor to find the right solution
  • The explanation of duality of representation when exists.

The reality is that a narrowed minded vision on a licensing professional can harm as the advice should not be bias to certain goals, and it is key to establish trust and reputation in order to succeed and provide the right solution and advice to an end user costumer as well as the vendor.

Vendors should also understand that independent licensing professionals also work in the partner ecosystem and the best solution for their customers is the ultimate goal.

Specially the duality of representation is common in licensing engagements. A clear understanding on dual representation should be upfront and explained to the customer. I was reading a dual representation document that could help on this kind of situations, taken from real estate example that i edited as if it was for a licensing exercise:

“With regard to client confidences, each of you (Vendor and customer) should realize that the licensing professional cannot keep
information confidential between you, since the licensing professional is serving both of you. Therefore, by
requesting dual representation, each of you is authorizing the licensing professional to reveal each of your
licensing information, contents of documents and other disclosures and information to
the other.
After considering these factors, each of you must decide whether the licensing professional will continue to
represent both of you in connection with your licensing exercise planning, renewal or audit and related matters. If in the future
either of you wishes to have the advice of a separate licensing professional, you can do so.”

I think we apply the old rule that the costumer is always right…, (plus presumption of innocence, ) and regardless of being in two sides of the coin a licensing professional can dedicate the talent to the client with a balance for the vendor if has the right approach for both.

 

The Future of Licensing

For a while I have been pondering on the subject and I am convinced that the subscription model will gain momentum with the new focus on mobile devices that will connect all data anywhere. This means that a new licensing structure will emerge from the SPLA and other Service provider subscription model and it will contain a risk factor for vendors. Basically the vendor that evolved a perpetual license into a subscription model seemly will gain the approval and recognition fo clients and push their technology. Those maintaining a perpetual rigid structure that don’t make the transition easy will suffer from disapproval and abandon. Today EA from Microsoft can be amend to offer Office 365, however a full transition and benefit of terms and conditions are not there yet. It will require a different way to see True Ups and renewals. VMware and the RAM count is a good idea but very difficult to track, it will require a better trust on the client and a purely core or processor license subscription instead.
Vendors have been thinking “Data Center” when designing the Cloud, and that is ok, however they need to understand that the private cloud or the Hybrid cloud does not like or understand the subscription models that don’t allow multiple licensing models to “co-exist”… just my opinion

Windows 7 Windows Desktop OS Virtualization

If you license your desktop with Windows 7 Enterprise edition with active SA you can create up to 4 virtual instances on the desktop.