The New Order of Software Asset Management (SAM) in the Cloud era.

The New Order

Microsoft is definitely the great influencer of Software licensing; when Microsoft develops and promotes new rules may other vendors follow. During this last World Partner Conference, that just happened in Washington DC, I observed the influence of Cloud now directly affecting the Software Asset management (SAM) approach.

Cloud and SAM

Not long ago I was questioned by other SAM peers on my approach towards Cloud and SAM, the interaction of the old licensing models affected by the new subscription models seemed for some the end of the need of the licensing advisors, however I always thought it was only an adaptation of the SAM knowledge towards new exciting models to compliantly license software.

Microsoft is going all or nothing to the Microsoft Cloud offerings, I am glad that my guess has been right for so long with respect of being aware on how to measure, what to investigate, and how to determine the right Cloud licensing solution, because now SAM has to fulfill the qualification to move the right IT budgets towards Cloud in order to fulfill the great demand and transformation that Cloud is making in organizations everywhere. SAM has now a special role in regards to Cloud, it has to monitor the usage, contemplate the rules and repurpose licenses for an optimal transition.

SAM and Services

Some SAM professionals identify their task as auditors as the more relevant with respect to the services thy offer. However I disagree, in fact SAM has to be hand in hand with technical, and business assessments to actually not only portray a licensing position but to guide any organization to transformation. The new era of SAM services has to require a true alignment between business goals, technical requirements and licensing.


SAM 2.0

SAM is now critical in order to govern software and identify the possibilities of Cloud computing, outsourcing databases, access to BI integrated products, assessing security tools and allowing a new perspective of IT expenditure that walk with business objectives. The New Order of SAM services will create once again a differentiation between those that will be stuck in the old reseller ways, just contemplating the exercise of an audit without any other variable added, and those that understand the new realities and needs of IT on today’s market.


IT is truly a great moment for SAM services that can play a significant role on the era of Cloud.


O365 for Enterprise

O365 is born for the masses but there is a strong push to have every Enterprise Agreement including the bridge CAL or O365 subscriptions to enable the use of Microsoft Cloud in the Enterprise level clients.

Things that should be offered:

  • A clear VLK and MAK allowed deployment practices. So customers using SCCM or any other management and operations tool can push software instead of using O365 methods.
  • Extending the SMB O365 subscriptions to include on premise CAL use rights. Allowing those EAs on the 250 to 300 device count or user count range to benefit from a lower O365 cost starting point.
  • EAs could totally transform to subscription however after decades of investment allowing clients to own the licenses instead of making a decision to use a subscription that ends services if discontinued. It will be nice for long-term Microsoft Enterprise clients to see this in the T&Cs.
  • And maybe last wish, have an O365 option that includes windows server CALs.

There is a still a long way to go for O365 to be positioned in the Enterprise, not only “sold” to the Enterprise but “used” and consume, more flexible licensing and deployment practices will help.



Office 365, upgrading Office and Downgrade rights

These days I have to answer often to the question regarding downgrade rights from Office 365. It is different from Volume Licensing. When you subscribe to the E3 or E4 programs for example you are making a decision to upgrade to the latest Office edition of the moment.

There is a small window now to still subscribe to Office 365 and get office 2010 until 8-APR-2014.

After that it will be Office 13 the only available download for Office.

How to be strategic on this?

Time for standardization and upgrade office is a good timing to move to an Office 365 subscription. It is easier to move from one or two editions behind than from a seven or eight year difference. So as dramatic the change can be now, and training is recommended, later upgrades can be done often, at no additional cost and less dramatic.

Once you are using Office from Office 365 you cannot downgrade the edition. Even is you have to change a device and were used to Office 2010 in the moment that Office 13 is the only edition available is the only one you will be able to deploy

It brings some inconvenience and is the way for Microsoft to force latest edition behavior.

There are scenarios on RDS and others that will need a tweak on PUR

for any question click HERE

Office 365 and RDS round 3, Allowed !!!

Office 365 and RDS round 3, Allowed!!!

Office 365 subscription users have won the battle, earlier than I expected, to have rights for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or previously named Terminal Services.

Thanks to the new changes just published by Microsoft, Office 365 can now we deployed as well on RDS scenarios.

The text on the Product Use rights says the following:

“Each user may also use one of the five activations on a network server with the Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role enabled.” (PUR English Page 82, January 2013)

What does this mean? It means that Office can be installed with the MSI-based installation (MAK, KMS and Ad-based activation) required for RDS. Office can also be installed on Click-to-Run installation, with the built-in App-V foundation.

This allows clients to move to Office 365 licensing and benefit of all the features and serve thin clients, or any other RDS scenario.

Great news as it allows more flexibility.

One more reason to move to subscription what you used to buy on perpetual licensing…

Office 365 and RDS second round

Office 365 and RDS second round
In a previous post :
I commented on Office Pro Plus from Office 365 not having rights for RDS deployments
the licensing documentation still says that, however the way around it is selling the O365 Office Pro Plus on Volume Licensing
Problems: you need to have active SA and Office purchased. This is difficult if you have to decide buying the licenses if you don’t have SA. It sounds like double purchasing
Another solution: It is worth to talk to your Microsoft contact to inquire on an exception available for this kind of RDS scenario to grant you the rights.
Still waiting to see this in action, I will comment again, I am sure.

Office 365 cannot be used as Remote Desktop Services (Terminal Services)

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not have RDS rights

Office 365 cannot be used as Remote Desktop Services(Terminal Services)

According to Microsoft Office 365 does not grant the right to use Office Pro Plus images on a server eliminating the possibility to use Remote Desktop Services.Contrary to the software licensed under desktop application licenses for Microsoft Office, Office Professional Plus for Office 365 may not be deployed on a server or desktop and accessed remotely from another desktop. Customers may only use Office Professional Plus for Office 365 locally. Remote Use Rights are not available under Office Professional Plus for Office 365 licenses. Examples of remote access technology used under desktop application licenses for Microsoft Office, but not supported for Office Professional Plus for Office 365 include Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).


It is a common practice to create virtual devices for different purposes, and is a practice use more often today however seems to contradict the sale of the subscription license through Office 365 as the RDS is not allowed with the subscription.

See official document


Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office Pro Plus for office 365 does not allow you to use Volume License Keys

Office 365 offers 5 installations of Office Professional plus on the E3 and E4 options.

According to Office 365 site you cannot deploy a volume license image using a KMS or MAK key in the same device, because the Volume License copy cannot co-exist:

“Office Professional Plus for Office 365 cannot be used on the same computer as a volume licensed version of Office 2010. To verify that the user has Office Professional Plus for Office 365, open an Office application, click File and then click Help. Under the version information, you should see the text ““Part of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010 Subscription” displayed. If the version information does not contain the word Subscription, you must install Office Professional Plus for Office 365.”

This means that while connectivity from on premise to the Cloud (Volume Licensing) can exist to Office 365, to enable the use of Volume License Keys KMS for multiple deployments at the same time, it cannot happen from the Cloud service to the on premise. It will not work.

This supposes a problem for those buying Office 365 instead of volume licensing and will have to go through each user account to deploy Office Pro Plus for Office 365 media and activate online instead of using one single order to deploy all images.

The reason may be because the Product Use rights changes the concept from device to user on the use of Office:


Each user to whom you assign an User SL may install and use one copy of the software per device on up to five devices at a time”

I imagine Microsoft is trying to still protect the advantages of Volume Licensing to sell more Office licenses besides provisioning them with Office 365. However it should change in order to make sure Office 365 is ready for the Enterprise world, if not this restriction of deployment looks more like a consumer product or retail.

So, if you own Office 365 for Software Assurance and you own Office Pro plus, deploy with your VLK not with Office 365 subscription if you need to dedicate your time to better things than going through all the devices you manage; if you are not license that way…patience.

Office 365, a new way to get CALs

English: M in blue square (similar to seen on )

Sometimes I am amazed about the changes on licensing that are coming thanks to the Cloud. It is obvious that Microsoft is putting its socks on to enable the transition to Cloud licensing faster and with agility.

Here is another example

Office 365 entitles you to us as CALs in your on premise infrastructure for the equivalent licenses you are using in the Cloud

This is an example for Lync, note that you can also see similar for SharePoint, Forefront, and Exchange etc.

Lync Server 2010 Enterprise

The license terms that apply to your use of this product are the Universal License Terms, the General License Terms for this Licensing Model, and the following:     

Self-Hosting of Applications Allowed: No   Additional Software: Yes

License Mobility Within Server Farms: Yes

Included Technologies: .NET Framework and/or Powershell Software (See Universal License Terms)


You need:

•           Lync Server 2010 Standard CAL, or

•           Core CAL Suite3, or

•           Core CAL Bridge for Windows Intune3, or

•           Enterprise CAL Suite1, or

•           Enterprise CAL Bridge for Windows Intune2, or

•           Lync Plan 1 USL, or

•           Lync Plan 1G USL, or

•           Lync Plan 2 USL, or       

•           Office 365 Plan E1-E4 User SL, or

•           Office 365 Plan A3-A4 User SL,



Additional Functionality:

•           Audio, Video and Web Conferencing

•           Desktop Sharing Required Additive CAL:

•           Lync Server 2010 Enterprise CAL, or

•           Enterprise CAL Suite1, or

•           Enterprise CAL Bridge for Windows Intune2, or

•           Lync Plan 2 User SL , or

•           Office 365 Plan E1-E4 User SL, or

•           Office 365 Plan A3-A4 User SL, or

•           Live Meeting Standard User SL, or

•           Live Meeting Professional User SL

1 with active Software Assurance coverage on December 1, 2010, or later

2 with active Software Assurance coverage on March 1, 2011, or later

 Additional Functionality:

•           Voice Telephony

•           Call Management            Required Additive CAL:

•           Lync Server 2010 Plus CAL, or

•           Lync Online Plan 3 User SL, or

•           Office 365 Plan E4 User SL

Some licenses will need the following:

Active Software Assurance coverage on December 1, 2010, or later

Active Software Assurance coverage on March 1, 2011, or later

Active Software Assurance coverage on August 1, 2011, or later


This is in my opinion a helpful way to transition from Volume Licensing to Cloud Licensing in this case with Office 365, helping the “mobility rights” not only from Software Assurance to the Cloud but from the Cloud back to the traditional infrastructure.

Source of information: Microsoft Product Use Rights