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Microsoft licensing questions

Here we publish Microsoft licensing questions from our community and clients with answers from our experts – all questions about products, agreements, cloud, and hosting.

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Disclaimer: These are expert opinions. Always clarify terms in writing with an official representative of Microsoft.

Microsoft SPLA questions

We manage clients' hardware using SPLA and calculate Windows Server Standard licenses as we would in volume licensing, assigning two virtual machines per license. Is this correct?

No, it's not.

In Microsoft SPLA, the approach differs: each Windows Server Standard license, which is a set of core licenses assigned to the host, only covers one VM. To run a second VM, you need an additional set of core licenses.

SPLA and Volume Licensing rules are not interchangeable. Another key distinction in SPLA is the absence of the 16-core minimum requirement per host.

Microsoft 365 questions

Does Microsoft 365 "FromSA" supersede qualifying licenses?

Our LinkedIn follower asked the following Microsoft licensing question:

"A customer had 672 Office Professional Plus licenses with active Software Assurance until September last year. Then they bought 608 M365 E3 FromSA subscriptions in October.

"1. Do they retain all 672 perpetual licenses along with the 608 M365 E3 from SA subscriptions?

"2. Do they only retain 64 out of 672 perpetual licenses, and the rest are superseded by 608 M365 E3 From SA subscriptions?"

Our answer is that they retain full rights to use the 672 perpetual licenses. "From SA" subscriptions do not supersede their qualifying perpetual licenses.

Note: Since SA on those perpetual licences has expired, Software Assurance benefits and rights granted through SA have also passed. The client only retained the rights of the perpetual license.

Microsoft Enterprise Agreement questions

We have devices that only perform industry-specific tasks and are not used as regular computers. Do we need to include them in the Qualified Devices count and buy Enterprise licenses for these devices?

No, it is up to you and not mandatory. Enterprise Enrollment stipulates that specific devices may be excluded from the Qualified Devices count. In your case, it seems like you are describing an "Industry device". Here's the definition that may be slightly different in your Enterprise Enrollment:

"Industry Device" (also known as the line of the business device) means any device that:

  • (1) is not useable in its deployed configuration as a general-purpose personal computing device (e.g., personal computer), a multi-function server, or a commercially viable substitute for one of these systems; and

  • (2) only employs an industry or task-specific software program (e.g., a computer-aided design program used by an architect or a point of sale program) ("Industry Program").

The device may include features and functions derived from Microsoft software or third-party software. If the device performs desktop functions (e.g., email, word processing, spreadsheets, database, network or Internet browsing, or scheduling, or personal finance), then the desktop functions:

  • (1) may only be used for the purpose of supporting the Industry Program functionality; and

  • (2) must be technically integrated with the Industry Program or employ technically enforced policies or architecture to operate only when used with the Industry Program functionality.

Microsoft on-premises licensing questions

How many licences do I need to run four Windows Server Standard VMs in a cluster with two hosts? Each VM has eight cores.

Using the new per-VM licensing model, you need 32 core licenses. Please note that both core licenses and Windows Server CALs must either be subscription licences or licenses with Software Assurance.

It is impossible to calculate how many traditional licences will be needed since you did not provide host processor details.

Windows Server Standard licensing: do I need to include Windows client and Linux instances when counting licensable virtual machines?

No, only count Windows Server virtual machines and containers with Hyper-V isolation.

  • You may run an unlimited number of Linux virtual machines subject to Linux licensing,

  • You may also run unlimited Windows client virtual machines subject to VDA licensing and remote virtualisation terms for your Windows licenses.

Here is what Microsoft Product Terms say on the matter:

Standard edition permits use of the server software in two OSEs on the Licensed Server.

"Server Software" means Microsoft server software. In this context, it means Windows Server Standard.

Windows Server: how do we know whether we should choose a 16-core or 2-core pack?

There is no difference. The pack size does not matter. One license = one core. A pack is just a box of licenses.

Still in doubt? Talk to a Microsoft licensing expert

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