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Category Archives: Licensing

For a second year in a row, Micromail has won Microsoft Ireland’s Licensing Solutions Partner (LSP) of the Year award. The 2017 award was presented to Willy Kelly (Micromail Sales Director) at the recent annual Microsoft Ireland Partner Awards dinner at the Inspire 2017 conference in Washington DC. The Licensing Solution Partner (LSP) of the Year award recognizes excellence in licensing solutions & services, along with the highest levels of customer service. Winning this award again confirms Micromail’s position as Ireland’s leading LSP.

Also, congratulations to our colleagues in Ergo who won two awards on the night,  Cloud Productivity Partner of the Year and Mobile Device Management (MDM) and Security Partner of the Year.

Inspire - MicroMail 3

The presenter Aisling Curtis, SMSP Director, Microsoft Ireland, and Willy Kelly, Sales Director, Micromail.

 

Inspire - Ergo Cloud Productivity Award

The presenter Aisling Curtis, SMSP Director, Microsoft Ireland, and John Purdy,  CEO, Ergo.

Micromail has once again won Microsoft Ireland’s prestigious LSP Partner of the Year award. The 2016 award was presented at Microsoft’s annual Irish Partner Awards dinner at the Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC) in Toronto on 12th July.

The LSP Partner of the Year award recognizes excellence in licensing solutions & services, along with the highest levels of customer service. It confirms Micromail’s position as the most successful LSP (Licensing Solutions Partner) in the country.

Congratulations to all the Micromail team. This award is a tribute to their expertise in software licensing, and their dedication to exceptional customer service.

Adobe Select – New Licensing Options from Adobe

Adobe today have launched a major update to their VIP (Cloud) licensing program for Commercial & Government customers – and it’s good news for customers already on the Cloud or contemplating joining. These new licensing options, dubbed Adobe Select, offer great value and budget predictability. Furthermore, they bring structured discounts within the scope of a regular Cloud user.

Changes in discount structure

This is the main update that will interest & affect Adobe users. Previously Adobe Cloud programs had discount bands, but they were unrealistically high. An order for 50+ seats was required to access any additional discount from Adobe! This was completely out of the scope of most Irish Creative Cloud customers. The new reduced discount bands offer a great opportunity for savings – an order of 10+ seats of either Creative Cloud or individual Apps (like Photoshop) provides access to an additional 5% discount, possibly rising to 10%.

The old and new bands:

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10+ seats opens a new Adobe Select Agreement, or converts your current agreement to Select

Current Customers

What of companies who already have an Adobe VIP Cloud agreement in place with over 10 seats? Well, good news. Once you reach your Adobe ‘lookback’ period (31 days before VIP Agreement anniversary) you will be automatically upgraded to the level which you qualify for – and can then avail of the new rate of discount for renewals and new licenses.

3 Year Extended Term

Further good news – Adobe Select customers (10+ seats) will now also be able to lock down their pricing for three years. Once an order is placed, contact Micromail and request a 3-year commit – this will allow you to pay annually for three years, with price protection in place. Even better, Adobe will offer an additional 10-15% discount for committing to the three years.

Don’t have the necessary 10+ seats currently, but interested in securing Adobe Select pricing? It’s possible to commit to a 10+ seat purchase so you can avail of the additional extra discount immediately – simply contact Micromail for further details.

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Adobe have announced that CS6 & perpetual licensing will be removed as an option for educational institutes at the end of February.

What will this mean for educational users who have not yet moved to the Creative Cloud? Well, essentially it’s a significant change from once off payment to an annual cost. While this may not be entirely palatable, there are a number of great advantages:

  • Annual budget predictability  – stable reoccurring costs rather than large unpredictable payments.
  • New version cover included – always have access to the latest feature releases of the software.
  • Huge range of new products & services to access compared to traditional CS.

 

Further good news is that there are migration paths in place for institutes with previous Adobe agreements; and two particular offers will run until the end of March:

  • 25% off Year One & Two subscriptions if ordering 25+ seats
  • 40% off Year One & Two subscriptions if ordering 40+ seats

 

We will be covering all this in extra detail on the 25th of February – join us for a free webinar to discuss CS6 end of life, and the great benefits of the Creative Cloud for educational institutes & charities.

When: Wednesday 25th of February @ 11AM – 45 min session
Where: Online

Register Now

Regards,

Fionán Ó Cinnéide

CESI 2014 Conference took place in Galway on the 28th Feb/1st March. Founded in 1973, CESI or Computers in Education Society of Ireland, has strived to deliver information and understanding to teachers on how best to use technology in the classroom. It has been a forum ‘organised by practitioners for practitioners…’, hosted on their busy website, as well as the usual social media and of course the annual conference. The conference offers a chance to meet those people you have spoken with throughout the year, as well as a chance to meet vendors and see what’s new on the market.

On the road to TeachMeet

Having been offered the chance to present on the Saturday, I drove up Friday afternoon in order to attend the TeachMeet event that evening. TeachMeet is a more informal event where presenters are given 2, 5 or 7 minutes to present something they believe would be of interest to the (largely primary/secondary school teacher) audience. They were encouraged to do so without PowerPoint, a big departure for those familiar with such events!

Highlights included Mary Linehan’s (@linehanbm) presentation on using MineCraft in the history classroom. She demonstrated how the development of your character in MineCraft closely resembles the development of society through the ages, from agrarian societies through the iron-age and into the industrial revolution. A really interesting presentation, and no PowerPoint!

Another standout presentation saw Bianca Ní Ghrógáin (@groganbee) demonstrate how she turned her pupils into piano keys. How? Well, by electrocuting them by the look of it!! All questions to @groganbee on the actual methods involved. This demonstration saw @groganbee trending higher for a time than the Eurovision qualifiers. The interest in the presentations saw the running times extend slightly. No one was in a rush to finish up and the TeachMeet ran into the early hours. Of course I retired at a reasonable hour, in order to be prepared for my own presentation the next morning!

Onward to GMIT for CESI proper

The next morning saw the venue move from the Clayton Hotel to the main GMIT campus and after a welcome address and keynotes, the breakout sessions began. Tom Lonergan, National Co-ordinator of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (Formerly NCTE) gave an impassioned speech about the use of wireless networks in schools, as well as touching on the BYOD phenomenon. Tom was anxious to warn schools to shop around when contracting for a wireless infrastructure contractor, as well as stressing the need for a substantial support contract.

Other memorable breakouts were ‘An Introduction to the Raspberry Pi’ by Jake Byrne, ‘Open Education Resources, Portals and Communities, Supporting Innovation in Education’ by Neil O’Sullivan and a number based on the options around bringing CoderDojo into your classroom.

Microsoft Licensing In Education

I took the stage shortly after 12:30 to run through my presentation on licensing software in schools, with a specific look at the Microsoft and Adobe options. After running over the basics of software licensing, I discussed the potential benefits of certain agreement types over others. I also touched on the new Student Advantage benefit for schools with an annualised agreement which includes Microsoft Office. This benefit offers the school’s students the opportunity to deploy Office 365 Pro Plus on up to 5 of their personal devices.

Microsoft  O365 Student Advantage

Adobe for Schools

I also ran through the basics of Adobe licensing for schools, as well as highlighting such free resources as the Adobe Apps for Education and Adobe for Academics. Both of these resources offer training tools and forums for educators.

Adobe Apps for Education

The presentation was well received (I hope!), with a number of follow up questions from teachers about their specific site requirements. If you would like to discuss the topics covered, or indeed run through the presentation itself, feel free to drop me a line directly at sean@micromail.ie. Looking forward to CESI 2015 already!

Regards, Seán

So your new server is up and running and you have of course correctly licensed it with Windows Server 2012. Now you want to get on with the real task, installing SQL Server 2012. But what about the pesky licensing for SQL itself, well the licensing surrounding SQL Server can seem complicated initially but the basics are relatively easy to get a handle on.

First of all you’ll need to purchase the server license itself. You can choose between three options here*, depending on what you need to get done.

Starting at the top end, SQL Server 2012 Enterprise is what would be required for Mission Critical and Tier 1 applications, high availability and Data Warehousing. Click here for more information.
The ‘middle ground’ offering is new with the 2012 release – SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence (BI). BI edition offers the full suite of powerful BI capabilities in SQL Server 2012, including PowerPivot and Crescent. One major focus of this edition is empowering end users with BI functionality. This will be ideal for projects that need advanced BI capabilities but don’t require the full OLTP performance and scalability of Enterprise Edition. It allows for ‘Managed self-service BI’ and scalable analytics. Click here for more information.

SQL Server 2012 Standard is the entry level SQL license for small to medium network scenarios. Standard edition is designed for departmental databases that require only basic database functionality and basic BI functionality. Click here for more information.

Standard suits most SMB scenarios – that said, the linked resources above should have all the information you need to decide which is right for your set-up.

CALs and Cores

As with the Windows Server licensing you will also need to license each user or device connecting to the server in question. Devices and Users are licensed by purchasing Client Access Licenses, or CALs. The type of CAL needed is usually decided by which is more cost effective, i.e. do you have more users or devices? There is however another option which allows unlimited users/devices – this is known as the ‘per core’ option.

Decisions, decisions…

As outlined above there are two distinct ways to license the CAL side of things. You can license the server and then each device or user connecting to it OR purchase a ‘per core’ SQL license. The ‘per core’ option licenses the server and allows an unlimited amount of devices or users to connect to it. If you go for the ‘per core’ model, you will need to license a minimum of 4 Cores per processor. The good news is that each license includes 2 cores, so your minimum purchase here will be 2 licenses. There is a ‘Core Factor’ that needs to be considered but in general it is simply 1:1. Learn more about the ‘Core Factor’ (PDF).

The decision (between CAL and Core model) may be influenced by the size of your network or by the role assigned to the SQL Server – for example, a web facing server with a limitless or unknown amount of devices and users connecting. If all this wasn’t complicated enough – Microsoft have restricted the CAL/Core option to certain SQL 2012 editions. So once you have an idea which model fits best you now have to weigh the answer against the available editions. To this end, SQL Standard 2012 can be licensed by one or other of these methods. SQL BI 2012 can only be licensed Server and CAL, while SQL Enterprise 2012 can only be licensed ‘per core’. So as you can see, your choice of SQL 2012 edition may be affected by both functionality and ‘target group size’. Here’s a handy chart that breaks down the edition functionality and the licensing options available for each:

SQL 2012 Editions Comparision

SQL 2012 Editions

Virtualisation Considerations
A common consideration when licensing SQL is the virtual environment you might be planning. In short you will need to license each individual VM or license all physical servers for Enterprise edition. Adding Software Assurance in both cases here will enable License Mobility. License Mobility is necessary if you need to re-assign the license within a 90 day timeframe, e.g. in a server farm.

This blog entry is meant as a beginners’ guide to licensing SQL as you can see, there are many nuances that can surface depending on the licensing scenario. Feel free to contact me if you have any queries or suggestions. Micromail is a Microsoft Gold Partner for Volume Licensing and provide licensing consultancy for SQL Server.

Sean Deasy.


*Excluding SQL Express, a product free-to-download – aimed at very small user scenario.

In the PUR it states that External User Access is licensed with Server. That looks simple enough, but what about this:

Under Additional Terms it states:

CAL Waiver for Users Accessing Publicly Available Content

CALs are not required to access content, information, and applications that you make publicly available to users over the Internet (i.e., not restricted to Intranet or Extranet scenarios).

This term might appear to limit the External User access right. Why else exclude Extranet scenarios from the CAL waiver? Doesn’t it appear to say in the above that content that is restricted to Intranet or Extranet scenarios does require a CAL? In other words, the PUR appears to be implying here that Extranet users require CALs, just as Intranet users do. As I read this Additional Term it means that the only circumstance in which no CALs are needed for external users is when all of the content is publically available.

However, the Microsoft Licensing Brief published in January 2013 http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/briefs/SharepointServer2013.aspx, contradicts this reading. In the Extranet scenario it states: The identifiable external users (educators from other universities) who are permitted to access otherwise restricted content inside the firewall do not require SharePoint CALs, because external user access is permitted under the server license.

Exchange Server 2013 also includes External User Access licensed with the server. But again there is an Additional Terms section which limits the applicability of the general condition. In this case external users must not authenticate via AD or Lync Server.

If we set the CAL waiver aside as a (temporary) distraction, then we could interpret the Licensing Brief consistently with the PUR as follows:

Private SharePoint sites require CALs for internal users (staff, onsite contractors) but not for external users (non-staff, but authenticated). This applies to Intranet and Extranet scenarios.

Public SharePoint sites don’t require CALs since, by definition, all information is publically accessible and users are not identified or authenticated.

 

Mindjet MindManager
MindJet have reviewed their recent move to a ‘subscription only’ model and decided to make MindManager perpetual licenses available again.

Mindjet MindManager is now available as a perpetual licensed package for both Windows + Mac at a new lower price.

A single license of Mindjet MindManager now includes a perpetual license for both the Windows (v.11) and Mac (v.10) version of MindJet 11.

Special pricing is available until 28.06.2013 for this product – €299 ex.VAT. Be warned, the price will rise to €349 ex.VAT after this date!

There is also an Upgrade pricing available FOR ALL existing MindManager customers at €179 ex.VAT.

Click here for more details on MindManager, or email me at sean@micromail.ie

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For the second year running, Micromail headed off competition from all over Europe to win the Microsoft Operational Excellence Award for Large Account Resellers at the Microsoft 2012at EMEA Partner Operations Conference recently held in Dublin.

The prize rewards Microsoft partners for meeting or exceeding Large Account Reseller performance criteria. The award was presented to Micromail’s Willy Kelly and Sean Deasy at a ceremony attended by 300 distributors and resellers from Northern Europe and Scandinavia.

“This award from Microsoft confirms the high quality of our operational standards, and our services to customers,” said Willy Kelly, Technical Sales Director, Micromail.

Many thanks to all our customers and partners for your kind congratulations.

ImageSo you’re buying a server? You’ve decided on the hardware and need to address the licensing. Where to begin?!  First you’ll need to license the Server OS of course but which one and how many do you need? Below I will outline the basics of getting up and running with the licensing surrounding Windows Server OS.

At its heart, this process isn’t too complicated. You’ll simply need to license the server and then each device or user connecting to that server. You can choose which Server license suits best, depending on some factors I’ll discuss shortly. Devices and Users are licensed by purchasing Client Access Licenses, or CALs. The type of CAL needed is usually decided by which is more cost effective, again more on this later.

It is worth pointing out initially that with Microsoft licensing, you must purchase the most recent version of the license. However you can choose to deploy a previous version if you please. This ‘downgrade right’ may come into play if your hardware necessitates a previous version for example. The great thing about this licensing right is that you can always deploy the newer version at a later date if you manage to persuade your finance guys to upgrade your system!

With this in mind, new version releases can see new licensing rules come into play. While you might be planning to deploy the version‘n-1’ of the software in question, your purchase will be governed by the version and licensing rules. In my outline below I will only be discussing Windows Server 2012, as this is the current version.

So, let’s get started – you’ll need to decide what edition of Windows Server you’d like to run. The good news is that with the 2012 release things became a lot simpler – there are now 4 editions of Windows Server – Foundation, Essentials, Standard and Datacentre. I’ll be dealing with Standard and Datacentre below*

Windows Server Standard 2012 will suit standalone servers or servers with low to medium virtualization requirements, allowing two virtual instances of the Server OS to be run on up to two processors for every license purchased. The number of licenses you need per server is determined by the number of processors on that server and the number of virtual machines you plan to run. Note – each license will cover up to 2 processors on any one server. You have a server with 4 processors? You will need to purchase 2 licenses. Want to virtualise? Go for it – up to a limit of 4 Virtual Operating Systems Environments (VOSE) of course (in this case)! You can add as many licenses as you like per server but at a certain point (10 or more) it becomes more cost effective to go with the Datacentre edition, which offers unlimited VOSE.

I’ll pause a moment here to note that the product stack/features of Standard and Datacentre are identical. The difference between the editions is essentially the allowed virtual instances. Why virtual instances? Well to cut down on hardware outlay in short. As long as you can manage and maintain a correctly licensed (!) virtual load, the virtual license rights of these new editions can seriously work to your advantage, more anon…

Windows Server Datacentre 2012 is the top of the line offering – as many users as you’d like to license, unlimited virtual instances and the full stack. Remember the feature stack is the same as Standard – this is where your virtual load plans will come into play. If you’re looking at running 10 or more virtual instances, the Datacentre becomes better value. Again you’re licensing per physical processor here. If you have a server with two processors a single Datacentre license will allow you to run unlimited VOSE (remember each allows for up to two processors per server)! If you have a four processor server, you’ll need to purchase 2 licenses.

Those of you familiar with Server licensing may be confused by the ‘per processor’ terminology used here. In the past ‘per processor’ was used strictly to denote specific server licenses that did not need corresponding CALs. With the 2012 release there was a change in terminology and this is no longer the case…more on this in a later post about SQL Server – feel free to contact me if you have any questions on this. In short per processer now simply means counting the processors per server in order to purchase the correct amount of licenses.

Okay, given the brief outline above you’ve come to a decision on which edition of Server 2012 suits your needs. You will now need to consider licensing those devices and users connecting to the server…

CALs are strictly a licensing requirement. You get nothing ‘in your hand’ as such. You should receive a license confirmation and/or receipt of purchase from your reseller of course but as regard deployment – there is no work to do here. So how do you choose which you need? Again this is relatively simple…Buy Device CALs if you have more users than devices; User CALs if you have more devices than users!

The standard Microsoft scenario for Device CALs is the ‘shift worker’ scenario. A fixed desktop has three distinct users over a 24 hour period – three workers, each working 8 hour shifts. You can purchase a User CAL for each of these workers if you please, or simply 1 x Device CAL – as you can see, it is best to purchase 1 x Device CAL. Likewise there are many examples of when purchasing a User CAL is more cost effective than covering each device an employee may use throughout the day. This scenario is true for the Standard and Datacentre editions outlined above.  See here for more details.

This guide to Windows Server licensing is meant as a beginner’s guide. There are plenty of nuances to Microsoft licensing and server licensing in particular but the above info should be enough to point you in the right direction.

* These are essentially the Volume License options, there are also two options which may suit smaller set-ups:

Windows Server Foundation 2012

Windows Server Essentials 2012 

You can contact Sean: sean@micromail.ie, if you have any queries, or if you are looking for a quote. Our product pages are here (Datacenter) and here (Standard)