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Category Archives: Microsoft

From July 1st, on-premise User CAL pricing will increase 15% across all Microsoft volume licensing programs. On-premise Device CAL pricing will not change.

Microsoft CAL (client access license) licenses are available both on a per user and per device basis and were priced the same up until December 2012. The on-premise User CAL increase is another sign that Microsoft’s Mobile First, Cloud First strategy continues to steer the direction of the company. It is also a move that encourages customers to adopt Microsoft Office365 cloud solutions as the per user CAL increase only impacts on-premise deployments and not cloud based ones.

Notes and comments:

  • On-premise Device CAL pricing will not change.
  • Customers that have purchased user CALs on a fixed price annuity agreement (Enterprise Agreement, ESA, SCE, OVS, OVP) won’t be affectedduring the term of their current agreement.
  • Now is the time to consider a cloud based agreement such as Office 365 Enterprise, Enterprise Mobility Suite and Enterprise Cloud Suite (dependent on the size of your organization).
  • Forestall the July price increase by purchasing on-premise User CALs in June.

If you have any questions or queries call our Microsoft Licensing Team on 021 4515590 or email

MS logo Black

Visual Studio 2015 is due to be released later this year and with it the former Visual Studio Premium with MSDN and Visual Studio Ultimate with MSDN subscriptions will both disappear, to be replaced by the new Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN level. Visual Studio Professional with MSDN will continue to be available.

What is Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN?

This new edition includes all the high value features that were present in Visual Studio Ultimate, along with new innovation that’s coming with the 2015 release.

  • End-to-end solution for your development teams, including the most feature-rich Visual Studio IDE for working on any type of project.
  • Build quality applications at scale with advanced features such as Load Testing, automated and manual testing and new IntelliTest capabilities.
  • Manage complexity and resolve issues quickly with features such as Code Map and IntelliTrace
  • Enhanced MSDN subscription benefits including comprehensive access to software for dev/test, Team Foundation Server, Visual Studio Online Advanced, $150/month in Azure credits, training and support.

Don’t have Visual Studio Premium with MSDN yet?

Buy or renew Visual Studio Premium with MSDN now and be automatically upgraded to Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN when Visual Studio 2015 is released later this year.
For the price of Visual Studio Premium with MSDN, you will get Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN, the top-end IDE and the most comprehensive solution set ever offered for creating, modernizing, operating, and scaling business applications.

Upgrade to Visual Studio Premium with MSDN

Upgrade from Visual Studio Professional with MSDN or Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN to Visual Studio Premium with MSDN for 50% off the regular list price and get a free upgrade to Visual Studio Enterprise with MSDN automatically when we release Visual Studio 2015. This Upgrade Promo ends on June 30th. *

* Upgrade Promo notes:

Eligible Licenses:
Only active Visual Studio Professional with MSDN and Visual Studio Test Professional with MSDN licenses purchased prior to April 1st 2015 will be eligible for this upgrade promotion.

Eligible Microsoft Volume Licensing Programs:
The promotion is available for purchase in the following Microsoft Volume Licensing programs: Enterprise Agreement (including SCE), Select, Select Plus, Open Value, Open Value Subscription, Campus Agreement. Notably, the Open program does not offer upgrade purchase (also called “step-ups”).

Promotion duration: May 1, 2015-June 30, 2015.

If you have any questions or queries call the Micromail Microsoft Licensing Team on 021 4515590 or email

MS logo Black

Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2003 support is ending July 14 2015. Common questions we have seen customers ask are, ‘What will this mean for my organization?’ ‘What happens after July 14?’ and ‘What can I do now?’

Windows Server 2003 will continue to operate after July 14 2015, but importantly it will operate unsupported by Microsoft. This means no security fixes will be released for Server 2003 and support (free or paid) will be non-existent. The lack of updated security fixes is a major issue, exposing your environment to possible malware attacks. Plus newly released applications will unlikely be supported on Windows Server 2003.

So what should I do? The simplest way to deal with potential issues is to get current and upgrade to windows Server 2012R2.
For more information on bringing your Server up to date please contact or 021 4515590.


Hugh O’Donoghue

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 Looking forward to CESI 2015 already!

Regards, Seán

Microsoft has plans to shut down the Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) service and migrate its existing customers to Exchange Online Protection (EOP).

What is Exchange Online Protection (EOP)?

Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is a new and more advanced cloud-based email filtering service that replaces FOPE. Like FOPE, it helps protect your organisation against spam and malware, and includes features to safeguard your organization from messaging-policy violations. EOP includes several new features that were not available in FOPE, including a new administration center, the ability to use Exchange transport rules to enforce email policies, and enhanced handling of bulk email messages. EOP is currently available in three different subscription plans:

  • EOP standalone: Where EOP protects your on-premises mailboxes.
  • EOP features in Exchange Online: Where EOP protects your Exchange Online cloud-hosted mailboxes.
  • Exchange Enterprise CAL with Services: Where EOP protects your on-premises mailboxes, like EOP standalone, and includes data loss prevention (DLP), remote Windows PowerShell administration capabilities, and reporting using web services.

Action Required for FOPE Customers

No changes are needed to the customers’ existing enrolment. Customers will be sent an email from Microsoft which gives them step-by-step instructions on how to convert their existing FOPE subscription to the EOP service. Customers will be notified of their individual transition date via email 30 days prior to transition. After transition the volume license agreement will continue to reflect FOPE until its expiration date. FOPE will eventually be replaced by EOP when you sign your next 3 years agreement with Microsoft. Additionally new customers can sign up for an EOP trial or purchase EOP via the web at the Exchange Online protection home page.

To note: Existing Office 365 customers who are using online services except for Exchange online can set up their EOP service within the same account. This allows users to manage EOP alongside Office 365 services after your transition is complete.

For More Information

Contact Micromail today to setup your EOP trial or to discuss your licensing options.

Regards, David.

Windows XP Support Ends April 2014

As you may be aware, Microsoft are planning to discontinue support for Windows XP and Office 2003 from 8th April 2014. What you mightn’t know is exactly what this means for your school. What will happen at that time and what should you do to prepare?

The first thing to note is that Windows XP and Office 2003 will continue to work beyond that date. So what’s the problem?! Well the problem is that although the software will continue to run, it will be unsupported. This means no security fixes and no paid or free support. The lack of updated security fixes is a major issue, exposing your environment to possible malware etc., coupled with the fact that solutions will no longer be aimed at the XP/Office 2003 market. Furthermore, you will find less and less software is compatible with your school machines.

So what action, if any, should be taken? The simplest way to deal with potential issues is to get current, and the easiest way to get current is to consider the OVS ES offering for schools. With this offering you pay a single annual fee, deploying your chosen software on all machines onsite. The annual fee is based on staff count rather than machine count and you can license whichever software you choose. A common choice is Office Pro Plus and Windows Upgrade, meaning you can bring all machines up to Windows 7 or 8 as you choose and deploy Office Pro Plus 2010 or 2013 as you see fit. The major benefit here is the fact that the annual cost is based on staff rather than machine count. However another benefit is that you will always have access to new versions on release – so you’re always current and always supported. To discuss this offering and the other benefits it offers please contact me at

Regards, Sean.

While rolling out Windows 8.1 here at Micromail, we have been testing that the various tools we use will work. One such tool is the Microsoft eAgreements software that partners must use for contract work. The good news is that it does work, however the installation is not seamless. Here’s how we did it.

Step 1: eAgreement Signup (not really part of the installation but certainly a pre-req)

After being approved, register with your Microsoft account (Windows Live ID) or Partner Domain account. Public Customer Number (PCN) and business email address required.

Step 2: Download and install SQL Server Compact 3.5

You will have to install both 32 and 64 bit if you are running a 64 bit OS.

Download SQL Server Compact

Download SQL Server Compact

Step 3: Enable .Net Framework 3.5

Enable .NET 3.5

Enable .NET 3.5

Accessed from Control Panel->Programs->Programs and Features->Turn Windows Features on or off

Step 4 : You can now install the eAgreements software

NB: You must be an administrator for all of the above.

Regards, David

Over the past few years the student offering for Microsoft Office has undergone numerous modifications. From product configuration to pricing, updates were frequent and hard to keep up with. Now Microsoft have now announced another major change which should hopefully standardise this offering and bring some much needed clarity, becoming available from the 1st December.

The good news? Office for students will be FREE!

The catch? It is available only to students whose academic organisation covers 100% of their organization’s faculty and staff with either Office Professional Plus or Office 365 Pro Plus.

In fairness this isn’t much of a catch, with most sites running Microsoft Office having such an arrangement in place. The product will be an annual subscription to Office 365 Pro Plus.

So what next? The qualifying organisation will need to contact their Microsoft reseller  in order to activate the offering. Once this is complete you will of course need to consider the practical implications of deployment etc. Microsoft will make deployment guides available (to the best of our knowledge) and there should be some level of direct support.

So if you want to get up and running, ask your organisation to contact their reseller/LSP to get the ball rolling! Oh …and did I mention, it is FREE

Seán Deasy – Microsoft education licensing specialist.

Our Office 365 service upgrade finally happened, and its been a real pleasure to the disparate elements of the service coming together at last. The deeper integration of SharePoint into the service and the common UI theme brings usability to a higher level.

There is one change however that took us a few minutes to resolve – how to send Office 365 trial invitations in the new portal. As an Office 365 cloud partner we send out trial invitations and offer delegated administration, but the old partner link was gone. Turns out it has been moved for non admin accounts. If you previously had the ability to send trial invitations, you can continue to do by accessing “Office 365 settings” link under the gear icon. This enables the Partner link in your top navigation bar again….seems like there is more usability work to do!

Step 1. Access Office 365 Settings

Step 1. Access Office 365 Settings

Step 2. Click on Partner link

Step 2. Click on Partner link


Earlier this week, Microsoft announced that significant price increases are due to come into effect from January 2014 for service providers.

For the first time since the SPLA model was introduced Microsoft have decided to increase pricing on the Windows Server product family.

The changes are scheduled to be staged, with the initial increase coming in January 1st 2014 and the remaining increase in January 1st 2015.

With the recent announcement of increases in pricing for Windows Server in other VL programs, this announcement while well concealed was always on the cards.