ATN: Interesting post on Windows licensing changes impacting Azure/hybrid

ATN-300InsightaaS: The initial intent of Across the Net (ATN) was to expose InsightaaS readers to posts on other sites that we thing raise interesting questions or provide interesting analysis of issues impacting “the”why’ in enterprise technology.”

Today’s featured post does both. ” Windows Server 2016 licensing tweak could cause big headaches,” from the TechTarget portal SearchWindowsServer, provides a unusually well-rounded view (a total of four sources – two analysts, a consultant and an attorney – are quoted in the piece) of a very complex issue. Essentially, Microsoft Windows Server 2016 is moving to a per-core billing model in 3Q16, and this change will affect license fees for many customers. License fee calculations are notoriously tricky, but the examples used in the post suggest that some customers may be looking at a 50% increase in Windows Server licensing costs. Any licensing agreement may have different impacts in different scenarios, and indeed, there is a mention in the piece to the effect of “Microsoft has argued the new billing model offers greater value, including sessions in Azure, its cloud computing service.” (My one complaint with the TechTarget piece is that aside from observations that appear to be drawn from standard FAQs, Microsoft itself isn’t one of the sources providing input.) But the tone of the article strongly suggests that a hybrid configuration is the only way that users are likely to avoid substantial increases once the new approach is in effect.

I wanted to highlight this piece on ATN for two reasons. One is that it shines a light on licensing in the context of hybrid IT. Licensing can be either a driver or inhibitor of cloud, much as it can be a driver or inhibitor for virtualization. Microsoft is interested in accelerating cloud adoption, and it may be that Oracle is, too; these are the firms that are most important to moving from on-premises-only to hybrid workloads.

The second interesting point is that this piece also highlights – at least indirectly – the importance of the channel in the hybrid IT migration. Most SMBs (and many large enterprises) need help interpreting enterprise license agreements, and the channel is the traditional source of this guidance. While it’s true that in the cloud, software can be sold directly by ISVs to buyers (reducing the ISV’s reliance on the channel, especially as a means of reaching SMBs), it’s also true that many buyers – again, especially SMBs – need advice and support when buying technology. The channel’s role (and its composition) is changing, but there remains a real need for third party guidance within the buyer community. 

Microsoft’s attempts to steer customers toward hybrid-cloud use on its Azure platform as part of a new Windows Server 2016 licensing model may not work as the company expects, according to at least one licensing expert.

That’s in addition to what IT pros and attorneys who deal in licensing cases agree is likely to happen: many users will pay more for Windows Server licensing when Microsoft shifts billing from a per-processor basis to per-core later this year. The new billing model will be part of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard Edition when it enters general availability, which Microsoft says will happen in the third quarter of 2016.

In addition to the per-core billing, Windows Server client access licenses will still be required for every user or device accessing a server, according to the company.

“Somebody at Microsoft is probably rubbing their hands together at the opportunity to increase revenue through non-channel sources,” said C. Christopher Barnett, a senior associate attorney at Scott and Scott, LLP in Southlake, Texas, who deals with software licensing cases…

Read the entire post:

Many thanks to Jean-Jerome Baudry for sending the link along!



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