Compliant Today but Not Tomorrow

Most organizations never think about the future when deciding how to mark the “Future Affiliates” box on their EA and SCE enrollments. Let’s take a company with an EA and an SCE and they select to include all future affiliates on both their EA and SCE. This company has both SQL Server and Windows Server enrolled on their SCE.

Fast forward a year into the future and this company purchases a smaller company who does not have an EA nor any Microsoft software with active Software Assurance (SA). The new company they purchase has a large SQL Server footprint which is all physical. All the new company’s SQL Servers and Windows Servers are properly licensed before the acquisition, but once the deal is inked they are no longer compliant.

All the SQL Servers and Windows Servers now must be added to the acquiring company’s SCE. Chances are no one on the mergers and acquisition team even considered this during the acquisition due diligence process.

In addition to the SQL Servers and Windows Servers having to be re-purchased, the new company will also have to be added to the EA, which is an additional cost.

I once had a Microsoft auditor with one of the Big 4 tell me he loved getting assigned to audits where SQL Server was on an SCE!

SoftwareAdvocates is not a big fan of the SCE, but if you have one you need to fully understand it. For some customers they are fine, but only you can decide if an SCE is right for your company.

How to Count Cores for Licensing Windows Server 2019

Since the Microsoft Windows Server 2019 licensing brief contains incorrect information in the core licensing matrix by processor, we have decided to provide customers a correct document for counting cores following Microsoft’s licensing terms for Windows Server 2019.

Download “Licensing Physical Servers for Windows Server 2019 Datacenter & Standard Editions”

We pointed this out on our blog back in November of 2018, but Microsoft has failed to correct their document.

Click here to see this blog post…

Good Old Fashion Customer Revolt

On October 2, 2018 SoftwareAdvocates blogged about a major negative change impacting FROM SA Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 customers right to use perpetual copies of Office. Well it appears this did not go over well with affected customers because on May 23, 2019 Microsoft reversed course and restored the prior Office “Dual Use Right” to these customers. Nice to see customers votes still count.

Click here to read the Microsoft May 23, 2019 announcement…

Click here to read SoftwareAdvocates October 2, 2018 post…

We have confirmed the June 2019 Product Terms have been updated to reflect this change. The exact language below is from page 6 of the June 2019 Microsoft Product Terms:

“Microsoft 365: The decision to end the right to use Office Professional Plus for Microsoft 365 From SA Customers (sometimes referred to as Extended or Dual Use Rights) has been reversed. As a result, the language ending this use right effective August 1, 2019 has been removed.”

Can You Spot the Error?

As of May 26, 2019, seven months have passed since we first posted this article on November 6, 2018 and Microsoft has yet to correct their documentation error. In late April 2019, Microsoft’s market cap reached one trillion dollars and we cannot count all the glowing articles about Microsoft’s CEO’s amazing leadership, this is all great, but one would think a company as great as this could get the little details correct in their customer facing documents. We do not think it is too much to ask to provide correct documentation.

Original November 6, 2018 Post:

I recently came across a Windows Server 2019 licensing brief from Microsoft. As I was reading through it something was not adding up. Then I realized the document has an error. Below is a snippet of the error.

If you do the math for the cores required for a 3 processor server you will see it does not match Microsoft’s license requirements outlined in the document. Not to mention, how many 3 processor servers exist in the real world. It is worth noting the Windows Server 2016 and 2012 licensing briefs managed to get It correct.

Now let’s see how long it takes for this error to get corrected.

Please click here to download this document


Office 365 system requirements changes for Office client connectivity

Back in April of 2017, Microsoft published an article stating, “Effective October 13th, 2020, Office 365 will only allow Office client connectivity from subscription clients (Office 365 ProPlus) or Office perpetual clients within mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services.”. What this meant was no more connecting to O365 services from Office 2016 after 10/12/2020.

Please click here to read the April 2017 article

Then in September of 2018, Microsoft announced the following:

Office 2016 connectivity support for Office 365 services
In addition, we are modifying the Office 365 services system requirements related to service connectivity. In February, we announced that starting October 13, 2020, customers will need Office 365 ProPlus or Office 2019 clients in mainstream support to connect to Office 365 services. To give you more time to transition fully to the cloud, we are now modifying that policy and will continue to support Office 2016 connections with the Office 365 services through October 2023.”

Please click here to read the September 2018 article

I am pleased to see Microsoft listening to customers and accommodating them. However, just because we have more breathing room does not allow us to stop planning and moving forward.

Please make sure you are keeping up with Microsoft’s Lifecycle Policy - Click Here to View

Big Microsoft October 2018 Changes

It is official, Office 2019 and Windows Server 2019 are now included on the Microsoft October 2018 Product Terms and the 2016 versions have been removed.

Make sure to visit and pull all the latest Microsoft licensing documents.

There is one interesting change in the October Product Terms, Microsoft is retiring on January 1, 2019 the right for M365 E3 and E5 FROM SA customers to run Office Professional Plus.  Of course, for those customers who have active EAs, this will not be a factor until your next renewal.   I have to wonder if Microsoft fully understands the impact to their customers of this change and did they even get customer feedback before making it. Many customers depend on this right and they will have to make significant changes without it. In fact many customers would not have purchased the M365 E3 or E5 without the FROM SA right to run Office Professional Plus.

Maybe it’s time for more customers to take a look at LibreOffice, because at least they will not have rights rescinded in the future.

Awesome No Charge WMI Tool

If you are looking for a great no cost option to work with WMI, then you should download WMIX from Goverlan.  System Administrators in need of clientless remote administration can use WMIX to generate comprehensive reports and execute tasks on remote computers and servers without an agent.  WMIX is also a PowerShell script generator, it can create syntax-accurate PowerShell scripts based on actions configured via a user-friendly interface.  Goverlan created WMIX with the intention of giving back to the community. 

Download WMIX

Goverlan also offers its full featured Goverlan Reach, a powerful and full featured IT Remote management solution which runs securely on-premise.  Goverlan was kind enough last fall to provide me a walk-through of WMIX and Goverlan Reach. 

SoftwareAdvocates has no business relationship with Goverlan and receives no compensation.  This article is provided to share valuable information with our readers.



Windows Server CAL Waiver for Azure AD Sync a Big Win

The Microsoft January 2018 Product Terms brought a welcome surprise in the form of a Windows Server CAL waiver for customers using Windows Server solely in connection with Azure Active Directory syncs with on-premises Active Directory infrastructures.  Please see the below snippets from pages 5 and 46 of the January 2018 Product Terms.  It is important to note the words “Added a new” in the below announcement implies this right did not exist before January 1, 2018, otherwise it would have been called out as a clarification.  This was pointed out by one of my very good friends who is also a very knowledgeable Microsoft licensing expert.

This is a very big announcement that many customers may not understand or overlook.  So what exactly is this new right?  Before January 1, 2018 customers who had online only users who also had an on-premise Active Directory account required a Windows Server CAL.  Most large organizations prefer to have their users reside in their on-premise Active Directory and sync them to Azure Active Directory.

I directly reached out to Microsoft last May recommending they create this waiver, so you can only imagine how excited I was when I opened the January 2018 Product Terms.  I applaud Microsoft for making this change.

Before this announcement there was a large amount of confusion among Microsoft sales teams on this topic.  I have experienced on several occasions Microsoft telling customers they did not need Windows Server CALs for online only users who also existed in the customer’s on-premise Active Directory.  This advice put customers out of compliance without the customers knowledge they were at risk.  For those customers who have purchased Window Server CALs and no longer require them because of this new waiver, I recommend speaking with your Microsoft sale team, especially if it was a recent purchase.

Please remember this new right is very limited and users who are using any additional Windows Server services will require a Windows Server CAL.  Microsoft does not offer Windows Server CALs on Enterprise Agreements (EA) except as part of CAL Suites (CORE CAL or ECAL).  Thus, EA customers needing only a Windows Server CAL must purchase it on an MPSA or an Open license agreement.

(Source – Page 5 of the Microsoft January 2018 Product Terms)

Jan 2018 Product Terms Page 5.png

(Source – Page 46 of the Microsoft January 2018 Product Terms)

Jan 2018 Product Terms Page 46.png

Rest in Peace “Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox” (Oct 2017 to Nov 2017)

On October 1, 2017 Microsoft added the “Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox” to the Microsoft Product Terms as a new offering and on November 1, 2017 it was quietly removed from the Product Terms.  This was highly unusual to say the least.  Up until this time there was no charge for inactive O365 mailboxes, provided you followed Microsoft’s guidelines.

In all my years, I have never seen a new product be released to only be immediately pulled a month later.  What I have heard is Microsoft pre-announced the new offering at their 2017 Ignite conference and the customer feedback was less than enthusiastic.  Pulling a product back is not trivial and I am sure there was some very spirited dialogue in the Microsoft intenal meetings after the Ignite feedback.

I do not think we have seen the last of the Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox.  I am not sure when to expect it back, but I believe it will be back one day.

Click here to learn about Managing O365 inactive mailboxes