Microsoft softens the terms of its cloud licenses in Europe Computerworld

Faced with dissatisfaction from European cloud operators and competition authorities who do not give up, Microsoft last May announced an action plan to calm the discontent. Measures effective October 1, 2022 include extending user rights to run Microsoft software, including Windows 11, on any third-party cloud infrastructure.

Microsoft will be making sweeping changes to the outsourcing and hosting experience for its customers and partners in Europe starting October 1, 2022. The move comes after Microsoft President Brad Smith announced last May that he would help European cloud providers host and run software products, including Windows. 11 on its own infrastructure whose operating licenses were acquired elsewhere. “Customers with Software Assurance or Subscription Licenses will be able to use their own licensed software to build and/or install solutions and run them on any cloud provider’s infrastructure, dedicated or shared,” Microsoft said in a statement. However, the publisher cautions that these changes exclude “listed vendors” including Alibaba, AWS, and Google, from which customers can purchase licenses directly from them.

The group also offers its customers with Software Assurance or subscription licenses the benefits of Windows Server licenses based on virtual cores rather than physical cores: “Today, Windows Server is licensed on a physical core basis, which means that customers must have access to a physical server. hardware to make sure they have enough Windows Server licenses to cover all of the physical cores on the machine. With the vCore licensing option, customers can license Windows Server based on the number of vCores they use in their instances. This change will help cloud service providers attract customers with legacy Windows Server workloads by making it easier for them to move to the cloud,” the company said in a blog post. The VDA Add-on (Virtual Desktop Application) license, which was previously required for users of Microsoft 365 F3, E3, and E5 plans for Windows 10 or 11 virtualization projects on servers without a Windows Pro Primary Terminal, is vanishing.

Ready-made solutions are easier for partners to deploy

The publisher also cautions that under so-called “agile virtualization”, companies may contact Cloud Solution Provider program partners to obtain workstation and hosted server environment packages that can be activated using their own license or a license offered by their vendor. “Running these hosted solutions will require a Microsoft Customer Agreement with a participating partner and proof of license,” Microsoft warns. To provide a better understanding of the value of solutions delivered through Cloud Solution Provider program partners, one to three year subscriptions will be offered covering many products (Windows Server, Remote Desktop Services, SQL Server, etc.).

“During our discussions with cloud providers, we also heard a clear request to sell Microsoft solutions with more long-term price stability for the customer,” says the publisher. Microsoft Partners will also be able to build hosted solutions using a new program called CSP-Hoster (replacing QMTH or Qualified Multitenant Hosting) to pre-build PC or hosted server solutions sold with either CSP licenses including hosting or for customers who have already licensed. . “Customer will be required to have a Microsoft Customer Agreement with CSP Host and proof of license (for BYOL for Partner Solutions). Partners in this program will not need to purchase separate media and keys from each end customer to deploy their solution. Instead, partners will be able to access a catalog of Microsoft software that they can use to pre-develop solutions that customers can use.” Please note that at first CSP-Hoster will be limited to CSP Direct Bill partners just before a future expansion.

Ending Outsourcing of SPLA Licenses to AWS and Google

Finally, among this volley of announcements, we note the update of the SPLA (Service Provider License Agreement) program. A few months after the price increase, Microsoft announces the removal of the ability to outsource SPLA licenses to the data centers of listed vendors (Alibaba, AWS, and Google). “Traditional contractors and data center providers will benefit from this change and it will help strengthen the hosting partner ecosystem,” Microsoft said. “Any SPLA partner affected by this change must switch from the listed provider to SPLA outsourced hosting or obtain a license directly from the listed provider outside of their SPLA by September 30, 2025.”

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