Death of SPLA?

Ahh, SPLA. Our old friend. Is this finally the end of the SPLA Man and the birth of CSP Man? New Microsoft changes have everyone wondering. This article will attempt to make sense of this mess called Microsoft licensing.

What was announced?

If you aren't aware, Microsoft is making it "easier" for end customers (NOT service providers) to move workloads to the cloud. Why? Many end customers invested in Microsoft technology and were limited in how service providers deployed the technology they purchased. For example, historically, if you had an Enterprise Agreement and purchased Windows Server with SA, you were forced to buy dedicated servers from your service provider. Sure, you can leverage your existing licenses, but you were paying more for dedicated hosts. Not ideal.

Finally, Microsoft opened the door for end customers to use shared servers on workloads, including Windows Server. Yes, this affects service providers' software deployment, but the licensing is on the end customer.

A couple of things to note. If your end customer already owns Windows with SA and wants to deploy it in your data center, this is an ideal situation for your customer and reduces your SPLA reporting. But is reducing your SPLA reporting the end goal? What about the revenue generated by SPLA? Are you more profitable? Secondly, Microsoft is allowing end customers to license by a virtual core with Windows Server. This makes it easier, as licensing by the physical core on a shared environment is impossible. But is it more profitable and less expensive for your customer? You can license Windows Data Center and run unlimited virtual machines in SPLA. The bottom line is that you must work through different scenarios to ensure you are licensing the most economical way for your clients and the most profitable way for you.

What about the CSP-Hoster? Isn't that going to kill SPLA? CSP-Hoster is a new program that is presently not open to everyone. You must qualify. CSP-hoster is a Direct partner (who happens to be a hoster) to buy licenses from Microsoft and hosts them, essentially managing everything for your end customers. Is this ideal for the hoster? I don't know. Suppose I was a hoster who made the investment to become CSP Direct authorized for programs like QMTH. In that case, I am not sure I would want every small hoster (who never invested a penny) to be able to offer the same thing I can when I invest millions. Think about this, every hoster, every MSP, and in many ways, every reseller is competition. You must think of ways to separate yourself from your competition. Maybe staying with SPLA is your separation because not every business can sell SPLA. Maybe moving everything to CSP is your answer as well.

The point we are making here is there are A LOT of decisions with this announcement. It's not all about licensing; it's about the services, the offerings, the way you deploy, and the way you go to market. At Octopus, we can help you with these decisions. It must be a data-driven analysis to fully understand the impact of using SPLA versus CSP. Reach out to to learn more.

Thanks for reading,


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