Most of the focus is on the changes that Microsoft have made to cloud and virtualisation licensing for Windows Server, Windows 11, Office and more – you can check out my analysis of that here – but there are other changes this month too.
Three new products are added:
I cover this in more depth here but it is now in the Product Terms and there’s a clause that organisations must use a Viva Sales connector to link it to their CRM…so no 3rd-party or in-house connectors.
SharePoint Advanced Management Plan 1
I’ve not seen any info about this and am still looking for details – let me know if you have any info!
Again, no info about these yet. Looking at Microsoft Learn/Docs, workload identities are “applications, service principals, and managed identities” but I’m not sure how this relates to the new SKU.
There was also:
The removal of Intune for EDU (device) from MCA
Windows 11 Home to Pro availability expanded to Central and South America
Microsoft first announced these changes in May 2022 and, after an update in September, we’ve now got the majority of the info in the October 2022 Product Terms document. Let’s take a look at what’s changed and what it means for us all.
First things first, the Listed Providers:
Google Cloud Platform
are not included in any of these changes.
Outsourcing Software Management clause
This is in the “Universal license terms for all Software” which means it applies to all products under this category. There are 3 new elements within this clause:
Flexible Virtualisation Benefit
The Microsoft wording:
“Customers with subscription licenses or Licenses with active Software Assurance (including CALs) may use licensed copies of the software on devices, including shared Servers, that are under the day-to-day management and control of Authorized Outsourcers.”
This is similar to the existing “License Mobility through Software Assurance” benefit but doesn’t have the requirement to use an “Authorized Mobility Partner” -rather, you can use any “Authorized Outsourcer” partner…which is any partner that isn’t a Listed Provider.
While much of the focus here is on Windows Server, this new benefit applies to other products such as SQL Server too.
The Microsoft wording:
“Customers with subscription licenses or Licenses with active Software Assurance (including CALs) may access their licensed copies of software that is provided by a Cloud Solution Provider-Hoster and installed on that partner’s devices.”
Dedicated device outsourcing
The Microsoft wording:
“Customers may use licensed copies of the software on devices that are under the day-to-day management and control of Authorized Outsourcers, provided all such devices are and remain fully dedicated to Customer’s use.”
As I say, these apply to all Microsoft Software products and, as we’ll see, individual products may have their own additional terms.
Windows Server – license individual VMs
You are now able to license individual Windows Server virtual machines rather than licensing the underlying physical hardware. As expected, there are a few rules you need to follow:
Minimum of 8 core licenses per VM
Minimum of 16 core licenses per customer
Licenses must have active SA or be active subscriptions – this includes CALs used to access the Windows Server instances
Licenses can be re-assigned with the same server farm as often as needed.
90-day rule applies if moving to another server farm/cloud provider
Customers with per-user licenses for Windows 11:
install Windows 10 Creators Update or later in an Azure VM or a server that meets the requirements in the “Outsourcing Software Management” clause. The QMTH language has been removed from this section too, opening this up to the wider pool of Authorized Outsourcers.
Reading the terms, it appears that the restriction on local virtualisation with CSP licenses has been removed too – bringing them even closer to parity with volume licenses. The language now states that customers can install Windows in a VM running on their Azure or “a server” – which I read as including their own servers as well as those of an authorized outsourcer.
For Office/Project/Visio, the word “dedicated” has been removed from the terms which means hosting on shared servers is now possible:
“Remote use of the software running on a Server is permitted for any user from a Licensed Device”
There have been changes to the use rights for the Windows component of Microsoft 365 too. The previous language was:
“rights to access and use remote virtualized instances of Windows only apply to Licensed Users that are the Primary User of a device licensed with a Qualifying Operating System.”
While it now says:
“Licensed Users may only run Windows Enterprise locally on devices with a Qualifying Operating System.”
Removing the primary user requirement to access remote virtual instances. Microsoft say:
“Essentially, when licensed as part of Microsoft 365, the requirement to use VDA rights for remote access from desktops without Qualifying Operating Systems no longer applies“
There is also a change for Microsoft 365 F3 to loosen the remote virtualisation restriction. The previous clause:
“rights to access and use virtualized instances of Windows only apply to Licensed Users of a shared device with a Qualifying Operating System“
has been removed.
Microsoft 365 Apps
There is definitely some further clarification needed here. Microsoft released a new licensing guide “Using software products under the Flexible Virtualization Benefit” this month and that document states that the Flexible Virtualisation Benefit applies to Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office 365 Pro Plus).
“With the introduction of the Flexible Virtualization Benefit, customers’ options for using Microsoft 365 Apps…outside their own data centers are expanded to include any Authorized Outsourcer’s shared servers“
However, I can’t find language which clearly states this in the current Product Terms, so for now I’d advise not to get too carried away! I expect we’ll see an update to the Product Terms soon to add that language in – but I’ll update either way once we see something from Microsoft.
This is all pretty exciting for a licensing fan like myself – lots of new language and terms and things to check and understand. Also lots of training presentations to update!
For customers though, I’m not sure how much impact this will really have. Yes, it enables organisations to work with a much larger pool of potential hosting providers…but, in my experience at least, most orgs that are struggling want to work with Amazon AWS…and they’re not included in these changes as they’re a Listed Provider. I’m keen to see what real world impact these changes have and who wins (and loses) from it all.
PS: I’m still processing all this new info so will update with corrections as/if needed!
The September Product Terms revealed that Microsoft have replaced Teams Rooms Standard & Premium with Teams Rooms Basic & Pro, and we now have more information on feature differences and licensing.
Teams Rooms Basic
This is the free entry level license, included with certified Teams Devices and available via the Microsoft 365 Amin Center (not via resellers etc.). It is limited to 25 licensed devices within an organisation, if devices are needed they must be covered with Pro licenses. Furthermore, it is limited to 1 device per room with the same resource account – if 2 or more devices are needed, this again requires a Pro license.
You’ll notice below that Basic does not include a Teams Phone license, preventing the room from making/receiving PSTN calls.
Teams Rooms Pro
These are $40 per device per month and offer a much wider range of features than the Basic license.
It seems Microsoft have removed access to in-person engineers as part of the management features offered, with the Docs page stating “Microsoft Service engineers will no longer serve as intermediaries to incident response starting October 1, 2022“.
How do they compare to their predecessors?
Teams Rooms Basic is missing many of the features that were present in Teams Room Standard which means organisations may find themselves having to move from the $15 per month Standard license to the $40 per month Pro license at renewal – a significant increase. Equally, although probably much less likely, some organisations could drop from Standard ($15) to Basic ($0) and save money each month.
Basic v Pro
This link here gives a detailed comparison of the differences between Basic & Pro in various different use areas. I would recommend also comparing the new functionality to your existing licenses to identify if you’ll need the Pro option going forwards.
This new benefit will allow customers with Software Assurance or subscription licenses to use their existing licenses to install and run on any (but not Listed Provider) infrastructure – whether it’s dedicated or shared.
Windows Server virtual cores
Customers will be able to license Windows Server by virtual core on 3rd party infrastructure. There will, of course (!), be a per VM minimum. The Microsoft announcements don’t mention Listed Providers for this element so perhaps this new licensing option will be available with Amazon, Google, and Alibaba…although it seems unlikely!
Microsoft 365 E3/E5/F3 users without a primary device with a Qualifying Operating System (QoS) will be able to virtualize Windows 10/11 on 3rd-party infrastructure (but not Listed Providers) without needing the VDA add-on.
Cloud Solution Provider – Hoster
This new variant of the CSP program replaces the QMTH (Qualified Multi-Tenant Hosting) program. It will enable hosting partners to pre-build hosted desktop & server environments for customers and either provide the licenses or use customer provided licenses – giving greater flexibility for organizations. Customers will need to show proof-of-license for BYOL scenarios – verification of which I assume will be done by the partner. Initially it will only be available for Direct partners but Microsoft “look forward to expanding program eligibility over time“.
Microsoft state these will go live from October 1st so we should see them added to the Product Terms on that date too. I’ll of course be updating on that asap 😊
Hot on the heels of Viva Goals, Microsoft have introduced Viva Sales. This latest family member is a “new seller experience” that brings Microsoft 365 & Teams together with “any” CRM system to streamline processes for salespeople…it also adds a hint of AI into the mix.
Areas it helps with include:
AI organised data and tasks
Inbuilt sentiment analysis
Surfacing unstructured data from Office documents
Automated data capture
and more, with Microsoft describing it as a sales coach that helps move deals along. It will also surface “business context” data within Outlook and Teams and allow salespeople to update their CRM from those platforms too.
Much of this is, as with many other products, about keeping people within Teams as much as possible – making it the “collaboration hub” for users across organisations.
A feature called Sales Conversation Intelligence (SCI) will help sellers byl:
Generating meeting summaries
Tracking customer sentiment
Suggesting action items
all to keep deals on track and moving along.
Licensing and pricing
Viva Sales is free for users already licensed with Dynamics 365 Enterprise and Premium – for everyone else it will be $40 per user per month. It hits General Availability on October 3rd, 2022 and is NOT part of the Viva Suite.
I like the sound of what Viva Sales can do and am keen to check it out further – as anything that makes sales and customer management easier is a good thing. No matter the CRM you use, it’s never as intuitive and easy to use as users would like…perhaps Viva Sales will go some way to alleviating that. Or perhaps it will just be one more thing to add to the mix?!
It’s almost the end of Microsoft’s financial year and typically things quieten down, but there is one interesting change this month:
SQL Server Standard can now use Distributed Availability Groups (AG*), a feature which has been an Enterprise only feature up until now. However, it is limited by the fact that the DAG may only synchronise with Azure.
Microsoft’s financial results for Q3 FY22 (Jan – Mar 22) are in and, once again, they’re showing strong growth in all their key focus areas. They also listed several big name customers that they’re working with including:
and called out Boeing, Heinz, and Westpac among customers making “strategic” Azure commitments.
Satya Nadella always hits us with a good quote during the earnings call and this quarter’s was:
“The last two years have proven that every organization needs a digital fabric that connects the entire organization”
Let’s take a look at some of the numbers:
Revenue = $49.4 billion – up 18%
Operating income = $20.4 billion – up 19%
Really strong top line numbers as always – remember, this is for just 3 months!
Productivity & Business Processes
Revenue = $15.8 billion – up 17%
Office 365 Commercial up 17%
Dynamics 365 up 35%
LinkedIn up 35%
Microsoft saw growth in SMB and frontline SKUs as well as increase in Revenue Per User – a key SaaS metric.
Office on-prem revenue was down 28%, continuing the downwards trend that we’ve been seeing for a couple of years now. It was noted as well that the end of Open Licensing has caused a drop in transactional license sales during the last quarter.
Revenue = $19.1 billion – up 26%
Azure (and other cloud services) up 46%
Server products up 5%
Another strong showing from Azure…with the number of $100 million Azure deals more than doubling over the previous year.
The server products increase includes Window Server & SQL Server in hybrid use cases (as well as Nuance) and again Microsoft mentioned the impact of Open Licensing’s end.
What else did we learn?
Satya Nadella once again called out the performance of Cosmos DB, with 100%+ YoY growth for 3 quarters in a row.
Power Platform, as a family, was up 72% year on year.
Microsoft Viva has over 10 million monthly active users.
Overall this is another great performance from Microsoft, giving them good momentum as they move into their Q4 (April – June) which is always a busy time of year. It will be interesting to see the full FY results in July for sure!
Microsoft have once again combined and rebranded some of their products – Azure Purview + the Microsoft 365 compliance products = Microsoft Purview. This new product family combines 17 different products across data governance and risk management – the (relatively straightforward) name changes are:
Microsoft 365 Advanced Audit
Microsoft Purview Audit (Premium)
Microsoft 365 Communication Compliance
Microsoft Purview Communication Compliance
Microsoft Compliance Manager
Microsoft Purview Compliance Manager
Office 365 Customer Lockbox
Microsoft Purview Customer Lockbox
Azure Purview Data Catalog
Microsoft Purview Data Catalog
Microsoft 365 Data Connectors
Microsoft Purview Data Connectors
Microsoft Information Governance
Microsoft Purview Data Lifecycle Management
Office 365 Data Loss Prevention
Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention
Azure Purview Data Map
Microsoft Purview Data Map
Double Key Encryption for Microsoft 365
Microsoft Purview Double Key Encryption
Records Management in Microsoft 365
Microsoft Purview Records Management
Office 365 Advanced eDiscovery
Microsoft Purview eDiscovery (Premium)
Microsoft 365 Information Barriers
Microsoft Purview Information Barriers
Microsoft Information Protection
Microsoft Purview Information Protection
Microsoft 365 Insider Risk Management
Microsoft Purview Insider Risk Management
Azure Purview portal
Microsoft Purview governance portal
Microsoft 365 compliance center
Microsoft Purview compliance portal
The new offering now includes data protection for the macOS platform as well as 50+ new sensitive info classifiers, co-authoring of encrypted documents on mobile devices (in preview), and multi-stage retention labels. It’s another step along the way in Microsoft’s journey to make their security portfolio stronger, less fragmented and – perhaps – less confusing.
If you have (what was) Azure Purview – head over to the Microsoft Purview governance portal here.
If you have Microsoft 365 E5 and/or Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance – head over to the Microsoft Purview Compliance portal here.