Microsoft Product Terms June 2022


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Some new M365 F5 Security bundles made available – further expanding what’s possible for protecting frontline workers.

Microsoft Sustainability Manager added. This is what we’ve been calling Microsoft Cloud for Sustainability…it seems that will be now an umbrella term and Sustainability Manager will come under that.

Clarification that the SQL Server Enterprise SA benefit of running Power BI Server applies in a fail over OSE too

Tidying up of various clauses and terms.

No mention of the major changes they announced for cloud BYOL rules around Windows Server, Windows desktop, and Office.

Microsoft Intelligent Data Platform


At Microsoft Build 2022, they have introduced us to the new Intelligent Data Platform.

They say this will help in “removing points of friction between your databases and analytics systems while automatically mapping and governing your full data estate” and allow developers/organisations to “Focus on building innovative apps—and spend less time managing your data“.

Is it a new product?

No – instead it’s a collection of existing products that MS position as forming a better, cohesive eco-system for organisations. Those products are:

  • Azure SQL
  • Azure Cosmos DB
  • SQL Server 2022
  • Azure Arc
  • Azure Synapse Analytics
  • Power BI
  • Azure Machine Learning
  • Microsoft Purview

The latter enabling comprehensive governance of data across all these different locations, products, and use cases.

For many organisations across a variety of verticals, data is the key to success. However, given the increasing regulatory pressures and growing threat of cyber attacks – not managing that data effectively can be one of the largest risks a business faces. The dual concept of helping organisations better connect their data to extract more useful insights more quickly AND securing all that data will surely seem a particularly attractive offering for a lot of customers. Several other organisations, including Amazon and Google, are heavily focusing on data too – it’s the next frontier for winning/losing customers in many ways – and I’m sure Microsoft will continue to enhance this area of their business. I’m also sure they will be selling this concept, and the underlying products, heavily during renewals and customer briefings etc.

Further Reading

Intelligent Data Platform page

Microsoft IDP announcement

Microsoft Product Terms – March 2022


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Again, not a huge amount of change in the Microsoft Product Terms for March 2022:

Microsoft 365 Privacy Management has been rebranded “Priva”…I thought they might change their mind on this one 😂 I guess they wanted to make sure there was something people could confuse with Viva?!

Expanded pre-requisite licenses for Cloud for Healthcare add-on

Azure Virtual Desktop per user access promo extended to March 31st, 2022 (although the section doesn’t appear to have actually been updated)

SQL Server Big Data Nodes have been retired – anything other than the “core” SQL editions just never seems to quite work does it?

Updated “no cancellations after 72 hours” terms for online services under CSP NCE

Microsoft extend Extended Security Updates


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Extended Security Updates (ESUs), available for Windows Server 2008/R2 and SQL Server 2008/R2, were introduced in 2019 to extend available security support for 3 more years beyond the end of the products’ extended support periods.

It’s now less than 12 months until the end of the ESU period for SQL Server 2008/R2 and Microsoft have announced they will be providing 12 additional months of cover – but only for workloads running in Azure. This will also apply to Windows Server 2008/R2 – the end of ESU dates are:

  • SQL Server 2008/R2 – July 12, 2022
  • Windows Server 2008/R2 – January 10, 2023

End of support for 2012 Server versions

They have announced the availability of ESUs for the 2012/R2 releases of SQL Server and Windows Server. Extended Support for these ends:

SQL Server 2012 – July 12, 2022

Windows Server 2012/R2 – October 10, 2023

It’s now less than 12 months until SQL Server 2012 goes out of support so if you’re using that within your organisation, you need to come up with a plan to:

  • Upgrade on-premises
  • Migrate to Azure for free ESUs
  • Budget to purchase on-premises ESUs

See more info from Microsoft here.

Microsoft Product Terms: September 2020


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Only a few additions again this month but a couple are pretty interesting.

Azure DevOps Server 2020 is added.

Dynamics 365 Sales Premium is added. This is a new SKU that combines the “Sales Enterprise” and “Sales Insight” licenses for £101.80 per user per month – a saving of £7.50 pupm. Naming wise – I’m not sure that having an “Enterprise” SKU inside a “Premium” SKU really makes sense tbh!

Azure SQL Edge is added. This is a new variant of SQL made for the cloud world with features including:

  • Support for ARM architecture
  • Built-in data streaming
  • Network bandwidth optimisation
  • Designed to run in containers

I’ve taken a look at it here.

Azure Stack Edge appears too – this is a physical device you keep on-premises, like a branch office or field location, to “filter, analyse, and transform your data before it moves to Azure”. Lose/damage one and it’s a $40,000 charge!

Azure SQL Edge – what is it?


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A new variant of SQL – Azure SQL Edge – is available in public preview and was added to the Product Terms in September 2020.

What is it?

This new flavour of SQL is made for the emerging, growing world of the cloud and edge computing – something of a focus for Microsoft over the last couple of years. Azure SQL Edge is based on SQL Server for Linux and, although it contains only a subset of the full functionality, it also includes features not found in SQL Server for Linux or Windows.

It supports both Intel and ARM processors and runs in containers, currently the only supported scenario is Docker hosts running Ubuntu 16.04 LTS or 18.04 LTS. New features include built-in data streaming and in-database machine learning.

When would you use it?

Microsoft say it is aimed at “edge scenarios” – primarily Internet of Things (IoT) – and it allows data to be analysed and processed before it gets to the central infrastructure; this can lead to faster results and also reduced cloud and network bandwidth utilisation. This latter point is an often overlooked aspect of working with the cloud – more data moving around more places means more network usage and, in many cases, more cost too.

“You don’t need an army of database administrators to install and manage SQL Edge on all your edge devices”

As Azure SQL Edge is container-based, you can deploy it from one portal and then simply update the container as needed. If this is indeed the case, it will help with the “do more with less” approach that comes with cloud – where you can easily end up with many more servers and assets than on-premises, without a matching increase in head count!

Pricing

It’s in Public Preview at the moment, meaning it can be used at no cost (in areas where Azure IoT Edge is available) and more details on pricing and purchase model will be released once the preview is over.

Further Reading

Azure SQL Edge overview

Microsoft Product Terms: August 2020


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Nothing too major this month, as expected:

  • The Teams Advanced Communications SKU has been added
  • There are a few updates to SQL Hybrid Benefit info for Server Subscriptions
  • Added extra Power Platforms info covering:
    • Purchase minimums
    • Extended Use Rights for Portals
    • Additional pre-requisites

Nothing new for Power Platform, really just moving key info from the licensing guide to the Product Terms – which is the way it should be.

Microsoft Product Terms: June 2020


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June is the last month of Microsoft’s financial year but they’re still made a few changes worth noting in this month’s Product Terms:

  • 5 year reservations for Azure VMs are added – with a 35% early termination fee
  • Azure Hybrid Rights for SQL have been expanded so now:
    • on-premises SQL Server Standard licenses can be used to run SQL Server Enterprise VMs in Azure
    • on-premises SQL Server Enterprise licenses can be used to run SQL Server Standard VMs in Azure
  • Changes to the eligibility for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 F1 & F3 licenses

SQL Server

The core conversion ratio is different for the two new scenarios:

4 x SQL Server Std on-prem cores w/SA = 1 x SQL Server Ent Azure core

1 x SQL Server Ent on-prem core w/SA = 4 x SQL Server Std Azure core

You can see the above table, and the info, on pages 54-54 of the June 2020 Product Terms.

F1/F3 changes

Microsoft have again changed the rules around who is eligible for a “Firstline” SKU. The new requirements are that to qualify for an F1/F3 license a worker must satisfy at least one of these conditions:

  • Uses a primary work device with a single screen smaller than 10.1”
  • Shares their primary work device with other qualifying Microsoft 365 or Office 365 Firstline Worker licensed users, during or across shifts
    • Other licensed Microsoft Firstline Worker users must also use the device as their primary work device
    • Any software or services accessed from the shared device requires the device or users to be assigned a license that includes use of those software or services

The previous guidance, updated in November 2019, was:

“A Dedicated Device is a computing device used for work with a 10.1” screen or larger, used by the user more than 60% of the user’s total work time during any 90-day period.”

These new rules should make it a bit easier for everyone to police but, for organisations already licensed for F1/F3 prior to June 1, 2020, you can continue to license based on the previous rules until your next renewal.

Microsoft Product Terms – January 2020


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Nothing major but a couple of interesting SQL Server bits:

1) A clause that, if you’re using SQL in Azure via Azure Hybrid Rights or DR rights, you must indicate it in the portal/API.

2) If you acquire SQL 2017 from an OEM before March 31, 2020 – you can add Software Assurance within 90 days of purchase.

That first addition feels audit related doesn’t it? While it makes sense that organisations indicate where they’re using their licenses and which Software Assurance benefits they’re using etc. – it definitely feels like Microsoft are getting things lined up for the next generation of license compliance audits which will look at cloud environments too.

Also, slightly interestingly, the Online Service Terms (OST) won’t be published until January 8th. Whether this is because people are still on holiday or due to a major change being announced – we’ll have to wait and see! 😊

SQL Server 2019 Big Data Nodes


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The release of SQL Server 2019 sees the introduction of Big Data Nodes. This new family member aims to help organisations create data lakes, combining big data tools such as Hadoop with SQL Server – all supported by Microsoft.

To run a Big Data Node cluster, you first require a SQL Server Master Instance. This must be running SQL Server 2019 – Standard or Enterprise – with SA and licensed via the per core model.

The licenses on the Master Instance give an entitlement to a certain number of Big Data Node core licenses. For Standard edition it’s a 1:1 ratio, while for Enterprise it’s 1:8 – as an example, a server with 32 cores of SQL Server 2019 Standard w/SA would give rights to 32 cores of Big Data Node, while the same server licensed with Enterprise edition would allow 256 Big Data Node cores. Additional Big Data Node cores can be purchased separately.

The big data nodes can also be deployed in Azure using the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS).

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