Microsoft Cloud for Retail: Pricing and licensing

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Microsoft have added another Industry Cloud to the Product Terms – this time it’s Microsoft Cloud for Retail.

I’m still working through some of the info and it doesn’t necessarily all seem complete yet but here’s the overview I can give so far.


It is available as an add-on SKU, currently only Dynamics 365 Customer Insights is listed as an eligible base license to purchase the add-on. The Microsoft Docs site lists other licenses that are required in order to use certain elements of the retail cloud solution, these are:

Retail cloud featureRequired license
Omnichannel for Customer ServiceDynamics 365 Commerce / Dynamics 365 Customer Service
Microsoft 365 for Frontline WorkersMicrosoft 365 (F or E SKUs)
Power Virtual AgentsPower Virtual Agents

as well needing an Azure subscription to use:

  • Synapse Analytics
  • Cognitive Search
  • Intelligent Recommendations


The Microsoft datasheet lists it as being $20,000 per tenant per month but also states that you “only pay for what you don’t already own“.

This makes sense as they won’t want to penalise customers who are already investing in some of these products but does suggest negotiations will be needed to get pricing…leading to the potential for different rates at different points of the year.


Available only via EA/EAS, Microsoft Cloud for Retail can currently be deployed from:

  • USA
  • Canada
  • United Kingdom
  • Singapore
  • Australia

and is available in English and French – the latter only being an option in Canada at the moment though.

Further Reading

Microsoft Cloud for Retail datasheet

Microsoft Docs page

Microsoft Cloud for Retail Product Terms page

Microsoft give more info about VMware on Azure


Microsoft recently announced their plans to start running VMware software natively within the Azure cloud. This caused much interest in the tech world as well as some angry words from VMware!

You can read more about the initial announcement here

After the initial blog post, Microsoft went very quiet and had no more to say on the subject. I attended a webinar about VMware & Azure but this just covered the Azure Migrate tool – Microsoft’s new way of converting on-premises VMware VMs to Azure VMs running in the cloud…a great offering but not the super interesting part really!

Some news!

Today (December 19, 2017) Microsoft have given us a bit of an update, in a new blog post.

They tell us that they’re working with multiple VMware partners and will run the solution on existing VMware certified hardware:

preview hardware will use a flexpod bare metal configuration with NetApp storage

This will allow organisations to continue running the VMware software they have invested in – both in terms of money and time – and that they trust to run their business, but also allow them to have L3 network connectivity with Azure services such as:

  • Azure Active Directory
  • Azure Cosmos DB
  • Azure Functions

Microsoft are in discussions with these VMware partners – and also VMware themselves – and aim to:

make this offering generally available next year

VMware’s Angry Words

Interestingly, VMware angry words have become less angry.

There initial blog post was quite confrontational but has since been updated and now ahs a more reconciliatory tone. For example:

Original Post:

Recently, Microsoft announced preview of VMware virtualization on Azure, a bare-metal solution that is stated to run a VMware stack on Azure hardware, co-located with other Azure services in partnership with VMware-certified partners. No VMware-certified partner names have been mentioned nor have any partners collaborated with VMware in engineering this offering. This offering has been developed independent of VMware, and is neither certified nor supported by VMware.

Revised post:

Recently, Microsoft announced a preview of VMware virtualization on Azure, a bare-metal solution that is stated to run a VMware stack on Azure hardware, co-located with other Azure services in partnership with VMware-certified partners. This offering is being developed independent of VMware, however it is being offered as a dedicated, server-hosted solution similar in approach to other VMware Cloud Provider Partners (VCPP). The deployment is on VMware certified hardware consisting of FlexPod. VMware is in the process of engaging with the partner to ensure compliance and that the appropriate support model is in place.

The original post also said:

Microsoft recognizing the leadership position of VMware’s offering and exploring support for VMware on Azure as a superior and necessary solution for customers over Hyper-V or native Azure Stack environments is understandable but, we do not believe this approach will offer customers a good solution to their hybrid or multi-cloud future.

This is now nowhere to be found in the updated blog post!

A better relationship between the two vendors will surely make for a better experience for customers who take up this new offering as closer ties should mean better support.

Next steps

They say they’ll share more info on plans for General Availability and partners “in the coming months” and if you’d like to take part in the preview – contact your Microsoft account manager.

Further reading:

Adding Azure to an Enterprise Agreement

It’s now easier than ever for customers to add Windows Azure to their Enterprise Agreement (EA).

You commit upfront to a monthly amount that you feel will cover all your needs, and that monetary commitment can be utilised in any way within Azure.


Previously, you would receive great payment terms for your monetary commitment but – should you go over that amount (known as “overage”) – the extra usage would be charged at much higher rates. This effectively punished organizations who thought “wow, this Azure stuff is cool” – but no more, Overage is now charged at the same rates as the initial agreed amount. This makes increasing the usage of Azure a much more compelling proposition.

See Josh Waldo’s full post here:

Microsoft Cloud Database Testing

Project Huron, one of Microsoft’s group of cloud-based teams, are asking customers to get involved with testing a first release of their online database synchronization effort; which will be done via the Azure platform & SQL Data Services.

The Huron team said “We are looking for are any customers that are looking to share SQL Server or SQL Compact databases via the cloud and have an existing project that would warrant this functionality…”

The team’s blog says “The goal is to remove the typical complexities (configuration, scalability, security, etc) involved with sharing database information between local databases such as SQL Server and SQL Compact and provide simple UI tools for configuration and sync components developers can embed in existing applications.”

Screen mockups:


For those of you that are interested in being an early adopter for this-fill in this short email form here:

Project Huron Early Adopter Contact Form


Microsoft Architect Aleksey Savateyev is building a basic product support app…that is based in the cloud and is to be called “Azurelight”. It will collect feedback about products and allow users to exchange opinions on the products too. “It’s also intended to be used by developers as a reference application utilizing both Windows Azure and Silverlight for rich yet scalable and highly available business solutions…” as described by Savateyev himself.

Mary Jo Foleyreports that as well as utilizing Azure & Silverlight (as it’s name suggests) Azurelight will also use Microsoft’s ADO.NET Entity Framework, ADO.NET Data Services (aka Astoria) and SQL Data Services.


Once it’s all up and running “sometime in the summer” of 2009 (via MSDN it seems) this should be a great example of what Microsoft’s technologies, both cloud and programming, can do 🙂

I’m excited about this program and as the source code will be released Free of Charge, I hope I’ll be able to make full use of Azurelight!

Microsoft after PDC 2008

Where is Microsoft after this year’s PDC Conference?

I think Microsoft is in a very strong position-at the head of many points of the market, and hot on the heels of the leaders in others..Cloud computing, Web applications, Desktop OS, Collaboration and more..

Windows Azure & Windows 7 have had a massive amount of buzz around them, and it nearly all seems to be good! I’ve got a few colleagues in the “Anti-Vista” camp but even they are cautiously optimistic about what Win7 will bring us…I am ridiculously excited and everyone else is looking forward to it 🙂

Azure instantly puts MS in the top 3 players in the Cloud space, and I don’t think it will be long before the No.1 spot is theirs.

Office Web Apps shows that Microsoft ARE taking the web seriously and as an answer to Google, it’s a pretty good one! This will bring online apps to a whole new section of users..I don’t use Google Apps for many reasons..but I’ll definitely use Office Web…

Live Mesh was another big part of PDC 2008 and this could seriously make peoples lives easier, faster and more fulfilling…if it’s executed correctly. Mesh isn’t a huge concern for me personally (at the moment) but could be important for so many others.

All in all I think the most important thing that PDC 2008 has done is breathe new life into Microsoft, it’s partner eco-system and the end users, who let’s face it are the ones that REALLY matter! People once again believe in Microsoft, are excited by Microsoft and dare I say it, people LIKE Microsoft!!! 🙂

As Steve Clayton says, this really is Microsoft 3.0.

So hats off to Bill, Steve(s), Ray and the 1000’s of others who have helped with this and long may it continue!

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