Aug 23, 2017

6 Must-Knows to Win at Microsoft Licensing

Microsoft is one of the world’s largest software vendors, and its products are essential for your day-to-day business operations. In fact, chances are that up to 80% of your IT budget is earmarked annually for Microsoft spending—so understanding your assets and environments is critical to your business’s stability and bottom line. If you’re serious about Software Asset Management (SAM), then Microsoft licensing is a #1 financial priority.

But with evolving technologies such as virtualization and cloud computing, Microsoft’s server license metrics are more complex than ever. We’ve put together the Top 6 Microsoft Licensing Must-Knows for finding a detailed and accurate balance of your license infrastructure and compliance.

1. Detect true CAL demand

For some Microsoft Server products, a Client Access License (CAL) license is required. You can decide whether to assign a User CAL to each user with server access, or a Device CAL to each device with server access. But the demand for CAL is more difficult to detect and measure than other server licenses. This can cause problems, so it’s important to have additional data sources that show an accurate view of any user or device with server access.

2. Check the SQL Server editions

Have you verified the SQL Server editions? To correctly calculate the licenses that you need, you must ensure that the raw inventory data delivers the accurate edition of any installed SQL Server. Be cautious and do your detective work. Usually the software entries in the ARP data (add-remove programs) don’t contain the installed edition.

3. Optimize the SQL Server licenses

Once you verify the SQL Server editions, the next step is optimizing the licenses. There is always room for improvement in what editions are installed, and what license models are used. A key factor is to align the SQL Server calculation on the technical side with the purchased SQL Server licenses on the commercial side. This is especially critical if several different license models are used within your environments, such as per CPU, per core, or per server/CAL.

Optimize your Windows Server licensing costs

4. Desktop apps

Unless you have a user license metric calculating remote application access requirement can be tricky. Desktop applications with a device-based license metric are often provided via a remote technology like Remote Desktop Services. A common mistake is thinking that only server installation needs to be covered by a license. The correct licensing for these situations, however, is to cover each device that actually accesses that desktop application. In addition to this if user can access software from non-corporate devices further licensing implications arise.

5. Embrace the cloud models

The future of licensing is hybrid scenarios with cloud and on-premises models, such as Office 365 and Azure AD. A major way to gain value from your SAM activities is to link cloud and on-premises usage, and make those processes transparent. Since cloud-based licensing models can also cover on-premises usages, the recommended approach is to manage both sides with a single SAM tool.

6. Audit defense is ongoing

Preparing for an audit is a constant effort. To be successful in audit negotiations, it is crucial to know the maturity level of your SAM tool and implemented SAM processes. But it isn’t enough to assess this as a one-time project. As changes in the technical environment lead to different license and compliance situations, doing regular quality checks will strengthen your SAM maturity level, and reduce your audit risk.

Get expert advice for audit-ready compliance

What's your next step?

SmartTrack is a web-based solution designed to precisely manage your Microsoft licenses, and specializes in the needs of large and complex organizations. Our technology gives you the power to:

  • Provide a transparent and seamless integration in your company‘s environment
  • Maintain a detailed and accurate balance of your Microsoft infrastructure—including devices, device attributes, users, their accounts, and their user permissions
  • Ensure that your Microsoft data import and inventory are complete, current and accurate
  • Instantly align metrics with your demand for accurate deployment
  • Optimize, simulate, and save deep in Microsoft server environments

Want to learn more key tips that will empower your Microsoft licensing position? You can read more about managing changes to Windows Server licensing models in this ITAM Review article.

Still have questions? Our expert team is always ready to help - let's talk!

Topics: Microsoft, SAM Insights