Microsoft is the essential IT vendor for your day-to-day business operations. Its products provide the vast majority of server installations and business-critical applications. When moving from on-premises licensing to the 365 cloud services, keeping up with Software Asset Management (SAM) is a huge challenge. You need to plan strategically for infrastructure changes and software purchases, and keep your Microsoft priorities straight. With effective Software Asset Management, you defend your Microsoft investment from audits by optimizing licenses and creating a comprehensive Microsoft license compliance position.
Microsoft has shifted its server metrics over the past 5 years, jumping from a processor-based to core-based license scheme. These changes make your licensing scenarios more complex and your costs potentially higher.
Hybrid cloud models like Office 365 and Azure AD constantly offer new services and licensable features. How do you track what is licensed for the cloud vs on-premises, vs a combination of usage? Find out what Gartner says about SAM & Cloud.
Microsoft SQL Server creates a lot of questions, especially after it became core-based in 2012. What version and edition of SQL is installed? What is the licensing model? How can you allocate your licenses to see the big picture of your SQL estate?
Let Aspera’s tools and services optimize and solve the critical, the complex, and the costly.
Together with our partner, Aspera, we established a well-oiled license management system, where compliance and cost-effective license purchasing are routine. Our planning and budgeting processes are optimized, so that today with the help of SmartTrack, we are able to calculate the cost of software packages based on actual software usage.
Dr. Michael Markiewicz, Corporate Software License Officer Evonik Industries AG
Azure is a powerful, scalable platform (or PaaS) for handling applications across a big cloud-based network. But it’s easy to oveuse its resources. You need to ensure your company is using the service as allowed, and keeping their consumption within limits. You want to see everything in one place, and know exactly what you’re looking at.
First, you need to gather the data. It’s best to use a cloud management tool with a direct connection to the Azure cloud API. Your tool goes to the Azure portal, creates a token, gets authorization, and extracts the data about devices and software. Boom.
Once you have the raw data, you want a full view of it. That includes the Azure virtual machines, configurations, and running software. Your cloud solution should store the data about devices and software. And know which types of virtual machines are used, for instance, by type or by region.
It’s important to know what the licensing lets you do. For instance, can you transfer an on-premises license to use instead in the cloud—called Bring Your Own License or BYOL. It’s also important to know what you can’t do! Such as running another vendor’s server app in the Azure cloud, instead of Windows Server.
What Windows Server licenses are needed?
Windows Server released a core model in 2016. But you also have to keep track of the earlier versions and licensing models (Processor + CAL or Server + CAL), and how different editions provide different virtualization rights.
Do you need a CAL?
Microsoft Server products might require a Client Access License. This can be a User CAL for a person or a Device CAL for a device. But some customers use both CAL types, which makes the demand more difficult to detect and measure.
Know your license mobility
Customers often assess their license needs based on static environments. So what if the IT administrator switches to live-migration or v-motion features for security reasons? Are you able to evaluate the new license requirements or least simulate what-if scenarios?
Discovery often misses critical details
Usually inventory and discovery tools provide the raw details of your IT landscape. However, they can’t always distinguish Microsoft SQL Server editions, such as Express, Standard or Enterprise. Or identify license models like Server + CAL, Processor or Core.
Chances are that up to 80% of your IT budget is earmarked annually for Microsoft spending. An audit could have a significant impact on your budget, your environment, and your business. Here are a few ways to optimize your Microsoft investment and defend yourself against an audit:
- Get a clear overview of your Microsoft environment
- Maintain an accurate and up-to-date compliance position
- Keep your Microsoft import and inventory data complete, current, and accurate
- Align metrics with your demand for accurate deployment
- Optimize, simulate, and save deep in Microsoft server environments
Even in the shift to the cloud, Microsoft remains one of the most active auditors in the industry. Your cloud environment is at as much risk of an audit as your on-premises are, so make sure to develop a mature cloud license management strategy.
But most importantly, audit defense is on-going. Your Software Asset Management program should be kept up-to-date with the most effective tools and processes. As your IT environment changes, it’s important to monitor how this affects your licensing and compliance situations. Regular checks will help you improve the quality and effectiveness of your Software Asset Management program and will help to reduce your audit risk.
Then you’re probably worried about overspending on the subscriptions and struggling to find the right size contract as you learn usage trends and gather new information. Here’s 3 ways Software Asset Management can help you maximize your Office 365 investment:
Negotiating better contracts with Microsoft means knowing what you have, what you need, and what your options are. A SAM tool will optimize your subscriptions in preparation for your contract renewal, so you go in ready and knowing what you need.
If entitlements, such as Service BI, aren’t used, that’s wasted budget. A SAM tool will track usage and recommend which entitlements your users need. That means you stop paying for the entitlements you don’t use and free up your budget for other revenue-driving investments.
Keep track of usage and personnel changes—Joiners, Movers, and Leavers—to make sure that you don’t buy subscriptions you don’t need. A SAM tool will uncover deactivated and unallocated subscriptions so you can use them before purchasing new ones.
LicenseControl for Office 365 actively analyzes your usage and app combinations. Then the tool automatically suggests the best subscription plans and apps for each user by looking at real usage and knowing all the entitlement combinations. Make your Office 365 investment work for you!
The strategic platform for simplifying SAM. SmartTrack covers all the important vendors like SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, and accurately calculates complex metrics for every device: servers, clients, mobile, and cloud. Identify up to 30% savings in software licenses, and reveal high-risk compliance gaps.
Need help with your Software Asset Management program? Our in-house experts can manage some or all of your software licenses, and find the best costs at the lowest audit risk. Ask about our Managed Services for partial outsourcing or our full-service package of License Management as a Service (LaaS).