SPLA licensing is a topic that covers several aspects, such as:
- What is SPLA and when is SPLA relevant?
- How do I find an easy way to understand SPLA Licensing, e.g. for SQL servers?
- How to find the most optimal licensing solution for SPLA licensing?
- How to obtain the right to use a SKU number, which is no longer available in the pricelist?
- How should “Highest watermark” be calculated in relation to SPLA?
- Where do I find the most current information on SPLA licensing?
- What is SAL for SA and how do I manage this?
- How can I combine License Mobility with SPLA licenses?
What is SPLA and when is SPLA relevant?
The SPLA program (Service Provider License Agreement) is a program allowing service providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to license the latest eligible Microsoft software products to provide software services and hosted applications to end customers.
The SPLA Agreement is a 3-year agreement under which the service providers and independent software vendors can license eligible Microsoft products on a monthly basis, to host software services and applications for their customers.
Microsoft quote: “The SPLA supports a variety of hosting scenarios to help you provide highly customized and robust solutions to a wide set of customers”. Learn more here:
How do I find an easy way to understand SPLA licensing, e.g. for SQL servers?
The first step to understanding SPLA licensing is to acknowledge that SPLA licensing in some parts are quite different the traditional licensing.
One key factor to this is that there are no acquired/historic license entitlements to take into consideration, reporting is based on the actual usage/access for a given calendar month and reporting is done after the reporting month is concluded. So, is short, you could say that you are starting all over every month.
As with all licensing understanding the basics is key to success and the basics are understanding the correlation between the licensing metric(s) and the usage.
How do I find the most optimal licensing solution for SPLA licensing?
The most optimal licensing solution derives from several factors.
First of all, it depends on the product and which version(s) and edition(s) are installed
Secondly, the product may have different licensing metrics, e.g. CPU, Core (in various versions) depending on the installed versions and editions, and available SKU numbers (especially if you have more than 1 active SPLA agreement).
Thirdly it typically depends on the hardware configuration on which the product is running e.g. the cost of CPU based licensing vs. core based licensing for the given installation.
LicenseWatch SPLA Manager automates these calculations and suggest the most optimal licensing solution.
How to obtain the right to use a SKU number, which is no longer available in the pricelist?
If you have been reporting continuously on a SKU number you can continue to do so, even though the SKU number is no longer a part of the current SPLA pricelist. If there is one or more month without reporting on this SKU number, the right to use the specific SKU number is lost. There is no restrictions to the amount of licenses ordered, so you can scale up and down based on your needs – as long as continued reporting has been performed.
LicenseWatch SPLA Manager ensured that reporting on a historic SKU is registered and automatically makes the SKU available for the following month.
How should “Highest watermark” be calculated in relation to SPLA?
The Highest watermark is a term to describe the maximum number of licenses needed during a given period.
In relation to SPLA the period is any given reporting month and the way Highest watermark is calculated, for instance in relations to SALs is:
“The highest number of individual users which had access to the given software, during the reporting month”.
In this case it is important to remember that any individual user who has access, no matter for how long counts as a full license for that Reporting month.
With traditional agreements, like an Enterprise Agreement, you can delete inactive users and “reuse” the licenses and assign these to new users, so this is another difference between SPLA and traditional licensing.
LicenseWatch SPLA Manager automatically keeps track of Highest watermarks for the reporting month, so you don’t have to do this manually.
Where do I find the most current information on SPLA licensing?
It is fairly simple to find both the most current and previously released information on SPLA licensing.
News related to SPLA licensing as these are available from a website at Microsoft. The document containing information on SPLA licensing is called the SPUR (Service Provider Use Right) document and can be found here:
To find older versions tick off “Show Archived”:
What is SAL for SA and how do I manage this?
SAL for SA (or SALSA) is a way for customers to transfer selected Client Access License entitlements (CALs) with active Software Assurance to hosted environments under SPLA (SALs) and by doing so get access to a special SKU with a discounted price (SALs for Software Assurance).
There are typically a few issues related to managing SAL for SA:
- You should only report the number of SALs for SA, based on the actual number of users who has access and not the total amount of license entitlements the customer has for SAL for SA.
- You need to ensure that any access above the number of SAL for SA entitlements must be reported as regular SALs.
- All SAL for SA entitlements has an expiration date, based on the traditional agreement, which you need to keep track of and manage the licenses after.
If the above is not managed properly the first point might lead to an overspend on licensing, where the other two might pose a compliance risk.
LicenseWatch SPLA Manager automates the management of SAL for SA, so only the correct number of licenses are counted and reported and all thresholds in terms of higher usage and/or expiration dates can be taken into consideration.
This means, for instance, that if the agreement period expires SPLA Manager will default all licenses to regular SALs in order to keep compliance.
How can I combine License Mobility with SPLA licenses?
It is not possible to mix two different licensing programs, like SPLA with a traditional licensing program.
You either have to cover an installation with License Mobility or SPLA licenses, not a combination.
This is why LicenseWatch SPLA Manager keeps track of each installation and continuously calculates the actual licensing needs and in the event an installation requires more licenses, than is available from License Mobility, defaults all usage to SPLA licenses.
In this way LicenseWatch SPLA Manager ensures compliance based on the current licensing rules.