System Center 2012 Licensing Overview

I thought I would cover a little bit of info on the recent System Center licensing changes, as you all know, simplifying and demystifying licensing is a big part of our changes so expect to see more connection between the product changes and product licensing as we move towards easier ways for customers to buy and get cloud ready 🙂

System Center have continued licensing simplification with the reduction of their multi SKU line-up, providing 2 clear editions aligned to hybrid cloud management.  Let’s look at some key product and licensing changes with the availability of SC 2012.

What are the key SC 2012 Server Management licensing changes?

  • Reduced SKU line-Up to 2 editions, DC and STD 2012
  • Both editions contain the same capabilities/workloads, only difference is the number of Operating System Environments (OSEs) that you can manage per license.
  • Licenses are only required for managed “endpoints”, no additional licenses are needed for management server software or the ‘SQL Server Technology’
  • Licensing model is Processor-based, where each license covers up to 2 Processors
  • Standalone Components are available as part of the integrated DC and STD licenses and are not available to be sold separately*

*See caveat under SC SKU Availability

How many Server MLs will you need to buy?

  • Server MLs are required for managed devices that run server OSEs.
  • Licenses are processor-based, with each license covering up to two physical processors.

For Datacenter Edition: The number of Server MLs required for each managed server is determined by the number of physical processors in the server.

For Standard Edition: The number of Server MLs required is either number of physical processors in the server or number of OSEs being managed (whichever is greater).

Examples:                                                                       DC Server MLs Req STD Server MLs Req
One 1-processor, non-virtualized server



One 4-processor, non-virtualized server



One 2-processor server with 3 virtual OSEs



One 4-processor server with 8 virtual OSEs



**An exception to this rule is when the physical OSE on your server is being used solely to run hardware virtualization software, provide hardware virtualization services, and run software to manage and service OSEs on that device.

In that case, you only count the number of virtual OSEs you will manage on the server, divide that number by two, and round up to the nearest whole number.

What is the SC SKU availability in Volume Licensing?

On Feb 1st 2012 L&SA offerings for existing pre 2012 versions of individual Server MLs and individual product management Server licenses were removed from the volume licensing pricelist.

After SC 2012 General Availability customers can still purchase licenses for previous versions of System Center Products, only as shown in the table below

















What are the SC SA Migration Paths?

Customers with SC and active SA at time of general availability, will be entitled to the migration paths below, all extended detail can be found outlined in the April Product List, couple of things to point out as I have had a few conversations with folks to bring some extra clarity…..see takeaways below

* System Center 2012 Datacenter covers up to 2 processors per license whereas SMSD only covers 1 processor per license.


  • SA is built into the SC 2012 MLs, L&SA Only
  • SC 2012 has 2 offerings, separated by virtualization rights only, STDand DC
  • SC 2012 Datacenter covers up to 2 processors per license whereas SMSD only covered 1 processor per license.
  • Server MLs may not be split across multiple 1-Proc servers
  • SQL Server Technology is no longer a separate offering, a runtime version is in both SC 2012 STDand DC editions
  • License stacking is permitted for SC 2012 STD Edition to increase number of OSEs being managed, be aware of breakeven, its approx. 2.5 Virtual OSEs per processor.
  • Step-Up from SC 2012 STD to SC 2012 DC is permitted
  • Server MLs can manage applications running on a public cloud infrastructure through License Mobility for SA

System Center 2012 licensing for client management has been updated as well.

For more information on both server and client management licensing changes, there is a great Licensing FAQ posted HERE for Partner and HERE for Customers


SQL Server 2012 – Pricing and Licensing Quick Look

Well, Thursday saw the official announce of the SQL Server 2012 Edition line-Up and Pricing/Licensing Changes, and even though I am “technically” on holiday 🙂 ….it’s definitely worth covering the key changes to whet the appetite, see below, very quick overview………more info on

For a more comprehensive look at Pricing/Licensing we are running PARTNER global Webast Series on SQL Server 2012– REGISTER your spot, begins on 7th Nov through to 18th Nov, 3 Topics over 4 TimeZones, with an opportunity to ask your questions directly to us……

SQL Server 2012 – Things to note:

We are simplifying the SKU Lineup

3 main SKUs – Standard, Business Intelligence (New, see below) and Enterprise = “Principal” SKU,

We still maintain the specialized and breadth SKUs (Express, Developer, Appliances, etc











Licensing Models offered

  • Std offered in Server/CAL mode AND Per Core
  • BI only Server/CAL
  • EE only Per Core

New SKU – SQL Server 2012 BI Edition

Data Management and Analytics










SQL Server is moving from Proc to Cores






SQL EE in Server mode is retiring

  • EE Server Licenses available until June 30th, 2012
  • EA/EAP customers can purchase EE Servers through the end of term
  • SQL Server 2012 EE Server licenses will have 20 core per server limit

SQL CAL Price Increase
Approx 27% dependent on VL agreement level

Next time…………SQL Server SA Migration and Virtualisation……….

Getting the most from Software Assurance

I saw an excellent article on the Office blog and thought I would repost for all you guys who have SA benefits to put to good use, this article focuses on DDPS and has some great info, as a side note, for those of you with extra training vouchers, you can also convert those to extra xDPS days………..

Got Software Assurance? Don’t let your Deployment Planning Services benefit sit on the shelf
If your organization has a Volume License agreement with Microsoft, there’s a good chance you’ve also got Software Assurance with its collection of benefits, including Deployment and Business Planning Services. In case you don’t know, Planning Services, one of several benefits of Software Assurance, provides you with Microsoft Consultant or Partner with expertise on Microsoft Office, Windows 7, SharePoint, Exchange and Lync to help you plan or pilot a deployment. Imagine, expertise to help your deployment planning with no impact to your budget.
Each Planning Services offers a variety of consulting engagements that provide value to organizations of all sizes, based on years of experience working with customers on complex deployments. You select the type and length of engagement, based on your planning needs and the number of days you have available. Say you have 10 days available. You can use them for a 5-day engagement on Office and then later use your remaining days for an engagement for Exchange and Lync planning. Or use three days for a Jumpstart Lite Proof of Concept to pilot Office and Windows. Use them the way it makes sense for your organization. But don’t let them sit on the shelf.
Here’s a few ways you can use your Planning Services:
• Plan your migration to Microsoft Office 2010 and Windows 7 with Desktop Deployment Planning Services (DDPS) to help you evaluate your environment, identify opportunities, and plan a successful transition to the latest Microsoft Office platform.
• Use DDPS for your Windows 7 and Office 2010 Proof of Concept Jumpstart. Start evaluating technologies and assess the readiness of your desktop infrastructure. Get help with your application compatibility assessment, image engineering and PoC deployment.
• Explore how your organization can use SharePoint to improve team collaboration with SharePoint Deployment Planning Services (SDPS).
• Discover how migrating to Exchange 2010 and Lync can help your organization be more productive with Exchange Deployment Planning Services (EDPS).
• Want to explore how your organization can use technology to be more efficient? Business Value Planning Services (BVPS) can help you identify ways to take the technology you have and put it to work.
Visit the Volume Licensing Service Center to activate your Planning Service and get started today.
Check out these SA resources:
• Software Assurance Quick Start Guide
• Getting Started with Volume Licensing Video

Windows OS – OEM Reimaging Rights – Licensing and Techie Update

I thought it would be good to post this exchange on OEM Licensing as we have made some changes to the rules for our partners and also its a very common question that we get through the call centres, I have tried to give the complete picture, licensing and technology as they are so synergised these days its good to see the full story –

Let me start with what you can do with a Windows OEM License:
• You can work with an OEM to create an Custom Factory Image (CFI): the OEM can create an Image from their OEM toolkit and then use their Software Factory Integration service to install onto all your PCs at their factory prior to delivery. This type of reimaging service is available on most OEM business PCs and/or royalty OEMs – e.g. PCs installed with Windows 7 Professional.
• This can be done without any need for a Volume License for Windows.

If you also have a Volume License, there is more flexibility:
• The Volume License for Windows is an Upgrade License – for use on top of the OEM License (usually Windows Professional pre-installed).
• With a VL Windows License you can customize the image yourself or ask the OEM to customize to your specification. The OEM still supplies you with a PC that has the underlying OEM License attached to the PC (this is shown by the “Certificate of Authenticity” (COA) label on the back of a desktop PC or bottom of a laptop.
• Customers can take advantage of customizing Windows Enterprise Edition if they have Software Assurance – which offers more features than Windows Professional (such as disk drive encryption – BitLocker).
• Reimaging rights are granted to all Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) customers as part of the license agreement(s), customers may reimage OEM Operating systems by using the media provided under their VL agreement, such as EA or Select Plus/Select.

You can reimage an OEM Operating system with VL bits as long as you meet the criteria set out in the brief attached – posted – HERE

Note that there are no reimaging rights for OEM Office unless there is Software Assurance on the PC.

In addition you can find good  Windows product licensing information on this section of

Plus there is also a VL Brief regarding Windows re-imaging rights HERE, and a detailed technical/licensing whitepaper on the points above on HERE

Select Plus – Some Changes………….


So, I covered Select Plus Agreement quite a while back when we first launched the program, full article on HERE

Short recap below

Select Plus is the new program launching in the UK on October 1st 2008,  its a new offering designed for customers in the 250PC space who want:

  • Single, company-wide purchasing agreement and pricing,
  • Central reporting, SA and license management,
  • No agreement expiration,
  • Renewal and Automatic tiered discounting based on company-wide purchase volume with no forecasting
  • An Increase in value of SA by eliminating impact of purchasing timing, pro-ration

Since launch we have been gaining momentum with customers moving and renewing from Select to Select Plus, the fact that the agreement is perpetual and doesn’t end seems to be a winner for a lot of folks who don’t enjoy the paperwork every 3yrs, we did run into some feedback around the upfront point minimums, so as of 16th Aug 2010, the INITIAL 500 point requirement for new Select Plus Agreements is waived

Now that the initial 500 point requirement is waived, you have up to 12 months to reach the 500 point min in each pool to remain active

When you sign up to a Select Plus Agreement all your pools will open up at least to Level A, the more you buy the better price level you get and we adjust this automatically which means you get the better price at order

What if I have a Select Agreement, can I renew into Select Plus?

Yes, and the Price level for the new Select Plus becomes the same price level as the old Select Agreement Note: As a bonus any pools not activated on the Select Agreement become active on Select Plus at Level A

What happens if I don’t meet the 500 points per pool?

If you don’t meet the 500 points over the 12month period then you go on hold, you would need to place an order for 500 points or more to get off hold onto Level A again.

Testing and Demo of SQL – MSDN, Technet or ISV?

 James left me a GREAT question on testing/eval/non-production solution options


This is a very helpful thread. I have a similar question that I wonder if you can help with. I produce a software product that has a SQL Enterprise database on the back end. When deployed in customer production environments the end customer buys the appropriate per CPU SQL Enterprise licences across all the servers on which the solution is deployed.What I would like to do is to be able to put a demonstration system in our partner’s labs that uses a SQL Developer Edition license instead. This will be so they can demonstrate and hopefully sell our (and by association, Microsoft’s) software to their end customers. This will NOT be in a production or live environment and will only be used to demonstrate the product.

Does this count as ‘demo’? If not – what would you suggest as a low cost licensing option for this scenario?




There are a number of options, so I want to cover off a couple below


The first thing to do is repost the MSDN v TechNet, this is a really good table, covering what you should use each offering for



Additional option!


If you plan to offer SQL as a unified solution, which it would seem is the case from the info provided J you could also become part of the ISV Program, as part of agreement terms, you would be permitted to provide to the end customer, under specific conditions, example outlined below, the SQL eval/testing/demo rights as part of that program



“Customer” above is in reference to the ISV partner signing the agreement, not “end customer” recieving the service