Ask Microsoft: Simplifying software licenses
-- Mike Byrd, database architect
On an occasional basis, Microsoft executives answer your questions through SearchWin2000.com's "Ask Microsoft …" These questions were answered by the software maker's Worldwide Licensing and Pricing Group.
Why is Microsoft's licensing so hard to understand? Even the MS techies do not understand it and always defer the question to someone else when asked. Specifically, licensing for SQL Server and all the nuances between the desktop editions, standard edition, enterprise edition, per processor, per server, per connection, etc. is a real headache.
Reducing the complexity customers face with their licensing programs is a long-term focus for us. We place a priority on connecting with and learning from our customers, and are committed to providing flexible and logical licensing programs that help them achieve their IT goals and maximize their ROI.
As a result of direct customer feedback, we've made several improvements over the past year to make the licensing and managing of software assets less complex. We continually look at ways tools, online resources and program changes can meet our end goal of easing customer pain points within this area. We will continue to gather and listen to feedback from our customers and evaluate changes and enhancements that help them meet the needs of the changing technology environments. A few of the specific enhancements and tools we have made based on customer feedback and to help reduce complexity include:
- Server changes: Our customers told us that they don't like paying for processor licenses that they do not use. In 2003, we changed the way we license some of our server application products (Application Center, BizTalk Server, Commerce Server, Host Integration Server, Internet Security and Acceleration Server and SQL Server when licensed in the per processor mode) when licensed in the per-processor mode and used with partitions.
- MVLS: The Microsoft Volume Licensing Services site is an online resource to help our customer manage their Microsoft licensing agreements and access their order information and purchase history. From this site, customers can view their licensing information easily and in one place, including details about their volume license agreements, license orders, and volume license product keys. They can also find answers to questions and download software. The Web site is https://licensing.microsoft.com/eLicense/L1033/Default.asp.
- MSIA: Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer is a tool that scans and analyzes the inventory of Microsoft products installed on end-user machines. The results of the scan are generated in the form of reports in three formats: HTML (default), Microsoft Excel and text. The results of the scan performed by MSIA are completely confidential and not sent to Microsoft. The MSIA is available at http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sam/msia.mspx.
- Product Licensing Web (PL Web): Launched this summer, PL Web is an online resource that includes the product list and product use rights documents. Customers can access the licensing terms, conditions and supplemental information relevant to the use of products that are licensed through Microsoft volume licensing programs in once place. PL Web is available at http://www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/userights/.