How License Mobility Removes Barriers to Going to the Cloud

By Bill Peters
AIS Network Director of Sales

Thinking of moving to the cloud, but don’t want to see your Microsoft software with Software Assurance become shelfware?

We can help. AIS Network is the first SharePoint 2010-focused hosting company in the world to become a Microsoft Authorized License Mobility Partner.

There are many reasons why a company may be hesitant about moving their on-premise SharePoint environment to the cloud. A big reason has been that companies do not want to abandon their capital investment in software bought through their Enterprise Agreement or other Microsoft volume licensing programs.

Client Access Licenses, purchased through Enterprise Agreements, are perpetual Microsoft licenses that a company may place “on premise,” or on its own servers. Up until recently, the catch with CALs was the part about “on premise.” In general, this software could only be placed on servers owned by the company who owned the software, and not on the servers of another provider, such as a managed hosting company.

This could be a real impediment to a company that had already invested in CALs if they wanted to move their applications to the cloud, because they would be unable to do so without getting new licenses from their hosting provider. Microsoft has a different licensing model for hosted server applications, called SALs (Subscriber Access Licenses). Unlike CALs, you do not own SALs – you pay a monthly fee to rent them. Rather than buy and own software (CALs), companies get subscriptions (SALs) to the software from their hosting company.

This is a more predictable investment in that you have a monthly fee to access the software with no significant capex. Server software bought using the CAL system requires an expensive initial investment, but it guarantees the software for life if Software Assurance is included, which, over time, may have a lower cost of ownership.

That all changed on July 1st. Microsoft is now offering a service called License Mobility through Software Assurance. What “License Mobility” means is that customers with active Software Assurance coverage on their CAL-licensed products can use their CAL-licensed software with a hosting company, rather than only on their own servers. Instead of paying a monthly subscription fee in addition to software you already own, you can just use the software that is already yours — in the cloud. Depending on the actual environment, there may be a small monthly fee (a fraction of the full SAL fee) for this privilege. In addition to SharePoint Server, other software eligible for License Mobility includes Exchange Server, Lync, SQL Server, Dynamics CRM software, and System Center servers.

License Mobility removes another barrier that companies face while going to the cloud. No longer will previously purchased software need to become shelfware. If that has been a major factor in keeping you from going to the cloud, then you now have a compelling business case to consider moving to the cloud.

Are you looking for license mobility? We can help. Contact me directly at bill(dot)peters(@)aisn(dot)net.

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