The Secret Weapon for Cutting Cloud Storage Costs

Hey there!  Over the last three months, I have analyzed over $100 million of AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud bills.  One thing hit me hard in reviewing all these monthly and annual bills: the cost of cloud storage.  It’s like a silent budget eater lurking in your monthly bills.  But here’s a little secret I’ve learned – optimizing your storage with cloud storage cost-reduction techniques can be your golden ticket to savings.  Let me show you how.

Understanding Cloud Storage Costs

Cloud storage costs are sneaky.  They often take up a massive chunk of your IT budget, anywhere between 25% to 40%.  And it’s not just you – it’s a widespread issue.  But why?  The answer lies in our approach to managing these costs using effective cloud storage cost optimization techniques.

The Problem of Over-Provisioning

One thing I’ve seen in all of the bills I reviewed is how much storage people are provisioning compared to how much they use.  It’s not easy to know how much disc is managed versus how much has just been provisioned, but there are ways for each of the three big cloud providers (AWS, Azure, and GCP).  One of the biggest things I notice is that many companies double their storage to avoid downtime.  It’s like buying two cars just in case one breaks down.  Sounds excessive, right?  This over-provisioning means paying for more storage than you need.

The NoDev Approach to Storage Optimization

This is where the magic happens – the NoDev approach.  It’s about making storage optimization so simple that you don’t need a squad of developers to manage it.  With automation and intelligent algorithms, this approach does the heavy lifting in reducing your cloud costs.

Achieving Immediate ROI with Storage Optimization

Let’s talk about ROI – because who doesn’t like seeing results?  Storage optimization isn’t just about cutting costs; it’s about seeing those savings immediately through cloud cost optimization techniques.  I’ve seen big and small companies slash their storage costs by 40-50% in the first month alone!  This equates to 40%+ savings on storage costs (after paying for our solution).

Steps to Implement Storage Optimization

So, how do you jump on this cost-saving train?  First, we conduct a simple analysis of your storage usage.  Essentially, we grab a report to look at critical statistics (a 5-minute task for one of your admins).  A few days later, the MetrixData 360 team will return with a report showing how much our storage optimization solution can save you.   If there is an ROI and you want to move forward, we run a Proof of Value on a couple of dev workloads to show you how the solution works and allow you to work through any scenarios you want to ensure work for you.   During the POV, our team will work with you to build a business case to purchase.  We move to deployment after successfully concluding the POV and a proven ROI.  Then, monitor and adjust.  Keep a close eye on your storage needs and adapt as necessary.  The best part is turning on the solution and seeing the savings that day!

Real-World Success Stories

When we analyzed one of our clients’ Azure storage costs, we noticed they were at 9.9% disc utilization and spending $353,000 a year on storage.  Their storage costs were not just static either.  They had been growing every month.  MetrixData 360 analyzed this and reviewed what our Storage Optimization solution could achieve.  After a quick POC and full implementation, storage utilization improved to 75%, and annual storage spending was reduced to $141,000.  Oh, did I mention the $141,000 included in the costs of the solution?

The best part for this client is that storage increased every month, so the baseline of how much storage they are growing on is now lower.  They will save between $1.0 and $1.2 million over the next 5-years!

Conclusion

Cloud storage costs don’t have to be the black hole in your IT budget.  With some savvy optimization, you can turn the tables on these expenses.  Employing effective cloud storage cost reduction techniques is about being intelligent, proactive, and sometimes, a little bold in your strategies.

And if you’re eager to learn more, why not watch our on-demand Cloud Storage Cost Optimization webinar?

 It’s your chance to dive deeper into these strategies and save significantly.

See you there!  Let’s make those clouds a little lighter on your budget.

Case Study: Training Industry

Industry:

Training

Company Size:

2500-5000 employees
Pain Points:
The company needed assistance realigning its on-premises licenses into Azure and optimizing its licenses as it transitioned to a new agreement. Negotiating the best price was also a challenge.
Positive Feedback about MetrixData 360:
The company appreciated the negotiation points provided by MetrixData 360, helping them request better pricing from Microsoft. The ongoing support and insights were valuable.
Service Provided:
MetrixData 360 provided the services “SLIM360 for O365 & Azure.”
Specific SKU/Service Involved:
The company’s licenses included O365, Azure, and on-premises CIS Server licenses.
Findings:
By creating a cost model, MetrixData 360 identified substantial savings that could be achieved through realignment and optimization.
Savings Achieved:
The company saved around $400,000 from its current agreement, with potential annual savings of $965,000 on O365 and $118,000 on Azure.
Areas of Savings:
The areas of savings were related to O365, Azure, and on-premises CIS Server licenses.
Savings Breakdown:
A significant portion of savings was achieved through the cost model’s insights.
Costs Avoided:
The company avoided costs of about $1.4 million.
Duration:
The engagement lasted 3 months and was a one-time engagement focused on the transition and optimization process.
Best Future Fit Service:
For this client, the best future-fit service would be either “SAM Compass” or “O365/Azure” services.

Case Study: Natural Gas Industry

 

 

Industry:

Natural Gas

Company Size:

2500-5000 employees
Pain Points:
The company needed help with re-sizing their Microsoft 365 (M365) licenses and optimizing their license usage. They were seeking a cost-effective solution.
Positive Feedback about MetrixData 360:
The value-add of MetrixData 360 was in creating cost models and providing insights that helped the company make informed decisions.
Service Provided:
MetrixData 360 provided the service “SLIM360” for M365.
Specific SKU/Service Involved:
The company was using M365 E3 licenses and Defender P1 licenses.
Findings:
The company had unassigned licenses, leading to underutilization and unnecessary costs.
Savings Achieved:
MetrixData 360 helped the company achieve an annual savings of $90,000, amounting to $270,000 over 3 years.
Areas of Savings:
The areas of savings were related to M365 E3 and Defender P1 licenses.
Savings Breakdown:
Approximately 6% of the savings were due to optimizations.
Costs Avoided:
The client avoided costs of around $400,000 annually.
Duration:
The engagement lasted 3 months and was a one-time engagement related to the company’s Enterprise Agreement renewal.
Best Future Fit Service:
The best future-fit service for this client would be “SLIM360 for O365.”

Case Study: Transportation Industry

Industry:

Transportation

Company Size:

N/A
Pain Points:
The company struggled with understanding its SQL deployments and ensuring compliance with regulations. They needed insights into optimization possibilities.
Positive Feedback about MetrixData 360:
The company was impressed with the insights provided by MetrixData 360, which helped them identify optimization opportunities and ensure compliance.
Service Provided:
MetrixData 360 provided the service “MAP” (Metrix Assessment Platform).
Specific SKU/Service Involved:
The SQL Server workloads used SQL Server Enterprise and SQL Standard licenses.
Findings:
The SQL Server deployments were found to be non-compliant with licensing requirements, as they were using a mix of SQL Server Enterprise and SQL Standard licenses.
Savings Achieved:
While the exact dollar amount couldn’t be determined due to missing data, it was estimated that the company could save around $200,000.
Areas of Savings:
The areas of potential savings were identified within the SQL Enterprise workloads.
Savings Breakdown:
The exact amount saved through discounts versus optimization wasn’t specified.
Costs Avoided:
The cost avoided for the client was not provided.
Duration:
The engagement lasted for 2 months.

Elevate Your Cloud Management: Introducing SLIM 360 Version 3 for Mastering FinOps in Azure and Office 365!

Unlock the secrets to mastering FinOps for Azure and Office 365 with SLIM 360 Version 3! Explore how this game-changing tool revolutionizes cloud spending, enhances collaboration, and drives financial efficiency. Get inside tips on cost visibility, budgeting, optimization, and more. Elevate your cloud management strategy today!

Are You Losing Money on Cloud Spending? Master FinOps for Azure and Office 365 with SLIM 360 Version 3 NOW!

Let’s unpack how the latest SLIM 360 update is like having a financial guru for your tech business.

FinOps for Azure and Office 365 and You: Why It’s a Big Deal

Remember when your cable bill left you baffled because you subscribed to every package they had? Or you had a handful of app subscriptions, and the money just seemed to vanish into thin air. Cloud spending can feel like that for businesses without proper tracking. That’s where FinOps, or Financial Operations for Azure and Office 365, comes to the rescue. Picture it as a buddy system where finance, IT, and business teams unite to manage cloud spending. In the era of exploding cloud computing, having tools and practices to prevent money from going down the drain is crucial.

Learn more: See where you’re losing money on licensing today

Enter SLIM 360 Version 3: Your Cloud Management Hero

As a tech novice, managing the cloud felt like trying to catch a cloud with a net. But times have changed. SLIM 360 Version 3 is to FinOps what GPS is to navigation for Azure and Office 365.

Key Features You’ll Love:

  1. Unprecedented Azure and Office 365 Cost Visibility: SLIM 360 Version 3 offers an unclouded, real-time view of your cloud costs.
  2. Budget Management Made Effortless: Set, allocate, and track budgets without sweat. Remember that surprise party that got spoiled? Automated alerts will keep your budget on track!
  3. Empowering Accountability: Allocate expenses to teams, departments, or projects with advanced cost attribution for Azure and Office 365.
  4. Harnessing Machine Learning: SLIM 360 Version 3 isn’t just about displaying what’s happening; it’s about guiding you to enhance it for Azure and Office 365. With optimization recommendations, it’s like having a financial wizard by your side.
  5. Tailored Reports for Every Need: Custom financial reports make data-driven decisions easier than ever for Azure and Office 365.

Learn more: Features of SLIM 360

Benefits That Keep on Giving for Azure and Office 365

Embrace SLIM 360 Version 3, and it’s like trading in your bicycle for a sports car in cloud financial management. Here’s why:

  1. Professional Money Saving: Identify waste and optimize spending as if you had a degree in cost efficiency.
  2. Team Collaboration in Harmony: Encourage seamless collaboration among all teams for discussions on finances and strategy, just as effortlessly as sharing weekend plans.
  3. Staying Ahead, Not Behind: Get real-time alerts and recommendations to act before overspending, just like you know to grab an umbrella before it rains.
  4. Confident Decision-Making: Armed with rich data, you’ll confidently make decisions for Azure and Office 365, akin to selecting the perfect Netflix series after watching all the trailers.

Why SLIM 360 Version 3 is Your Next Best Friend for Azure and Office 365

In today’s tech-driven world, SLIM 360 Version 3 is that all-knowing friend who consistently has the answers. It’s a comprehensive tool that bridges the gap between the technical and financial, ensuring your business thrives sans monetary anxieties. Whether you’re a cloud newcomer or a seasoned pro, exploring the synergy between FinOps for Azure and Office 365, and SLIM 360 Version 3 is essential. It promises a future of sustainable growth, efficiency, and financial resilience. Who knows? It saves enough time and funds to pick the perfect Netflix package for you!

Maximize Your Benefits with FinOps for Azure and Office 365 Using SLIM 360 Version 3

In the ever-evolving technology and finance landscape, maintaining control over your cloud expenses is paramount. Leverage FinOps for Azure and Office 365 with SLIM 360 Version 3 to transform your business:

  1. Unrivalled Visibility: Gain unparalleled insight into your Azure and Office 365 spending. Stay ahead with real-time updates and transparent cost tracking.
  2. Effortless Budgeting: Bid farewell to manual budgeting hassles. Automate, allocate and track your Azure and Office 365 expenses seamlessly.
  3. Unprecedented Collaboration: Foster teamwork across departments and roles. Create synergy between IT, finance, and business units for smarter spending on Azure and Office 365.
  4. Insights That Drive Action: Empower decision-making with data-driven insights and tailored optimization recommendations for your Azure and Office 365 expenses.
  5. Sustainable Growth: Enhance efficiency, reduce waste, and cultivate financial resilience while scaling your business operations within Azure and Office 365.

Join the Ranks of Cloud Masters: Embrace FinOps for Azure and Office 365 with SLIM 360 Version 3. 

Experience the revolutionary power that SLIM 360 Version 3 brings to cloud financial management. It’s more than saving money; it’s about optimizing your strategy and propelling your business toward success. Don’t miss this chance to elevate your cloud management experience with Azure and Office 365. Visit our website today to upgrade and maximize your cloud potential!

Cut Cloud Costs by 40% with FinOps: Your Ultimate Guide to Financial Efficiency

Ready to slash your cloud expenses? Discover the secret to cutting cloud costs with FinOps and save up to 40%! From understanding FinOps to implementing a culture that fosters savings, this insider guide offers real-life anecdotes and a step-by-step roadmap to financial efficiency. Don’t miss out on the chance to turn your cloud operations into a powerhouse of savings!

Understanding FinOps and Its Importance

In the realm of cloud management, keeping a tight rein on costs is a constant challenge. Like an elusive fish, expenses can slip away. However, a solution exists, one that can help you regain control and trim cloud costs by an impressive 40%. Say hello to FinOps, a transformative approach that’s reshaping the game. Join us as we dive into FinOps and reveal strategies that can reshape your cloud operations.

Learn more: Spend 40% less

What is FinOps?

FinOps represents the harmonious union of finance and cloud operations, resulting in a strategic concoction that delivers both efficiency and innovation. Just like discovering a secret formula, the journey into FinOps was born from the challenges of budgetary management. This innovative approach turned the tide on many projects, and today, we’re here to share its secrets with you.

Why IT and Procurement Should Care

For IT professionals, FinOps bridges the gap with finance, while procurement gains the ability to make informed decisions that win accolades. Consider the experience of collaborating with a client that grapples with overspending. Through the magic of FinOps, we orchestrated a remarkable cost reduction while boosting innovation. You won’t want to miss out on these outcomes.

The 40% Savings Roadmap

Analyzing Cloud Usage Patterns

Get ready to roll up your sleeves. Analyzing cloud usage is akin to treasure hunting. There was a time when an instance came to light, revealing its redundancy as it devoured thousands in its wake. The process of deactivating that entity seemed akin to stumbling upon a goldmine. The key lies in data analysis which guides you toward areas of excess spending. Utilizing innovative tools helps you chart a course back to financial balance, setting you on the right path.

Right-Sizing Instances

Think of right-sizing as finding the perfect pair of jeans—too snug and they’re uncomfortable; too loose and you’re left with an excess. Remember a project resembling tight jeans from high school? Streamlining it brought extraordinary savings.

Choosing Appropriate Service Tiers

Have you ever paid for an extravagant car wash only to realize your car is immaculate? Service tiers mirror this scenario. Use data to help you assess your past and current needs before diving into a purchase. Choose wisely, and you’ll experience smooth sailing—choose poorly, and you’re stuck in a mire.

Avoiding Overprovisioning

Picture buying groceries for a grand dinner, only to realize few attendees are coming. Leftovers galore, and nobody wants them. This relates to overprovisioning. Keep resources under watch to dodge this predicament.

Learn more: See where you’re losing money on licensing

Implementing a FinOps Culture

Cross-Functional Collaboration

Unity and harmonious cooperation are pivotal for IT, finance, and procurement. Witness walls crumble, and ingenious concepts sprout when teams converge. Think of it as a brainstorming soirée with snacks.

Continuous Monitoring & Optimization

Like a garden needing regular tending, FinOps requires constant attention. Regular nurturing breeds savings that flourish over time.

Education and Training

Empowerment lies in education. Initiating a training program in the realm of Financial Operations (FinOps) instigated a significant metamorphosis. Equipping your team with knowledge has the potential to unveil extraordinary results.

Maximize Your Savings: Cut Cloud Costs with FinOps Today

Step up and regain control of your cloud budget. FinOps empowers you to align IT resources, fine-tune spending, and foster innovation while maintaining fiscal prudence.

Embrace Financial Agility

FinOps transcends mere cost-cutting. It equips IT and procurement teams to adapt swiftly to shifting needs—flexibility reigns supreme while projects progress efficiently.

Optimize Cloud Efficiency

Refine instance sizes, select optimal service tiers, and dodge overprovisioning pitfalls. With FinOps insights and tools, you navigate the cloud with savvy decisions, not corner-cutting.

Foster Collaboration and Growth

FinOps brings departments together toward a unified objective. Finance, IT, and procurement harmonize, conjuring strategies that yield remarkable results. Forge a culture valuing innovation and sustainability.

Learn more: Features of SLIM 360

Get Started Now

Don’t dawdle. The benefits of FinOps await. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or an aspiring enthusiast, a realm of efficiency and savings beckons—initiate cost reduction with FinOps, elevating cloud management to strategic mastery. Connect with us today, and let’s embark on this journey together!

This approach to cloud budget and financial management transcends trendiness; it’s a proven global strategy. Armed with knowledge and guidance, you, too, can unlock the secret, slashing cloud costs via FinOps. Join the movement and secure your savings today!

New SQL Server Licensing Explained

New SQL Server Licensing Explained

SQL Servers are the most complicated, most expensive, and most critical element of an organization’s software infrastructure and it can be confusing to think about how it works, let alone how to license them. It is easy to get overwhelmed and to simply let your SQL Server sales rep handle it and tell you what you need to purchase and how many. Of course, just because they know their way around their CALs, cores, and sockets does not mean they know what is best for your business. Only you can answer that question.

At MetrixData 360, we strongly believe in educating our clients to improve their understanding of software asset management and software licenses in order to lead to strong, long-term SAM practices after our engagement has concluded. So, today we’re hoping to answer some of your more pressing questions around how to license your SQL servers.

What Are SQL Servers? A Brief Overview

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, the main job of SQL Servers are to store data and retrieve it upon the request of other software applications, sort of like a company’s personal Google. SQL servers are made of many varied sizes and targeted towards different workloads and different types of workforces. Some exist in the Cloud with thousands of concurrent users and others exist in small to medium size on-prem businesses.

SQL servers are also designed to process different types of data, including primitive types like Char, Varchar, binary, and text, just to name a few. SQL Server licensing can be staggeringly overwhelming due to its sheer size and the number of other applications that interact with it.
Before we get into how a SQL Server works, here are some terms that you may need to know:

  • Physical Server: the actual wires-and-bolts physical hardware system.
  • Physical Processor: the physical chip that is housed in a socket within the physical server that contains one or more cores.
  • Physical Core: Something like a mini server inside the server, a physical core is a smaller processing unit within the physical processor of the server, and are found in groups of two.

How Do You Buy a SQL Server License?

Microsoft sells their SQL Server Licenses in a variety of ways, including:

  • Retail (although you cannot buy an enterprise license through this means)
  • Volume licensing programs (including the MPSA, the EA, the EAS, the SCA, OPEN)
  • A third party through either Independent Software Vendor Royalty (ISVR) or Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA). Web edition purchases can only be made through a SPLA

Free downloads for some editions (sees SQL Server editions section of this document to learn more about free editions of SQL Servers).
SQL Servers come with different licensing types and different editions, all of which we will break down. First, let’s look at licensing types, of which there are two: Core Based Licensing, and Server + CAL Licensing.

Core Based Licensing

This license allows for an unlimited number of users and devices to be connected to a server. If you want to install your SQL servers under a Core Based License, make sure you can follow these rules:

  • You need to license every physical operating system environment (OSE) that is running SQL server software. You will need a core license for every core in the processor.
  • You need at least four core licenses for each physical processor on the server (core licenses are sold in packs of two).
  • The SQL Server or any of its components needs to be licensed. What this means is that you can’t separate products of the SQL server over different machines. If the SQL Server Agent is running exclusively on one SQL server and the SQL server reporting services is being run exclusively on another machine, you’ll run into problems if you try to license that all under a single license. You would need two separate licenses for that scenario.
  • Anything that is installed on the physical machine you need to have a license for. You don’t necessarily need it to be running to require a license for it.
  • The same logic is applied when using virtual cores in virtual environments.

A math problem: Let’s say I have a single physical server. On the physical server, there are two processors, each with six physical cores with a total of twelve cores. In addition to the license for the operating system, I would need 6 core licenses (since they come in packs of two) in order to be properly licensed.

Benefits of Core-Based Licensing

  • Core-based licensing is typically the only option you have at your disposal when the SQL server in question is being accessed by devices and users outside your company’s network, since Server + CAL licenses would require you to purchase a license for every external person/device, which would not only be expensive, it would also be impossible to keep track of.
  • Ideal for larger companies, since it is easy to manage. Imagine having an international corporation with tens of thousands of employees, keeping track of who needed what CAL would be exhausting.
  • It also can prove cheaper for larger organizations, especially if your users far outnumber the cores you have.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

SQL Servers are the most complicated, most expensive, and most critical element of an organization’s software infrastructure and it can be confusing to think about how it works, let alone how to license them. It is easy to get overwhelmed and to simply let your SQL Server sales rep handle it and tell you what you need to purchase and how many. Of course, just because they know their way around their CALs, cores, and sockets does not mean they know what is best for your business. Only you can answer that question.

At MetrixData 360, we strongly believe in educating our clients to improve their understanding of software asset management and software licenses in order to lead to strong, long-term SAM practices after our engagement has concluded. So, today we’re hoping to answer some of your more pressing questions around how to license your SQL servers.

What Are SQL Servers? A Brief Overview

Just to make sure we’re all on the same page, the main job of SQL Servers are to store data and retrieve it upon the request of other software applications, sort of like a company’s personal Google. SQL servers are made of many varied sizes and targeted towards different workloads and different types of workforces. Some exist in the Cloud with thousands of concurrent users and others exist in small to medium size on-prem businesses.

SQL servers are also designed to process different types of data, including primitive types like Char, Varchar, binary, and text, just to name a few. SQL Server licensing can be staggeringly overwhelming due to its sheer size and the number of other applications that interact with it.
Before we get into how a SQL Server works, here are some terms that you may need to know:

  • Physical Server: the actual wires-and-bolts physical hardware system.
  • Physical Processor: the physical chip that is housed in a socket within the physical server that contains one or more cores.
  • Physical Core: Something like a mini server inside the server, a physical core is a smaller processing unit within the physical processor of the server, and are found in groups of two.

How Do You Buy a SQL Server License?

Microsoft sells their SQL Server Licenses in a variety of ways, including:

  • Retail (although you cannot buy an enterprise license through this means)
  • Volume licensing programs (including the MPSA, the EA, the EAS, the SCA, OPEN)
  • A third party through either Independent Software Vendor Royalty (ISVR) or Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA). Web edition purchases can only be made through a SPLA

Free downloads for some editions (sees SQL Server editions section of this document to learn more about free editions of SQL Servers).
SQL Servers come with different licensing types and different editions, all of which we will break down. First, let’s look at licensing types, of which there are two: Core Based Licensing, and Server + CAL Licensing.

Core Based Licensing

This license allows for an unlimited number of users and devices to be connected to a server. If you want to install your SQL servers under a Core Based License, make sure you can follow these rules:

  • You need to license every physical operating system environment (OSE) that is running SQL server software. You will need a core license for every core in the processor.
  • You need at least four core licenses for each physical processor on the server (core licenses are sold in packs of two).
  • The SQL Server or any of its components needs to be licensed. What this means is that you can’t separate products of the SQL server over different machines. If the SQL Server Agent is running exclusively on one SQL server and the SQL server reporting services is being run exclusively on another machine, you’ll run into problems if you try to license that all under a single license. You would need two separate licenses for that scenario.
  • Anything that is installed on the physical machine you need to have a license for. You don’t necessarily need it to be running to require a license for it.
  • The same logic is applied when using virtual cores in virtual environments.

A math problem: Let’s say I have a single physical server. On the physical server, there are two processors, each with six physical cores with a total of twelve cores. In addition to the license for the operating system, I would need 6 core licenses (since they come in packs of two) in order to be properly licensed.

Benefits of Core-Based Licensing

  • Core-based licensing is typically the only option you have at your disposal when the SQL server in question is being accessed by devices and users outside your company’s network, since Server + CAL licenses would require you to purchase a license for every external person/device, which would not only be expensive, it would also be impossible to keep track of.
  • Ideal for larger companies, since it is easy to manage. Imagine having an international corporation with tens of thousands of employees, keeping track of who needed what CAL would be exhausting.
  • It also can prove cheaper for larger organizations, especially if your users far outnumber the cores you have.

Server + CAL Based Licensing

There are instances where a Server + CAL license arrangement may suit your business’s needs better, although it will involve a lot more mixing and matching. You have to fulfill a certain number of guidelines in order to use a Server + CAL license successfully:

  • Just like with the core-based licenses, any physical operating system running SQL server software or any of SQL server’s components will need a SQL server license assigned to the physical server hosting OSE.
  • In addition to the license for the OSE, you will also need to purchase a license for each device and/or user that has access. Think of the OSE license like purchasing the lock on your door, the CALs are the keys, you need both to gain access.

Client Access Licenses (CAL)

Client Access Licenses (CAL), is a license that grants access to specific Microsoft server software, usually in conjunction with other Microsoft server software licenses. Basically, while the server license allows for the installation of the software on an operating system, the CAL allows for people or devices to access the services that the operating system is hosting. There are two different types of CALs, depending primarily on what your company’s needs the server software you intend to use your CAL for.

User CAL: Allows for a single unique physical user to access the Microsoft software from many different devices. This includes work devices, personal devices, Internet kiosk or a personal digital assistant without the need to purchase a CAL for every device. However, you are licensed per physical person, not log-in usernames, so all the John Smiths in your company can breathe easy.

Device CAL: Allows a large number of users to access the server software through a single device.

Be very careful with the version number your CAL has when you purchase it (IE. Windows Server 2010 CAL). The CAL must be of the same version or be a more recent version than the version of the Server software you are pairing it with. For instance, a Windows Server 2010 CAL can be paired with a Windows 2010 or 2008 server but not a 2012 Server.

Each server product will require the associated CAL. For instance, if you have a Windows Server and an Exchange Server, which both access the Active Directory, then you will need a Window Servers CAL and an Exchange CAL. A CAL can also give you access to multiple servers of the same kind throughout your domain.

As you can imagine the pairing of your CALs to your servers can get extremely confusing and complex, especially if you try to mix and match. So, it is always a good idea to consult your Microsoft Rep or your third-party rep, give them a clear picture about what your software environment looks like and then they can tell you about the CALs you need.

Benefits of the Server + CAL Licenses

Types of SQL Server Edition

Now that we have our SQL server licensing models laid out, we can move onto the next level of complication: Editions. Microsoft first deploy SQL Server Express to see if it is sufficient for their specific applications and will only move to the fee-based editions when they can confirm that Express will not meet their requirements.

Developer: This edition allows you to build, test, and demonstrate applications in a non-production environment. It is important that the ‘non-production’ element is upheld in this edition, since using the developer edition on anything that is full production can result in heavy fines. A piece of software will be considered in production if individuals, either inside or outside of the organization, use the software for any reason beyond development, including evaluation acceptance testing such as a review of the application before it is put into general use.

A SQL server will also be considered in production if it is connected to another database that is in production or runs as a backup or to provide disaster-recovery to a SQL server in production. As you can probably imagine, mixing production and non-production environments is a recipe for disaster, as this can cause hyper complexity and compliance issues, especially if access controls are not established that prohibits use outside of development and testing. There are a few ways to counteract this problem:

  • Use naming conventions for SQL Server instances to explicitly state if a Server is in development or in testing.
  • Install the SQL server on a separate network segment or cloud environment to lower the chance of unauthorized interaction.
  • Require that installs be developer-specific editions.

The main challenge with these editions is proving which edition you have. For example, if you are in a software audit, unless provided with evidence that proves otherwise, the software auditors will assume that you only have Enterprise editions, which are the most expensive. Proving which editions, you have could mean the difference between owing hundreds of thousands of dollars and owing nothing.

Licensing for Development Environments

While Development and Express environments can be great in saving you money, in testing and demonstrating your software before deployment, it is important that these scenarios are licensed properly and that you understand their limitations. There are two types of SQL Server Development licenses:

Developer-Specific Licenses: Used primarily for debugging, designing, development, testing and demonstrating purposes. This license is for non-production use only and is often purchased when programmers, professional testers, technical writers, database professionals, or IT administrators are involved. Developer specific licenses are assigned on a per-user basis, in which Users can install and access an unlimited number of SQL Server instances and share those instances only with other users who have been assigned the same type of developer-specific user licenses.

That means, for this licensing model, if anyone wishing to access a development environment requires a developer-specific license, even for tasks as hands-off as administrative purposes. The only exception to this is user acceptance testing. Installations can be set up and taken down at any time and can be placed on desktops, dedicated servers, shared servers, and cloud environments. Some potentially less expensive alternatives to this license include the following:

  • Purchasing new production licenses
  • Cloud-based services like Windows Azure, which are usually based on a monthly subscription model (if you have an MSDN subscription, it includes Windows Azure credits, discounted rates and the ability to use MSDN software at no additional charge)
  • Free editions like SQL Server Express and the SQL Server Compact (a free embedded edition of SQL specifically for developers)

</div class=”listbox”>Evaluation Licenses: Used to assess the software for potential business use. Again, only used for non-production environments but it is not often used in development and test environments. Usually comes with an expiration date (60-180 days to evaluate the use of the software) when obtained through volume license contracts.

Licensing Virtualized Environments

It is possible and necessary to license virtualized environments, and you have the ability to cover your VMs under your Enterprise + Software Assurance addition licensing model if you have one. This will cover all the VMs that your software environment will ever see, which comes in handy since VMs are so easily and quickly cloned and installed.

However, it is terribly important to consult with your Microsoft Rep to ask if virtualized environments can be properly covered by your software assurance as you don’t want to run the risk of facing any compliance issues with Microsoft. You will need a license for every virtual core that you have.

Licensing your Virtual Environment all depends on the licensing model you choose, with the per core model proving much more cost-effective for many clients. If you aim to license the Virtual Cores on Virtual Operating System Environments (OSE), then you will need a minimum of four licenses per processor if you have more than four cores on each of your virtual processors, then you’ll need to calculate what you’ll need based on the number of cores. If your OSE is mapped to different pieces of hardware, you’ll need additional licenses for anything the OSE is touching.

Power BI and SQL Server

Power BI is one of the most popular services for large businesses, and it can quickly become the most complicated due to its robust environment and its complicated, although critical, relationship with SQL servers. You can obtain Power BI either through purchasing one of the Power BI plans or through having SQL Server Enterprise Edition + Software Assurance. SQL Server Enterprise Edition + Software Assurance will give you access to the Power BI Server, this will allow for on-prem sharing of Power BI Content through the Power BI report server.

Although you will still need to have a Power BI account for content creation. If your organization already has an Enterprise SQL Server edition and intends to use Power BI strictly for On-prem sharing of content, simply getting Software Assurance will be the more cost-effective option as opposed to buying a Power BI plan.

It is also important to note that Power BI Desktop has access to SQL Server, but not Power BI Service. Although Power BI Service can provide a connection to Azure SQL Database and SQL Data Warehouse, it can’t do the same with SQL Server. With the Desktop, however, you can retrieve SQL Server data from tables and run queries that can retrieve a subset of the data from multiple tables.

Licensing for Disaster Recovery and High Availability

Making sure that your SQL server can properly store information and making sure you can access it at any time is a critical element for SQL servers’ customers and one of the most popular features in their software assurance benefits. Which is why Microsoft, as of November 1st, 2019, has three enhanced benefits to offer to software assurance customers, which can be applied to any SQL Server that is still supported by Microsoft, including failover servers for high availability, disaster recovery, and disaster recovery in Azure. What this means is that you can run passive SQL Server instances on separate operating system environments (OSE) or servers for high-availability on-prem or in Azure to cover any sort of failover event.

If you have a secondary server that is only used as failover support, then you do not need to license that server separately from the SQL server it is supporting, as long as the server remains truly passive and the primary SQL Server is covered by your Software Assurance.

If the passive server is providing data, such as reports, to clients or performing any other ‘work’ including additional backups, then it will be considered active and will require its own license. It is most important that you have a means of proving when your servers are passive, since during a software audit, the software auditors will assume that all your servers are active if given the chance to assume so.

If you are licensed using the Server + CAL model, then any user or device that is indirectly accessing your SQL server data through another hardware device or software application will require their own SQL Server CALs.

Upgrading your SQL Server

If your SQL Server Edition reaches a certain age (Server 2005, for example) Microsoft could eventually announce that they are no longer supporting your particular brand of SQL Server (Microsoft announced in 2016 that support for SQL Server 2005 would end that April).
This means no more security or feature updates, no more help from Microsoft to keep your environment healthy and protected. Even if your license is perpetual and legally speaking you are allowed to keep the product forever, it may still be within your best interest to upgrade your license anyway to one that Microsoft supports.

However, it will not be easy since a SQL Server upgrade will take months and you should plan accordingly. When you are considering updating from one Server to the next, the first thing you need to do is make a to-do list containing everything you have to do, such as:

  • Making sure you have all the Window Updates
  • Do you have .NET Framework installed correctly?
  • Do you have KB2919355 installed (if you are using Server 2012 with SQL 2014 installation)
  • Insure that you have enough free space to allow for the upgrade (at least 100GB). After all such preparations are ready you can begin the whole upgrading process

If you have Software Assurance, then you are covered to upgrade your SQL Server edition, if not then you will have to purchase more licenses. Check to make sure what sort of changes have occurred since you last updated SQL Server, since depending on how old your SQL Server is, you may find yourself confronted with new features, new definitions, and new licensing metrics.

Do some research into the new SQL Server model you are planning on upgrading to and familiarize yourself on any differences the new edition has compared to your old model. If you are purchasing brand new licenses, consider which new SQL Server Edition will best suit your company’s needs and budget. Lastly, decide whether, this time around with your new SQL Server, if Software Assurance is something that interests your company.

Want to Learn More?

SQL Server licensing should not be a mystery, it’s important that you have a strong understanding of your software environment, including the backbone of the whole infrastructure. SQL Servers are so thoroughly implemented throughout the software environments of organizations that a simple mistake could easily be scaled up to mean millions of dollars in software auditing fines.

At MetrixData 360, we understand the importance of making sure that your SQL Server licensing is understood and maintained. Our expertise in software licenses has led to clients saving 20%-30% of spending on your software environment. If you’d like to find out how you can put money back into your IT department, you can contact us using the information below.

Book an Appointment with a SQL Server Licensing Expert Today

How SLIM 360 Slashed Office 365 Costs by $300k.

Optimizing costs for software and cloud contracts is a pressing challenge faced by organizations worldwide. Astonishingly, many businesses still need to recognize the significant savings that lie untapped within their Office 365 environment. 

While many businesses have embraced the advantages of Office 365, they often miss out on potential opportunities for substantial savings. These overlooked opportunities for cost efficiency can profoundly impact their bottom line.

Introducing SLIM 360, a revolutionary Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) tool designed to unlock maximum cost efficiency for Office 365 users. Organizations strive to optimize software and cloud contracts while maximizing savings.

Are you ready to experience the transformative power of SLIM 360? Embark on enhanced cost efficiency and improved productivity in your Office 365 environment. Let us explore how SLIM 360 empowered a mid-sized enterprise to reveal hidden cost savings, revolutionize operations, and reduce annual expenses by an astounding $300k.

What is SLIM 360?

SLIM 360 offers a comprehensive solution, empowering businesses to uncover hidden cost-saving opportunities and revolutionize their operations. SLIM 360 enables organizations to slash expenses by an astounding $300k per year with powerful features like the following:

  • Tagging engine for effective categorization
  • Identification of unused licenses
  • Streamlined license assignments
  • Proactive software asset management 

Learn more: SLIM 360: Spend 40% Less on Microsoft Licensing

What Case Study Has Been Done With SLIM 360?

Our featured company, an ambitious mid-sized enterprise, had already implemented some cost-cutting measures. However, they suspected that there was still untapped potential for further improvement. Seeking an innovative solution, they turned to SLIM 360 for guidance.

What are the Benefits of Using SLIM 360?

The Tagging Engine: the Power of Effective Categorization

One of SLIM 360’s standout features is its powerful tagging engine, which played a pivotal role in identifying cost optimization opportunities. Leveraging this tool, the company’s IT team swiftly identified services exclusively used by contractors. 

These users, responsible for managing the SAP environment, required email access solely for multi-factor authentication (MFA). With SLIM 360’s recommendation, the company seamlessly transitioned from E3 to Exchange Online and Azure AD for MFA purposes only, significantly reducing costs without compromising security or functionality.

Uncovering Unused Licenses

In an eye-opening revelation, the company discovered that it had been paying for several unused Visio, Project, and Power BI licenses. With SLIM 360’s powerful insights, they swiftly identified these dormant licenses and took decisive action to either reallocate them to active users or terminate them altogether. This proactive approach resulted in trimming excess costs and optimizing license utilization, generating substantial savings.

Streamlining License Assignments for Efficiency

SLIM 360’s meticulous analysis also revealed instances of service accounts with improperly assigned licenses within the Office 365 environment. By rectifying these license assignments, the company significantly reduced unnecessary expenses. This streamlined approach reduced costs and ensured that every user had the appropriate level of access and functionality, enhancing overall productivity.

Proactive Software Asset Management

Beyond the specific strategies employed, SLIM 360 instilled a proactive software asset management mindset within the company. The organization maintained ongoing cost efficiency by continuously monitoring and optimizing Office 365 costs. SLIM 360 provided regular reports, identified potential areas for improvement, and offered actionable insights to drive further optimization.

Through the intervention of SLIM 360, our featured company achieved remarkable results, slashing costs by a staggering 15%, amounting to an annual savings of $300k. This case study serves as a testament to the vital importance of proactive software asset management in achieving optimal cost efficiency. By harnessing the power of SLIM 360’s robust features, organizations can unlock hidden savings, streamline their Office 365 expenses, and revolutionize their operations.

Learn more: 5 Tips for Controlling Your Microsoft 365 Budget

If your organization seeks to enhance cost efficiency within your Office 365 environment, SLIM 360 is the definitive solution. Experience the transformative power of SLIM 360 and unlock untapped savings today. For more about SLIM 360 and its capabilities, visit our website.

In an increasingly competitive business landscape, every penny counts. Embrace the possibilities of cost optimization with SLIM 360 and embark on a journey of substantial savings, improved efficiency, and enhanced productivity. Empower your organization with the tools to thrive in the modern digital era.

Revolutionize Software Asset Management

Organizations rely on software assets to drive return on investment. Which software tools do companies depend on to make light work?

  • Productivity tools.
  • Communication platforms.
  • Content management.
  • Email systems.
  • Operating systems.
  • Telecommunication tools.
  • Video conferencing.
  • Marketing campaign dashboards.
  • CRMs, and so much more!

Software asset management is an integral part of daily operations. But managing software assets can be a daunting task for many organizations. There are so many software licenses, vendors, and changing compliance regulations. So, managing software assets can be time-consuming and expensive.

Tech execs are often left at odds when negotiating software asset contracts. The rising software licensing and maintenance costs burn a hole in your IT budget. Did you know? You can negotiate software licensing while staying on top of software usage compliance.

 Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many enterprises face these challenges and need help finding a solution. But what if there was a way to revolutionize software asset management? MetrixData 360 offers a solution that could change the game for your organization.

That is where Software Asset Management (SAM) comes into play. SAM is the practice of managing and optimizing software assets throughout their lifecycle. That takes place to reduce costs, improve security, and ensure compliance.

Revolutionize Software

How Can You Simplify Software Asset Management?

MetrixData 360 is a leading SAM solutions provider revolutionizing software asset management. No one else makes software asset management this easy for every business to access. MetrixData 360 bridges several barriers for their target customers, including:

Transparency: 

MetrixData 360 offers total transparency to support software usage policies. That lets companies see where they can either merge or drop licenses.

Customization: 

Software asset intelligence can adapt to fit an organization’s specific needs. That enables flexibility to manage their software assets optimally.

Cost Savings: 

Some licenses can be cross-functional across various operations. Why have Microsoft OneDrive, Google Workspace, and Dropbox managed file storage? Cost-effective time-saving tools are the only safe option. It is vital to reduce wasted storage.

Compliance: 

Metrix Data 360 ensures license compliance by tracking usage. We ensure that you only pay for licenses without which they cannot work.

Reporting: 

Here, companies access comprehensive reporting capabilities. That lets them generate detailed reports so they can optimize intelligent decisions easily.

But it wasn’t always this easy! The old and outdated manual process has undoubtedly put many businesses through the backburner. Some of these critical aspects of software asset management include:

Software Discovery

Back in the day, you could only check installed software by one-by-one. Also, did you know some companies are still relying on end-user reports? Metrix Data 360 automates instant scanning of all synced devices on a network. You can also get real-time version control updates. 

Inventory Management

Spreadsheet-based inventory management involves the manual entry of each device and software application.

Now, Metrix Data 360 speeds up inventory management tools. That includes tracking all of the following:

  • Software licenses.
  • License types.
  • License register.
  • Expiration dates.
  • Real-time metrics.

License Compliance

Before, relying on manual audits was the only way to ensure software asset compliance.

New standards allow advanced algorithms to detect the overuse or underuse of licenses. You can receive live notifications and reports to stay up to date.

Usage Tracking

Old methods relied on end-user reports and manual checks to prevent software abuse. Often, updates would be too late.

Today, usage tracking tools provide live company-wide data about overuse and license statuses.

Reporting

Years ago, manual data capture from various sources to generate reports was the norm.

Now, automated reporting tools that provide real-time data on:

  • Software inventory
  • Usage.
  • Compliance.
  • Version control
  • And any specific need.

Overall, new standards for software asset management streamline business operations. Automated tools enable accurate and real-time insight. That reduces the risk of wastage and immeasurable loss and increases competitive edge.

Learn More: IBM Licensing Costs: Tips for Lowering Costs and Maximizing ROI

How to Lead Software Asset Management

Establish Clear Policies: 

CIOs should establish clear policies for software asset management. Outline the company’s procedures for acquiring, tracking, and disposing of software. These policies should be regularly reviewed and updated as needed.

Use Automated Tools: 

CIOs can leverage automated software asset management tools to simplify tracking software licenses, usage, and compliance. These tools can reduce the time and effort required to manage software assets while improving accuracy and reducing the risk of non-compliance.

Conduct Regular Audits: 

Regular software asset audits help CIOs identify areas of non-compliance or inefficiency and make informed decisions about software purchases and licensing.  These audits should be conducted regularly and include an analysis of usage data to identify any areas of over- or under-licensing.

Implement Training and Awareness Programs: 

CIOs should implement training and awareness programs to ensure employees understand the importance of software asset management and their role in maintaining compliance. 

By implementing these strategies, CIOs can gain greater control over their software assets, reduce the dangers of non-compliance, and achieve optimal software asset management.

Learn More: How to Simplify your Microsoft 365 License Management

Implement Training and Awareness Programs

Why Choose MetrixData 360’s SAM Tools? 

MetrixData 360’s SAM tool is an essential part of IT excellence. 

  • We guard an organization’s software assets, enabling them to manage its licenses efficiently. 
  • We deliver accurate and up-to-date information about software licenses and usage. 
  • We ensure compliance with licensing agreements, avoiding costly penalties and legal issues. 
  • Plus, MetrixData 360’s SAM tool provides insights into software usage. We help organizations make informed decisions about software procurement and deployment.

In conclusion, MetrixData 360’s SAM tool is a game-changer for organizations looking to revolutionize software assets and how they work. Contact us to book a consultation.

How Do You License SQL Server?

SQL Server is one of the (if not the) most complicated products from Microsoft to license. It is typically licensed per core, with different editions available to meet different needs and budgets, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

To license SQL Server, you must purchase a license for each core on the server where you will install the software (although you may license physical cores or virtual cores if the SQL server is virtualized). The number of cores you need to license is based on the number of cores in the processor or the virtual cores, not the number of physical processors or sockets. Microsoft also has a 4 Core minimum, so even if the server or virtual SQL Instance is only 2 cores, you would have to license with 4 Cores.

There are several editions of SQL Server available, including:

  • Enterprise Edition: This is the most feature-rich and powerful edition of SQL Server. It is designed for mission-critical applications and large-scale data warehousing.
  • Standard Edition: This edition is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses and includes many of the same features as Enterprise Edition but with some limitations on scalability and performance.
  • Express Edition: This free edition of SQL Server is suitable for small applications and is limited to a single processor and 10 GB of database storage. Express is a free edition of SQL Server.
  • Developer Edition: This edition is a full-featured version of SQL Server licensed for development and testing. It cannot be used for production environments.

To purchase a license for SQL Server, you can contact a Microsoft reseller or visit the Microsoft website.

How Do You Count Cores For SQL Server Licensing On A Physical Server?

To count the cores for SQL Server licensing, you need to determine the number of cores in the processors where you will be installing the software. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Identify the servers where you will be installing SQL Server.
  2. Determine the number of processors in each server.
  3. Count the number of cores in each processor.
  4. Multiply the number of cores in each processor by the number of processors in the server, accounting for the fact that there is a 4 Core Minimum.
  5. Add the total number of cores for all servers where you will be installing SQL Server.

For example, if you have a server with 2 processors, each with 6 cores, the total number of cores for that server would be 12. If you have a second server with a single processor with 4 cores, the total number of cores for that server would be 4. The total number of cores for both servers would be 16.

You will need to purchase a license for each of these cores. SQL Server is typically licensed per core, with different editions available to meet different needs and budgets.

SQL Server is typically licensed

What Is The Minimum Number Of Cores You Need To License For A Physical Install of SQL Server?

The minimum number of cores you need to license for SQL Server depends on the edition of the software that you are using.

For the Standard and Enterprise editions, the minimum number of cores you need to license is 4 per physical processor. If you have a server with a single processor with 4 or more cores, you will need to purchase a license for at least 4. If you have a server with two processors, each with 4 or more cores, you will need to purchase a license for at least 8 cores (4 cores per processor).

For the Express edition, there is no minimum number of cores you need to license, as this edition is free and limited to a single processor and 10 GB of database storage.

It’s important to note that you need to license all the cores in the processors of the servers where you will be installing SQL Server, regardless of whether you will use all the cores.

How Do You License SQL in a Virtualized Environment?

In a virtualized environment, you must license SQL Server for each virtual machine (VM) running the software. You can use either the Physical Core-Based Licensing model or the Virtual Core-Based Licensing model to license SQL Servers in a virtualized environment.

Under the Physical Core-Based Licensing model, you must purchase a license for each physical core on the host server, regardless of the number of VMs or cores allocated to the VMs.

Under the Virtual Core-Based Licensing model, you must purchase a license for each virtual core (vCore) allocated to the VM. The number of vCores you need to license is based on the number of cores allocated to the VM, not the number of physical cores on the host server.

For both the Physical and Virtual models, you still need to purchase a minimum of 4 Cores.

To determine the number of vCores that you need to license for a VM, you can use the following formula:

Number of vCores = (Number of physical cores on the host server / Number of VMs on the host server) * Number of cores allocated to the VM

For example, if you have a host server with two processors, each with 6 cores, and you have two VMs running on the host server, with each VM allocated 2 cores, the number of vCores that you would need to license for each VM would be 4 (not 3 as you have a 4 core minimum to account for).

How Do I Optimize My SQL Server Licensing For Cost Savings

There are a few ways that you can optimize your SQL Server licensing for cost savings:

  1. Consider using the Virtual Core-Based Licensing model: If you are running SQL Server in a virtualized environment, you may save money using the Virtual Core-Based Licensing model instead of the Physical Core-Based Licensing model. Under this licensing model, you only need to purchase a license for the number of virtual cores (vCores) allocated to each virtual machine (VM) rather than a license for each physical core on the host server.  Don’t forget about the 4 core minimum rule when calculating this.
  2. Use the appropriate edition of SQL Server: Choose the edition of SQL Server that best meets your needs and budget. The Enterprise edition is the most feature-rich and powerful, and expensive. The Standard edition is suitable for many small to medium-sized businesses. It includes many of the same features as the Enterprise edition but with some limitations on scalability and performance. The Express edition is free for small applications and limited to a single processor and 10 GB of database storage.
  3. Optimize your hardware: Consider using processors with fewer cores or allocating fewer cores to each VM. This can help you reduce the number of cores that you need to license and save money on your SQL Server licenses.
  4. Use software assurance: Consider purchasing software assurance for your SQL Server licenses. Software Assurance (SA) is needed when there is server mobility occurring in a virtual environment (or to be allowed to use on 3rd party clouds – check the rules before deploying to any 3rd party cloud).  The SA allows a virtual SQL Server to move between hosts and have the licenses follow it. This is a very complicated license scenario, and you need to ensure you understand the rules when calculating requirements.  SA also gives you access to new software versions as they are released.
  5. Use the cloud provider’s licensing: If you are running SQL Server in a public cloud environment, such as Microsoft Azure or Amazon Web Services (AWS), you may save money by using the cloud provider’s licensing instead of purchasing your own licenses. Azure and AWS offer pay-as-you-go pricing for SQL Server, allowing you to only pay for the resources you use. This can be a cost-effective option, especially if you have variable or unpredictable workloads.

Use the cloud provider's licensing

How a software asset management (SAM) tool such as MetrixData 360’s SQL Server License Optimization Tool can help you optimize your SQL Server licensing:

  • License optimization: A SAM tool can help you optimize your SQL Server licensing by identifying underutilized licenses and recommending consolidation or redistribution. This can help you save money on your SQL Server licenses by ensuring you are not paying for more than you need.
  • Compliance reporting: A SAM tool can help track your SQL Server usage and ensure that you comply with your licensing agreements. It can provide you with reports that show how you are using your licenses and help you identify any potential compliance issues.
  • Software usage tracking: A SAM tool can help you track your SQL Server usage and identify opportunities for cost savings. It can provide reports on your usage patterns and help you understand how you use your licenses. This can help you identify underutilized licenses and make informed decisions about your licensing strategy.