Bring Your Own License (BYOL) Rules on Third-Party Cloud Providers

Bring Your Own License (BYOL) Rules on Third Party Cloud Providers

Software licensing is ridiculously confusing, and its hyper complexity is not slowing down anytime soon. This confusion can easily lead to overspending, which equates to more money in the software vendor’s pockets, taken at the expense of your company’s software budget. how does overspending occur? One key reason behind our client’s overspending stems from the complexity of Bring Your Own License rules (BYOL) on their third-party cloud providers. 

At MetrixData360, we have helped hundreds of companies save millions of dollars, in this article, we will clear the waters by showing you the steps you can take to mitigate any potential areas of overspending in your software licensing environment.




Rule Change 

Microsoft changed its rules as of 1st October 2019 around how Microsoft products are licensed in 3rd party hosting scenarios.  These changes primarily impact AWS, Google, and Alibaba clouds (although others are affected).  The concept of Bring Your Own Licenses (BYOL) is influenced significantly by these changes.  Before these changes, as long as you had hardware dedicated to your use (i.e., were not using shared infrastructure), you could BYOL now.  With these changes, you may be required to purchase subscription licenses for these products through the hoster (e.g., Windows Servers, Office).  Specific versions may still be licensed via BYOL if licenses were acquired for those products before October 2019 or on a contract still active as of October 2019. 


To understand these rights, you must review the Microsoft Product Terms.  Below are the relevant sections: 



  1. Customers may use the server software on a Licensed Server, provided it acquires sufficient Server Licenses as described below. 


A Licensed Server is: 

A Licensed Server means a single Server, dedicated to the Customer’s use, to which a License is assigned.  Dedicated Servers that are under the management or control of an entity other than the Customer or one of its Affiliates are subject to the Outsourcing Software Management clause.  For purposes of this definition, a hardware partition or blade is considered to be a separate Server. 



The Outsourcing Software Management clause states: 

Customers may install and use licensed copies of the software on Servers and other devices that are under the day-to-day management and control of Authorized Outsourcers, provided all such Servers and other devices are and remain fully dedicated to Customer’s use.  The customer is responsible for all of the obligations under its volume licensing agreement regardless of the physical location of the hardware upon which the software is used.  Except as expressly permitted here or elsewhere in these Product Terms, the Customer is not permitted to install or use licensed copies of the software on Servers and other devices that are under the management or control of a third party. 


Authorized Outsourcer means any third-party service provider that is not a Listed Provider and is not using Listed Provider as a Data Center Provider as part of the outsourcing service. 


AWS is a Listed Provider.  Next, we need to determine if we have a right to utilize software at the Listed Providers through Microsoft License Mobility through Software Assurance right: 


License Mobility through Software Assurance 

Under License Mobility Through Software Assurance (SA), Customer may move its licensed software to shared servers under any of its Licenses which are designated as having License Mobility for which it has SA, subject to the requirements below.  Products used for Self-Hosting may be used at the same time under License Mobility through SA rights, subject to the limitations of the Self-Hosting License Terms.  


Permitted Use: 

With License Mobility through SA, Customer may: 

      • Run its licensed software on shared servers;  
      • Access that software under access licenses and for which it has SA, and under its User and Device SLs that permit access to the Products;  
      • Manage its OSEs that it uses on shared servers; and/or  
      • Manage its OSEs that it uses on its servers using software that it runs on shared servers. 



To use License Mobility through SA, the Customer must: 

      • Run its licensed software and manage its OSEs on shared servers under the terms of its volume licensing agreement;  
      • Deploy its Licenses only with Microsoft Azure Services or qualified License Mobility through Software Assurance Partner; and 
      • Complete and submit the License Mobility Validation form with each License Mobility through Software Assurance Partner who will run its licensed software on their shared servers. 


License Mobility allows for use on a shared server.  Products that have this right associated with them allow BYOL (as long as you have active Software Assurance).  Next, we need to see if a product has Server Mobility.  For Windows Server: 


4. Software Assurance 


Windows Server does not include License Mobility rights.  For Windows Server (or any product without License Mobility), this means BYOL is only available for versions that were released before October 2019 and for which licenses were acquired prior (or on active contracts as of October 2019) to October 2019 



Please refer to the current Product Terms to ensure this info is still accurate as Microsoft makes changes frequently to their licensing rules. 


Start Saving on Your Software Licensing

Being able to cut software licensing costs will mean money back into the IT department for smarter and more innovative investments. This can be done by tracking the life cycles of your assets through the successful deployment of an inventory tool (along with someone who can effectively read it), through having a clear understanding of usage during contract negotiations, carefully considering your migration to the Cloud, and by conducting internal audits to ensure compliance.

At Metrixdata360, we can help you cut down your costs to save you from unnecessary drains on your budget and potentially heavy audit penalties. Don’t put off saving money, get your free consultation today!

System Center Configuration Manager – Windows Update Model

This week we will be talking about Microsoft outlines Windows Update Model Using System Center Configuration Manager; Microsoft’s newest Windows Server test build adds new storage, failover clustering updates; and Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows 10 laptops for schools.

Microsoft Outlines Windows Update Model Using System Center Configuration Manager

Microsoft kicked off a video series describing how to update Windows 10 using System Center Configuration Manager recently.  The nature of the updates for Windows, Internet Explorer and NET Framework and how they get updated monthly is outlined. The article below describes how both Windows 10 systems and older Windows operating systems get updated. For Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to move its customers away from selectively choosing which patches to apply each month utilizing automation. However, this can lead to problems.

Windows 10 updates follow a cumulative model, where a monthly update release contains prior patches. Microsoft started the cumulative update scheme when they launched Windows 10.

There were 9 update types that were identified in the article:

  • Critical Update: a widely released fix for non-security software flaws
  • Definition Update: a widely released update to a definitive database
  • Drivers: an update to the system that manages hardware
  • Security Update: a widely released fix for a software vulnerability
  • Service Pack: a between-version cumulative update that largely applies to “legacy” or older software
  • Tool Update: an update to a utility software program
  • Security-Only Update: an update released each month that contains all of the security updates for that month, but which is not cumulative • Monthly Rollup: a set of cumulative updates that include both security and reliability updates • Preview of Monthly Rollup: a tested cumulative set of new quality updates packaged together for distribution in the next month, containing what was included in the prior month, but excluding security updates.

Updates are cumulative for Windows 10 and Windows Server 2016. The updates typically arrive on “update Tuesdays,” or the second Tuesday of the month.

Update releases get more complicated for Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2008 and Windows Server 2012/R2 systems. They have “standalone” and “cumulative” patch options. The NET Framework also has such options.  I know we here at MetrixData360 struggle on patch Tuesday as our users are unable to use their laptops for long periods of time as the updates install.

For more information please visit the Redmond Magazine article here.

Microsoft’s newest Windows Server test build adds new storage and failover clustering updates

Microsoft released a new test build of Windows Server 1803 to Insider testers on Jan. 16.  Windows Server 17074 includes some enhancements to Storage Spaces Direct (S2D) and failover clustering. As Server users may recall, S2D didn’t make it into Windows Server 1709, allegedly because it wasn’t meeting quality standards. Microsoft is hoping to add it back to the coming 1803 release.  Storage Spaces Direct spans Windows Server clusters and creates a bus which allows all the servers in the cluster to see each other’s local drives.  S2D was introduced as a feature of Windows Server 2016 and described by Microsoft as “the foundation for our hyper-converged platform.”

In preview build 17074, Microsoft removes the requirement for SCSI Enclosure Services for S2D to be compatible, which “unlocks a new breath of new hardware which was not capable of running S2D,” says a Microsoft blog post.  S2D also now supports Persistent (Storage Class) Memory and supports Direct-connect SATA devices to AHCI controller, also enabling users to run it on lower-cost hardware.

If you are interested in the new features you can read the Zdnet article here: 

Microsoft challenges Chromebooks with $189 Windows 10 laptops for schools

Microsoft is really pushing for schools to keep using Windows. They are launching new Windows 10 and Windows 10 S devices that are priced starting at just $189. The software giant is also partnering with the BBC, LEGO, NASA, PBS, and Pearson to bring a variety of Mixed Reality and video curricula to schools.  Lenovo has created a $189 100e laptop. It’s based on Intel’s Celeron Apollo Lake chips, so it’s a low-cost netbook designed for schools.  Lenovo is also introducing its 300e, a 2-in-1 laptop with pen support, priced at $279.

The new Lenovo devices are joined by two from HP, with a Windows Hello laptop priced at $199 and a pen and touch device at $299.  All four laptops will be targeted towards education, designed to convince schools not to switch to Chromebooks.

Part of Microsoft’s school push is related to content for teachers to use with these laptops. Microsoft is planning to release a new Chemistry Update for Minecraft: Education Edition this spring. It will focus on experimentation like building compounds or tackling stable isotopes. It’s a free update for everyone using the Education Edition of Minecraft.

Microsoft is also tweaking Word for Mac, Outlook desktop, and OneNote for iPad / Mac to include a new immersive reader that helps with reading and writing. In addition Microsoft is making some Mixed Reality content available for both the HoloLens and the range of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Pearson, the world’s largest education company, will start distributing a new curriculum in March that will work on HoloLens and they will release new apps for students.

Microsoft has announced that students can receive a 10% discount on HoloLens to tempt schools into trying out its augmented reality headset. Windows Mixed Reality headsets will still be the cheaper option for schools, though.

MetrixData360 knows that the education market (and developers, remember that famous Steve Balmer video) were key to Microsoft market dominance in the late 90’s.  For many years, Microsoft lost focus on this market where our kids learn and choose their platforms early in life. It appears Microsoft is trying to reconnect with students and hopefully develop another generation of workers who grew up with and love Microsoft products.  Time will see if this push is to late or if companies like Google and Facebook can break into Microsoft’s enterprise dominance with the next generation of workers.