Cloud Platform Suite

This is a new licensing program that will be available on the January 2014 SPLA price list. It is aimed at Service Providers who run heterogenous environment – that is environments with a mix of Operating Systems such as Windows, Linux & Unix.

It is licensed in a “Host and Guest” model – the Host license covers the hardware and you will then purchase a Guest license for each Windows VM you wish to run.

Host SKU: Includes Windows Server 2012 R2, System Center 2012 R2, and Windows Azure Pack, host capabilities and rights to manage all guests

Guest SKU: Includes Windows Server 2012 R2 guest capabilities

For more info, check out my good friends over at Licensing School:

Permalink to Cloud Platform Suite

Adding Azure to an Enterprise Agreement

It’s now easier than ever for customers to add Windows Azure to their Enterprise Agreement (EA).

You commit upfront to a monthly amount that you feel will cover all your needs, and that monetary commitment can be utilised in any way within Azure.


Previously, you would receive great payment terms for your monetary commitment but – should you go over that amount (known as “overage”) – the extra usage would be charged at much higher rates. This effectively punished organizations who thought “wow, this Azure stuff is cool” – but no more, Overage is now charged at the same rates as the initial agreed amount. This makes increasing the usage of Azure a much more compelling proposition.

See Josh Waldo’s full post here:

Office 365 Admin Access in Exchange Online

Office 365 Wave 15 (the current release) brought with it a new admin console, that consolidates and streamlines access to most requirements. That said, one of the common worries for IT managers is around loss of control when compared to administering their on-site infrastructure.

A great tip from @12knocksinna shows how to gain access to an extra level of features:


To access this, simply fire up OWA and then change /OWA to /ECP in the URL an hey presto –  you’re in!

I’m sure I remember these features being available in the beta release of Wave 15 – anyone else?!

See Tony’s full blog about it her:

Who to follow on Twitter

Engadget posted a list yesterday of “Who to follow on Twitter” for Microsoft and I’m happy today that (after a gentle reminder!), I’m on there 😊

Sitting alongside such luminaries as Mary Jo Foley, Ed Bott, Tom Warren & Todd Bishop is pretty cool! Check out the full list here:

Microsoft Surface Pro Pricing Leaked

Microsoft Surface Pro is the upcoming Redmond produced tablet that will run full Windows 8 Pro, and thus allow installation of legacy/LOB apps etc. We’ve seen recently the hardware spec for the device ( and now, via Softpedia, we’ve got leaked pricing from Germany.

128GB Surface Pro = £729 / $1165 / €909

64GB Surface Pro = £648 / $1035 / €809

If those prices are correct (and there’s a high chance they’re not) then that is some quite amazing and aggressive pricing from Microsoft.

I can almost guarantee that all the customers I’ve spoken to about Windows 8 over the last few weeks would purchase those units with barely a second thought. Organizations are, in the most part, sold on Windows 8 and sold on the tablet form factor…it’s the £800+ price tag of many Windows 8 devices that causes them to pause. So a Core i5, 4GB RAM, Full HD, 64GB SSD device for £648 would be a real winner.

It is for that reason that Microsoft MUST ensure this device is available via “The Channel”, the network of distributors, resellers, VARs, LARs etc that make up 95%+ of their business. I’m seeing us lose sales at work, as customers are set on buying the Surface RT & so are going direct to Microsoft. In some cases, we’re able to cross sell to another Windows RT device such as the Samsung Ativ Tab but not always…and that’s to be expected. The Surface RT is such a great piece of hardware that people are bound to want that in a lot of cases. I’m sure this is the case for all the other resellers across the UK and indeed any other location.

Windows 7 Service Pack 1 coming soon

Windows 7 is, by far, the best Operating System Microsoft have produced but we all know it isn’t perfect…and so do Microsoft. They have announced that Service Pack 1 will be available as a public beta next month (July), not just for Windows 7 but also Windows Server 2008 R2.
For server it will bring RemoteFX (VDI multimedia performance) and Dynamic Memory Allocation; for the desktop it is really just a collection of fixes, many/most of which have already been delivered via Windows Update.
It’s real use is going be moving people off XP, something which many companies are still reluctant to do. The “accepted wisdom” is not to deploy a new MS OS until the first service pack has been released and, in times gone by, this was generally sound practice…as Vista proved ;) However Windows 7 has always been stable…even as a beta, so a lot of people are missing out on the dozens of benefits it brings,for no real reason. Once this milestone has officially been reached I’ll be very interested to see its effect on corporate buying strategies.

Downgrade Rights

OEM licences (the ones that come pre installed on new pcs/laptops) can currently be downgraded to Vista or XP, and many people are still choosing to drop down to XP. However:

“Can I downgrade my OEM version of Windows 7 Professional to XP Professional?

For a limited time of 18 months after the general availability of Windows 7 or the release of a Windows 7 Service Pack, whichever is earlier , the OEM license of Windows 7 Professional and Windows 7 Ultimate will include downgrade rights to Windows XP Professional. After that period the OEM license will enable downgradeable to Windows Vista Business.”

That excerpt from the “Microsoft Downgrade Rights Chart” shows that, very soon; downgrading to Windows XP Pro will only be available to Volume Licensing customers.

I believe that this will be the push most people need to stop clinging to XP and make the move to the 21st century, so this will drive Windows 7 usage. If not, and there are people who insist on downgrading then it will drive adoption of Volume Licensing and all the extras and benefits that brings.

All in all, pretty big changes that will have a positive effect for customers, resellers & Microsoft.

XP deadline extended (again)

Microsoft have, yet again, given XP a stay of execution.  System builders will now be able to purchase copies of XP up until 30/06/09.

Mary Jo Foley over at ZDnet has some interesting points to make on this though:

This definition of “System Builder” doesn’t include the likes of HP, Dell, Lenovo etc but rather the small “White Box” vendors, the kind who have a shop in town…

Also, this is separate to the deadline for Netbooks-which is 30/06/10 or one year after Windows 7, whichever comes last.

So all in all not a massive announcement in my opinion, but it does seem to show that the demand for XP is still there. I have been a fan of Vista pretty much since it was released and I can’t wait for Windows 7, so I think people really should move off XP where they can. I can see the attraction now that Netbooks are gaining popularity but it seems that people have got Windows 7 working on them without too much of a problem…