SPLA licensing?

Discussion in 'Business & Enterprise Computing' started by scips, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. scips

    scips Member

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    Hey Guys,

    Got a client, running onprem servers owned by them, esxi/hyperv with a few random server/sql VMs. All in their own office, with full physical and virtual access to everything via their ops team and me/my coworker(3rd party)

    Can a MSP sell them and bill them for SPLA licensing?

    From my understanding of SPLA the client:
    -isnt allowed to access the actual server
    -used for providing a service to client ie: sql DB, exchange etc.
    -isnt allowed to be installed on client servers unless the client has no access& the seller must have full access/control/management of the server.
    -seller must must run a report on the environment and report that to Microsoft for their license key in use

    Previous MSP has continued billing client for SPLA licensing, they haven't had access to the environment since Nov last year, client ceased paying in March.

    From what can gather, MSP is completely in the wrong, invalid licencing type in the first place and hasn't followed the rules for reporting.
     
  2. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    Depends on the SPLA Agreement (I know of three variants) but;

    1. No issues there - so long as the MSP provider is responsible for the client. If the relationship is severed, the client needs to find alternate licensing.
    2. You can get most MS stuff via SPLA - however it gets grey as fuck with *any* O365 involvement.
    3. I've not heard about lack of client access being a requirement (think about that - you can SPLA AD, Exchange, SQL, etc - no access means no access - opening a mailbox or DB or authing on AD is access... do you draw the line at delegation of OU's, RBAC in Exchange, SQL Dbo?).
    4. MS's reporting requirements and terms on SPLA is pretty lax - its absolutely a trust model. SPLA provider audits definitely happen though - and they are far more strict than the general VLK audits that entities see.

    If there is a previous MSP involved - heres the thing, so long as it was made clear your resources were provided by SPLA, its on the CLIENT to find licensing in the event they severe relationship with the MSP. The idea that the outgoing MSP has to go clean up when they are no longer engaged, months later - doesn't mean shit compared to the fact that the CLIENT is using software that they haven't paid for.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  3. Dre_

    Dre_ Member

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    Who is your SPLA provider?
    Best you ask them.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    scips

    scips Member

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    1. Yep, exactly what I said and what the client did, they moved to us, we deployed new SQL/app/DC with new licenses from VLK and anything sticking around that had SPLA key got changed to vlk too (dont even go into this, client avoids cloud like the plague except for O365 and a single AWS VM for a LOB app)
    2.Yep, SPLA seems like a big grey area, our hosted infrastructure guys weighed in and said everything from fuckin MSP are idiots through to oh, seems ok
    3. Using as a service, so yes to mailbox/db connections/ad login but no to admin of exchange/admin of sql/admin of ad etc, at least from what I've read
    4. Yup, which is why I think its not our problem, its their problem for continuing to report on something they have no access/view/control of anymore

    MSP AM changed his tune when I called him last week after he got rude and pissy at me and I just quoted the SPLA licensing terms/SPUR details (which do specify what I wrote above), then said we can just email him saying we removed them but that its too late on the previous invoices, they've already reported to MS. Which doesnt sound like our problem, sounds like they shouldnt be reporting on what they cant report on and shouldnt be billing if they cant confirm they are in use.
     
  5. Frozen_Hell

    Frozen_Hell Member

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    Pretty lax = you're going to have a real bad time when audited. i.e. Microsoft are a pack of <insert multiple bad words here> when it comes to auditing stuff.

    Where I work has been too lax, and we're paying the price, as in lots of dollars. But at the same time, the end result is that Microsoft by being the massive <insert multiple bad words here again> that they are, is resulting in us having to pay them a lot less money in regular licensing. Because we were doing stupid shit like double counting things at times to ludicrous levels (e.g. the worst scenario we found was datacenter edition per socket on a blade, then datacenter edition on the individual VMs running on the blade, yeah WTAF - and no the customer wasn't being charged that scenario, just us paying Microsoft in that manner), so in actual fact we've been overpaying them heaps in the scheme of things. But that doesn't matter, if you underpay for a single thing, expect them to be giant <insert multiple bad words here just one more time> about it. So all of those stupid over payment scenarios are being found and stopped now, and Microsoft will be collecting less money from us as a result.

    You need to have a really watertight, signed agreement with your customers in place to go anywhere near SPLA. IMHO, just don't do it, make customers BYO licenses, you won't make enough margin to make it worth the pain you'll endure.
     
  6. NSanity

    NSanity Member

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    ^ So Basically? Do it right, have process, profit?
     
  7. Dre_

    Dre_ Member

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    Except..... if you're hosting for them, then you have to have SPLA even if the customer brings their own licenses with active SA.
     
  8. Frozen_Hell

    Frozen_Hell Member

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    There is also that licensing portability thing if the hosting is considered "cloud". Needs to fit certain definitions is my understanding to be eligible, but there are a bunch of models that Microsoft publish guidelines on and how it all fits together.

    I'd only do SPLA if you're going to roll out one of the automated reporting tools, so something that can do introspection across your entire infrastructure to figure out what its actually running and 100% report correctly, otherwise the drama and penalties for getting it wrong are just total crap.
     
  9. Dre_

    Dre_ Member

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    And this is where your understanding is wrong and can land in you just as much hot water as if the stuff wasn't licensed at all.
    BTW, it's called License Mobility.

    You should do SPLA because it is the only way to license workloads correctly if you're hosting stuff for others. The penalties for not licensing via SPLA when you should be are often much higher than not licensing correctly via SPLA.

    Licensing is not hard, the problem is that people approach it with a shitty attitude and are never actually interesting in learning it, they just want to bitch and moan for hours.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2017
  10. Frozen_Hell

    Frozen_Hell Member

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    Semantics, Microsoft also refer to it as portability. Yes, officially called License Mobility.

    Depends on the hosting scenario. Dedicated hosting (single tenant), hybrid hosting (single tenant/multi-tenant infrastructure) and sharing hosting (multi-tenant) - and then the sub-classifications within those 3 scenarios. The OP's scenario sounds like it actually matches the dedicated hosting (single tenant) model the closest, which means you could do VL (SA not required) or SPLA depending on whose responsibility it is. So it is not as actually clear cut as you say it is.

    Clearly you've never worked in a massively complex hosting/cloud environment with large demanding customers. If only we could have very simple products with few options, the mistakes we make in counting are due to having too many scenarios on offer and sometimes conflicting sources of information (which is where the double-counting happens).

    Microsoft make it overly complicated as well, the word from a few people I've spoken to in other areas of Microsoft is that they also internally have dramas dealing with their own licensing team. Funny that the licensing resellers also make a cut from the penalties imposed, and I'm not talking about the money that should've been paid in underpaid licensing, the penalty on top of that.

    Funny that we only seem to have this issue with Microsoft. No issues with any other vendor that we use at massive scale.
     
  11. greebs

    greebs Member

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    Oracle and IBM come to mind.
     
  12. PabloEscobar

    PabloEscobar Member

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    It's not hard,

    It's hard to get right, where right is defined as "paying the minimum amount I have to, to be compliant"
     
  13. OP
    OP
    scips

    scips Member

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    Update: no change :p

    M$ did audit the client after they departed from the previous MSP, and passed because we had already changed to vlsc and we all know why they got audited (salty MSP)
    Might need our BDM to let slip to his buddy at rhipe that someone needs an audit too
     

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