Thursday, August 4, 2011

Microsoft's 'License Mobility' Extends to Amazon Cloud


Microsoft's 'License Mobility' Extends to Amazon Cloud

Microsoft launched its License Mobility with Software Assurance program this month, enabling companies to move on-premise application servers to public cloud hosting services, such as Amazon Web Services, without incurring additional software licensing costs.

Microsoft's License Mobility with Software Assurance (SA) program, which started on July 1, can be used to move on-premise Microsoft application servers to Amazon Web Services, according to Amazon.

License Mobility enables organizations with volume licensing and SA agreements, flexibility on how to use Microsoft application servers without incurring additional licensing fees. Microsoft announced the License Mobility with SA program in March.

In many cases, organizations can transfer application server licenses into a hosting company's public cloud, including leveraging Amazon's infrastructure-as-a-service offerings to run applications as services, without incurring additional licensing costs.

Microsoft's license mobility with SA program applies to select application servers. It doesn't include Windows licensing. Organizations paying to use a public cloud, such as Amazon Web Services, typically get access to Windows Server through the Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) that the service provider signed with Microsoft. In addition, Windows is licensed per device, which is another reason why an organization's on-premises Windows licenses aren't transferrable to public cloud infrastructures.

Licenses for the following Microsoft application server products are eligible for Microsoft's mobility program, provided that they are covered by Microsoft's SA licensing option: Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft Lync Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server, Microsoft SQL Server (Standard and Enterprise Editions) and Microsoft System Center.

Amazon claimed in its announcement that companies with volume licensing and SA agreements in place have been upgrading to the cloud using Microsoft's mobility licensing option. For instance, they may move from using SharePoint 2007 on premises to using SharePoint 2010 on the AWS cloud.

Amazon lays out the eligibility requirements to use Microsoft's mobility licensing option on this page. The license mobility program is described by Microsoft here.

An important caveat is that SA agreements also have to be in place with Microsoft for the Client Access Licenses, or CALs, used to access the application servers.

Microsoft had announced back in March that the licensing mobility program would apply to service providers with SPLA agreements. Consequently, the program is opened up to AWS or any other authorized public cloud hosting company or value-added reseller that may want to participate.