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“Get Your On-Premises Licensed Software off Our (And the Other) Clouds”: Microsoft

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When cloud gets confusing…

Microsoft says customers are wrongly running its software in the cloud despite only holding on-premises software licences.

It is shaking up its licensing terms to tackle the issue, which it blames on blurred lines between “traditional outsourcing and cloud services.”

Microsoft On-premises Software License Changes: What’s Happening, Exactly?

Microsoft outsourcing terms let on-premises customers deploy its software on hardware leased from and managed by traditional outsourcers.

The result: “The emergence of dedicated hosted cloud services has blurred the line between traditional outsourcing and cloud services and has led to the use of on-premises licenses on cloud services,” the company complains.

To tackle the issue, Microsoft says it is changing its software licensing terms in a move that will affect all on-premises software available through Microsoft volume licensing.

Put October 1 in your Calendar…

As of October 1, 2019, customers will no longer be able to use on-premises licenses purchased without “software assurance” and “mobility rights” on Alibaba, Amazon (including VMware Cloud on AWS), Google and its own Azure, Microsoft says.

It will now refer to these companies as “listed providers”.

The company’s taking a softly-softly approach to the change. Those “guilty” of running on-premises licensed software on the infrastructure of one of these cloud providers, can continue to deploy and use it under existing licenses, but will not be able to add workloads under licenses acquired on or after October 1, 2019.

There will be no change to Microsooft’s Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) programme, or to the License Mobility for Software Assurance benefit, other than to expand this benefit to cover dedicated hosted cloud services, the company adds.

Anything Else?

The announcement comes as Microsoft rolled out a new service: Azure Dedicated Host, a new Azure service that lets businesses run their Linux and Windows virtual machines on single-tenant physical servers; an offering it says offers “visibility and control to help address corporate compliance and regulatory requirements.”

The company added: “We are extending Azure Hybrid Benefit to Azure Dedicated Hosts, so you can save money by using on-premises Windows Server and SQL Server licenses with Software Assurance [Microsoft’s volume licensing programme] or qualifying subscription licenses.” The service is in preview as of last week.

The feature is similar to AWS’s “Dedicated Hosts” and GCP’s “Sole Tenant Nodes“.