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VMware: Have you come across a VMware Audit

VMWare audit compliance

When it comes to software audits, Microsoft have led the way. However, we have recently seen an increase in other vendors following suit and have seen our first VMware Audit. 

As per section 5 of the VMware End User License Agreement, your organisation is required to complete the questionnaire that is provided.  If this exercise is not completed accurately and in a timely fashion, then VMware may perform a full audit as a follow up to the notification received.

The VMware audit is conducted by the Global License Advisory Services department, to help facilitate customer compliance in line with VMware’s software licensing terms and conditions. Depending on the results, there may be a need to discuss entitlement and deployment management options at the end of the self-audit process.

The information for the audit is exported from vCenter and includes for example; Machine/Host Names, Physical Processor (CPU Count) plus product information including version and edition.  

Some things to consider are; how up to date is the information in your vCenter and does it match with the licenses held on your MyVMware portal?  Are license keys being used correctly for multiple locations? For example, do you have a single license key for say 8 CPUs for vSphere Enterprise Plus that are used for more than one location?  Can you provide the evidence to show licenses (keys) aren’t being used more than once?

You may be interested in other recent VMware articles we have published:

At The SAM Club, we work with our clients to ensure their MyVMware portal contains folders for the Host Clusters and the license keys assigned correctly. This can then be mirrored back to vCenter to help with the overall management of your VMware licenses. If you would like more information or an internal review of your VMware estate then please contact us at info@thesamclub.co.uk

 

 

Winner of this year’s SAM Club Kickers Fantasy football league

SAM Club Kickers Fantasy football league - Top 15 chart
SAM Club Kickers Fantasy football league – Top 15

Every year we run a fantasy football league with our clients and partners as a bit of fun and healthy competition.

We are pleased to announce this year’s winner is Jonathan Bush with his team West Sham United. Well done Jonathan, the prestigious SAM Club Kickers trophy will be winging its way over to you very shortly!

The competition was a close call with our very own Ian Nicholls hot on Jonathan’s heels, with the Curly Bee’s scoring a whacking 2136 points. But luckily Jonathan pipped Ian at the post with a score of 2158.

Last year’s winner Liam O’Mahoney and his team Fresh, came in at fourth place and our top client performer was Alex Bethell from Lewis Silkin in sixth place with his team; Who wants to be King!

Well done everyone and make sure you get involved in next year’s league to be in with a chance to be the next SAM Club Kickers champion.

VMware : Splitting a vSphere License

VMware vSphere license split

We have been looking at a series of interesting facts around VMware software licensing that can often catch organisations out when managing their software assets. This tip is about splitting a vSphere license.

When a VMware license is purchased, an ‘instance’ number is generated within VMware which is like a unique number of a database. So, if you purchase 8 x vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses, this order will be associated with one instance number.  Note : The instance number and license keys are not the same.

When renewing, upgrading or making any other license changes, VMware will always require the instance number otherwise the order could be processed incorrectly. Unfortunately, VMware don’t display the instance number anywhere on the MyVMware portal.

Continuing with our example of a purchase of 8 x vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses, when it comes to ‘splitting’ a license, this can be completed in two ways and can cause confusion:

·       If the licenses were purchased for 6 CPUs for Site A and 2 CPUs for Site B then the License Key on the MyVMware portal can be split but this won’t affect the instance number in the background.

If the 2 CPUs for Site B are now combined with other vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses to form one new license key, the instance number for the original purchase doesn’t change.  Therefore the new license key for Site B would contain numerous instance numbers which could have different SnS expiry dates. As time moves on and the renewal dates are co-termed or the license key is split again, then you can see how the scenario of managing the VMware licenses can become complex.

·       It may become necessary to split the instance number; this could be due to a technology refresh and for example and only 4 CPUs of the 8 CPUs x vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses are required for SnS renewal.

VMware will need the instance number to perform the split in the background to allow a SnS renewal order to be processed.  The instance number can be obtained via an IBR report from VMware. However, this report does not link to the MyVMware portal via the license keys, which can add to the complexity of ensuring the right instance number is identified for the split. When VMware complete the license split, a new instance number is generated further complicating the issue.

At The SAM Club we work with our clients to document their VMware environment and assist with the management and use of the licenses. Please contact us if you would like to know more about our software asset management service.

The SAM Club, are independent trusted advisors who work with organisations to help them manage their software assets, allowing them to focus on their business needs. Being independent means, we do not resell any software, so we are completely unbiased in our advice.

 

VMware : Country of Use vs Country of Purchase

vmware country use vs country purchase

Working with our Software Asset Management clients we regularly come across new licensing rules that can catch organisations out as they have not necessarily been made aware, VMware is a prime example.

Did you know that unless your organisation has an Enterprise License Agreement with VMware, there are strict rules for compliance around the country or region a license was purchased in and the country of use for the license?

We found a copy of the VMware end user license agreement and under Section 1.14 it states, “Territory” means the country or countries in which you have been invoiced. So, for example if you have been invoiced within any of the European Economic Area member states, you may deploy the corresponding Software throughout the European Economic Area.

Unless you have been explicit with your reseller partner in stating the country or region of your VMware purchase or they know the specific rules around VMWare licensing, you may find your organisation is non-compliant.

Note: vCenter licenses purchased in the EEC can be used to manage vSphere licenses purchased and used in a different region for example.

Another potential issue arises with the management of the licenses within the MyVMware portal. For licenses purchased for a specific country or region, do you annotate the notes section for the license within the portal?

Setting up specific folders for locations can help ensure the licenses purchased for a specific region are managed correctly. Without proper management of your VMware licenses, it can be easy to get into a mess and become non-compliant.

Please contact us at The SAM Club if you would like to know more about how our software asset management service can help you manage your software licenses.

The SAM Club, are independent trusted advisors who work with organisations to help them manage their software assets, allowing them to focus on their business needs. Being independent means, we do not resell any software, so we are completely unbiased in our advice.

Our service is tailored to your individual needs, we maintain records of software assets and their status in a SAM Workbook, assisting with maintenance and support renewal management. We also work with client’s through vendor audits to help minimise expenditure and maximise the support benefits offered by software vendors.

It’s our business to understand the licensing rules and provide the advice and guidance to our clients with new purchases and renewals. We become part of your internal IT team managing your software assets and taking the time to understand: what is currently owned what is installed and the future business plans, providing valuable, objective and unbiased advice tailored to suit their requirements.

How to choose the right Technology partner?

How to choose the right technology partner

Are you working with the right technology partner?

Running a business can be challenging, with so many things to consider: HR, sales, marketing, finance, IT and the specialism of the company itself.

We work with lots of organisations at the SAM Club and an article by Roy Russell at Ascertus resonated with us as it talks about ethical technology partnerships. Law firms as an example must justify their fees and they validate them based on the level of experience and skills on a subject matter as well as quality of service. Russell says ‘So, shouldn’t the same criteria be applied to the pricing and quality of service provided by technology providers offering Support services?’

Finding the right technology partners to work with can be challenging and really the decision should not just come down to price, but take into consideration the level of support that is being provided. The demands on IT have changed, the days of managing tin are disappearing with products like Microsoft Azure, AWS and or hosted environments. There is a lot more emphasis on driving efficiencies within the business and providing IT solutions to benefit the demands of the end users. Software vendors constantly change their licensing rules, release new versions and understanding the termination rules of software licenses can be a headache. Should Heads of IT be keeping up to date with this ever-changing information or working with a specialist software asset manager?

Russell discusses the ethics of support pricing being based on the size of organisation – is this fair and ethical that a small business does not get the same level of support as a 1000 user site? Working with the right partners can mean the difference between spending thousands of pounds and saving thousands of pounds in the long run.

Why Software Asset Management?

A survey conducted by Computing magazine that looked at what aspects of IT generate the highest unforeseen costs, highlighted software licensing and asset management as the most expensive source. This is due to constant changes from software vendors licensing rules and the increased frequency of software audits being conducted by vendors.

One of the most recent license changes from Microsoft was the release of Windows Server 2016 and the change from per processor to per core licensing.  When Software Assurance (SA) on Windows Server expires, a 2-processor license will transition to a 16-core license. If your servers contain more than 8 cores per processor for example, you are entitled to a grant for the additional cores at SA renewal.  However, you must keep adequate date stamped records of the servers installed within the organisation as at the SA renewal in case of questions from a compliance review. We have seen examples where clients were not made aware of this and are now experiencing unexpected costs from a compliance review.

SQL Server is another minefield for licensing.  Having recently worked with a client on their Enterprise Agreement renewal re-licensing of SQL Server was considered, as the existing User CALS were not covered with SA and needed to be replaced.  We provided analysis over a 6-year period considering: permanent and subscription licensing, User CALS compared to Per Core licensing for SQL Server Standard and considering the different licensing programmes. The client was astounded to see different price options ranging from £880k to £360k. This prompted a further internal discussion on SQL Server and after some server amalgamation the SQL Server licensing model was agreed at a vastly reduced cost of £210k over a 6-year period.

Why work with a SAM provider?

Here at the SAM Club, we are independent trusted advisors who work with organisations helping manage their software assets and allowing them to focus on the business needs. Being independent means, we do not resell any software, so we are completely unbiased in our advice.

It’s our business to understand the licensing rules and provide the advice and guidance to our clients with new purchases and renewals. We become part of their internal IT team managing their software assets: taking the time to understand what is currently owned, what is installed and the future business plans, providing valuable, objective and unbiased advice tailored to suit their requirements.

Compliance Service

For any organisation there is always the possibility of a software licensing audit, being prepared for this can make all the difference. Microsoft led the way with software audits, they operate on a trust basis allowing user to download and install any software from the licensing portal on the understanding they have purchased the software and are entitled to the edition/version. But how do you know your environment is 100% correct and that users in the organisation haven’t downloaded software incorrectly? One of the services we offer is a compliance package, where we carry out an internal compliance review. This is generally the best defence as you are pre-warned of any license discrepancies and can consider your options ahead of an audit.  This also provides invaluable information for budgets should there be the need for any unlicensed software installed.

Unused / Unwanted Software

With Microsoft software purchased within the EEC, that is no longer required or used, there is always the option to resell this via specialist companies.  The SAM Club can help identify these licenses and option quotes for the purchase of these licenses.  There is an interesting article from Brodies that supports this : right to resell used software licenses

We would love to hear any thoughts around the topic of ethical technology partnerships or software asset management and if there is anything you'd like us to write about drop a comment to us!

Sources

Roy Russell Ascertus Ethical technology partnerships

SCL software asset management article

Introducing our new member of staff and new office!

The SAM Club would like to welcome Neeley Casserly who has recently joined to assist Ian and Bev in supporting the SAM Club clients with managing their software assets. Neeley will be working 8.30am – 12.30pm, 5 days a week. It is an exciting time for the SAM Club as the company grows, with a brand-new office in the newly renovated Kings Court, business centre in the heart of Stevenage.

 

Neeley comes from an IT background with 20 years’ experience, starting out at Mitsubishi Electric supporting the Reseller channel to market Mitsubishi Displays and launching the first TFT screens. Then moving on to become Marketing Manager for an Apple Reseller and a Senior Account Manager for IDG Communications, working with Vendors and resellers for their advertising needs. Following this Neeley held Marketing roles including: working for an agency supporting the Hewlett Packard reseller channel, an enterprise IT applications specialist and most recently as Marketing Director for a video production and solutions reseller.

Neeley has a wealth of knowledge in the IT sector and understanding of the channels to market. Neeley will bring her marketing knowledge to help the SAM Club extend its reach and help more customers to manage their software assets and stay compliant.

The SAM Club is recruiting!

With The SAM Club’s client base growing, we are looking to recruit a part time assistant to help with the management of our clients’ Software Assets. If you know of anyone near Stevenage, Hertfordshire that is suitable then please ask them to contact us.

 The SAM Club provides an independent Software Asset Management service across the following industries: Legal, Insurance, Accounting, Banking, Real Estate and Construction but our generic services and processes enable us to work in any industry.

The SAM Club Support Assistant

Overview of the upcoming changes to Office 365 ProPlus update management –

On April 20th, Microsoft announced changes to the way updates in Office 365 ProPlus are managed.

These updates also apply to Visio Pro for Office 365 and the Project Online desktop client and will take effect in September 2017.

See the full announcement for further information on exact dates for the upcoming schedule of Office ProPlus releases.

Source: Overview of the upcoming changes to Office 365 ProPlus update management –

Visual Studio 2017 Release Notes

Microsoft announce that Visual Studio 2017 is available for download 

Note there has been a name change where “with MSDN” is replaced by “Subscription” – so Visual Studio Enterprise 2015 with MSDN becomes Visual Studio Enterprise Subscription, for example.

The link provides more information about the latest release:

Source: Visual Studio 2017 Release Notes