The SAM Club’s 10th Anniversary

As we enter a new decade The SAM Club is celebrating its 10th Anniversary.

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One thing that hasn’t changed over the 10 years is that licensing rules & compliance requirements continue to change.

During our 10 years we have:-

  • Continued to acquire long term clients that have on-going Service Agreements with us.
  • Performed many projects to help clients with their Microsoft Enterprise Agreement renewals.
  • Helped clients to become compliant & successfully negotiate Microsoft Audits.
  • Helped to novate & co-term license agreements during mergers (In one case we helped with the merger of 3 major law firms).
  • Helped clients purchase low cost 2nd hand Microsoft licenses to meet specific needs.
  • Helped clients recoup costs by reselling redundant on-premise licenses as they move to cloud-based solutions.

We have seen significant IT changes & trends which have had significant impacts on licensing decisions & costs:-

  • Vendors moving from permanent licensing to subscriptions.
  • Uptake in Software as a Service (SaaS), such as Mimecast.
  • Fast-growing new Software Vendors, such as Veeam.
  • Vendors providing mobility/multi-device management & security solutions.
  • The trend towards cloud-based solutions, especially Office365 & Azure.

The SAM Club has kept pace with these trends & expanded its range of services in order to continue to provide good SAM & Licensing advice to its clients considering their future IT plans.

10 years ago, our largest client was a 600-user law firm. Today our largest client has over 3,500 users.

Our geographic spread has widened with clients in Jersey, Salisbury, Nottingham, Dublin as well as in London. Modern remote working & web-based technology enables us to work efficiently in helping remote clients whilst keeping our fees down.

We can honestly say that we have saved all our clients significantly more money than our fees, as well as saving them time & ensuring compliance.

If you are not already a SAM Club client, then we would be pleased to have an exploratory discussion with you. Contact us.

Follow us on LinkedIn & sign up to our blog, where we regularly publish timely licensing news & good practice tips.

 

News Release – Our new partnership for cloud and modern workplace

Working with the experts at independent cloud consultancy SystemsUp

SAM Club & SystemsUp

At the SAM Club, we are independent licensing and Software Asset Management consultants.

For 10 years we have provided cost effective, practical solutions to manage software licensing, purchasing, renewals, re-harvesting and compliance.

However, many of our clients are in process of moving from, or are actively considering moving from, on-premise IT solutions to cloud-based services such as Microsoft Office 365, M365, Azure and Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings.

To assist our clients with the technical side of these migrations we have partnered with independent consultancy SystemsUp. The team at SystemsUp work with organisations across the public and private sector to ensure that the cloud services and collaboration tools they choose are implemented effectively and securely.

Having the right partner to provide independent technical consultancy services helps our clients to choose the right cloud-based applications and services, and to architect the very best solutions to meet their business requirements.

Our partnership with SystemsUp offers an additional option to The SAM Club’s clients. It does not interfere with our clients using their usual software suppliers.

Ian Nicholls, Director & Managing Consultant at The SAM Club says, “SystemsUp and The SAM Club are both authorised Microsoft partners. Together, we provide objective, expert licensing and technical guidance, to help our clients make the best decisions and to reduce cost and risk.”

Nick Martin, Managing Director of SystemsUp, says, “Our partnership is about helping organisations to exploit all aspects of the cloud in a way that benefits their business as well as their users. We want to ensure that their move to the cloud is as seamless as possible and results in a workplace that is fit for the digital age.”

Get in touch to find out more

Microsoft announce the release of Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2019, and Project Server 2019

Microsoft Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2019, and Project Server 2019 are all now available to commercial customers. The products can now be downloaded from the Volume Licensing Service Center or the Business Center (MPSA)

SAM Club Microsoft Office 2019 Servers available

Some of the new features are listed below for these Servers, with links to more detailed release pages for each product.

Exchange Server 2019

Exchange Server 2019 includes scale and performance enhancements, new and improved search powered by Bing technology, new options to restrict the forwarding of meeting requests, and increased control over “out of office” settings.

Skype for Business Server 2019

Skype for Business Server 2019 provides on-premises and hybrid customers with additional security, quality, and performance features to improve the hybrid scenario.  New features include Cloud Voicemail, Cloud Call Data Connector, Streamlined Migration to Teams, and support for TLS 1.2.

SharePoint Server 2019

SharePoint Server 2019 brings the ease of use of SharePoint Online to on-premises customers.  For end users, the new release delivers modern libraries, lists, and communication sites.  IT professionals will see improved performance and scale with simplified management. And developers will now be able to build for both cloud and on-premise environments with deeper SharePoint Framework integration.

Project Server 2019

Project Server 2019 offers a robust end-to-end project and portfolio management solution, with strong collaboration capabilities powered by SharePoint Server 2019. Updates include enhancements to performance and scalability, improved reporting, and an expanded set of APIs.

The licensing models remain the same but please get in touch if you would like to understand more about your licensing options.

You can read about other recent releases from Microsoft for Office 2019 and Windows Server 2019 on our blog.

Source: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Office-365-Blog/Office-2019-servers-available-for-commercial-customers/ba-p/275879

Microsoft release Office 2019 for Windows and Mac

Microsoft has announced the availability of Office 2019. If you have active Software Assurance (SA) cover on your Office products, as of the General Availability date of 24th September 2018 then you are entitled to this new release.

SAM Club Microsoft release Office 2019

Licensing Office 2019 through the Volume Licensing Programs remains the same as Office 2016 Standard and Professional Plus per device licenses. However, it will be about 10% more expensive due to the October price rise.

If you purchase new licenses from now onwards, you will be entitled to use them at the 2019 release even though you might install them at an earlier release, such as Office 2013 or 2016, under downgrade rights.

Office 2019 provides enhancements to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, Visio, Access, and Publisher for customers who can’t be cloud-connected or receive regular updates.

The new enhancements are a subset of a long list of features that have been added to Office 365 ProPlus over the last three years.

Office 2019 is a one-time release and won’t receive future feature updates so we don’t see any point in customers maintaining active Software Assurance (SA) in order to solely receive new releases. (However, there are other benefits of SA such as Roaming Use Rights, and options to acquire a “From SA” USL (User Subscription License) if moving to an Office 365 / Microsoft 365 E3/E5 plan if all your organisation’s Office licenses have active SA.

The announcement page has some useful links to FAQs on both the new features and the new technology to deploy it – Click-to-Run. There’s also confirmation that Exchange Server 2019, Skype for Business Server 2019, SharePoint Server 2019, and Project Server 2019 will be released in the coming weeks.

Microsoft will continue to add new features to Office 365 ProPlus monthly, including innovations in collaboration, artificial intelligence (AI), security, and more.

Microsoft’s focus for Office going forward is Office 365, but they state that “We see the on-premises version of Office as an important part of our commitment to give customers the flexibility they need to move to the cloud at their own pace”.

Microsoft will cease Extended Support for Office 2019 in 2029 so we expect them to be pushing all customers to Office 365 by then.

To discuss the best licensing options to upgrade to Office 2019 or if you are considering making the move to Office 365 please get in touch so we can help you choose the best licensing option for your organisation.

Have a look at our recent blog article about the release of Microsoft Windows Server 2019.

Source: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2018/09/24/office-2019-is-now-available-for-windows-and-mac/

Could VMware vSphere ROBO Edition Save You Licensing Costs?

Did you know there’s a VMware option for smaller remote environments/office locations with a local IT Infrastructure? vSphere ROBO Remote Office / Branch Office could help reduce your VMware licensing costs.

VMWare vSphere ROBO blog

ROBO is available in Standard and Advanced Editions. Both Editions provide the vSphere Hypervisor (ESXi) and share a common core of features. These include High-Availability, vSphere vMotion, vSphere Storage vMotion, vSphere Data Protection, vSphere Replication, vSphere Fault Tolerance for workloads up to 2 CPUs, and vShield Endpoint for security.

The Advanced Edition builds on the standard feature set adding vSphere Distributed Switch, vSphere Host Profiles, vSphere Auto-Deploy and vSphere Fault Tolerance for workloads up to 4 CPUs. The Advanced Edition may be more appealing for larger, more distributed enterprise environments that need additional automation to deploy and manage remote systems.

A datasheet is available here.

You can also compare the Standard and Advanced Editions here.

ROBO licenses are priced per-virtual machine (per-VM) and sold in packs of 25 licenses. A 25 VM license pack can be shared across multiple locations. For example, five remotes offices each running up to five virtual machines. This approach provides deployment flexibility and helps minimize the cost of smaller infrastructures commonly found at remote offices.

Note, however, that ROBO licensing is limited to a maximum of 25 VMs in one remote site/office location.

vCenter Standard Server (purchased separately) can be used to remotely managing ROBO sites from a central Datacentre. Alternatively, if you wish to manage ROBO installations locally from within your Remote Office/Branch Office then you can do so using vCenter Foundation Edition (purchased separately).

Just as there is a vSAN option for vSphere so there is also a vSAN option for vSphere ROBO Editions.

However, there is no upgrade path to traditional vSAN licenses for ROBO licensing to Virtual SAN Standard or Advanced licensing.

If ROBO provides the features required for your smaller environments and these are currently licensed with vSphere Enterprise Plus, it would be worth completing a cost analysis exercise to see how the price of purchasing ROBO compares to the renewal costs for the current licenses…….or you might be able to re-deploy the vSphere Enterprise Plus licenses used in your Remote Offices.

Also see our previous blog about being VMware compliant regarding Country of Use vs Country of Purchase.