Take care when splitting and combining VMware vSphere licenses

If you are changing your virtual server IT infrastructure, then you may need to split or combine your VMware vSphere licenses.VMware vSphere - technology image

Photo by Daniel Chen on Unsplash

All vSphere licenses installed in the same VMware server farm must have the same Support Level, i.e. Basic (9×5 business hours) or Production (24×7).

So, if you have different support levels on your VMware vSphere licenses you need to take care when splitting and combining them.

Also, if you have VMware server farms installed in different countries and since vSphere licenses are licensed on a geographic regional basis (depending upon in which country they were purchased), you must take care not to split and combine licenses from different regions.

Of course, before combining license keys ensure that they are for the same release. You may need to upgrade some license keys via your MyVMware portal beforehand.

Also, see our earlier blog about splitting license keys.

Because of the complexity of VMware licensing, the SAM Club helps its Clients maintain their MyVMware licensing portals and maintains a synchronised single pane view of all licensing & support data in their SAM Workbooks.

If you might benefit from The SAM Club’s expertise and assistance with your VMware licenses, support renewals and MyVMware portal please contact us.

How do you know which version of Microsoft licenses your organisation owns and is licensed to use?

Image of trees Photo by Ju On on Unsplash - Mirosoft licensesDo you know which version of Microsoft licenses your organisation owns and is licensed to use? The Microsoft Business Center Portal (BCP) by design displays the original license view in case of licensing model changes. For example, with the licensing model for Windows Server having changed from processor to core licensing with the 2016 release, are you able to tell what your organisation owns and is entitled to?  So, as an example, with licenses for Windows Server 2012 R2 that expired on 31st October 2018, the SA term and the original order proves and guarantees entitlement to use Windows Server 2016 and/or 2019 instead of the 2012 R2 version.  But the BCP does not show or highlight this in any way.  In fact with a recent scenario we have seen the BCP shows no evidence of the SA term and expiry.  This could lead organisations to purchase the current version when in fact it is already owned.

At The SAM Club, we maintain the records for our clients in their SAM Workbooks and provide the help and guidance to ensure new software purchases are not made when a license already exists. If you would like to know more about our service then please get in touch.

Do you need to reset your MyCitrix logins?

If you haven’t logged in to your MyCitrix portal recently you may find that your login doesn’t work.

Padlock on a fence - MyCitrix portal

For security reasons Citrix has been invalidating users’ previous passwords, thereby, forcing users to go through a password reset process.

We suppose that by doing this, Citrix will effectively purge the ability of users who are no longer active or who have left their firms from being able to login.

So, you may wish to check that your login still works and, if not, to reset it before an urgent, time-critical situation arises for you to access your MyCitrix portal.

P.S. Whilst you’re in your MyCitrix portal you might like to perform a health check &/or do some tidy up, e.g.

  • Delete any out of date users
  • Check/Update your active user list
  • Check/Update your support renewal contacts
  • Check/Update who is your preferred Citrix Partner
  • Archive old licenses

OR, The SAM Club can help you do this and look after your portal on an on-going basis as part of our Managed Service. It may seem like a simple thing to manage a licensing portal, but it’s easy to miss some of these little things that can actually save you thousands in licensing costs – read our Adobe licensing portal blog for more info.

Please contact us for an exploratory discussion.

Are your Microsoft Azure Costs Spiralling?

As more organisations start to use Microsoft Azure it is important to review your Azure portal(s) on a regular basis.

Spiral Staircase - Microsoft Azure Costs spiralling?

There are two portals. The original portal, aptly named ‘Classic’ and the newer version Azure Resource Manager (ARM). Moving from Classic to ARM is not straight forward but it’s worth considering for potential cost savings as Classic has limitations.

Windows Server Hybrid Rights

As you start to migrate VM’s to Azure, your Windows Server Datacenter & Standard Edition licenses with SA or Windows Server Subscriptions can be used with Hybrid Rights for the OS’s hosting VM’s within ARM. This saves you licensing additional Windows Servers for the Azure VM’s thereby helping to reduce your costs. *Note that this option is not available with the ‘Classic’ portal.

Disks

If you review the Disks that you’ve purchased, there is a column called ‘Owner’. Where this is blank it indicates that the Disk is not being used by a VM. However, this Disk would have been purchased and is, therefore, contributing towards your costs.

Reserved Instances (RI’s)

This is where a VM can be reserved for dedicated use on a one- or three-year basis. RI’s require a one-time up-front payment but can offer discounts up to 70% when compared to the standard on-demand pay-per-use VM pricing model. *Note RI’s are not available within the ‘Classic’ portal.

The ARM portal also provides performance information on VM’s. After a 30-day period, you can see information on VM’s that may have been specified incorrectly and only using a small % of the CPU available. This provides another option to review and reduce Azure costs.

Are you using Azure for Test and Dev environments? Are you making full use of the Azure credits which come with your Visual Studio subscriptions? Visual Studio Professional provides a credit of US$50 per month and US$150 per month with Visual Studio Enterprise. But, these credits are for use by your named licenced developers and cannot be used on a team basis.

At The SAM Club, we monitor our clients’ Azure Portals and provide regular reports for review, highlighting potential cost savings for consideration. Contact us if you would like to know more about our independent Software Asset Management Service. We are not a license reseller, so you can be confident that the information we provide is unbiased and, in your organisation’s, best interest.

If you are considering moving to Microsoft Azure you might find attending our regular Azure User Group meetings useful.

Microsoft SQL Server – Cost Analysis / License Review/Case Studies

Recently, The SAM Club has worked on three Microsoft SQL Server licensing projects all with different scenarios and saved our clients significant costs on each occasion.
Micrsosoft SQL Server

Case 1:

Client A had a mixture of SQL Server Standard (licensed with User CALS) and SQL Server Enterprise licenses. On comparing their installations with licenses owned, it quickly became apparent that the client was severely under-licensed. SQL Server Enterprise was being installed as the ‘norm’. After an initial clean up exercise, the whole SQL Server estate was reviewed, and each installation reconsidered as to whether SQL Server Standard or Enterprise was required. The current and immediate requirements were considered as well as the SQL Server 2014 User CALS which didn’t have SA. Based on the client’s plans we reviewed the licensing options; considering SQL Server Standard with User CALS and the Per Core permanent licensing models, as well as the subscription model, over a 6-year period. The license costs ranged from £316k to £210k, a significant difference and proved invaluable in helping the client with their decision process.

Case 2:

Client B following a merger of two firms, the SQL Server estate needed a complete review. One firm had been licensed on the SQL Server Standard + User CALs model whilst the other firm had older Per Processor licenses without SA. The client had been through a process of decommissioning several applications and reviewing its IT infrastructure. After discussions and examining the pricing of different licensing models and options it was decided that, in the longer term, it was best for the client to opt for a separate SQL Server VM Farm. Two servers were commissioned and licensed for SQL Server Enterprise to allow the client to run a mixture of SQL Server Standard and Enterprise VM installations, ensuring they are compliant and to provide the longer-term flexibility for the numerous SQL Server instances required.

Case 3:

Client C has an SCE agreement covering all its SQL Server estate. On comparing their installations to the licenses within their SCE agreement, we identified a shortfall of more than £300k per annum. A project was kick started and discussions held as to how to reduce the deficit. A decision was made quite quickly, based upon the number of SQL Server Enterprise installations, to consider a separate SQL Server VM Farm licensed with SQL Server Enterprise. On completion of the analysis the shortfall was reduced to less than £70k per annum.

Also, in Cases 1 and 2 we were able to help resell the SQL Server licenses no longer required to offset some of the costs.

As part of our analysis we consider:

  • Full history of the SQL Server licenses purchased
  • The installed base and SQL Server purposes, including:
  • SQL Server installations for Dev and Test
  • Active / Passive Servers
  • Installations where no separate license is required e.g. SCCM & Commvault
  • Installations nearing end of Microsoft Extended Support

Question : How does your SQL Server installation base compare to your licenses owned? Are you using the most cost-effective license model?

Over the years, SQL Server costs have significantly increased, and Microsoft has changed its licensing models and SA benefits between major releases. Contact The SAM Club if you are interested in an independent licensing review of your SQL Server environment. We will provide a report based on our findings for your review and consideration. The SAM Club is not a license reseller, so you can be confident that the information we provide is unbiased and in your firms best interest.

Microsoft announce the special Office Professional plus installation rights will remain

Microsoft announce that they will not now remove the special Office Professional Plus installation rights that customers are currently entitled to with Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 From SA licences. The current rights are detailed on page 54 of the May 2019 Product Terms, and this announcement confirms that the rights are here to stay rather than being removed after 1st August 2019.

Citrix Workspace - digital workspace

The SAM Club can help you understand your licensing position, document and maintain your software assets and help with new technology planning and renewals. Find out more.

Visual Studio 2019 now available

Microsoft announced that Visual Studio 2019 is available to download as of 2nd April 2019. With improvements on the previous version, Visual Studio 2019 enables users to get into code more quickly by making it easier to use.

Visual Studio 2019

Visual Studio is licensed per developer and provides Azure Credit for subscribers:

  • US$50 for Visual Studio Professions (standard subscription)
  • US$150 for Visual Studio Enterprise (standard subscription)

Note: Overages are billed after the monthly credit has been consumed.

If you are considering Azure for Dev & Test purposes, then check out our blog from our recent Azure User Group meeting on this subject.

Visual Studio is also the perfect solution for gaining access to the latest Microsoft releases for Dev & Test use (Windows Server, SQL Server etc).  See the latest version of the benefits by subscription level here.

If you would like to know more about licensing Visual Studio or to get advice on your current licensing position, please get in touch.

System Center 2019 now available

Microsoft announced the general availability of System Center 2019 on 14th March 2019. As customers grow their deployments in the public cloud and on-premises data centres, management tools are evolving to meet customer needs. System Center continues to play an important role in managing the on-premises data centre and the evolving needs with the adoption of the public cloud.

System Center 2019

Some of the features include:

  • Tools to monitor and manage data centers
  • Support and manage capabilities in the latest versions of Windows Server
  • Enable hybrid management and monitoring capabilities with Azure

System Center 2019 is in the LTSC (Long Term Servicing Channel) which provides 5 years of standard and 5 years of extended support.

Click here for further information on the announcement and how System Center can benefit your organisation.

If you would like independent advice on your current licensing position, please get in touch. We offer an independent SAM Managed Service or can work with clients on a project basis for upcoming Microsoft renewals and compliance reviews.

Veritas announced the End of Standard Support for Backup Exec 16 with effect from 2nd April 2019

The latest release of Backup Exec is 20.3

Veritas Backup Exec 16 Ened of support

Existing customers with active maintenance may be entitled to upgrade at no charge. Veritas Support is available to assist customers who are actively upgrading from Backup Exec 16 to Backup Exec 20.x. Upgrade Support is limited to upgrade assistance and does not include step-by-step guidance nor consultancy about the upgrade process nor troubleshooting Backup Exec 16.

Customers running Backup Exec 16 who wish to migrate their existing jobs and backup data to new hardware can follow the steps provided in the articles below as appropriate for their environment:

• Article 100020224 – How to migrate (move) Backup Exec from one system to another with the same version of BE, Windows and same or different computer names
• Article 100001807 – How to migrate Backup Exec to another server with a different Windows OS version
• Article 100020072 – How to migrate (move) Backup Exec from one version to another on a different server with a different server name
• Article 100012412 – How to migrate (move) Backup Exec from one computer to another using the same version of Backup Exec and Windows, and the same computer name
• Article 100017867 – How to Copy the Backup Exec Database (BEDB) from an existing Backup Exec Server to a new Media Server with the same or different server name
• Article 100027163 – Disaster recovery of Deduplication Disk Storage in Backup Exec 2012 and above
• Backup Exec Administrator’s Guide, Duplicating backup sets or a job history manually

As from 2nd April 2019, requests for support for Backup Exec 16 releases will be denied by Veritas Customer Care unless the customer has a valid Extended Technical Support contract in addition to a valid maintenance agreement. Please see the links below for more information.

Veritas Technical Support Solutions Handbook

Veritas Product Lifecycle:
Veritas Services and Operations Readiness Tools
Veritas End of Life Policy
Veritas End of Life Table

Please contact The SAM Club at info@thesamclub.co.uk if we might help you understand:-

• Your Backup Exec Licenses
• Releases that you are entitled to
• Your Support & Maintenance Renewal Dates
• If you’re confused by the data in your MyVeritas licensing portal – we provide a Licensing Portal Health Check & Clean-up Service
• Explore converting your Agents & Options licensing model to the Capacity (per Terabyte) licensing model & if this might result in ease of use and/or renewal cost savings

SAM Club Merry Christmas and a look back on the year – 2018

Merry Christmas - SAM Club 2018 update
Well the year is winding down, less than a week until Christmas. So, we thought we would do a roundup of the SAM Club’s year.

We have had a year of growth and are very excited for what 2019 will bring.

Some of our achievements:

• Increased our client base by 25%

• For 15% of our clients, we have assisted with and completed sign off for a Microsoft Compliance Review

• Worked with 28% of our clients on their Microsoft Enterprise Agreements – reviewing their installations, discussing their future requirements and advising on ideas / solutions. Including completely relicensing SQL Servers for 2 clients which resulted in large cost savings for them

In April we opened our new office at Kings Court, Stevenage. It’s a managed office with great facilities and services that we love working in. To coincide with the new office, we expanded our team to include our new Business Support Assistant, Neeley Casserly – who is helping to keep our clients’ licensing and SAM Workbooks up to date.

Some of our improved business processes:

• Implemented an online accounts system for the SAM Club

• We have now made the SAM Workbooks accessible via a link. So our clients can always see the latest version of their workbook in real time

• Installed Webroot to secure our laptops

• GDPR – as everyone had to tackle this year, we climbed the GDPR mountain, researched and implemented the required processes to ensure we are compliant

We have written more blog articles, providing our clients with regular updates on product lifecycles, new product releases, licensing changes and some great licensing tips. There will be more to come next year, and we have had some great feedback on the topics covered so far. Suggestions are always welcome.

Thank you to all our clients and partners, old and new for 2018. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. We look forward to working with you all, for what will be a great 2019!

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