Octopus recently created a new reporting module to help service providers manage their licensing portfolio. If you are considering moving to these different programs, I encourage you to ask for a demo on how to track these different licensing scenarios. For example, in one program, the end customer does not need CALs; in another, it is required. If you think licensing is confusing, so does your customer. Schedule a demo today. 

Join our community to learn more, listen, and attend previous and current webinars on these different topics!  www.community.octopus.cloud 

CSP Hoster :

  • Must be qualified (CSP Direct Partner)
  • Must be SPLA
  • Quarterly reporting
  • The End Customer is the licensee
  • Windows Server Datacenter and Standard options
  • Customers may either bring their own eligible licenses to those solutions, or the CSP-Hoster can sell the required licenses to the customer
  • CSP- Hoster accesses VLSC to install the software and checks the customer is licensed to access it
  • No more QMTH
  • Must be subscription licenses, not perpetual
  • The main benefit is that you control the end-to-end solution for your customer. Do they want SPLA? No problem. Do they want CSP? No Problem. The benefit is that you can sell different solutions to the customer and receive incentives through CSP.  

That’s a long list!  CSP Hoster is very similar to SPLA. The major difference is that in SPLA, the hoster is the licensee; in CSP, the end customer is the licensee. CSP Hoster provides an end-to-end solution for the customer (last bullet point above). You control the end customer.  You have access to the keys for installation; you can sell the CSP licenses directly to the customer and provide all the support and hosting requirements. In addition, you receive incentives from Microsoft. The downfall is you must be authorized to do so.  

Flexible Virtualization:

  • Does NOT require a SPLA Agreement
  • Must be an authorized outsourcer
  • No reporting
  • The End Customer is the licensee
  • Subscription licenses or Software Assurance
  • Customers must bring their eligible licenses to those solutions
  • End customer accesses VLSC to provide the software to the outsourcer
  • No more license mobility (unless Listed Provider)
  • The benefit of FVB is it does not require CSP Direct authorization (little investment)
  • Similar to the old license mobility program

Another long list! The flexible virtualization benefit is great for those who are CSP indirectly authorized or maybe just a data center outsourcer/MSP without an SPLA. The downfall of this program is that anyone can become an authorized outsourcer. That means that every hoster, MSP, and outsourcer is now a competitor.

How others are successful 

Many providers do not think it’s a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a mix. I would argue that a differentiator for any outsourcer is to have a SPLA agreement. Often, an end customer may not want to mess with the licensing.  It also depends on which solution is going to be more profitable. To quote one customer, “We try to stick with SPLA. If we use FVB or CSP, we will become Microsoft resellers. From a cost perspective, SPLA can be less expensive. SPLA data center, we run unlimited VMs, so it’s less expensive per customer. In addition, if our customers consistently bring licensing over to us, they buy it from someone else.  I would prefer they buy the SPLA licenses from us; we have control and are not missing out on licensing revenue.” 

So, what does this mean for you? I encourage you to learn about these different options and which one fits your customer’s needs. As the hoster above mentioned, SPLA is not going away, and in many cases, it may make the most sense. SPLA Man lives to see another day! 

Thanks for reading,