Microsoft recently announced Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) – a subscription-based, per-user licensing option for its most popular productivity services. They include Windows and Office (on-premise) as well as Windows Server, Exchange and SharePoint (on-premise or cloud).
One very important piece of news embedded in this announcement was the introduction of the User Subscription License (USL) for Windows.
Until now, Windows was licensed on a per-device basis, which has always presented challenges to enterprises using virtualization. These customers were required to purchase a Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license, either separately or as part of Software Assurance (SA). The SA option had its own limitations, as it only supported Windows devices and was costly at $100 per device, per year.
The end result was two-fold – (1) Microsoft customers and critics voicing their frustration over the complexity, cost and inflexibility of Windows access in a multi-device business environment; and (2) an increase in the number of customers that were creating their own workarounds (which put them in a state of non-compliance).
The Windows USL, available on December 1, 2014, aims to solve both of these problems. As long as Windows 8/8.1/7 Professional or Enterprise is licensed on a user’s primary device, that user is licensed to access it from, and use it on, an unlimited number of other devices. This also has an impact on another Windows license add-on, the Companion Device License (CDL). The CDL used to support up to four devices per user, but now also supports an unlimited number of devices.
Here are a few things to know about this announcement:
Once pricing and license transition details are announced, NPI will provide a more detailed assessment of the impact USL will have on customers. Stay tuned!