Licensing topics are a tough subject to discuss and get your head around. Microsoft just announced they are changing licensing for dedicated hosted cloud services per October 1st. This is a very interesting move but one with consequences. To understand the license change, I thought a blog might be a good place to start. I’m not trying to voice my opinion, I write to share and to get my head around a topic. This time it is not any different. The best way to understand a topic is to write or present about it. – hope you enjoy my brain fart.

Licensing changes

Microsoft is changing their licensing terms for the use of their Windows operating system. The change effects the use of Windows operating systems with cloud services, dedicated hosted cloud services of specific providers.

Customer with software assurance are still able to deploy Windows operating systems in any cloud service. Software assurance is required to deploy with dedicated hosted cloud services. It will raise the costs by around 25%.

Copyright: Microsoft

There are a few ways customer can use this (from the Microsoft site);

Microsoft has a program called Azure hybrid benefits which will even out the increase of costs for customer running on Azure dedicated hosts.

A few questions…..

There is a small line that I find very interesting to read;

Dedicated hosted cloud services by major public cloud providers typically offer global elastic scale, on-demand provisioning and a pay-as-you-go model, similar to multitenant cloud services

Dedicated host cloud services are, according to Microsoft, offering elastic scale, on-demand provisioning and so on. The dedicated host cloud services are perhaps a bit more on-demand elastic than an old school hosted party but it is not that you can scale with the click of a button. It feels like a grey area to say this is a lot different than large hosting parties are offering… but it could be me.

The key in the license terms are these two words; “Listed providers”. The license change is only applicable for listed providers. This read as though it is not for every provider, that some are excluded from this change. That’s what got me triggered. Who are the listed providers?

So, it is not what is changing, that is rather simple.

Customers without Software Assurance are not allowed to run Windows operating systems on dedicated hosts server with specific cloud provider.

The question that is more difficult to answer who are the listed providers, who are in and who are excluded from this change? Let’s take a look at who the listed providers are.

Listed providers

Microsoft, in their blogpost mentions these listed provider;

  • Microsoft,
  • Alibaba,
  • Amazon (including VMware Cloud on AWS)
  • Google

Amazon is mentioned along with VMware cloud on AWS. Google is announced but no mention of VMware cloud on GCP (Cloudsimple), Microsoft itself is mentioned but again no mention of VMware on Azure (Cloudsimple).

Why the specific mention, that was what I couldn’t get my head around. What dedicated hosted cloud services are out there, let’s take a quick look at some.

Dedicated hosted cloud services

One of the well known dedicated host cloud services is VMware Cloud. These services don’t run on AWS, GCP or Azure. Instead they run on bare metal servers in the datacenter of those providers.

  • VMware Cloud on AWS
  • VMware Cloud on GCP – hosted by Cloudsimple
  • VMware Cloud on Azure – hosted by Cloudsimple

Nutanix also announced a partnership with AWS around this. They also run on bare metal servers in AWS datacenters, not on AWS.

  • Nutanix Xi Clusters on AWS

Google has a similar offering where they physically separate your workloads from other workloads.

  • Google Cloud sole-tenant nodes

Microsoft itself also started with offering dedicated hosts to customers. The service is providing physical hosts for customers to run their workloads. on without sharing them with others.

  • Microsoft Azure Dedicated hosts

And there are more but you get the picture with this list. From on-premises to hosted environments to cloud we now are at dedicated host cloud services. The idea is the same as a hosted environment only now it is not a standard hosting party managing your servers, it is a real cloud provider.

VMware Cloud on Azure

VMware Cloud on Azure by CloudSimple can leverage the Azure hybrid benefits. This enables them to lower the costs of deployment there with 25% or so. Every solution that can leverage VMware Cloud on Azure can benefit from these hybrid benefits.

Interested to see how VMware and AWS with their tight partnership are responding on this. Time will tell.. VMworld is around the corner, will keep my ears open.

Hope this makes some sense, interesting to see the impact it has and how they work hard to get customers to Azure.

anything not correct in my blog? please let me know.


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