Microsoft Update July 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for July 2018

  • Technical Dependency- Office 2019 (C2R) and Office 2016 (MSI) cannot run concurrently on either Windows or Mac.
  • Technical Dependency – Office 2019, there is no MSI version offered.
  • Licensing –  Office 2019, there is no MSI version offered. “Office 2019 (for both Windows and Mac) is a one-time purchase and does not receive feature updates after purchase. Office 2019 includes a meaningful subset of features found in Office 365, but it is not part of Office 365.”
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Configuration Manager 2007 reaches the end of its support lifecycle on July 9, 2019. SoftwareONE recommend that customers migrate to the latest version of SCCM (current branch) as soon as possible.
  • Licensing – Microsoft confirm Windows Autopilot licensing requirements
  • Reference – Microsoft publish Windows Autopilot solution documentation at
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 will be end-of-support in less than 12 months, effective July 9th 2019

Read moreMicrosoft Update July 2018

Microsoft Update June 2018

June 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • New Features – Microsoft update the Office ribbon, to focus on the most common features, with one row of buttons rather than two. (Those of you who remember the menu before the introduction of the ribbon in 2007, may be smiling wryly)
  • New Features – Microsoft Planner integration improves with Outlook for Calendars, Microsoft Teams for visibility, and SharePoint for files
  • New Features – Microsoft Teams can now access SharePoint document libraries. There is also new persistent chat with options to mute , hide or leave a chat. New video features support cloud video recording for future playback.
  • New Features – Microsoft Sway improves with updates to the App for iOS to enable editing and preview, with better mobile UI features
  • New Feature – Microsoft365 Admin Center general availability providing a ‘single pane of glass’ for Office365, Enterprise Mobility & Security, and Windows 10.
  • New Feature – Microsoft release Windows Admin Center providing a complete administration experience for Windows Server
  • New Feature – Cluster Sets is a new feature coming in Windows Server 2019. Loosely-couple clusters together to allow for VM fluidity. Provide scale without loss of resiliency.
  • Licensing – Updated EA licensing guide for June 2018

Read moreMicrosoft Update June 2018

Microsoft Update May 2018

May 2018 saw a number of important licensing and solutions updates, including but not limited to:

  • Licensing – Hybrid Use Benefit and Azure RI General Availability for Windows Server and SQL Server in Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) subscriptions expand the sourcing and license design options for customers
  • Licensing – Windows 10 deployments on Azure Stack require Windows USLs, or purchase through a Qualified Multitenant Hoster
  • Licensing – EULA for Windows Server Container Images
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Microsoft Calling Plans with Domestic and Domestic and International Plans available as User Subscription Licences and (all users need to be licensed with a Phone System User SL too), now available in Canada. with full geo availability available here:
  • Licensing – To take control of Office365 Groups, you will need more than Office365 subscriptions
  • New Feature – Microsoft To-Do receives feature updates
  • New Features – PowerBI Desktop
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure GDPR Data Subject Requests processing capability enters General Availability
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure AD B2B Collaboration improvements to meet GDPR obligations
  • Licensing – Mobile device management capabilities improve in the Microsoft 365 Business Plans
  • Resource (Licensing) – PowerBI Embedded Reports FAQs addresses licensing and licensing packages questions

Read moreMicrosoft Update May 2018

Microsoft Update March 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for March 2018

  • Licensing – Microsoft re-confirm that Inactive User Mailbox licensing is “postponed indefinitely”  – and reiterate Exchange Online Plan 2 or Office365 E3/E5 is assigned for Litigation Hold of Inactive Mailboxes. Minimum license re-assignment of 90 days.
  • Licensing – Microsoft announce effective May 1st 2018, Outlook Mobile will become part of all Exchange Online SKU service plans
  • Licensing – Microsoft also confirm, effective May 1st 2018,  ‘Commercial Use Rights’ for Office Apps will extend to F1 and E1 and Business Essentials. A long overdue and welcome announcement.
  • New Feature – Enable GDPR with DSR (Data Subject Requests) in Office365 Data Privacy Tab of Office365, and Azure DSR Portal.
  • Pricing – Microsoft market “transparent” pricing, but SQL Hybrid Benefit can mean one customer with VL pricing anchored at Level A, another at Level D, +/- discounts etc. Enabling strong competitive advantage over AWS for Azure SQL DB Managed Instances
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – SQL Information Protection enters public preview. The ‘advanced’ moniker indicates it may be a premium offering in-line with the other notable GDPR enabling features.
  • New Feature – Microsoft Teams guest access expands to consumer accounts
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure Migrate is now Generally Available in March 2018. Microsoft step into commercial TCO with scenario planning inclusive of Azure Hybrid Use Benefit, Right-Sizing, No Charge Dependency Visualization   further enabled by  Azure Advisor. This does move native functionality of Microsoft services into the PyraCloud space, but do you want commercial and technical governance owned by the vendor, and does this address Multi-Cloud?
  • SQL Server Hybrid Use Benefit emerges in the March 1st Product Terms. Specified use scenarios, with a key limitation on concurrent use when comparing to Windows Server Datacenter. Notably no Azure Analysis Services included.
  • Microsoft  announce that Azure Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) was generally available on March 1st. Azure ATP resides within EM+S E5.

Read moreMicrosoft Update March 2018

Microsoft Update February 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft licensing and solution updates, for February 2018

  • Licensing – Azure Information Protection Scanner enters General Availability. Notably aligned within EM&S E5 or AIP P2. Enables GDPR.
  • Roadmap Lifecycle – (Public Preview) Managing Office365 licenses becomes easier with group-based subscription assignments, Admins will be able to restrict individual services for staged deployments, and assign multiple service packages
  • New Feature – Office365 near term roadmap with new features across Planner, Advanced Threat Intelligence and Advanced Threat Protection
  • Licensing – If you want to manage group naming conventions and expiry policies for Office365 groups, you will need Azure AD Premium licenses
  • New Feature – Windows Defender ATP now supports Windows 8.1 and 7
  • New Feature – Microsoft Compliance Manager enters General Availability. Provided natively for Office365 Enterprise Plans for GDPR

Read moreMicrosoft Update February 2018

Microsoft Update January 2018

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for January 2018

  • Licensing – New Windows Server CAL waiver for Azure AD, and clarification of Windows in Microsoft 365 Business Ref: January 2018 Product Terms a new CAL waiver for the Windows Server base CAL for Customers using Windows Server solely in connection with Azure Active Directory syncs with on-premises Active Directory infrastructures”
  • Reference (Licensing) – Windows Azure VM must enable port 1688 for licensing. To restrict access to Internet IPs, an admin must create an inbound rule in NSG to restrict the traffic. A network security group (NSG) contains a list of security rules that allow or deny network traffic to resources connected to Azure Virtual Networks (VNet).
  • Reference (Licensing)- PowerApps licensing can be expansive – a database managed by the Common Data Service (CDS) could incur all users of the app(s) that access the database to have a PowerApps Plan 1 subscription. There is a good licensing resource available here:
  • Reference (Licensing) – A good resource on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams add-on licensing
  • Reference (Licensing) – Impact on Office365 service features support across the various iterations of Skype and Lync desktop clients
  • Reference (Licensing) – PowerBI use scenarios can impact licensing and solution topology e.g. ‘User Owned Data’ vs, ‘App Owned Data’ when the user and app authenticate to access PowerBI APIs (for example for task workers to access a kiosk application) requires PowerBI Pro
  • Licensing – Microsoft announce policy change on End of Support and Premium Assurance. Microsoft are re-evaluating the Premium Assurance offer construct, which provides up to six years of additional support beyond the extended support period. Effective Feb 1st 2018, Premium Assurance SKUs will be updated to lead-status and removed from the published price list. As of now Premium Assurance should no longer be sold, and Redmond are working on plans to announce at a later date.

Read moreMicrosoft Update January 2018

Multi Cloud – Stay In Control

Multi-cloud is on the rise. In some organisations, individuals and departments adopt various cloud solutions and services over a period of time, resulting in a gradual drift into a multi-cloud scenario. Other organisations deliberately assign workloads to both Microsoft Azure and AWS, seeking to reduce excessive reliance on either vendor, enhance flexibility, improve resiliency and mitigate exit strategy issues. In other cases, sovereignty regulations such as GDPR lead global companies to adopt multi-cloud strategies to keep data in local regions. Either way, multi-cloud is now so prevalent that it’s being referred to by some as the “new normal.”
However, multi-cloud raises challenges as well as benefits. Costs can run out of control, and management complexity can spiral as individuals and teams spin up workload after workload across the organisation, often without involving the IT department. Keeping track of what is under way, where, and for whom can become impossible.

Data and workload fragmentation sets in – silos, much like those we’ve seen for decades in the data centre, but now scattered across the cloud. Also, it’s not uncommon for IT to be unaware of the existence of certain cloud assets, much less where they all are, the resources they’re consuming or the benefits they’re delivering.

Being Wise to Vendor Incentives

Meanwhile, both Microsoft and Amazon are focusing on retaining, as well as attracting, customers. They use contractual devices, but also reward end users for committing more data and heavier workloads to their platforms. Naturally, users take advantage of such rewards, and the greater their reliance on their cloud platform of choice, the greater their inclination tends to be to stick with it.
Unavoidably, a piecemeal approach to multi-cloud results in relentlessly escalating costs, and deteriorating visibility. To effectively leverage multi-cloud’s potential, it is important to improve visibility and bring costs under control. SoftwareONE employs three principal offerings within their PyraCloud platform to help you do exactly that, including:

Read moreMulti Cloud – Stay In Control

Microsoft Update November 2017

Some principle recent Microsoft solution and licensing updates, for November 2017

  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Azure Reserved VM Instances are now Generally Available in all EA programs and on Azure Monetary Commitment funds can be used throughout the term of the enrollment for new orders through the EA Prepay (3 year upfront) option, New/Renewal direct EA customers will be billed quarterly for all coverages
  • Reference – Editions and Supported Features of SQL Server 2017
  • Licensing – If you need to control/restrict service access to Office365 services with Intune? You will currently need Conditional Access via Azure AD Premium P1
  • Microsoft News – Microsoft approaching 1 billion identities synced with Azure AD
  • Tool – Microsoft update MAP Toolkit ready for SQL 2017
  • Licensing – If some users do not have a license for Azure Information Protection (AIP) but do have a license for Azure Rights Management, edit the registry on these users’ computers to prevent them from running unlicensed features (Published July 2017)

Read moreMicrosoft Update November 2017

Microsoft Update October 2017

Important licensing updates for October 2017

  • Licensing – Azure Info Protection enters Public Preview in October 2017, scanner crawls through files in CIFS based file shares and SharePoint sites and apply classification, labelling and protection on files policies – driving Azure Information Protection (AIP) P2 –
  • Licensing – Cloud App Security can read files classified by Azure Info Protection Scanner and set policies based on the file labels: General Availability from October 2017.
  • Licensing – New Products added to the Microsoft Product Terms (October 2017) SQL Server 2017, Exchange Online Inactive Mailbox (Note: Removed in November 2017 in a Microsoft U-Turn),
  • Microsoft 365 F1, Visio Online Plan 1 and 2, Microsoft 365 A3, Microsoft365 A5 for Education in the Product Terms (October 2017)
  • Licensing – New Products added to the Online Service Terms (October 2017) Exchange Online Inactive User, new Skype PSTN names, new Microsoft365 EDU services 
  • Licensing – October 1st, 2017 SQL 2017, Semi-Annual Channel for Windows Server, System Center in the October 2017  Microsoft SPLA Services Provider Use Rights:

Read moreMicrosoft Update October 2017

Microsoft Update September 2017

Important licensing updates for September 2017 –

  • Roadmap Lifecycle – Office365 and Azure are both Generally Available from new UK data centers. Microsoft marketing MoD move:
  • Licensing – F1 remains a bold move to target a wider addressable market. At circa $10/u/m and 2B users, you can see why Be aware of feature limits of Windows 10, (and no Azure AD Info Protection) for Microsoft M365 F1. (September 2018)
  • Licensing – Windows 10 – virtualization use rights have been extended to certain licenses purchased under the Microsoft Cloud Agreement. Customers purchasing Windows 10 Subscriptions via Microsoft Cloud Agreement (excluding Windows 10 Enterprise E3 Per User Local Only) may activate the software on up to 5 concurrent physical or virtual OSEs Ref: Product Terms, September 2017 
  • Licensing – Added “Processing of Personal Data” to support the European Union General Data Protection Regulation Terms (GDPR) 
  • Licensing – Dynamics365 – Embedded editions of certain Microsoft Dynamics 365 Services are available through the Microsoft Cloud Agreement.  Embedded editions of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Services may be used only with an Embedded Unified Solution (defined) 
  • Licensing – Microsoft announced Office 2019 “Perpetual”
  • New Feature – Office365 Use Metering and ‘Reader Role’ designation for Usage Reporting
  • Licensing – Microsoft announce Office365 Usage Analytics and will reach general availability in July 2018, including new metrics on teamwork and collaboration, usage data for Microsoft Teams, Yammer, and Office 365 Groups

Read moreMicrosoft Update September 2017