As more businesses worldwide are transitioning to the cloud, the big question remains: “Should I stay on Microsoft Volume Licensing? Or change to the Cloud Solution Provider Program?”. To help you decide, we present you the six most important differences between Microsoft Volume Licensing and the Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
To start, nothing can be complete in just a single article. Might you have any questions or doubts, please reach out to the specialists to help you.
Reading time: approximately 10 minutes
Software Assurance is the insurance for your investment in software licenses. It has 28 different components which might benefit you. One of the most used for on-premises IT Infrastructures is License Mobility. Eligible licenses, such as Exchange Server, SQL Server and SharePoint Server, can be reassigned without the 90-day ‘waiting’ rule. For high available infrastructures where servers tend to move from one host to another, this comes in very handy. Besides that, as a customer you are allowed to take your licenses to a Service Provider and to Microsoft Azure (please be aware, corresponding Client Access Licenses have to be covered by Software Assurance as well).
Another component of Software Assurance is Office Roaming Use Rights for the Office applications. Users who use desktops with an Office license assigned, covered by Software Assurance, do have the right to access and use the Office applications from third party (i.e. non company owned) devices.
The CSP program does not offer Software Assurance. So when you subscribe to Server Subscriptions (Windows Server and SQL Server) through CSP, you do not have the right for SQL Server to reassign licenses more than once every 90 days. You are allowed though to reassign the license to Microsoft Azure.
Regarding Office, every person with an eligible Office 365 subscription is allowed to install the corresponding Office application up to five devices and five mobile devices. These devices do not have to be company owned devices. With that, the necessity for Office Roaming Use Rights disappears.
Whether you need one of the 28 components of Software Assurance might determine if Volume License or the CSP program is right for you.
Coverage or use
Volume Licenses are based on coverage and deployment. For every piece of software installed or used and for every device or for every person you must have the appropriate license. When you enter into an Open Value (standardized) or Open Value Subscription Agreement you are forced to cover all devices for (at least) the Office Suite Applications, Client Access License or Windows Enterprise, even if you do not use the technology in the entire company.
The CSP program is based on usage. You subscribe to certain services (lets say Office 365 E5), assign that subscription to a user and this user can use the service and corresponding applications. There is no need to subscribe to the service for the entire organization, you only subscribe to what you are about to use.
No min, no max
Cryptical, admitted. The Volume License program for SMCs is designed on a discount with volume (that explains the name of the program). The minimum number of licenses (i.e. point) is five. There is no official maximum, but for SMCs who use the Open program, we advise a maximum of 750 devices or users. Above that number the Enterprise Agreement or Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) is more suitable.
To go short, the volume license program has level based pricing, the more you buy, the more discount you get.
The CSP program doesn’t have that. The minimum subscription number is one (1) and there is literally no maximum. So 500,000 Microsoft 365 subscriptions in CSP for óne organization is possible. Besides, the CSP program doesn’t have level based pricing. There are net suggested retail prices from Microsoft to customers and they are published online.
With the Volume License program you will receive a one-time or annual invoice from your licensing partner, upfront, for your licenses (depending on your choice). When you have a different Microsoft partner for deployment of technology or management for your IT infrastructure or devices, you will receive multiple invoices from multiple partners.
The Cloud Solution Provider Program is designed around the partner of your choice who will provision, deploy and manage the subscriptions. You will receive just one invoice from your partner for subscriptions and services. Off course, when you need specialized expertise you can still use a different IT company to help you (and they will invoice you separately).
Important, from your CSP partner you will receive – 99 out of 100 use cases – a monthly invoice and you pay for what you have used in that month.
Let us give you an example with Azure. Azure through the Volume License program is an upfront monetary commitment. When you use less than anticipated, you will loose your credits after 12 months (!). When you use more, you will have to buy additional credits. Within the CSP program you can use Azure Services and you will receive an invoice at the end of the month for the money you have spent. To protect you from bill shock, you or your CSP partner can use Azure cost control and management.
Price protection, or not
Customers with an Open Value or Subscription Agreement (as part of Volume License) receive a three year price protection from Microsoft. When Microsoft decides to increase the prices, you are not ‘hurt’ until the end of your agreement (but than it will …). The CSP program doesn’t have that price protection which will give you a bit of a financial risk.
Regional of global coverage
The Volume License program for SMCs has regional coverage. This means that customers can only buy and deploy licenses within their own geographical region. Customers within the European Union are lucky, the entire EU and accomplished with the EFTA region is óne geographical region.
The CSP program is global, but there is a catch. The CSP reseller, so your CSP partner, is only allowed to provision subscriptions within the geographical region where they are based. But you as a customer are allowed to sublicense to your affiliates and subsidiaries. Example, you are based in Dublin and you have a subsidiary in Redmond and one in Singapore. Within the CSP program you can subscribe for all employees around the globe. But you will have just óne cloud tenant and óne invoice on you Dublin head office.
As a customer, you are to decide whether you want to pay for the technology you use through the Microsoft Volume License program or the Cloud Solution Provider program. The six important differences between these programs might help you decide. Are you not sure which program suits you best? Please contact one of our software licensing experts to help you.