What are the licensing implications of deploying Microsoft products in hybrid environments?

Deploying Microsoft products in hybrid environments, where a combination of on-premises and cloud-based infrastructure is used, can introduce complexities in terms of licensing compliance and cost optimization. Here are some key licensing implications to consider when deploying Microsoft products in hybrid environments:

License Mobility

Microsoft License Mobility is a feature that allows certain eligible software licenses to be moved between on-premises and cloud environments without the need to purchase additional licenses. It is essential to understand which products are eligible for License Mobility and how to take advantage of this feature to avoid unnecessary licensing costs.

Client Access Licenses (CALs)

In a hybrid environment, CALs may be required for users or devices accessing on-premises Microsoft server products, such as Windows Server, SQL Server, and Exchange Server. It is crucial to accurately track and manage these CALs to maintain licensing compliance.

Hybrid Use Benefit (HUB)

Microsoft offers a Hybrid Use Benefit (HUB) for certain products, such as Windows Server, which allows customers with Software Assurance to use their existing on-premises licenses to run workloads in the cloud at a reduced cost. Understanding and leveraging HUB can help organizations optimize their Microsoft licensing expenses in hybrid deployments.

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Software Assurance

Software Assurance provides various benefits, including access to new product versions, technical support, and License Mobility. Maintaining Software Assurance on eligible licenses can help organizations take advantage of these benefits in hybrid environments.

License Bundling

Some Microsoft cloud services, such as Office 365 and Microsoft 365, include licenses for certain on-premises products. Organizations should carefully evaluate these offerings to avoid purchasing redundant licenses for on-premises and cloud environments.

Virtualisation and Licensing

Microsoft server products may have specific licensing requirements when deployed in virtualized environments. Understanding these requirements, such as licensing by the number of virtual cores or virtual machines, is crucial to maintaining compliance and optimizing costs in hybrid deployments.

Compliance and Audits

Hybrid environments can introduce additional challenges in tracking and managing licenses. Organisations should maintain accurate records of their software deployments and license entitlements to demonstrate compliance during a Microsoft software audit.

TLDR

Understanding and addressing the licensing implications of deploying Microsoft products in hybrid environments is crucial for maintaining compliance and optimizing costs. Organizations should carefully evaluate their licensing needs, leverage features such as License Mobility and Hybrid Use Benefit, and use effective Software Asset Management (SAM) tools to manage their Microsoft licenses in hybrid deployments.

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