Microsoft Commercial Licensing Guide_2017
Commercial Licensing Guide – Introduction
Acquiring software licenses through Microsoft Commercial Licensing is different than acquiring retail boxed software licenses. A retail software license is usually sold in a box and contains media (CD-ROM or DVD format), a user’s guide,
access to product support, and Microsoft Software License Terms. The Software License Terms dictate how the software can and cannot be used.
Software acquired through Microsoft Commercial Licensing is a software license only that gives the right to run a Microsoft software product. Organizations can save above retail boxed software prices when they participate in a Microsoft Commercial Licensing program. By acquiring software licenses through Volume Licensing, organizations
pay for only the software license and not for additional materials. Microsoft Commercial Licensing also offers Software
Assurance, a single, cost-effective program that includes unique technologies, services, and use rights to help customers deploy, manage and use Microsoft software and services more efficiently. Software Assurance is only
available through Volume Licensing, and is included with some Volume Licensing agreements and is an optional purchase with others.
When acquiring software through a Microsoft Commercial Licensing agreement, there’s a choice to acquire primary or
supplemental media, documentation, and product support separately by download or physical media.
How to use this Commercial Licensing Guide
This guide is an overview of the key features of Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs. The information is presented by organizational type and size, two of the most important keys to determining the best Commercial
The key chapters by organizational type are the following:
◉ Commercial business organization.
◉ Government organization.
◉ Academic organization.
◉ Nonprofit organization.
◉ Software and service partners.
Each chapter also contains information about the additional benefits and resources that are available with each
agreement, such as software asset tracking tools, maintenance programs, and online management services. At the end
of each chapter, there’s a quick feature comparison chart and an online selection tool.
In addition, separate chapters provide overviews of the following two key areas that apply to most Commercial
Licensing agreements in varying ways:
◉ Product Terms (which replaced the Product List and Product Use Rights documents). This provides information
about product availability across Commercial Licensing programs. It describes conditions on license acquisition in
addition to product-specific terms, and conditions governing how Microsoft products can be used in the
Commercial Licensing programs.
◉ Software Assurance, which helps customers enhance licensing value and improve business agility by providing a
unique set of technologies, services, and product use rights in one cost-effective program.
Keys to understanding Microsoft Commercial Licensing
The following are a few key organizational characteristics to help understand Microsoft Commercial Licensing policies
and agreements and help choose the best option for an organization:
◉ The size and type of an organization.
◉ The products that an organization wants to license.
◉ The way in which an organization wants to use those products.
Programs for the type and size of an organization
At the most basic level, the Microsoft Commercial Licensing agreement models address organizations in the following
◉ Organizations with 500 or more users or devices.
◉ Organizations with 250 or more users or devices.
◉ Organizations with more than five but fewer than 250 users or devices.
For organizations with 500 or more users or devices, Microsoft offers the following options:
⇒ Microsoft Enterprise Agreement* offers the best value to large commercial and government organizations and provides the flexibility to buy cloud services and software licenses under one agreement in response to the changing technology landscape. The Enterprise Agreement offers a subscription option, which lowers initial licensing costs based on subscribing to the rights to use Microsoft products and services instead of owning them.
The subscription option allows for an increase or decrease of subscription counts annually. With the subscription option, an organization can access Microsoft software for the duration of their subscription. *500 minimum user/device requirement is for commercial customers effective July 1, 2016. This does not apply to the Server and Cloud Enrollment. The minimum requirement for public sector customers is 250 users/devices. For more information,please see the Enterprise Agreement program guide.
For organizations with 250 or more users or devices, Microsoft offers the following options:
⇒ Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES) provides qualified academic customers of all sizes a way to acquire
Microsoft software and services under a single subscription agreement. The EES provides coverage for Desktop
Platform Products through one annual count of employees, the ability to add additional products as needed,
student licensing options, and the benefits of Microsoft Software Assurance.
⇒ Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) is available for midsize and large commercial and
government organizations that require 250 or more licenses for online services, software, and Software Assurance
(optional), and do not want an Enterprise Agreement. It’s also for organizations looking to make as-needed
⇒ Microsoft Select Plus is for midsize and large government and academic organizations with 250 or more users or
devices with multiple affiliates that want to license software and services at any business unit level, while still getting the price saving advantages of being a single organization. Select Plus for commercial organizations is no longer available to new customers.
For organizations with fewer than 250 users or devices, the Microsoft Open agreements provide volume discounts for
a minimal up-front cost and are widely available. Open agreements provide the following three purchasing license
options for commercial businesses and public sector organizations:
⇒ Open License is for commercial, government, and education customers who want a minimum initial purchase of
only five software licenses. This program is ideal if an organization prefers to pay as they consume services or use licenses, and to change their licensing agreement as the organization grows. Qualifying for volume purchasing also occurs under the volume feature of Open License. Open volume purchasing is for customers who can meet minimum purchase levels based on a system of product pools and points. With an entry minimum of 500 points from a single product pool, this program offers deeper discounts for a greater savings.
⇒ Open Value Subscription is for commercial customers who want to subscribe to, rather than acquire, Microsoft
product licenses. Available in select countries or regions, Microsoft Open Value Subscription provides the lowest
up-front costs of the Open options with the flexibility for customers to reduce their total licensing costs in years
when their desktop PC count declines.
⇒ Open Value Subscription for Education Solutions is for eligible education customers that want to subscribe to
Microsoft licenses and cloud services. This agreement offers low up-front costs with access to Microsoft software
licenses and cloud services for the term of the agreement through subscription-based licensing.
⇒ Open Value is for commercial customers with as few as five PCs and offers the advantages of Software Assurance, simplified license management, and an annual payment structure. Open Value offers Organization- wide and Non–Organization-wide options.
In addition to size, consider an organization’s primary function. For example, special pricing is available for
government, academic, and nonprofit organizations.
Programs for public sector and other organizations
For public sector organizations with fewer than 250 users or devices, Microsoft offers customized versions of the Open
agreements: Open License, Open Value, and Open Value Subscription. The Open License for Academic and Open License for Government agreements are like commercial Open License, but with a single price level and different partner channels. In some countries or regions, government organizations can also participate in the Open Value for
Government and Open Value Subscription for Government agreements. Also, in some countries or regions, nonprofit
organizations can participate in the Open License for Nonprofit agreement. Check with a Microsoft Reseller for availability.
Government and academic organizations with 250 or more users or devices can participate in the Select Plus agreement. Government organizations can also participate in the Enterprise Agreement.
For education institutions that prefer to license software on an annual subscription basis, Microsoft offers two unique
programs: Microsoft Enrollment for Education Solutions (for higher education institutions and primary/secondary
schools) and Microsoft School Enrollment (for primary/secondary schools only).
Microsoft also offers programs that can meet the specific needs of organizations that work in partnership with Microsoft to provide additional software and services, such as the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor Royalty
Licensing and Distribution Agreement and the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement.
Licensing on-premises software
Another key factor to consider—aside from organizational type and size—is which products and services an organization wants to license. Different product families fall under different licensing models. For example, a desktop
application, such as Microsoft Office Professional 2016, requires a license for each device that is running the program
locally or accessing the program on a network server. Customers can install any number of copies locally on licensed
devices or on a network device for remote use by licensed devices. Only one user can use the software on, or from, a
licensed device at any one time.
A desktop PC operating system, such as the Windows 10 Professional operating system, allows a customer to install
one copy of the software on a licensed device or within a local virtual hardware system on a licensed device for each
license the customer acquires.
In Commercial Licensing, the desktop PC operating system license is an upgrade license. Upgrade licenses can be
acquired only for devices for which an organization already has licensed a qualifying operating system, either
preinstalled on a PC through a PC manufacturer or as full packaged product from retail. The Product Terms shows the
qualifying operating systems that qualify for an upgrade license. It is available on the Commercial Licensing website at
Meanwhile, server products are licensed by server, processor, or core, and, in some cases, by access points. Some server products require a license for each running instance of the server software that an organization uses on a server—whether in a physical or virtual operating system environment. Other server products require licenses for each physical processor on the server or each core in the physical processors on the server. For example, Windows Server 2016Standard is licensed by physical core and permits a running instance in up to two virtual operating system environments, plus one host instance on the physical device solely to manage the virtual instances on the licensed
server. Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition is also licensed by physical core, but allows use of any number of
instances of the software. Note that the processor-based server licensing model has been retired. Legacy customers who still have rights to use earlier versions of Windows Server under the processor-based licensing model can find more information by downloading the Windows Server 2012 R2 Licensing Guide.
Windows Server as well as some of the server application products (e.g., Microsoft Exchange Server or Microsoft SharePoint Server) require a Microsoft Client Access License (CAL) for each user or device that accesses the server
software. CALs are version specific and must be the same version or later than the server software being accessed.
CALs permit access to servers licensed by the same entity. They do not permit access to another entity’s licensed
Licensing Microsoft cloud services
In addition to traditional on-premises software licenses, Microsoft offers subscriptions to cloud services. How an
organization adds cloud services through Commercial Licensing depends on the following two factors:
◉ Whether an organization wants to purchase value-added partner services
◉ Whether an organization wants to standardize on Microsoft products organization wide
Organizations wanting Microsoft cloud services should go through Microsoft Online Subscription Program at www.microsoft.com/online or through a Cloud Service Partner for value-added partner services. Customers that are
500 users/devices* and above who have or want to standardize on Microsoft products should use Enterprise Agreement.
*The minimum requirement for public sector customers is 250 users/devices. For more information, please see the Enterprise Agreement program guide.
Microsoft Financing provides commercial and public sector customers with an affordable and predictable way to
acquire the IT solutions that organizations want to help cut costs and increase efficiencies.
Microsoft works with multiple financing providers in 14 countries/regions around the world to offer financing solutions
under the Microsoft Financing program. Microsoft Financing solution partners work with organizations to define their
technology-related needs and objectives, set up a payment structure that works with an organization’s budget, and
help an organization maintain cash flow.
Microsoft Financing provides one financing resource for an organization’s IT needs, including software, services, and
product offerings. For organizations that already license software from Microsoft, flexible payment options are convenient and allow an organization to spread out the costs of the licenses during an extended period, thus preserving cash resources.
Microsoft Financing offers a simple and easy method of lending without any additional fees. Typically, no down
payment is required, and terms range from two to five years, making it easy to match an organization’s payments to
their business operations and immediately begin to realize IT benefits.
Microsoft Financing helps an organization be strategic with their IT purchases in the following ways:
◉ Acquire the IT solution an organization needs to achieve their business goals.
◉ Manage software, services (such as deployment), partner products, and hardware as one investment.
◉ Align IT benefits with costs.
◉ Enjoy a fast, easy, and responsive lending process.
Find out how a predictable and affordable payment structure can help an organization get the IT they need and stay
on budget. Visit the Microsoft Financing home page at www.microsoft.com/financing for more details.
Choosing a Commercial Licensing program for commercial organizations
Microsoft offers a variety of agreements to help businesses of all sizes manage how they purchase software licenses.
These agreements cover everyone from smaller organizations with a handful of devices/users to multinational
organizations that manage tens of thousands of client and server units.
Volume discounts are the most obvious benefit of these agreements, but Commercial Licensing also helps
organizations with the following tasks:
Tracking software use to ensure legal compliance.
Deploying updates and new versions, especially on devices/users.
Organizing software license purchasing through centralized purchasing practices.
All organizations can also subscribe to online services through the Microsoft Online Subscription Program or through
a Cloud Service Partner.
In general, Microsoft Commercial Licensing commercial agreements align to two main categories: those for companies
with fewer than 250 users or devices and those for companies with 250 or more users or devices.
For organizations with up to 250 users or devices, the Microsoft Open agreements—Open Value, Open Value Subscription, and Open License—have flexible, low-entry requirements. Open agreements offer three choices to meet
an organization’s specific needs, and they are all available from resellers, solution providers, and online vendors.
For organizations with 500 or more users or devices, Microsoft offers the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.* For
organizations with 250 or more users or devices, Microsoft offers the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement,
Microsoft Open Value, and Open Value Subscription. options are available through Microsoft Licensing Solution
Partners (LSPs) and Microsoft Enterprise Software Advisors (ESAs). Both LSPs and ESAs offer flexibility in payment
*The minimum requirement for public sector customers is 250 users/devices. For more information, please see the Enterprise Agreement program guide.
Microsoft Open Programs
Organizations with fewer than 250 users or devices
Open Program offerings are a convenient and simple way for corporate, academic, charity⑴, and government⑵
organizations with at least five devices/users to acquire the latest Microsoft technology. These offerings provide
volume discounts for a minimal up-front cost and are available broadly through a worldwide partner channel.
⑴ Not available for charitable organizations in all countries/regions. Check with a reseller regarding current availability.
⑵ Open Value for Government is an option for government organizations with up to 250 users or devices.
Although Microsoft Open Programs are available to any size organization, they are most often used by organizations
with fewer than 250 users or devices. The Open Programs offer many benefits, including the following:
◉ Simplicity. Start using licensed products as soon as an order is placed through the Open License pay-as-you-go
◉ Affordability. All Open Programs offer flexible payment options so that an organization can stretch their software
procurement budgets further than they can with retail license purchase options.
◉ Flexibility. A broad worldwide partner channel ensures that an organization has convenient and fast access to
thousands of software titles.
◉ Value. Manage licenses easily and conveniently through the Microsoft Commercial Licensing Service Center.
Microsoft Open programs: three options
There are three options available through the Microsoft Open program: Open Value (Organization-wide or Open Value
Non–Organization-wide), Open Value Subscription, and Open License. All Open programs require a minimum of five
The Open Value program is a flexible and affordable way to use and manage Microsoft licensed products under a
single agreement. The program is a three-year term commitment that includes Software Assurance. The Open Value
program has the following options from which to choose.
Open Value Organization-wide offers commercial and government organizations additional savings for standardizing
all their devices/users, devices/users on one or more Microsoft enterprise product. With this single platform option, an
organization can customize their devices/users by choosing separate components, including the desktop operating
system, Microsoft Office applications, and Office 365/CAL Suites, plus additional software products selected in an
organization’s agreement that include the following platform product options:
◉ Desktop operating system: Windows Enterprise Upgrade.
◉ Microsoft Office applications: Microsoft Office Professional Plus and Office 365 Professional Plus.
◉ CAL Suites: Microsoft Core CAL Suite, Enterprise CAL Suite, Office 365 E1, Office 365 E3, Office 365 E5.
The Open Value Organization-wide option includes discounts on organization-wide deployment.
Non–Organization-wide option (five qualified devices minimum)
If an organization needs licenses for servers or for a limited number of devices/users, they can open a Non–
Organization-wide Agreement for any product license purchases.
Open Value Subscription
Open Value Subscription offers flexible annual payments tied to the number of devices/users an organization has and
the lowest up-front costs. The benefits include:
◉ Additional savings in the first year if an organization has current or previous versions of organization-wide
◉ The option to add the organization-wide licensed products that an organization has selected on new devices/users
throughout the year at no additional cost for that year.
◉ Lower payment through the years as an organization’s desktop PC count declines.
Like the organization-wide option, the Subscription option offers the Single-Platform option to standardize desktop
PC software across an organization with a customizable platform that allows them to mix and match components.
With both Open Value organization-wide and Open Value Subscription, an organization can choose to standardize
desktop PC licensed products across an organization on all three components on the platform (desktop operating
systems, Microsoft Office applications, and Office 365/CAL Suites) and receive additional savings. The platform option
provides the simplest way to manage desktop PC licenses because an organization does not need to track which
version is installed on which desktop PC.
Open License is a two-year term commitment ideal for organizations that want a minimum initial purchase of five
software licenses. This program is also great for a growing organization’s changing business needs because it offers a
Open License volume purchase option: If an organization is purchasing larger volumes of Microsoft software licenses
but still prefer the pay-as-you-go model, the volume option is a two-year term commitment with product pools and
points. It provides deeper per unit discounts, resulting in significant savings, if the volume of software licenses is high
To participate in the Open License Volume Purchase option, an organization must meet a minimum purchase level of
500 points. Points are determined by the software product mix and the license quantity that an organization plans to
purchase. Because the volume option uses product pools and points to calculate the 500-point minimum purchase, it
is important to understand the product pools and points formula.
Product pools group similar Microsoft software products to achieve deeper volume pricing discounts. The following
are some examples:
◉ The applications pool includes products such as the Microsoft Office suites, Microsoft Project, Microsoft Visio,
and the Microsoft Visual Studio.
◉ The systems pool includes the Windows operating system upgrades such as Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10
◉ The server pool includes products such as Microsoft SQL Server Standard Edition database software and Microsoft Exchange Server.
Point values are assigned to each licensed product. For example:
◉ Microsoft Office Professional Plus is worth four points.
◉ Windows Server Standard is worth 15 points.
By adding the number of points earned, an organization can determine whether they meet the minimum purchase requirement. For a full list of point values, refer to the Product Terms at www.microsoft.com/licensing/products/products.aspx.
Microsoft Enterprise Agreement
Enterprise Agreement key attributes
At the onset of the agreement, pricing is based on a tiered volume discount structure, meaning the greater the size of
an organization, the less they pay per license. If an organization adds devices or users during their agreement, the per
device/user licensing costs remain the same, or may be reduced, given the Enterprise Agreement volume pricing levels
during their three-year agreement term.
All Enterprise Agreements include Software Assurance benefits that an organization can use to plan deployments,
ready their users for new software, and support Microsoft products and services.
An organization can spread the cost of their Enterprise Agreement across three annual payments, helping predict
future budgets. If they add new users or devices during their Enterprise Agreement, an organization can equip them
with software and services they are already using and then account for these changes once a year, through an annual
reconciliation process known as True-up.
An organization can choose to either purchase their software licenses through the Enterprise Agreement or subscribe
to licenses through the Enterprise Subscription option, which offers lower short-term costs and the ability to increase
or downsize their subscriptions annually.
Enrollments under the Enterprise Agreement
Organizations can realize additional savings and benefits when buying the following Enrollments:
◉ Enterprise Enrollment and Enterprise Subscription Enrollment provides the best pricing per user, per device,
or hybrid licensing flexibility, and simplified license management for end-user technologies from Microsoft. In the
Enterprise Enrollment, on-premises licenses are generally perpetual; in the Subscription Enrollment, on-premises
products are generally licensed on a subscription basis. Online Services are available in both Enrollments.
◉ Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) provides the best pricing, cloud-optimized licensing options, and simplified
license management when buying one or more server and cloud technologies from Microsoft.
The Enterprise Enrollment gives an organization the best value when they buy Microsoft end-user technologies on a
per-user, per-device, or hybrid basis. It provides a range of benefits, including best pricing and terms, cloud and user-
optimized licensing options, and simplified license management, when customers make an organization-wide
commitment to Enterprise Products and Enterprise Online Services.
Enterprise Products and platforms
Enterprise Products include on-premises licenses for Microsoft core desktop products, such as Windows Enterprise
Upgrade, Office Professional Plus, and the Core and Enterprise Client Access License (CAL) suites. Under the Enterprise
Agreement, these must be licensed on an organization-wide basis and can be ordered as individual product
components or together as a platform (with an additional discount).
The following Enterprise Products are included in the Professional Desktop Full Platform:
◉ Windows Enterprise Upgrade.
◉ Microsoft Office Professional Plus.
◉ Core Client Access License Suite.
The following Enterprise Products are included in the Enterprise Desktop:
◉ Windows Enterprise Upgrade
◉ Microsoft Office Professional Plus
◉ Enterprise CAL Suite
For a complete list of Enterprise Products, refer to the Microsoft Product Terms, available on the Commercial Licensing
website at www.microsoft.com/licensing/products/products.aspx.
Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5
Secure Productive Enterprise is a per user licensing option that includes Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and
Windows 10 Enterprise. Secure Productive Enterprise Secure Productive Enterprise is available in two options, E3 and
E5. Secure Product Enterprise provides licensing flexibility in a single, per-user SKU, including new cloud-first, on-
premises capable licensing rights to use to help subscribers transition from on-premises environments. Secure
Productive Enterprise E3 and E5 is available through the Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Agreement Subscription
(EAS), Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) for commercial and government customers, and in the
Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program for customers with cloud-only deployments.
How to get Secure Productive Enterprise
Secure Productive Enterprise E3 and E5 is available through the Enterprise Enrollment or Enterprise Subscription
Enrollment as a full USL, Add-on license, or an “From SA” USL. Here are the licensing options:
A broad selection of Microsoft products and services are available as Additional Products. These may be added
initially, or at any point during the term of an Enterprise Agreement, allowing an organization to more easily build
and maintain departments or divisions with specific needs and still enjoy volume pricing advantages and an annualized payment option. Additional Products can include device-based licenses, user-based licenses, cloud services, and other licenses that support an IT environment, such as CALs.
For Additional Products acquired at signing, an organization has the option to spread payments over three years.
Spreading out the cost of software licenses over three years can help an organization refocus critical IT budget and
provide budget predictability. Any Additional Products that are included at signing have set pricing for the annual
True-up reconciliation process.
Examples of software products available as Additional Products include Office Visio, Office Project, Windows Server,
and Exchange Server. For a complete list of Additional Products, refer to the Microsoft Product Terms, available on the
Commercial Licensing website at www.microsoft.com/licensing/products/products.aspx.
Server and Cloud Enrollment
The Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) is an enrollment under the Enterprise Agreement. For customers that commit
to standardizing broadly on Microsoft server and cloud technologies, the SCE provides a range of benefits, including
new cloud-optimized licensing options, simplified license management, and the best pricing and terms. Additional
benefits are also available, such as full cloud management and unlimited support.
How the SCE works:
1. Select from one or more of the available components to enroll in:
◉ Core Infrastructure (Windows Server and System Center).
◉ Application Platform (SQL Server, BizTalk Server, and SharePoint Server).
◉ Developer Platform (Visual Studio).
◉ Microsoft Azure. Microsoft Commercial Licensing Guide
2. Identify the installed base for each component in which an organization is enrolled. The installed base includes:
◉ Any existing licenses deployed with Software Assurance.
◉ Any existing licenses deployed without Software Assurance.
◉ New licenses that are being purchased at signing.
3. Ensure full Software Assurance coverage. The SCE requires full Software Assurance coverage of an organization’s
installed base. This can be achieved by:
◉ Renewing Software Assurance on existing licenses current with Software Assurance.
◉ Adding Subscription SKUs or new Licenses and Software Assurance for existing deployments that are not
current with Software Assurance.
4. Ensure full System Center coverage for Windows Server. The SCE requires full System Center coverage for
Windows Server. This means an entire Windows Server installed base must also be licensed with System Center.
After enrolling in the SCE, an organization receives benefits, including:
◉ The ability to run the latest version of all products enrolled.
◉ Subscription licensing options.
◉ Full cloud management benefit when enrolling into the Core Infrastructure component.
◉ Unlimited Support for qualifying customers.
Agreement structure and details
The Enterprise Agreement structure offers greater flexibility for enrolled affiliates located in different countries and
regions. Purchasing is independent, yet consolidated under one master program. The Enterprise Agreement structure
includes the following three components:
◉ The Microsoft Business and Services Agreement is required. This is a master agreement that defines contract
terms common to Microsoft licensing, service, and support agreements. The customer signs the Microsoft
Business and Services Agreement only once with or prior to the Enterprise Agreement.
◉ The Enterprise Agreement defines the terms for Enterprise and Additional Product license acquisitions,
subsequent orders, True-ups, and perpetual use rights.
◉ An Enrollment (Enterprise, Enterprise Subscription, or Server and Cloud) establishes the basic information an
organization can use to buy product licenses under the Enterprise Agreement. It defines purchase details like the
term of the licensing arrangement, products, subsidiaries, language options, and Enterprise Subscription
Agreement (or Licensing Solutions Partner, where applicable).
Each Enrollment has a three-year term during which all the terms and prices of products covered in the initial order
remain consistent. This means an organization can plan and budget for software license purchases up to three years in
advance, reducing annual budget restrictions and easing fiscal year spending challenges. Each enrollment also has the
option for a three-year renewal term.
Extended payment terms
With Extended Payment Terms from Microsoft, an organization can pay for their Enterprise Agreement on a monthly,
quarterly, bi-annually, or custom payment plan. Extended Payment Terms are automatically offered to all corporate
Enterprise Agreement customers (subject to credit approval). The benefits to Extended Payment Terms include the
◉ Greater flexibility and choice. Benefit from more flexible payment terms (monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or
customized) without having a specific arrangement with Microsoft.
◉ A quick and simple process. Extended Payment Terms are activated through a simple and short amendment to
an existing Enterprise Agreement.
◉ Ease of access. Because the Extended Payment Terms option is embedded into the Enterprise Agreement, an
organization can choose from a range of payment terms, per their needs when they buy.
◉ The ability to get more value. Payments can be structured to fit an organization’s budget cycles, so they can
afford a more comprehensive solution today and pay for it over time.
The price protection feature of the Enterprise Agreement provides a predictable price an organization can use to
forecast technology costs up to three years in advance. When an organization orders a product in the Enterprise
Agreement, the pricing for future orders of that product are determined to be protecting them from unanticipated price increases, making it easier to stay within their software license budget during the Enrollment term.
True-up and License Reservation
During the time of enrollment in the Enterprise Agreement, an organization’s business will likely grow, and they will
add devices, users, software, and services. When adding devices, users, software, or services to an Enterprise
Agreement, an organization can immediately use the same software or services included at the beginning of the
enrollment term. They report devices, users, software, or services through an annual process called a True-up order (or
License Reservation for online services).
True-up orders and License Reservation consolidate orders for additional quantities that are deployed during the year
under one order annually (including the third year before any renewal). An organization can also true-up multiple
times throughout the year as an added benefit in managing costs.
This feature is in addition to the annual True-up required each year. The annual True-up feature helps reduce time and
expense by consolidating the report of multiple additional software use under one purchase order. If an organization
does not add anything during the year, an update statement is reported to alert Microsoft not to expect a True-up
With the Software Assurance Step-up benefit, an organization can upgrade to a higher product edition without
incurring the full cost of the higher edition. For further details, please refer to the Enterprise Agreement Program
How to determine on-premises pricing levels
The total quantity of Qualified User and Devices that are licensed when an organization enrolls in the Enterprise
Agreement determines the price level for Enterprise Products and any Additional Products licensed under the
corresponding product pool.
Generally, Qualified Devices include the personal desktop computers, laptops, mobile phones, tablets, and similar
devices that are used by, or for the benefit of, an enterprise.
Qualified Devices do not include any computers dedicated to run only line-of-business software or any system running
an embedded operating system. Qualified Users are generally persons who use Qualified Devices or who accesses the
resources of the company’s server software or online services.
As part of enrollment, an organization is responsible for reporting the number of Qualified Users and Devices in their
organization. This number is the quantity an organization indicates on the initial order at signing, along with any
additional users or devices added throughout the term of their enrollment, which would be covered by submitting the
annual True-up order.
Customers who sign an Enterprise Agreement enrollment are referred to as Enrolled Affiliates, and customers can elect
to include affiliated legal entities under their enrollment. Each enterprise must consist of entire legal entities, not partial
entities such as departments, divisions, or business units. Each affiliate must be entirely included or entirely excluded
from the count.
For commercial customers, price levels for Enterprise Products are determined using the following table:
Qualifying Government customers receive Level D pricing.
When new customers license one or two of the components listed below, they receive a 15 percent discount off the
price they would have paid when licensing through a Select Plus agreement. Renewing customers receive a five percent discount on their Software Assurance renewal:
◉ Windows Enterprise Upgrade.
◉ Microsoft Office Professional Plus.
◉ Core CAL Suite or Enterprise CAL Suite.
New customers who enroll in the full Professional or Enterprise Platform (the Windows Enterprise operating system
upgrade, Office Professional Plus, and Core CAL Suite or Enterprise CAL Suite) can receive an additional 15 percent
platform discount on top of their already discounted Enterprise software Product purchase. Renewing customers also
receive an additional five percent discount on Software Assurance.
Microsoft Online Services
Keeping pace with the expanding array of Microsoft cloud services, the Enterprise Agreement also gives the flexibility
to choose among on-premises software and online services to best suit user needs and help optimize an organization’s technology spend.
Microsoft delivers a comprehensive set of cloud services and enterprise applications for user productivity, customer
management, communication services, and custom business applications. Microsoft cloud services include Secure
Productive Enterprise, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility and Security Suite, Azure, and Dynamics 365.
Enterprise Online Services
An Enterprise Online service is an online service that satisfies organization-wide licensing commitments and counts
toward establishing volume pricing levels.
With the Enterprise Agreement, an organization can move their on-premises licenses to eligible online services during
the life of the Enterprise Agreement or at renewal, and maintain or increase their Enterprise Agreement commitment.
An organization-wide commitment for Enterprise Products can be satisfied with a mix of Enterprise Products and
Enterprise Online Services. Mid-term, an organization can also add Enterprise Online Services for existing users with
an Add-on license; Add-ons offer discounted access to online services based on existing on-premises Software
Additional Online Services
With an Enterprise Agreement, an organization can also license the full breadth of Microsoft online services
Additional Online Services do not satisfy the coverage requirement. Some Additional Online Services are delivered as
per-user subscriptions (for example, Dynamics 365), while others, like Microsoft Azure, rely on a pay-as-you-go service
Microsoft Products and Services Agreement
Commercial, Government, and Academic organizations with 500 or more users or devices
The Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) is a single agreement for transactional purchases of Online
Services, software, and Software Assurance (an optional purchase) across an organization. Organizations can save time
and money by combining points from purchases organization-wide for the best price level, reducing the administrative
overhead associated with managing multiple agreements. Suited for organizations with 500 or more users or devices,
the MPSA is the best option for transactional purchases of Software and Online Services.
With the MPSA, an organization gets:
◉ A single agreement with integrated purchasing for software, Software Assurance, and Online Services. The
organization decides how and when they license Software and Online Services across their organization.
◉ More flexible purchasing options with Purchasing Accounts to establish a custom purchasing structure, so an
organization has greater control of how to purchase.
◉ The flexibility to choose a mix of software and Online Services and combine those purchases for the best possible
◉ The ability to provision and subscribe to Microsoft Online Services for any number of users as needed, so an
organization can flexibly and gradually migrate users and applications to the cloud.
◉ The option to purchase Software Assurance which includes unique technologies, services, and use rights to help
organizations deploy, manage and use Microsoft products more efficiently.
◉ Access to the self-service Microsoft Business Center that consolidates purchases into a single view, making it
easier to manage assets.
The MPSA is the foundational agreement that consolidates common terms and conditions from standard contracts into
a single, non-expiring agreement for all organizations. This single agreement combines the applicable terms and
conditions that are found in the current Microsoft Business and Services Agreement and the Microsoft Select Plus
Agreement,* as well as the Microsoft Online Services purchasing terms and conditions. The MPSA allows multiple
“account types,” such as commercial, academic, and government, to exist under a single agreement.
By consolidating licensing into a single, non-expiring agreement, organizations can save time and resources spent on
purchasing and asset management. The simplified agreement also shortens agreement processing times, so they can
get started using products and services faster.
*Effective July 1, 2016, in markets where the MPSA is available, Microsoft will stop accepting new orders and Software Assurance renewals through existing commercial Select Plus agreements at the next agreement anniversary date. This retirement does not apply to government and academic Select Plus agreements.
The Purchasing Account is another significant enhancement to the Commercial Licensing agreement. An organization
can register one or more Purchasing Accounts with the MPSA. Each Purchasing Account is enrolled as a buying entity
for the organization. An organization can name the Purchasing Account whatever they choose, and it can include any
part of an organization, such as an affiliate, department, division, or other internal group, depending on how they want
to structure purchasing for their organization. Although Purchasing Accounts are separate buying entities, they are all
tied to an organization’s MPSA through the legal entity that is registering the accounts.
Accurately managing an entire license portfolio is easier than ever. An organization can view and manage purchases by
individual Purchasing Accounts, legal entities, account types, or by the entire organization. Manage “accounts” rather
than agreements, because an organization has one buying relationship with Microsoft and one agreement with an
organizational view. Organizations can also work with multiple Microsoft partners under a single Purchasing Account
for their transactional purchases.
The Agreement Administrator
For each MPSA, one Purchasing Account is designated as the Agreement Administrator. This gives the Agreement
Administrator an all-up view of all assets in an organization and a single source for managing accounts.
The Agreement Administrator account:
◉ Is provided a full-asset view across all accounts.
◉ Is notified when a Purchasing Account is associated to an MPSA.
◉ Has the right to terminate the association of any accounts to the MPSA.
◉ Has the right to terminate the MPSA itself.
Establishing price levels for commercial organizations
The MPSA categorizes software products into three distinct product pools with tiered price levels: applications,
systems, and servers. The price level for each pool is based on purchase volume, which earns product points with
automatically tiered discount levels.For additional information about pricing levels and pools, see the Select Plus section of this document.
Microsoft Business Center
The Microsoft Business Center is used to manage products and services acquired through the MPSA. Through the
Microsoft Business Center, an organization can also purchase and assign Microsoft Online Services and manage
Software Assurance benefits across the entire organization, quickly and accurately. Enhanced online self-service tools
give better management capabilities by making it easier for an organization to access all the information they need
about their assets through a single portal.
The Microsoft Business Center:
◉ Provides a clear view of MPSA purchases and Software Assurance benefits, with easy-to-find information and
data shared among an organization, their partner, and Microsoft.
◉ Makes it easier to find information quickly by using new search functionality for product catalogs.
◉ Gives easy access to both standard and customized versions of various reports.
◉ Allows self-provisioning of Microsoft Online Services seats for immediate access in real time for an organization
through an easy-to-use interface.
◉ Simplifies how to understand, manage, and use Software Assurance benefits.
Microsoft Select Plus agreement
Commercial, Academic and Government organizations with 250 or more users or devices
Microsoft Select Plus is no longer available to commercial organizations.
Effective July 1, 2016, in markets where the MPSA is available, Microsoft will stop accepting new orders and Software Assurance renewals through existing commercial Select Plus agreements at the next agreement anniversary date. This retirement does not apply to government and academic Select Plus agreements. More information is at www.microsoft.com/selectfaq.
This section applies to Select Plus agreements for government and academic customers
The Microsoft Select Plus agreement is for midsize and large organizations with 250 or more users or devices that also
have mixed software requirements. It is also ideal for customers who want to purchase licenses as needed. Select Plus
increases purchasing flexibility and provides automatic price savings based on purchase volume across the entire
Select Plus offers the following:
◉ Asset visibility across the entire organization and centralized reporting because all affiliate purchases are tied to
their own unique customer IDs.
◉ Automatic price savings for purchases across the entire organization and the full value of Microsoft Software Assurance coverage, no matter when the purchase.
◉ Streamlined contract process with a single organization-wide agreement that never expires, Software Assurance
alignment (Software Assurance is optional), and licensing consolidation.
◉ Software Assurance is automatically prorated to a third affiliate account anniversary, eliminating the need to track multiple Software Assurance coverage expiration dates.
The Select Plus agreement provides flexibility for enrolled affiliates located in different countries and regions.
Purchasing is independent, yet consolidated under one master agreement. Select Plus consists of the following three
◉ The Microsoft Business and Services Agreement defines contract terms common to Microsoft licensing,
service, and support agreements. Customers need to sign this required master agreement only once with or prior
to the Select Plus agreement.
◉ The Select Plus agreement enrolls an organization in the Commercial Licensing program so they can purchase
product licenses and services at volume discount prices.
◉ The Select Plus affiliate registration form identifies buying affiliates within an organization and enrolls them in
the program. As a result, they can acquire software licenses and services under the Select Plus agreement. An organization must have at least one lead affiliate registered using this form (additional forms are optional).
Establishing price levels for commercial organizations
Select Plus categorizes software products into three distinct product pools: applications, systems, and servers. The price
level for each pool is based on product points earned for automatic tiered discount levels.
◉ Applications. Examples of Microsoft applications include Microsoft Office Professional 2013, Skype for Business, and Microsoft Office Project 2013.
◉ Systems. An example of a Microsoft desktop computer operating system software program is Windows
operating system upgrades such as Windows 8 Professional Edition.
◉ Servers. Examples of Microsoft server software programs include the Windows Server operating system, Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server database software, and associated Client Access Licenses.
Each software product carries a point value. For example, Office Professional 2013 is worth two points, Microsoft Online
Services Subscription is one point, and Windows Server Standard 2012 is 15 points. The Software Assurance component of License and Software Assurance is worth half the total point value of its accompanying license annually. For example, if Office Professional 2013 is worth two points, Software Assurance is worth one point for each year it is maintained during the term of the Select Plus agreement for a total of three points during the three-year term of the coverage (prorated between 25 and 36 months).
An organization can acquire points for each product pool with these options:
◉ Acquire new Licenses.
◉ Acquire License and Software Assurance.
◉ Renew Software Assurance for products already covered with Licenses and Software Assurance from a previous
order or where Software Assurance is purchased based on the eligibility rules.
◉ Associate a Select Plus agreement with an existing commercial or government Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise
Subscription Agreement, Campus and School Agreement, or Select License agreement that has a better price
The points earned apply to all of an organization’s affiliates registered under the agreement
For commercial organizations, there are four price levels. The points for each price level are listed below.
Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs for software and service partners
Microsoft offers special licensing agreements for partners, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and service providers
that want to integrate Microsoft software into their own solutions and/or services.
The Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) agreement delivers a platform for partners to own the end-to-end customer
engagement by enabling them to directly provision, bill, and support Microsoft cloud services for their customers. The
Independent Software Vendor Royalty Licensing and Distribution Program is for ISVs that are interested in integrating
Microsoft software products into their solutions. Similarly, the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) is for
service providers that want to license Microsoft products so they can provide software services to their customers.
Cloud Solution Provider
CSP puts partners at the center of the customer relationship where they can deliver differentiated value to customers.
With CSP, partners own pricing, billing, contracting, provisioning, and manage, and support their customers’ end-to-end with services and solutions. It’s available to all commercial, government, and academic customers.
➨Order, provision, billing, and support is covered: an organization’s partner is their single point of contact for sales,
provisioning, payment, and support. Focus on using the service instead of managing licenses.
o Components covered by an organization’s partner can include:
▪ Support (always).
➨ Get additional value-added services: get a best-in-class solution and all the added benefits and services that an
organization’s partner will offer.
o The partner can:
▪ provide tips and best practices.
▪ identify additional service needs.
▪ help improve an organization.
CSP program details requirements
Only partners can enroll in the CSP program.
Independent Software Vendor Royalty Licensing Program
The ISV Royalty Licensing Program is a worldwide software licensing program, which gives ISVs a convenient way to
license Microsoft products and integrate them into a Unified Solution, which can then be replicated and distributed
The ISV Royalty Licensing Program provides access to a wide range of Microsoft products. Get the most recent ISV
Royalty Product List (updated quarterly) from an organization’s authorized ISV Royalty Licensing Program distributor to
see the wide selection of Microsoft products available for the ISV Royalty Licensing Program (does not include desktop
PC operating systems, server operating systems, or online services).
Program enrollment requirements
To enroll in the ISV Royalty Licensing Program, an organization must meet eligibility requirements by doing
➨ Develop a Unified Solution. The value-added Unified Solution uses Microsoft products, adds significant and
primary functionality, and is distributed through a tangible medium.
➨ Designate a licensed products distributor. Work with an authorized ISV Royalty Licensing Program distributor
to complete the ISV Royalty License and Distribution Agreement.
➨ Provide technical support. An organization is responsible for providing technical product support to their users
for the Microsoft products included in the Unified Solution.
➨ Comply with the Microsoft license terms. Incorporate any applicable Microsoft license terms into the user
agreement for the Unified Solution.
Sign agreements. Complete the ISV Royalty License and Distribution Agreement, the Microsoft Business and Services
Agreement, and signature form. To obtain these documents, contact a distributor (listed at www.microsoft.com/en-
us/Licensing/licensing-programs/isvr-distributors.aspx).Learn more about the ISV Royalty Licensing Program at the Microsoft Commercial Licensing website at www.microsoft.com/licensing/licensing-options/isv-program.aspx.
Services Provider License Agreement
With the SPLA, a services provider organization can license Microsoft products on a monthly subscription basis for a three-year agreement term. The organization can then use these products to provide software services and hosted applications to its customers.
The SPLA may be right for an organization if they have one of the following business scenarios:
➨ An organization provides their customers with direct or indirect access to Microsoft licensed products, such as hosted websites or LOB applications through Microsoft server products.
➨ An organization offers their customers software services that interact with Microsoft licensed products. In this scenario, the organization, not the customer, are the licensee.
➨ An organization facilitates their customer’s business, including business transactions with third parties, through
software services that interact with Microsoft products.
➨ An organization provides their customers with access to, and use of, any application, Microsoft or otherwise, and
the application is running on a server and interacts with a Microsoft product on that server.
For service providers, software services are online services that they provide to their customers to make licensed
products available to them. These software services display, run, access, or otherwise interact with Microsoft licensed
products. Service Providers provide software services from one or more data centers through the Internet, a telephony
network, or a private network on a rental, subscription, or services basis. The SPLA makes offering software services
easier because the service provider is the licensee, not the customer.
The SPLA offers the following benefits:
➨ Deliver a customized service. Get the flexibility to deliver tailored IT services to customers through a dedicated
or shared hosting environment. Increase the value of services by managing software use rights for customers.
➨ Pay as you go with no up-front costs. Pay only for the products that are made available to customers the
previous month. There are no start-up costs, monthly sales requirements, or long-term commitments.
➨ Access the most current product versions. Give customers the most current and capable Microsoft platform.
Download products at no charge through the Volume Licensing Service Center instead of ordering physical
➨ Try before you buy. Test and evaluate products internally before offering them to customers as a service.
➨ Receive prior version rights. Rights to prior product versions enable an organization to support a seamless
transition for developers and ISVs to move to the SPLA and have a hosted business model.
➨ Outsource data center services. Install Microsoft products on servers under the day-to-day management and
control of an outsourcing company. That company can then perform data center administration, testing, and
maintenance support services on an organization ‘s behalf.
➨ Install at customer facilities. Install Microsoft products on devices an organization owns or leases and that are
located on their customer’s premises.
➨ Offer demonstrations and evaluations. An organization can have up to 50 active user IDs for service/product
demos and give their customers a free 60-day trial period.
➨ Include affiliates. Include affiliates under a single agreement.
➨ Expand reach to academic institutions. An organization’s business can expand with specific price offerings
available to their academic customers through the SPLA.
The following are the primary requirements to participate in the SPLA. For complete program requirements, see the
SPLA Program Guide on the Microsoft Commercial Licensing website at www.microsoft.com/licensing/licensing-
➨ Enroll in the Microsoft Partner Network. An organization must be a member of the Microsoft Partner Network.
If they are not a member, learn how to enroll at https://mspartner.microsoft.com.
➨ Sign a Microsoft Business and Services Agreement (MBSA).
• Service providers that have an existing MBSA through another Commercial Licensing agreement (Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Subscription Agreement, Select Plus,* or ISV Royalty Licensing) should work with their Microsoft account manager and/or reseller to provide their MBSA number and link the MBSA to their SPLA.
• Service providers that do not have an existing MBSA are required to sign one when they sign an SPLA.
*Effective July 1, 2016, in markets where the MPSA is available, Microsoft will stop accepting new orders and Software
Assurance renewals through existing commercial Select Plus agreements at the next agreement anniversary date. This
retirement does not apply to government and academic Select Plus agreements.
➨ Designate a licensed products reseller. Work with an authorized SPLA reseller to complete the SPLA and MBSA.
➨ Provide monthly reporting on software licenses. Submit either a monthly use report of at least U.S. $100 per
month or a zero-use report (non-consecutive) to an organization‘s SPLA reseller. The organization must also
report on all licenses that an organization made available to their customers for their affiliates and software
➨ Submit a monthly invoice payment. The SPLA reseller invoices an organization monthly based on the number
of licenses reported in their monthly use report. The organization is responsible for submitting their payment to
the SPLA reseller by the agreed date.
➨ Comply with the Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR). The SPUR is roughly the equivalent of the Product
Terms for products licensed under the SPLA. The SPUR specifies use rights and conditions that apply to a
customer’s use of the licensed products. Microsoft may revise the SPUR at any time. The SPUR is updated
quarterly and is available for download at: www.microsoftvolumelicensing.com/DocumentSearch.aspx?Mode=3&DocumentTypeId=2.
Using products licensed through a Microsoft Commercial Licensing program
Product licensing models
Different products use different licensing models. A desktop application program, such as Microsoft Office, is licensed
differently than a server product, such as Windows Server. The nine Microsoft licensing model categories are described below.
Desktop applications—per-device license
An organization must acquire a license for each device that is using the software (locally or remotely over a network).
They can install any number of copies and any prior version on the device or on a network device to support that use.
They can also install those copies on the host operating system or in a virtual hardware system.
Desktop operating systems—per copy, per device license
An organization must acquire a license for each device on or from which they access or use the software (locally and
remotely). They can install only one copy on the device. They can install that copy on the host operating system or in a
virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system. In Commercial Licensing, the desktop PC operating system license is
an upgrade license. An organization can acquire upgrade licenses only for devices for which they have already licensed
a qualifying operating system. A list of qualifying operating systems that qualify for an upgrade license is provided in
the Product Terms, which can be found at www.microsoft.com/licensing/products/products.aspx.
If an organization acquires Windows Software Assurance for a device, they can run up to four additional instances in
virtual operating systems on the licensed device. If they acquire Windows Software Assurance per User or Windows
Virtual Desktop Access per User, the licensed user can install Windows Enterprise locally on any device licensed for
Windows 7 Pro or Enterprise, Windows 8 Pro or Enterprise, Windows 8.1 Pro or Enterprise, or Windows 10 Pro or
Enterprise and access Windows images remotely or from a USB drive by using any supported device.
Developer tools—per user license
An organization must acquire a license for each user they permit to access or use the software. An organization can
install any number of copies on any number of devices for access and use by one user to design, develop, test, and
demonstrate programs. Only licensed users can access the software.
Online services—user or device subscription license, services subscription license, or add-on subscription license
For organizations with more than five users, Microsoft offers a new way to quickly subscribe to and use Microsoft
Online Services, and organizations with as few as five users can subscribe to and use Microsoft Online Services.
Because Online Services are subscription-based, an organization pays per user per month or per user per year. With the new Microsoft Online Subscription Program, an organization can quickly subscribe online, rapidly deploy services, and manage their licenses by using an online management tool.
Microsoft offers several online services and solutions that can help deliver an organization’s digital transformation:
Secure Productive Enterprise. Secure Productive Enterprise is the most trusted, secure, and productive way to work
that brings together Office 365, Enterprise Mobility + Security, and Windows 10 Enterprise.
Enterprise Mobility + Security. Microsoft Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) provides an identity-driven security
solution that offers a comprehensive approach to the security challenges in this mobile-first, cloud-first era. Microsoft
Office 365. Office 365 is Microsoft’s productivity solution in the cloud. It is sold as suites that are available for every
organization, irrespective of their size.
Dynamics 365. Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the next generation of intelligent business applications that enable
organizations to grow, evolve, and transform.
Licensing under the online services model includes one or more of the following:
➨ User Subscription License or Device Subscription License (User SL or Device SL). For offerings that require
these, User SLs and Device SLs are needed for each user or device that accesses the online service.
➨ Services Subscription License (SSL). For offerings that require these, this license applies to the entire
organization’s use of the online service. User, Device, or Add-on SLs may also be required, depending on the
➨ Add-on Subscription License (Add-on SL). This license sometimes is used instead of or in addition to USLs,
DSLs, and SSLs. Its purpose varies. For example, it can apply to a specified number of consumed units, such as
gigabytes of storage, or it can apply to a single server accessed by external users. Add-on subscription licenses are
not always required.
If an organization has Enterprise Agreements or Campus and School Agreements, Microsoft recommends they
purchase online services through their existing Commercial Licensing agreement to obtain optimized price advantages
for volume purchases.
If an organization purchases through Microsoft Open License, Open Value, Select License, and Select Plus,* Microsoft
recommends they evaluate and determine how subscribing to Microsoft Online Services can support their IT strategy.
For more information, log in to the Microsoft Online Services site at www.microsoftonline.com.
*Effective July 1, 2016, in markets where the MPSA is available, Microsoft will stop accepting new orders and Software
Assurance renewals through existing commercial Select Plus agreements at their next agreement anniversary date. This
retirement does not apply to government and academic Select Plus agreements.
Servers—operating systems—processor license + CAL + optional external connector
With most products, an organization must acquire a license for each running instance of the server software that they
run on a server. An organization can run that instance in a physical or virtual operating system environment (OSE). By
exception to the licensing model, some products provide broader use rights. For example, a Windows Server 2012 R2
Standard edition license permits up to two OSEs at a time on the licensed server. With some products, such as
Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter edition, an organization can run any number of instances at the same time. Note
that the processor-based server licensing model has been retired and server licensing has transitioned to a core-based model with the launch of Windows Server 2016. Legacy customers who still have rights to use earlier versions of Windows Server under the processor-based licensing model can find more information by downloading the Windows Server 2012 R2 Licensing Guide.
Device CALs and User CALs are two types of CALs:
◉ A Device CAL licenses a device for use by any user to access instances of the server software
◉ A User CAL licenses one user to use any device to access instances of the server software.
CALs are version-specific. They must be the same version or later than the server software being accessed. CALs permit
access to servers licensed by the same entity. They do not permit access to another entity’s licensed servers.
An organization can deploy network architectures that use hardware or software to reduce the number of devices or
users that directly access the software on a server. This is referred to as multiplexing or pooling. This does not reduce
the number of CALs required to access or use the server software. A CAL is required for each device or user that is
connected to the multiplexing or pooling software or hardware front end.
An External Connector (EC) license is an alternative to CALs for each server that external users access. External users are
users who are not employees or on-site contractors. An EC license assigned to a server permits access by any number
of external users only if that access is for the benefit of the licensee and not the external user. Each physical server that
external users access requires only one EC license regardless of the number of instances running. The right to run
instances of the server software is licensed separately; the EC, like the CAL, simply permits access. EC licenses, like
CALs, are version-specific and functionality-specific. They must be the same version or later than the server software
being accessed. The decision whether to acquire CALs or an EC is primarily a financial one.
Servers—management servers—management license (server or client)
Under the Management Servers licensing model, an organization must acquire and assign the appropriate
Management License (ML) for the device or OSE that will be managed. Included with the ML are the rights to run the
corresponding Management Server Software. Separate Management Server software licenses are not required.
Two categories of MLs are available: server and client. The category of ML required depends on the operating system
software running within an OSE. OSEs running server operating system software require server MLs. OSEs running any
other operating system software require client MLs.
Licenses required for managed servers
Server management licensing for System Center 2016 Datacenter edition and System Center 2016 Standard edition
has transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based. For both Standard and Datacenter editions, the
number of core licenses required equals the number of physical cores on the licensed server, subject to a minimum of
eight core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses per server. Core licenses are sold in two-
packs. Server Management Licenses are required for managed devices that run server Operating System
Environments (OSEs). The core licensing model for System Center 2016 aligns with that of Windows Server 2016. For
additional information on the core licensing model, please visit the Windows Server Core Licensing section of this guide. And for complete details and information on licensing, refer to the Product Terms.
Legacy customers who still have rights to use earlier versions of System Center under the processor-based licensing
model can find more information by downloading the System Center 2012 R2 Licensing Guide.
◉ Datacenter edition – When all physical cores on the server are licensed, System Center Datacenter edition
provides rights to manage unlimited Operating System Environments (OSEs) or Hyper-V containers and unlimited
System Center containers on the licensed server.
◉ Standard edition – When all physical cores on the server are licensed, System Center Standard edition provides
rights to manage two Operating System Environments (OSEs) or Hyper-V containers and unlimited System
Center containers on the licensed server.
• For example, a two-processor server with eight cores per processor requires 16 core licenses (i.e. eight two-
pack core licenses) and gives rights to manage two OSEs or two Hyper-V containers. For each additional two
OSEs or two Hyper-V containers the customer wishes to manage, an equivalent number of core licenses must
be assigned to the server.
• Standard edition permits management of the physical OSE on the licensed server (in addition to two virtual
OSEs), if the physical OSE is used solely to host and manage virtual OSEs.
Managed Client Licensing Overview
Management of devices that run non-server OSEs with System Center 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions requires
Client Management Licenses (Client MLs) and Subscription Licenses (SL). There are two types of Client MLs: OSE and
User. There are two types of SLs: User and Device.
Each User ML permits the management of any device that runs non-server OSEs, used by one user. Each OSE ML
permits the management of one device that runs non-server OSEs, used by any user. Each User SL covers any device,
used by one user. Each Device SL covers one device, used by any user.
◉ OSE client MLs: Each OSE client ML permits an organization to use the Management Server Software to manage
one OSE. Any number of users can use that OSE. Provided an organization acquires and assigns OSE client MLs to
their device as described here, they can manage the OSEs on that device (one OSE per license).
◉ User client MLs: Each user client ML permits an organization to use the Management Server Software to manage
one user’s OSE. Users can use those OSEs on any number of devices. Provided an organization acquires and
assigns a user client ML to their user as described here, an organization can manage all of the OSEs used by that
user. If an organization has more than one user using an OSE, and they are not licensed by an OSE, the
organization must assign a user client ML to each of the users.
Structure and Application of Client Management Licenses (MLs) and Subscription Licenses (SLs)S
Servers—server/CAL—server license PLUS CAL
With most server/CAL products, an organization must acquire a license for each instance of the server software that
they run on a server. An organization can run that instance in a physical or virtual OSE. By exception to the licensing
model, some products provide broader use rights.
Except as outlined in the Product Terms, all server/CAL products require a CAL for each user or device that accesses
any instance of the server software.
Two types of CALs are Device CALs and User CALs:
◉ Device CAL. This licenses a device for use by any user to access instances of the server software on licensed
◉ User CAL. Licenses one user to use any device to access instances of the server software on licensed servers. CALs
are version- and functionality-specific. They must be the same version or later than the server software being
Note: Access by the class of users defined as “External Users” varies by Server/CAL product. In some cases, they are
licensed with the server. In some cases, they are licensed by either User or Device CAL, like with SQL Server.
Customers should refer to the Product Terms for details of how External Users are licensed for a particular product.
An organization can deploy network architectures that use hardware or software to reduce the number of devices or
users that directly access the software on a server. This is referred to as multiplexing or pooling. This does not reduce
the number of CALs required to access or use the server software. A CAL is required for each device or user that is
connected to the multiplexing or pooling software or hardware front end.
Servers—per core—core license
Under the Per Core licensing model, each server running SQL Server 2016 software or any of its components (such as
Reporting Services or Integration Services) must be assigned an appropriate number of SQL Server 2016 core licenses.
The number of core licenses needed depends on whether customers are licensing the physical server or individual
virtual operating system environments (OSEs).
Unlike the Server+CAL licensing model, the Per Core model allows access for an unlimited number of users or devices
to connect from either inside or outside an organization’s firewall. With the Per Core model, customers do not need
to purchase additional client access licenses (CALs) to access the SQL Server software.
The Per Core licensing model is appropriate when:
◉ Deploying the SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition (including using the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse
deployment option) or SQL Server 2016 Web Edition software.
◉ Deploying Internet or extranet workloads, systems that integrate with external-facing workloads (even if external
data goes through one or more other systems), or when the number of users/devices cannot be counted easily.
◉ Implementing centralized deployments that span many direct and/or indirect users/devices.
◉ The total licensing costs for licensing SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition software are lower than those incurred
using the Server+CAL licensing model.
Note: The use of hyper-threading technology does not affect the number of core licenses required when running SQL
Server software in a physical OSE.
An organization must have the appropriate number of core licenses for the server.
They have two licensing options:
◉ Physical cores on a server
◉ Individual virtual operating system environment
Licensing by physical cores on a server
When running SQL Server in a physical OSE, all physical cores on the server must be licensed. Software partitioning
does not reduce the number of core licenses required, except when licensing individual virtual machines (VMs). A
minimum of four core licenses are required for each physical processor on the server.
To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed, customers must:
The SQL Server Core Factor Table is no longer used to calculate the required number of core licenses needed for SQL
Server 2016 and later versions. For earlier versions of SQL Server, the number of licenses required equals the number
of physical cores on the server multiplied by the applicable core factor located in the SQL Server Core Factor Table
(PDF, 304 KB). With the Enterprise Edition, for each server to which an organization has assigned the required number
of licenses, they can run on the licensed server any number of instances of the server software in several physical
and/or virtual OSEs equal to the number of licenses assigned to that server. Thereafter, for each additional license that
an organization assigns to the licensed server, they can run instances of the server software in an additional OSE on
that licensed server.
With the Standard Edition, for each server to which an organization has assigned the required number of licenses, they
can run on the licensed server any number of instances of the server software in the physical OSE.
Licensing by individual virtual operating system environment
Similar to the Per Core licensing model in physical OSEs, all virtual cores (v-cores) supporting virtual OSEs that are
running instances of SQL Server 2016 software must be licensed accordingly.
To license individual VMs using the Per Core model, customers must purchase a core license for each v-core (or
virtual processor, virtual CPU, virtual thread) allocated to the VM, subject to a four-core license minimum per VM. For
licensing purposes, a v-core maps to a hardware thread.
Note: Licensing individual VMs is the only licensing option available for SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition customers
who are running the software in a virtualized environment under the Per Core model.
For customers with highly virtualized environments who want to move VMs dynamically across servers to reallocate
resources as needed, Microsoft permits License Mobility as an exclusive SA benefit available for all SQL Server
With the launch of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition and Windows Server 2016 Standard edition, Windows
Server licensing has transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based.
For both Standard and Datacenter editions, the number of core licenses required equals the number of physical cores
on the licensed server, subject to a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of 16
core licenses per server. Core licenses are sold in two-packs.
Minimum Requirements for Standard and Datacenter Editions
The table below provides examples for various server configurations, and the minimum number of core licenses
◉ Standard: When all cores on the server are licensed (subject to a minimum of eight core licenses per physical
processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses per server), Standard has rights to use two OSEs or two Hyper-V
containers and unlimited Windows Server containers.
◉ Datacenter: When all cores on the server are licensed (subject to a minimum of eight core licenses per physical
processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses per server), Datacenter edition has rights to use unlimited OSEs,
Hyper-V containers, and Windows Server containers.
Licensing Requirements of Additional OSEs for Standard Edition
Standard edition has rights to use two OSEs or two Hyper-V containers and unlimited Windows Server containers
when all cores on the server are licensed (subject to a minimum of eight core licenses per physical processor and a
minimum of 16 core licenses per server). Once a server is licensed, customers may wish to license the server for
additional OSEs or Hyper-V containers. This practice is often referred to as stacking, and is allowed with Standard
The table below provides examples of stacking scenarios for various server configurations, the minimum number of
licenses required, and the resulting number of OSEs or Hyper-V containers provided. As a rule, for each additional set
of two OSEs or two Hyper-V containers the customer wishes to use, the server must be relicensed for the same
number of core licenses. Note that Datacenter edition has rights to unlimited virtualization so stacking therefore is
Server management licensing for System Center 2016 Datacenter edition and System Center 2016 Standard edition has
transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based, in alignment with Windows Server 2016. For both Standard and Datacenter editions, the number of core licenses required equals the number of physical cores on the licensed server, subject to a minimum of eight core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses per server. Core licenses are sold in two-packs. Server Management Licenses (Server MLs) are required for managed devices that run server Operating System Environments (OSEs). For complete details and information on licensing, refer to the Product Terms.
Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center
The Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) provides a convenient and secure online solution for
Commercial Licensing customers to manage licensing agreements, enrollments, and purchases easily. With this online
tool, an organization can manage their licenses for Open License, Open Value, Select License, Select Plus,* and
Enterprise Agreements. From the VLSC, they can do the following:
◉ Calculate current Microsoft License Statements to view an easy-to-understand, comprehensive license summary
across programs and agreements.
◉ View license purchases and licenses purchased to date, including expired agreements.
◉ View and request Microsoft Volume Licensing Keys (VLKs) and download licensed products based on an
organization’s Commercial Licensing entitlements.
◉ Activate and use Microsoft Software Assurance benefits.
◉ Manage access rights for internal staff and Software Assurance administrators.
Activation of online services through Commercial Licensing
A key difference between online services and on-premises Microsoft products is that online services reside remotely
with Microsoft as the service provider and must be activated before they can be used.
Through the Microsoft Online Subscription Program:
◉ Activate through the Microsoft Online Customer Portal.
◉ Notification is sent to confirm that the service is activated.
◉ Manage services by using the Microsoft Online Administration Center (MOAC).
Through the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement:
◉ Order and activate through the Microsoft Business Center.
◉ Notification is sent to confirm the service is activated.
◉ Manage services by using the Microsoft Business Center or the Microsoft Online Administration Center.
Through an Enterprise Agreement, Enrollment for Education Solutions, or School Enrollment:
◉ After the Channel Price Sheet is signed, the Microsoft Regional Operations Center (ROC) processes the deal in the
same way that on-premises software contracts are handled.
◉ After the deal is processed, the Online Customer Portal sends an activation email.
◉ The activation email is sent to an organization’s designated online services administrator email address (the same
address that is on an organization’s enrollment within the Enterprise Agreement).
◉ When promoting a trial, use this Microsoft account (formerly Windows Live ID) in advance to avoid migration
issues (versus customer’s personal Microsoft account).
◉ Receive the activation email and must activate by using a Microsoft account.
◉ Deal processing and generating an activation email should take approximately 48 hours. If it’s not received, the
organization or their reseller partner should contact the ROC.
◉ An organization can begin using the service at any time after they have activated their service.
Microsoft Software Assurance
Microsoft Software Assurance includes a unique set of technologies, services, and use rights to help deploy, manage and use Microsoft software and services more efficiently. Benefits span a broad range of Microsoft products and using the benefits can help an organization take full advantage of their investment in IT. Software Assurance is only available through volume licensing and is purchased when an organization buys or renews a Volume Licensing agreement. It is included with some agreements and is an optional purchase with others.
With Software Assurance, an organization gets access to the latest software updates and other important resources and tools, such as the following:
Access to new software releases and cost-efficient upgrades.
Consulting services that give an organization on-site expert guidance to plan for new, on-premises, and cloud-based
Instructor-led technical training options to help reduce the costs of training IT staff, and online training to help end-
users improve overall productivity.
Rights to help broaden the value of server licenses through extended use on-premises and in the cloud.
Support benefits to help maximize uptime and maintain an available and responsive IT infrastructure.
Software Assurance benefit eligibility
Eligibility for Software Assurance benefits varies by commercial licensing program, region, fulfillment options and
language. The type and number of benefits allocated to an organization are based on licensing purchases.
Software Assurance provides a broad range of benefits to help an organization get the most from their Microsoft
purchases. Available benefits are determined by the types and quantities of products purchased.
Deploy and manage
New Product Versions allow an organization to upgrade to the latest version of an available product at no additional
cost based on active Software Assurance coverage and specific license terms.
Planning Services provide in-depth planning assistance from qualified Microsoft partners or Microsoft Services to
help an organization plan on-premises, cloud-based, or hybrid software deployments.
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) enables an organization to virtualize the operating system,
applications, and the user experience; manage Windows features; and restore user productivity after a system issue.
Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) Rights enables users to access virtual instances of Windows in a variety of
Windows 10 Enterprise Per-User Add-On is an optional add-on that provides per user rights for the primary user of a
device that is licensed with Windows Enterprise, or Windows per User VDA rights for the primary user of a device that is licensed with Windows VDA.
Windows To Go Use Rights enables IT administrators to provide users with a bootable corporate Windows image
that can include line-of-business applications, settings, and corporate data on a compatible USB storage device.
Windows Thin PC enables IT with an enterprise-ready platform to repurpose existing PCs as thin client to run certain
applications based on Software Assurance coverage terms specified in the Product Terms.
Enterprise Source Licensing Program offers access to Windows source code for internal development and support.
Eligibility is based on certain Software Assurance coverage criteria.
Office Online Services and Office Online Server provides browser-based versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and
OneNote from on-premises environments.
Office Roaming Use Rights allows the single primary user of the licensed device to remotely access Office, Project
and Visio running on server from a qualifying third-party device, or run the software in a virtual environment from a
qualified third-party device.
Office Multi-Language Pack enables IT to deploy a single Office image with support for 40 user interface languages.
Note for Office 2016, the Office Multi-Language Pack is included as part of the product.
Servers – Self Hosted Applications allows an organization to provide their own software as a hosted service using a
combination of Microsoft Software and their own software to create a unified solution (“Unified Solution”), subject to
the terms outlined in the Microsoft Product Terms.
License Mobility through Software Assurance enables an organization to deploy certain server application licenses
on-premises or in the cloud by assigning their existing licenses to an authorized service provider’s server farm,
without having to buy additional licenses.
Training Vouchers provides in-depth technical classroom training for IT professionals and developers, and self-paced
online training through Microsoft Official Courseware (MOC On Demand).
E-Learning offers self-paced, interactive training for end-users and IT professionals delivered over the Internet or an
Home Use Program provides employees with the latest version of Microsoft Office for their home computer, via
a low-cost download.
24×7 Problem Resolution Support provides around-the-clock phone support for business-critical issues or business
hours’ phone support for non-critical. Unlimited email support can be used for non-critical problems.
Servers – Disaster Recovery Rights provides licensing for backup servers dedicated to disaster recovery. Permits
quarterly patching and testing, and ongoing virtual machine replication from production servers to backup/disaster
System Center Global Service Monitor is a cloud service that extends the application monitoring capabilities in
System Center beyond an organization’s own network boundary.
Fail-over Rights allows a passive-fail-over instance (i.e., non-production, but “warm” instance) on another server in
anticipation of a fail-over event.
Extended Hotfix Support provides specific product fixes on a per customer incident basis, beyond the standard
Microsoft Dynamics CustomerSource is an online portal that includes a broad set of product and service support
resources for Dynamics customers with Software Assurance coverage.
◉ Step-up License availability enables an organization to migrate their software from a lower-level edition to a
higher-level edition without incurring the full cost of licensing two separate editions of the software.
◉ Spread Payments enables an organization to spread payments for Volume Licensing and Software
Assurance across three annual sums.
Acquiring Software Assurance
Software Assurance is purchased when an organization buys or renews a Volume Licensing agreement. It is included
with some agreements and is an optional purchase with others. Whether an organization chooses to add Software
Assurance to their Volume Licensing purchase or it is included with their Volume Licensing program, they can begin
using their benefits immediately and throughout the term of their license agreement.
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