Category Archives: Microsoft Licensing

Office 365 plans changing names to Microsoft 365 plans

In April 2020, some Office 365 Plans will be re-branded as Microsoft 365 Plans. The plan features are not changing (yet) but the plan names are. Here is a list of new plan names:

Office 365 Pro Plus will be Microsoft 365 Apps for Enterprisehttps://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/deployoffice/name-change

Office 365 Business will be Microsoft 365 Apps for Business
Office 365 Business Essentials will be Microsoft 365 Business Basic
Office 365 Business Premium will be Microsoft 365 Business Standard
Microsoft 365 Business will be Microsoft 365 Business Premium

Office 365 E1, E3, E5 will not be changing names

IMPORTANT: Only Office 365 ProPlus stand-alone plan (or plans that include ProPlus such as Office 365 E3 & E5) come with shared computer activation. Office 365 Business does NOT include ProPlus/shared computer activation. Shared computer activation is required to install Office on Remote Desktop Services (RDS).

Riptide Hosting can provide Office licensing (Office Standard, Office Professional, or individual components like Excel, Word, MS Access) on a monthly, per-user basis through our MS SPLA agreeement. We can provide Office licensing on any of our hosted offerings (VMs or Dedicated servers). Clients cannot use their own Office 365 licensing on our Virtual Servers. Clients could use their own Office 365 licensing on one of our Dedicated Hardware Servers if they have the appropriate Office 365 ProPlus plan.

Riptide Hosting Virtual Servers – all Microsoft licensing for Windows Server, Office, RDS and SQL Server are licensed through Riptide on a monthly basis. You cannot use your own licensing on our Virtual Servers.

Riptide Hosting Dedicated Servers – either Riptide Hosting can provide the Microsoft licesning on a monthly basis through our MS SPLA, or you could use your own MS licensing on the dedicated server but only certain plans will work on a RDS/terminal server which are Office365 ProPlus Standalone or Office365 Enterprise E3 or E5. Office365 Business plans do not include ProPlus and will not work on a Windows RDS server.

Another option to consider is if your users don’t need a local install of Office on the server (to do things like export reports from an application to Excel), then users might be able to just use the web based versions of Excel/Word by logging into their Microsoft account with OneDrive (or Google Docs, etc). Heavy users of Office will likely want it installed on the server but the web based versions might work fine for occasional use.

Microsoft licensing terms being modified for dedicated hosting cloud services; Now is a great time to consider monthly MS licensing through the SPLA program

Starting October 1, 2019, Microsoft is modifying their licensing terms related to outsourcing rights and dedicated hosted cloud services.  Beginning October 1, 2019, on-premises Microsoft licenses purchased without Software Assurance cannot be deployed on dedicated hosted cloud services offered by the following “Listed Providers”: Microsoft, Alibaba, Amazon and Google.  Riptide Hosting is not one of the “Listed Providers” noted above and these changes don’t apply to deployments at Riptide Hosting.   You read more about theses changes here: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/news/updated-licensing-rights-for-dedicated-cloud

Alternatively, instead of buying your own MS Volume Licenses and purchasing Software Assurance, contact Riptide Hosting to compare options using Riptide Hosting’s Microsoft licensing through the Services Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) program.  Riptide Hosting can offer MS Licenses for Windows Server, SQL Server, MS Office, and more, through the MS SPLA program on a monthly basis.  Advantages to monthly MS licensing through our SPLA is that you, a) don’t need to make a large upfront perpetual licensing payment, b) you are not locked into using your licenses for a 3 or 5 year term, and c) you can increase or decrease licenses (i.e. per user RDS or MS Access licenses) on a monthly basis.  All of our Windows Servers on VMs or Dedicated Servers come with Windows Server 2016 Standard Licensing built into the base price.  Optional licenses include SQL Server, MS Office, Components of MS Office such as MS Access or MS Excel, and more. 

TO USE YOUR OWN MICROSOFT LICENSING WITH RIPTIDE YOU MUST USE A DEDICATED SERVER. YOU CAN NOT USE YOUR OWN OFFICE OR SQL LICENSING ON OUR VMs:

Riptide Virtual Servers: We must provide all MS licensing through our MS SPLA Agreement.  You can not use your own MS Licensing (i.e. SQL Server (other than free SQL Express), Office365 or other MS Licensing.

Riptide Dedicated Servers: You could use your own MS licensing on the dedicated server, or we can provide MS licensing monthly through our MS SPLA.  But please note that for Office365, only certain plans will work on a RDS/terminal server which are Office365 ProPlus Standalone or Office365 Enterprise E3 and above.  Office365 Business plans do not include ProPlus and will not work on a Windows RDS server

If your users don’t need a local install of Office on the server (to do things like export reports from an application to Excel), then users might be able to just use the web based versions of Excel/Word by logging into their Microsoft account with OneDrive (or Google Docs, etc).  Heavy users of Office will likely want it installed on the server but the web based versions might work fine for occasional use.

www.RiptideHosting.com

Avoiding Downtime – How Riptide Hosting helps keep your business server & applications running.

Power Failures – Our datacenters have redundant commercial power feeds, UPS systems and diesel generators. Compare this to a single power feed that is typical in an office building.

Network / Internet / ISP Failures – Riptide Hosting uses premium bandwidth with multiple network providers blended together for maximum update. Compare this to a single telecom provider that is typical in an office building.

Hard Drive Failures – Our servers are deployed with hard drives in mirrored array(s) – RAID1 or more, so a single drive failure does not cause data loss.

Riptide Hosting offers several types of hosting from Windows Server VMs to fully Dedicated Hardware Servers. We offer a 100% SLA for power and network availability. Our enterprise datacenters are staffed 24/7. We offer backup offerings and MS Licensing through the MS SPLA program.

Our VMs are scalable where it is easy to increase server resources such as ram, cpu and disk space. And the MS SPLA program allows us to offer Microsoft licensing on a monthly basis without you have to commit to long-term licensing or large up-front capital investments for licensing.

Focus on your business and relieve yourself of worries about server hardware, network connectivity issues and MS licensing complexities. Our datacenters are designed with infrastructure to keep your business applications and servers running with redundant power and network bandwidth.

Advantages to using Riptide Hosting SPLA Microsoft Licenses

Advantages to using Riptide Hosting SPLA Microsoft Licenses

Most customers use our Microsoft licensing (Windows Server, Office, SQL Server, Remote Desktop Services – RDS) provided under the SPLA program (Service Provider Licensing Agreement) on a monthly basis rather than purchasing their own MS Volume Licenses.  (Windows Server CAL licenses are not required with our SPLA licensing which are required under regular MS Volume Licensing).

Using our Microsoft SPLA licensing eliminates upfront fees and makes it easy to increase and decrease licenses each month.

If you own Microsoft Volume Licenses, you can use our Dedicated Hardware Server offering and transfer your own licenses but depending on which licenses you own and how many users you have, it may still be cheaper to utilize our virtual servers/VMs with our SPLA licenses.  Contact us to review options and pricing.  We discuss the advantages to using SPLA licenses below.

SPLA LICENSES — Advantages to using our MS Licensing under SPLA:

  • Pay monthly with no commitment (versus Volume Licenses which may be 1-3 year term)
  • Pay for exactly the number of licenses you need today, not more (for user based licensing (i.e. RDS SALs/user licenses, Office SALs), we can increase the number of licenses easily so you can only license what is needed)
  • For Windows Server under SPLA, no additional Windows Server CALs are needed (you still need RDS SALs if applicable).
  • Upgrade rights (similar to software assurance) are included– You can upgrade to the latest version.
  • No large upfront payment like if you purchase perpetual MS Volume Licenses.
  • No minimum purchase – Can increase user licenses in increments of one user. (Some volume licensing programs have a minimum purchase or minimum points)
  • You cannot install or use your own licenses for SQL Server, RDS, Office or Office 365 on our Virtual Servers due to Microsoft licensing restrictions.
  • Example Pricing:
    • Windows Server licensing is included in our base server cost
    • RDS user licenses are $8.99 per user per month
    • SQL Server Standard is $316/mo per 4 cores versus retail pricing of approx. $7,500 per 4 cores plus add Software Assurance annually.

VOLUME LICENSES — Advantages to using/purchasing your own Volume Licensing

  • If measuring over a long-term period, perpetual volume license may cost less than monthly SPLA license (but you have a long-term agreement with large upfront fee, plus you have to purchase Software Assurance separately, as well as Windows CALs on top of Windows Server).
    **If you end up needing fewer licenses you will still pay for all the licenses you purchased.
  • SQL Server Standard and Enterprise can be very expensive (often times as much as the underlying server cost!) and if you have already purchased these licenses you may want to use them to save money, although you are required to use our Dedicated Hardware Server hosting to use your own licensing.
  • If you have a large number of users and already have your own Office licensing (or Office 365 plan that will work on a server or terminal server), then you may want to use them to save money, although you are required to use our Dedicated Hardware Server hosting to use your own licensing.

VIRTUAL SERVER HOSTING — Virtual Server Environment at Riptide Hosting:

  • SPLA licenses only. You must license SQL Server, RDS and Office through us (SPLA) in our VM environment.  You cannot use your own licensing of SQL Server, RDS, Office, or Office 365 on our VMs.
  • Lower entry costs, VMs start at $100/month
  • Best for VMs with fewer resources (less than 25 users, less than 200 GB space, less than 8g RAM and 4vCPU)
  • Less expensive full image backup options with quick restores
  • May be less expensive to use our SPLA licenses on a VM with full image backup, even in scenarios where you have your own licensing.

DEDICATED SERVER HOSTING — Dedicated Hardware Server Environment at Riptide Hosting:

  • You can use our SPLA licenses or use your own Volume Licenses. Where the server hardware is fully dedicated to you, the outsourcing language within Microsoft Product Terms applies.
  • Best when you need significant resources (greater than 25 users, more than 200 GB disk space, more than 8g RAM and 4vCPU).
  • Our Dedicated Servers start around $300/month. Compare this to AWS Dedicated Instances or AWS Dedicated Hosts that start at over $1k per month and you have to bring all your own licensing.
  • Requires more expensive full server image backup options due to much higher disk space provided.
  • Only hosting offering we provide that allows you to use your own SQL Server, RDS, Office, or Office 365 licenses. Even if you have your own licensing, make sure it can be use on a remote hosted server.  For example, Office 365 Business Plans won’t work on a Windows Server with Remote Desktop Services because Office 365 Business doesn’t include Pro Plus.

RDS — Remote Desktop Services (RDS) Licensing Notes:

  • We get asked a lot of questions about RDS licenses and here are some of our most common discussions.
  • Many hosting providers don’t even offer the ability to license RDS SALs through them and require you to have your own licenses. If you are using Remote Desktop Services (RDS), make sure you understand whether your hosting provider can provide the required licenses or not.  **If you can only login with two accounts then they did not provide you licensing for RDS access other than for maintenance.
  • The RDS CALs/SALs are not part of the Windows Server OS licensing and are applied separately. Riptide Hosting provides RDS SALs on a monthly basis (with no long-term commitment) at $8.99 per user. For example, AWS doesn’t offer RDS user licensing.  You have to buy them from MS and then bring them to AWS via License Mobility which requires that you maintain active Software Assurance on the RDS CALs and go through a MS license verification process.
  • Microsoft only provides RDS user licenses on a per-unique-end-user basis. There is no concurrent licensing model available from Microsoft for RDS.  All users, regardless of actual usage, require a license. 

Windows Server and SQL Server Licensing Notes:

  • SQL Server is licensed per core but with a minimum of 4 cores per VM or per processor.
  • Windows Server is also now licensed per core (starting with Windows Server 2016)
  • SQL Server comes in multiple editions: Express (free), Web (through SPLA only; for publicly accessible web pages, etc.), Standard, Enterprise. Contact us for differences and monthly SPLA pricing.

Anti-virus on Riptide’s Windows Server Hosting

Update for Windows Server 2016 – Windows Defender is built-in to Windows Server 2016 and is provided at no charge.  If you have Windows Server 2012 R2, we can install MS System Center Endpoint Protection on your server for a nominal monthly fee (Windows Defender does not exist for Windows Server 2012r2).  You are always free to install and use your own AV / malware / security software product as you see fit.  Before installing software, you should verify it is supported on the Windows Server OS you have as well as on a RDS/Terminal Server if that role is installed.

 

Original Blog Post – Appropriate security measures should be taken on all hosted servers of which one component is using an anti-virus program. If you have a RDP hosted server with users who surf and download from the web, anti-virus is a must. Having the server backed up is another key to ensure you keep all your data safe.

Riptide Hosting can provide the licensing for MS Endpoint Protection stand-alone for $20 per server (or $5 per user if you are utilizing our per user terminal server application hosting offering – http://www.riptidehosting.com/Terminal-Server-Application-Hosting.aspx). Our licensing is provided on a monthly basis with no long-term commitment.

You can also choose to use your own anti-virus software which you may have more familiarity with or already own licenses for. You should verify that the software will work with the Windows Server OS that you have as well as with the remote desktop services (RDS) / terminal services role if installed (and any configuration changes necessary for install on a RDS / terminal server). Also, remember to install programs on a remote desktop server (terminal server) through control panel, install programs on remote desktop server.

If you would like to utilize our licensing for MS Endpoint Protection and have us install it on your server, please let us know.

Other AV offerings that you can research for pricing, compatibility and specifications include: eset, avg, malewarebytes, and many more.