Tag Archives: Microsoft Licensing

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.

Deploy your MS Access Database, MS Access Application online to the cloud with Remote Desktop Services (terminal services)

The quickest and easiest method to move your MS applications/databases online (to the cloud) is to deploy it on a hosted Windows Remote Desktop Server.  We have been providing terminal server (remote desktop) hosting solutions for over 15 years.  Most clients are able to deploy their Access application on a Windows Server with Remote Desktop Services within a few hours.  Contact us and to discuss your options, pricing, MS licensing, etc.

As previously announced by Microsoft, Access-based web apps (Access Web Apps) and Access web databases in Office 365 and Sharepoint Online were shut down last month (April 2018).  See link here:  https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Access-Services-in-SharePoint-Roadmap-497fd86b-e982-43c4-8318-81e6d3e711e8?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

You can also review our pricing calculator here:  http://www.riptidehosting.com/Remote-Desktop-Hosting-Pricing.aspx

When comparing options for hosting your Access application online, ask the hosting provider if it will be a Windows Server with Remote Desktop Services or if they are hosting the Access application on a Sharepoint server.  We do not provide hosting services on Sharepoint.  If your MS Access application has VBA coding, it may not work in a sharepoint environment.  You should also ask if your application is hosted in a dedicated OS environment (dedicated VM for you) or if it is on a shared server environment.

MS Access Services retired in Office 365 and Sharepoint Online – Look at MS Access Hosting with Riptide Hosting

 

Microsoft announced earlier this year that  Access-based web apps and Access web databases in Office 365 and SharePoint Online will be shut down by April, 2018.  See link here:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Access-Services-in-SharePoint-Roadmap-497fd86b-e982-43c4-8318-81e6d3e711e8?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US

This does not affect Access Desktop databases (.accdb).

One alternative you should consider is use of a Windows Remote Desktop Server with Access or Access runtime installed.  Riptide Hosting has been providing terminal server (remote desktop) hosting solutions for over 15 years.  Contact us to discuss pricing and options. 

Azure RemoteApp discontinued – use Riptide Hosting as alternative to Azure RemoteApp and Citrix

Azure RemoteApp discontinued – use Riptide Hosting as alternative to Azure RemoteApp and Citrix

Microsoft announced this month that it is discontinuing its Azure RemoteApp service and no new purchases will be available after October 1, 2016. Here is a link to their announcement

Azure RemoteApp shutting down

Riptide Hosting provides Remote Desktop (Terminal Server) Hosting using Windows Server 2012 R2 (soon Windows Server 2016) with Remote Desktop Services for publishing user customizable desktop sessions or RemoteApps.   We have several options for delivering cloud hosted remote desktops and applications and can include monthly licensing for Windows Server, RDS user licenses, MS Office, SQL Server and more.  You can start with as little as 2 users (not 10 or 20 users minimum as with other hosting provders).  Give us a call or email and we will talk with you regarding your specific situation.

Microsoft Licensing – Volume Licensing versus SPLA Licensing costs

We can provide most Microsoft software licensing on a monthly basis through the SPLA program.  These licenses are provided on a monthly basis and are easily provisioned.  In some situations, you can use your own valid Microsoft volume licenses but there are numerous restrictions.  For example, Microsoft Office does not have license mobility rights and can therefore not be used in a shared platform cloud environment.  If you want to use your own Microsoft Licensing (Office, SQL Server, etc.), you should use our Dedicated Server Hosting offering. We get many questions about Microsoft per user licenses (i.e. Remote Desktop Services CALs/SALs) and whether they are for concurrently users or named users – Microsoft only licenses RDS user licenses on a per unique end-user basis so every user that is defined on the server needs a license.

On a Dedicated Server (where the hardware is fully dedicated to you and the outsourcing language within the Microsoft Product Terms applies), you could use our licenses provided on a monthly basis via the SPLA program or install your own licensing.  (The SPLA pricing below also applies to both our cloud virtual servers and our dedicated server environments).  Here is some comparison of pricing as of January 2016.  Windows Server 2016 (coming out later this year) will be licensed “per core” instead of “per processor” which is how Windows Server has been licensed historically (SQL Server licensing changed from proc to core a few years back).

SPLA licensing:

  • Monthly basis with no commitment.
  • Windows Server CALs and SA not needed
  • Our SPLA pricing:
    • Windows Server Standard – typically included in our server costs.
    • RDS user license – $7.75/user
    • SQL Server Standard – $275 per 4 cores (sold at $137.50 per 2 cores with 4 cores minimum)
    • UPDATE – SQL Server 2016 is now available – same pricing of $275/month for 4 cores using our SPLA monthly licensing or purchase your own (retail pricing SQL Standard 2016 is approx. $7,500 – see link here).  https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server/purchasing.aspx

Volume Licensing:

  • Higher upfront cost with benefit of owning the licenses (does not include upgrades without SA)
  • SA (Software Assurance) recommended (comes in 2 year increments)
  • Additional cost and requirements of Windows Server CALs required for each user
  • Windows Server licensing minimum 2 proc/16 cores per server
  • Some Volume Licensing programs require a minimum purchase or minimum points

 

FOR EXAMPLE, if you are looking for a server licensed with Windows Server and 5 Remote Desktop users:

  1. Using our SPLA licensing:
    • Windows Server Standard licensing included in our hosting pricing
    • 5 RDS SALs (remote desktop services user licenses) – $7.75 each user
  1. Purchase Volume Licensing:
    • Windows Server License for 2 Processors (minimum) $1,171.55 with SA
    • Windows Server User CAL (per user) $52.03 with SA
    • Remote Desktop Services CAL (per user) $181.72 with SA
    • Plus cost of server ?

 

SAMPLE VOLUME LICENSING FROM LARGE RESELLER:

Windows Server: 2012R2 (each covers 2 physical Processors) plus 2yr SA included.  Windows Server 2016 licenses will be more expensive and core based.  Need to purchase Proc/Core license + CALs.

P73-05758 / Windows Server Standard / $1,171.55

R18-00143 / *Windows Server User CAL / $52.03

 

 

SQL Server Standard – pricing below is per 2 cores but minimum purchase is 4 cores – so total approx $6,571 without SA or $9,895 with SA.

7NQ-00563/ SQLSvrStdCore 2014 SNGL OLP 2Lic NL CoreLic Qlfd / $3,285.66  — Total of $6,571 for 4 cores without Software Assurance meaning no free upgrade to next version.

7NQ-00215/ SQLSvrStdCore SNGL LicSAPk OLP 2Lic NL CoreLic Qlfd / $4,947.81 – Total of $9,895 for 4 cores with Software Assurance

UPDATE: SQL Server 2016 is now available – retail pricing from Microsoft (see link below) for 4 cores SQL Server Standard is $7,434 or you can use our licensing via SPLA on a monthly basis with no long term commitment at $275/month for 4 cores.   https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/server-cloud/products/sql-server/purchasing.aspx

Remote Desktop Services CALs – required per unique end-user.  Per CAL price below with 2 yr SA

6VC-01152/ WinRmtDsktpSrvcsCAL SNGL LicSAPk OLP NL UsrCAL / $181.72

 

After the initial 2 years, you can purchase Software Assurance for additional 2 year terms (a rough estimate is 20% per year).

Does your hosting provider offer remote desktop services licensing?

Although hosting providers are generally required to provide the Windows Server operating system license via the SPLA program on hosted servers, very few offer the Remote Desktop Services (previously Terminal Services) user licenses (aka CALs/SALs) to their customers. If you are using the Remote Desktop Services role, you are required to have RDS user licenses for each unique end user that uses RDS. The RDS CALs/SALs are not part of the Windows Server OS licensing and are applied separately. We provide the Remote Desktop Services licenses at $7.75 per user which can be increased in increments of one on a monthly basis. Contact us for additional information.

Microsoft Office and alternatives on remote desktop hosting (terminal server application hosting)

Our remote desktop hosting (terminal server hosting) servers are designed to provide access to your applications from anywhere. Using Windows remote desktop protocol, you can access your business applications, Access databases and other programs running on the server from any device using the remote desktop connection client (already installed on all windows PCs, see blog post here for free download of RDP client on macs http://www.riptidehosting.com/blog/remote-desktop-connection-client-for-macs/). Some clients install applications that interface with Microsoft Office or need Office installed for other purposes. Riptide Hosting offers Microsoft Office or stand-alone Excel or Access (2010 or 2013, Standard or Professional Plus) on a per user basis for $8-$16 per month. For the best user experience, we highly recommend Microsoft Office to limit compatibility issues or errors working with your existing applications that interface with Office.
Although we recommend Office and can provide the licensing on a monthly basis, some users wish to consider alternatives to Office that are fee. Below is a discussion of some alternatives:

Apache Open-Office
According to its website, “Apache OpenOffice is the leading open-source office software suite for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, graphics, databases and more. It is available in many languages and works on all common computers. It stores all your data in an international open standard format and can also read and write files from other common office software packages. It can be downloaded and used completely free of charge for any purpose.”

You can download the most recent version of Open-Office here: https://www.openoffice.org/
Remember when installing programs on a Remote Desktop Server, you should follow these steps: Go to Control Panel -> Programs -> “Install Application on Remote Desktop…” You can see the Microsoft article on this here: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc742815.aspx
This sets the programs up to run for all the users.

Export to .csv file and copy to your local desktop
If you only have Office installed on your local machine, another option is to export reports from applications running on the remote desktop (terminal) server in Common Separate Values (.csv) format when it’s an option. Then you can copy the file to your local desktop and open using Office on your local machine. This often works for excel documents. This may not always be an option and does add additional steps versus having Microsoft Office or Excel installed on the server itself.

Excel and Word Viewers
If you don’t need to modify or save the document, you could use Excel Viewer and/or Word Viewer. These viewers allow you to open an excel/word document but not modify or save the document. Since this provides limited functionality, we recommend that you license Excel or Office through Riptide Hosting on a monthly, per-user basis.
EXCEL VIEWER http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10
WORD VIEWER http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=4

Anti-virus on Riptide’s Windows Server Hosting

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 — http://www.eset.com/us/business/products/file-windows/ and http://kb.eset.com/esetkb/index?page=content&id=SOLN2791&actp=search&viewlocale=en_US&searchid=1413230254908

KASPERSKY — http://usa.kaspersky.com/business-security/file-server

AVG — http://www.avg.com/us-en/faq.num-4521

Access Runtime (free download) on our Remote Desktop (Terminal) Servers

Do you need MS Access licensing when running your application on a Remote Desktop Server?  Not if your Access install includes the access run time also known as Microsoft Access Database Engine Redistributable.  With this method the Access Runtime will be installed along with your application.

Riptide Hosting can provide Microsoft licensing for the full version of Access (2016,2013,2010) / Office Professional which is best if you need the full features of Access including creating and editing the database tables and forms– see our pricing calculators for current pricing.

Microsoft also offers MS Access Runtime as a FREE download which may be an option depending on your situation, for example if you have already created a database application which has forms to input and manipulate the data. Runtime is limited to running an already existing/created Access application. An access developer who develops an access application can install the application on computers and servers using the free Microsoft Access runtime rather than licensing Access for each computer.

Links to download 2016/2016/2010 Access Runtime (Redistributable) are below:

Microsoft Access 2016 Runtime download from Microsoft https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=50040

Microsoft Access 2010 Runtime download from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=10910
Microsoft Access 2013 Runtime download from Microsoft: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39358

The description of Runtime from the Microsoft Download Center for 2016 Runtime is copied in here:

“The Microsoft Access 2016 Runtime enables you to distribute Access 2016 applications to users who do not have the full version of Access 2016 installed on their computers.”

“Microsoft Access 2016 provides a rich platform for developing database management solutions with easy-to-use customization tools. If no end-user customization is required (including report modifications), you can choose to distribute those Access 2016 solutions so that they run without requiring a full installation of Access 2016. To do so, you must package and distribute your application with the Access 2016 Runtime.

The Access 2016 Runtime is similar to previous runtimes in that all design-related UI is either removed or disabled.

You do not need to buy any special product in order to redistribute the Access 2016 Runtime. You can freely redistribute it or point users to this download. “

Below is a link for “Access for developers” from Microsoft’s MSDN site as additional reference: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/office/aa905400