Microsoft Ends Open Business Perpetual Licensing in Exchange for Cloud Solution Provider Program
Two years on December 31, 2021, the long-awaited removal of Microsoft’s Open Business licensing program took effect. This program provided the traditional way of purchasing perpetual licensing for small and midsized businesses for the last 20 years.
With Microsoft ending the Open Business license program, this licensing has since been made available through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program.
However, not everyone is familiar with the Microsoft licensing changes of 2022 or has not yet faced renewal. If your business is planning to purchase any perpetual licensing in the future or you’re up for renewal, the new year is a good time to purchase licenses through the CSP program with a trusted provider.
In this blog, we’ll outline what end-of-life for Microsoft Open Business licensing means, and how the new Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program will take effect moving forward so your business can find the right partner.
Microsoft Open Licensing vs CSP
To help our Microsoft users better understand these licensing changes, we’ve broken down how the Open Business Program originally worked and what can be expected through the new, CSP partner program moving forward.
Open Business Program
Open Business was a one-time purchase option, with the option to add Software Assurance. Five licenses were needed to start an open business agreement.
Once purchased, a 15-digit authorization number was provided. This authorization number was used to add more licenses, if needed, to bypass the 5-license minimum. If there was Software Assurance tied to the licenses on the authorization number, the Software Assurance was active for two years. Once the two years passed, to keep receiving Software Assurance benefits the Software Assurance would have had to be renewed for another two years.
Cloud Solution Provider Program
Microsoft now offers these software licenses through CSP, with no minimum license requirement. Through the CSP program, you may purchase server licensing perpetually, annually, and with monthly options. Alongside the no minimum requirement for purchase, these server licenses include a feature called Azure Hybrid Benefit, which provides a discount for resources hosted in Azure such as Virtual Machines and SQL Servers.
By using Azure Hybrid Benefit, Microsoft estimates that you could save up to 50% of your Windows server costs and 85% of your SQL Server costs. These licenses would no longer be managed in the traditional VLSC portal, but you would access these services through the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. As all of your licensing is located in one portal, they’re much more convenient to manage.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is going to happen to my existing perpetual licenses?
As they are perpetual, your licenses are owned. If Software Assurance was tied to these licenses and you wish to renew to keep receiving the benefits of Software Assurance, there are options to renew through CSP or Open Value.
How do I know if I am due for renewal?
If it has been about two years since your purchase, it may be time to renew your software licenses.
The best way to tell is by looking into the VLSC as the last 4 digits of your authorization can determine the expiration date. The first two digits are the year, and the last two digits are the month. For example, if the last 4 digits are 2301, your Software Assurance/Authorization number expires in January 2023.
Why would I need to renew my Software Assurance?
The main benefit of having SA to your license is the version upgrade rights. Once a new version is released by Microsoft, you may activate the new version.
What if I do not need Software Assurance?
As Software Assurance is not always needed, it’s great to have for future upgrades. Software Assurance can not be added after your initial purchase of licensing. If an organization has an older version of licensing and is looking to upgrade, new licenses will need to be purchased if no active Software Assurance is tied to the licensing.
How do I purchase perpetual licensing now?
Perpetual Licensing is now available through CSP.
Next Steps: Choosing the Right CSP Partner for Your Licenses or Online Services
With the Microsoft Open Business Licensing Program changes, now is the time to partner with a CSP if your company hasn’t already.
The CSP program offers several benefits for customers. This program provides flexibility so businesses can grow or downsize, as needed. Licensing can be added or subtracted at any time, billed monthly or annually. Customers can bundle and personalize licensing to fit their specific needs and make instant purchases.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner and Cloud Solutions Provider, Arraya’s experts are available to modernize your Microsoft licensing approach to reduce complexity, save money, and provide you with strategic guidance and support.
To learn more about the CSP program in general, check out our blog, Demystifying Microsoft CSP Licensing: Our Most Frequently Asked Questions.
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