Sorting out the complexity of Microsoft Volume Licensing

Vijay started a thread on his iQubed blog to which I replied at length, so he split out my comments as a post in their own right. The debate was around whether MS volume licensing programmes are too complex, and take up too much of a business’ time and energy, as well as making it harder for their suppliers and consulting partners to be sure they are giving the best advice. The question posed was “Who Understands Microsoft Licensing?

Fundamentally, one size simply does not fit all. The particular firewall configuration you create for one client will not be suitable for another with different needs.

Does the manufacturer’s configuration manual tell you which options to choose? Probably not, it tells you how to change the setting, which options do what, but it is down to your experience to match the need to a solution and then implement it.

Generally speaking the licensing programmes themselves are reasonably easy to choose between, if the right questions can be asked and answered. The extra benefits which come with some of the programmes are often not the main reason to choose them, but perhaps these are too often allowed to cloud the issue. I’ve tried to discuss the questions below without getting bogged down in the details of exactly which programme offers what, partly since that will change over time and partly because introducing Microsoft’s own terminology is the fastest way to lose people in this minefield.

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