Tag Archives: licensing

Microsoft PowerApps pricing proposal puts users on edge

BOSTON — Microsoft’s proposed licensing changes for PowerApps, the cloud-based development tools for Office 365 and Dynamics 365, have confused users and made them fearful the software will become prohibitively expensive.

Last week, at Microsoft’s SPTechCon user conference, some organizations said the pricing changes, scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, were convoluted. Others said the new pricing — if it remains as previewed by Microsoft earlier this summer — would force them to limit the use of the mobile app development tools.

“We were at the point where we were going to be expanding our usage, instead of using it for small things, using it for larger things,” Katherine Prouty, a developer at the nonprofit Greater Lynn Senior Services, based in Lynn, Mass., said. “This is what our IT folks are always petrified of; [the proposed pricing change] is confirmation of their worst nightmares.”

This is what our IT folks are always petrified of; this is confirmation of their worst nightmares.
Katherine ProutyDeveloper, Greater Lynn Senior Services

Planned apps the nonprofit group might have to scrap if the pricing changes take effect include those for managing health and safety risks for its employees and clients in a regulatory-compliant way, and protecting the privacy of employees as they post to social media on behalf of the organization, Prouty said.

Developers weigh in

The latest pricing proposal primarily affects organizations building PowerApps that tap data sources outside of Office 365 and Dynamics 365. People connecting to Salesforce, for example, would pay $10 per user, per month, unless they opt to pay $40 per user, per month for unlimited use of data connectors to third-party apps.

The new pricing would take effect even if customers were only connecting Office 365 to Dynamics 365 or vice versa. That additional cost for using apps they’re already paying for does not sit well with some customers, while others find the pricing scheme perplexing. 

“It’s all very convoluted right now,” said David Drever, senior manager at IT consultancy Protiviti, based in Menlo Park, Calif.

Manufacturing and service companies that create apps using multiple data sources are among the businesses likely to pay a lot more in PowerApps licensing fees, said IT consultant Daniel Christian of PowerApps911, based in Maineville, Ohio.

Annual PowerApps pricing changes

However, pricing isn’t the only problem, Christian said. Microsoft’s yearly overhaul of PowerApps fees also contributes to customer handwringing over costs.

“Select [a pricing model] and stick with it,” he said. “I’m OK with change; we’ll manage it and figure it out. It’s the repetitive changes that bug me.”

Microsoft began restricting PowerApps access to outside data sources earlier this year, putting into effect changes announced last fall. The new policy required users to purchase a special PowerApps plan to connect to popular business applications such as Salesforce Chatter, GotoMeeting and Oracle Database. The coming changes as presented earlier this summer would take that one step further by introducing per-app fees and closing loopholes that were available on a plan that previously cost $7 per user per month.

Matt Wade, VP of client services at H3 Solutions Inc., based in Manassas, Va., said customers should watch Microsoft’s official PowerApps blog for future information that might clarify costs and influence possible tweaks to the final pricing model. H3 Solutions is the maker of AtBot, a platform for developing bots for Microsoft’s cloud-based applications.

“People who are in charge of administering Office 365 and the Power Platform need to be hyper-aware of what’s going on,” Wade said. “Follow the blog, comment, provide feedback — and do it respectfully.”

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Increases expected from new Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing

Upcoming changes to Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing will lead to lower licensing fees for some users while possibly raising the cost of the cloud-based business applications platform for organizations with 100-plus seats.

Microsoft described the changes, scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, in a blog post this week. The company gave partners advance notice of the new pricing scheme at last week’s Inspire conference in Las Vegas.

Midsize and larger organizations that use more than one application could face significant increases, because of Microsoft’s decision to unbundle Dynamics 365 apps and sell them a la carte. Currently, the cloud apps come priced as bundles, with many companies on a Customer Engagement Plan at $115 per user/month. The plan includes five core applications — Sales, Customer Service, Field Service, Project Service Automation and Marketing.

The new individual pricing would cost $95 per user/month for one app, with $20 “attach licenses” for additional apps. Alysa Taylor, corporate vice president for business applications at Microsoft, said in the blog post that customers preferred having the option of adding or removing applications as their companies grew and changed over time.

 Microsoft Dynamics 365 pricing to take effect October 2019
Microsoft Dynamics 365 CRM ‘attach pricing’

But users of Dynamics 365 CRM software would likely pay more for that convenience, Dolores Ianni, an analyst at Gartner, said. Those customers typically employ multiple applications in the Customer Engagement Plan.

I feel that a majority of renewing customers are going to be substantially impacted by this change.
Dolores IanniAnalyst, Gartner

“If you’re using four applications and you had a thousand users, well, your price went up 158% — it varies wildly,” Ianni said. “I feel that a majority of renewing customers are going to be substantially impacted by this change.”

Microsoft claims 80% of its customers are using only one application, but anecdotal evidence indicates otherwise. Conversations with Microsoft customers — and a review of their contracts — show that the largest enterprises with 1,000 or more users could pay substantially more in some cases, Ianni said. Organizations with 100 or more users could also pay more, even if they’re using only one application. Companies with more than one application would get hit harder.

Microsoft could offer its largest customers promotional deals that would mitigate the price hike, Ianni said. The company often provides such breaks when changing pricing.

Readiness tips for Dynamics 365 pricing changes

Organizations should prepare for the new pricing structures by analyzing which employees use which applications today. Businesses can sometimes find ways to cut costs after getting a complete understanding of how workers are using the software.

“They’re going to have to do their homework to a much greater degree than they did in the past,” Ianni said.

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Microsoft Partner Network licensing changes put channel on alert

Pending Microsoft Partner Network policy changes affecting product licensing have alarmed some partners, with more than 5,000 people signing a petition to register their disapproval.

A key area of contention is Microsoft’s plan to eliminate the internal use rights (IUR) association with product licenses included in Microsoft Action Pack and those included with a competency. Action Pack gives partners access to product licenses and technical enablement services, through which they can create applications and develop service offerings. Microsoft positions Action Pack, which ranges from OSes to business applications, as a way for new MPN members to get started. Competencies are business specializations in areas such as cloud business applications and data analytics.

The revised IUR association policy will compel Microsoft partners to pay for licenses they have been using in-house under the current Microsoft Partner Network membership terms. The new policy goes into effect July 1, 2020.

Paul Katz, president and chief software architect at EfficiencyNext, a software developer in Washington, D.C., said the policy change will cause the company to purchase five Office 365 Enterprise E3 seats. In addition, EfficiencyNext stands to lose the Microsoft Azure credits the company uses to run its website, although Katz said the policy change’s effect on the Azure benefit is somewhat ambiguous at this point. The licensing fees coupled with the potential loss of Azure credits would result in an annual net cost of about $2,400 a year, he added.

“That’s a thorn in the side, but it doesn’t change our world,” Katz said.

The stakes are much higher, he said, for larger partners with more licenses they will need to pay for. A partner with 100 Office 365 E3 licenses, for example, would need to shell out $24,000 annually, based on the $20 per user, per month seat fee.

Charles WeaverCharles Weaver

Charles Weaver, CEO of MSPAlliance, an association representing managed service providers (MSPs), said he found out about the Microsoft policy change when a board member sent him the online petition. “It’s going to sting most of them,” he said of the licensing shift’s effect on service providers. “It is probably not going to be received well by the rank-and-file MSPs.”

The partner petition, posted on Change.org, stated Microsoft’s policies represent unfair treatment, noting partners “have been so loyal to the Microsoft business.” Microsoft couldn’t be reached for comment.

Microsoft Partner Network: Policy consequences

Katz advised partners to “get licensed up” in light of the IUR change, noting that Microsoft has been aggressive in the past with software asset management engagements.

Weaver, however, said he hopes that won’t be the case.

“I can’t think of anything more destructive to the relationship between Microsoft and the channel than that,” he said, noting the audits software vendors pursue tend to target large customers, where millions of dollars are at stake.

People don’t want to come to terms with the fact that we are resellers and we don’t, in any way, shape or form, control the products.
Stanley LouissaintPresident, Fluid Designs Inc.

In addition to causing some partners to incur higher licensing costs, the Microsoft IUR policy shift could also hinder partners’ use-what-you-sell strategies. Resellers and service providers that use a vendor’s products to help run their business gain technology experience, which they can transfer to end customers when deploying those products.

Katz said “dogfooding” — as in, eating one’s own dog food — is the best way to test products, especially for companies that can’t afford to set up a separate test environment.

But the restriction on IUR would discourage this approach and could cause Microsoft to miss out on opportunities down the road.

Weaver pointed to a potential unintended consequence of Microsoft’s action: “They stop the freeloading of MSPs from using their software, as they look at it, and they lose potentially thousands of MSPs who no longer try that stuff out and no longer have access to it and may go to different vendors and different solutions.”

A part of doing business

Stanley LouissaintStanley Louissaint

Stanley Louissaint, president of Fluid Designs Inc., an IT services provider in Union, N.J., said the MPN policy changes don’t affect his company but noted the unease among partners. Louissaint suggested changes in vendor policies are simply part of doing business as a channel partner.

“People don’t want to come to terms with the fact that we are resellers and we don’t, in any way, shape or form, control the products,” he said. “If [Microsoft] changes how they want to deal with us, it is what it is.”

Louissaint said the bottom line is Microsoft wants partners to become paying customers when using the vendor’s products to run their businesses. As for creating test beds to assess products, channel partners still can download software on a trial basis — for up to 180 days, in some cases, he added.

Jeff Aden, executive vice president of marketing and business development at 2nd Watch, a Seattle MSP, said the new policy “is not going to change what we do” unless there is an unforeseen effect. 2nd Watch is a Microsoft Gold partner and an AWS Premier Consulting Partner.

EfficiencyNext’s Katz said the licensing changes don’t mean Microsoft is greedy. He noted Windows Insider members can download preview versions of Windows for free, and there is a community version of Visual Studio that is free for up to five users in nonenterprise organizations.

“They are still a great company, and we are still happy to be working with them,” he said.

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Hot Hyper-V Topics – January 2016

It’s that time again for some more highlights from the last month in the world of Hyper-V! Hopefully everyone had a good new year, and we’ll get you started on 2016 with some news from the Microsoft front.

Here are 9 of the Hot Hyper-V Topics from the last month!

Original post: Hot Hyper-V Topics – January 2016

Looking Forward to the Past: 2015 Year-End

2015 will be a memorable year for a great many reasons, ranging from the horrific to the spectacular. Assuredly, the biggest buzz for us is around all the exciting features that are currently being cooked up for next year’s Windows Server 2016. It’s an impressive list by any standards. Hyper-V users are going to have a number of things to look forward to. Y

As we stand at this junction point between years, both looking backward into 2015 and looking forward into 2016, I want to take this opportunity to talk about the ways that 2016 will resurrect old concepts both good and bad in Hyper-V.

Original post: Looking Forward to the Past: 2015 Year-End

42 Best Practices for Balanced Hyper-V Systems

Last year, Nirmal Sharma wrote a fantastic article on this blog titled 23 Best Practices to improve Hyper-V and VM Performance. This sparked up a very lively discussion in the comments section; some were very strongly in favor of some items, some very strongly opposed to others. What I think was perhaps missed in some of these comments was that, as Nirmal stated in the title, his list was specifically “to improve Hyper-V and VM performance.” If squeezing every last drop of horsepower out of your Hyper-V host is your goal, then it’s pretty hard to find any serious flaws with his list. Just cause a Group can be brought to consensus, does not make them right. Assess the Risks of being wrong before proceeding on their say so. — guy w wallace (@guywwallace) February 27, 2015 As you probably know, or can at least guess, I’m not the biggest fan… Read More»

Original post link: 42 Best Practices for Balanced Hyper-V Systems

The post 42 Best Practices for Balanced Hyper-V Systems appeared first on Hyper-V Hub – Altaro’s Microsoft Hyper-V blog.

Microsoft Server Licensing in a Virtual Environment Revisited

Late last year, we published an eBook about licensing Microsoft server operating systems in a virtual environment. This was followed up with a webinar by Thomas Maurer and Andrew Syrewicze. Toward the end of that session, they took some questions. Since then, we’ve received a few more. We’ll use this article to answer those questions and to further expand on some of the ideas in the eBook. How does OS licensing work with Hyper-V Replica? The way that licensing works with Hyper-V Replica was covered in the eBook and talked about in the webinar, but is still a very common question topic. Unfortunately, the answer is much less popular. Replicas are actual virtual machines, and they are not the same virtual machines as the ones they are replicating. Therefore, they must be licensed independently of the source virtual machine. The license that you bought for the source virtual machine does not… Read More»

Original post link: Microsoft Server Licensing in a Virtual Environment Revisited

The post Microsoft Server Licensing in a Virtual Environment Revisited appeared first on Hyper-V Hub – Altaro’s Microsoft Hyper-V blog.

The Hyper-V Portal 2014 Year in Review

Like any creative work, a blog post is never really done; it’s just abandoned. Unlike many other mediums, blogs do allow us to easily refresh those older articles, but we so rarely ever do it. To close out this year, a few of us on the editorial team got together and selected a few highlights…

Original post link: The Hyper-V Portal 2014 Year in Review

The post The Hyper-V Portal 2014 Year in Review appeared first on Hyper-V Hub – Altaro’s Microsoft Hyper-V blog.