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Volume Licensing Guide

Volume licensing is a term that many people in the IT world have heard thrown around for years. The problem is, nobody is really sure what is is. With the massive amount of (mis)information, it is hard to get a good handle on what’s going on.

We’ve compiled a few definitions to help you along the way to becoming a VL guru.

Definitions

Volume License – Term used to describe a product that is delivered through Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)

Open License – Synonymous with “Volume License”, an interchangeable term.

Microsoft Service Provider (MSP)Also short for “Managed Service Provider” or “Microsoft Supplier Program”, generally used to describe a company that will provide services such as installation and configuration for an end user.

Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)Web portal developed and maintained by Microsoft. Used to track, maintain, and deliver Open License products. MSPs can manage this account for an end user, or an end user can manage it themselves.

Volume Licensing Uses

Great! Now that we have that out of the way, here’s the skinny. Volume Licensing is not just bulk purchasing Microsoft products, it’s so much more!

Open License products are only available through Microsoft Partners, not Microsoft direct. Additionally, for products that require a 25 character key, you get one key to use for as many seats/ installations you have.

There are plenty of other advantages that come with purchasing Open License products (albeit at an additional cost). These do vary depending on the product family. See some examples:

  • Downgrade Rights – Product includes deployment options of the most recent iteration & the 2 (or more) prior.
  • I.e Windows 2016 Standard – You can download and deploy 2016, 2012 R2, 2012, 2008 R2, or 2008 Standard.
  • Terminal Server Install – Traditionally installed products (like Microsoft Office) must be purchased as an Open License to be installed on a terminal server (server with Remote Desktop Roles enabled).
  • Software Assurance Option – Software assurance can be bundled with the purchase of any Open License. Software Assurance itself has a few benefits depending on the product, such as upgrade rights (upgrade to any new release of the software within the term), or passive installation (install on a second parallel server for failover purposes).
  • Management Portal – Licensing is managed within the VLSC, which means at any given time you have the ability to track your utilization and compliance. Downloads are available with a few clicks with a single product key used to deploy. Centralizing your IT implementation resources. The VLSC helps to keep your business productive.

These are just a few of the benefits possible with Open Licensing. Taking these into account will allow you to determine the cost benefit of Open Licensing vs. other licensing solutions.

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