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Enterprise Windows SA Per User Licensing: What it is, and how to get it

Microsoft | Posted on January 21, 2015 by Matt Zito

How many devices do you or each of your coworkers own or use on a daily basis? Whether for business purposes or pleasure, it is safe to say that we have well surpassed Bill Gate’s vision of a personal computer being in every home. As devices became more affordable and we became more dependent on technology, it was evident that Microsoft would need to evolve their licensing protocols.

True to their promise of providing more flexible access to the software that made them the tech giant that they are, friendly Windows Desktop OS licensing is coming to a any device near you.

Licensing the Windows Desktop OS has traditionally abided by the basic licensing principles for devices; each unique device requires a unique license. Seems straightforward, right? It is…until you evaluate additional use cases required at your organization and a slew of other acronyms: SA, VDA, and CSL.

As announced in November of 2014, Microsoft will now offer a per user subscription for Windows SA.

What this licensing change means for you

It means one license for each user to enable that user to access Windows Enterprise OS across an unlimited number of devices, regardless of the underlying Operating System. Microsoft has moved past their naiveté that all users are using a Windows OS, and realized that many iOS and Android Operating Systems exist in the workforce – and that users would benefit from a consistent experience with Windows Enterprise. This is a major shift in their strategy, and a welcomed one at that.

Offering the great Windows experience that we have all grown to love can be achieved regardless of what device you are using or how many you have.

A breakdown of how the licensing works:

Windows SA Per User

  • License the user who’s Primary Device is running Windows Pro or another qualified underlying OS
  • Licensed user can install Enterprise Edition of Windows on any device or Windows Tablet that is smaller than 10.1”
  • VDA access is covered through the per user license, so no need for additional licenses
  • Companion Subscription Licenses which allowed a user who was licensed for Windows Enterprise the ability to purchase an additional license for home use is no longer needed with Windows Per user since they can install Enterprise on home devices as well.
  • MDOP can be attached to the Windows Enterprise SA per user license and the functionality extends across any device Windows is installed
  • If a device is shared by two people (shift work), licensing one user does not allow both users to access. Each unique user requires an user subscription license

 VDA Per User

  • Previously VDA subscriptions were device based
  • VDA Per User subscription allows the user to access VDA from unlimited devices
  • There are no underlying requirements for any sort of device

How to Buy

  • Windows Per User Add On: If you are currently licensed for Windows Enterprise per device and want to transition to a user based model, you can utilize the Windows SA Add-on to allow that user to install Windows locally on unlimited devices
  • Windows SA per User Full USL: If you are adding new users or starting a new agreement, the Full User Subscription License (USL) would be the option of choice. Again, the requirement will be to have the primary user’s device have a qualified operating system such as Windows Pro.
  • Enterprise Cloud Suite: The Windows SA Per user is one of the three components to the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS) and can be purchased as an Add-On to an existing Desktop Platform or as the Full User Subscription License.

If you want to discuss how the Microsoft licensing changes impact your organization, engage with your Softchoice Account Manager and request time with your dedicated Microsoft Solution and Services Specialist.

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