Microsoft SPLA and DaaS for Hosting Service Providers – Update

I recently received a clarification update that some new language has made it’s way into the Microsoft VDI Suites and Windows VDA FAQ v3.1.  Basically, where SPLA is mentioned (page 3 of the PDF), Microsoft has added some clarification to the language that many of us had questioned regarding what exactly defines “shared hardware”.  In this update, it has been clarified that “hardware” is any iron that is running an instance of Microsoft software (OS or application).  They use SAN as an example – as long as it’s not running Microsoft software, it’s OK to share.  I’m interpreting that to mean that by the same definition, most networking gear would be OK to share as well under this clarification.

While this does add some clarity to the issue, it doesn’t change Microsoft’s current fundamental position that there is still no SPLA model for VDA licensing.  It’s still not any easier for many hosting providers to do DaaS offerings in a multi-tenant architecture.

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2 responses to “Microsoft SPLA and DaaS for Hosting Service Providers – Update

  1. Extending the logic a little here, this seems to write using Hyper-V out of the Multi-tenant VDI usage, but doesn’t (in my interpretation) exclude VMware/XenServer, etc. Running your hardware with a non-microsoft Hypervisor would suggest that the “iron” is not under microsoft licensing and as such would be viable to use for a multi-tenant VDI solution.

    Admitidly this is speculation, but by extension I believe the logic to be sound. It might be high time Microsoft updated the licensing to allow this.

    • I completely agree with you. The language is so murky in the SPLA’s Service Provider Usage Agreement (SPUR) that defines exactly what consitutes “shared” infrastructure. The crux of the issue is the SPLA prohibiting the “rental” of Microsoft Desktop Operating Systems (XP, Win7) in a multi-tenant, shared hardware model. I still have reservations on how Desktone and other DaaS providers do this and still maintain SPLA compliance. From what I have heard, the problem is actually not a technical one, nor a “conspiracy” by Microsoft to prevent VDI vendors from building DaaS solutions until Microsoft has a fully developed desktop virtualization offering (as some have suggested). Rather, it was explained that because of the localization of the desktop OS’s and thus the SPLA agreements and related licensing agreements would be difficult (more like impossible) to change and standardize globally, which is the true sticking factor. I don’t see how this cannot eventually change with Microsoft’s commitment to cloud partners and cloud architecture and it’s support of it’s large service provider customer and partner base.

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