We had a question via a comment on one of our SQL Server 2014 blog posts. It’s a little hard to answer because it lacks specific details such as part number and reseller but we like to try to answer questions.
“my company have bought 1 license sql 2014 and cd i download from website. during setup i need to insert product key. how to i get the license?”
Thanks for your query. There are a few factors to consider which will help establish an answer:
1 – What website did you buy SQL 2014 from? Was it a reputable reseller such as Insight or Ebuyer? If you purchased the software through a site such as eBay, it may be that you were sold a pirated copy.
2 – What product did you buy? Did you buy SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition Server licence or a SQL Server 2014 client access licence (CAL) or the SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition? The price you paid (assuming it was from a legitimate reseller) will give you a clue; the standard server product with 10 CALs would be around £2,500-£3,000 whereas the developer edition would be around £50.
If you did purchase from a legitimate reseller, and was shipped a DVD in a box, then this is classed as full packaged product (FPP) and the product key to use on installation will typically be on a sticker on the DVD case. It will be 25 alphanumeric characters in the form xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx.
In any case, your first port of call for help could either be the reseller you purchased this from or Microsoft support who can both advise you if the product is legal and legitimate and help you with the installation. They can be reached on (+44) 344 800 2400. You can also log a web support incident via Microsoft’s support page.
My wife takes digital photos and downloads them onto her laptop. Then she deletes them from the camera. If you have ever taken a hard-drive apart, on those rainy days to avoid doing dull IT tasks, you’ll know how fragile they are. Lots of memories on those small platters of film. No matter how many external hard drives I buy, or funny-shaped USB sticks to persuade her to back up her files, she never does. So it’s with great anticipation that Microsoft Azure Backup Vaults now support Windows client OS (Windows 7 and Windows 8) as well as Windows Server.
If you’re a techie, you might be thinking why didn’t I set up a home active directory domain on an HP Microserver, back-up the client devices that log-on, including my wife’s laptop, and then back the server and thus the client files up to Azure? Well, I did but the big blue light on the front on the Microserver started to annoy me at night because it was really bright so I keep turning it off and that’s not really a good infrastructure decision.
Let’s walk through how to set your home pc to back-up to the Azure cloudy goodness. A couple of basics first; you will need an Azure subscription and this back-up solution will cost you money. However, backups are compressed, encrypted, triple-replicated inside Microsoft’s datacenters and once you’ve set up your back-up schedule, it’s automatic. And think of your photographic memories safe and sound (although of course you should periodically test your recovery processes as well).
Log onto www.azure.com and go to the Azure portal. Select Recovery Services and create a new Backup Vault. Once you have your vault, the dashboard will show you the next steps to take.
The client machine needs to register with the Azure Backup Vault. A few months ago this required creating a certificate but now Azure simply provides a credentials file to download and save onto your local machine. Next, download the Microsoft Azure Recovery Services (MARS) agent onto the local pc and run it. The Azure portal provides two options for the backup agent; pick the first option (Windows Server or System Center Data Protection Manager or Windows Client). The setup wizard is going to ask about proxy settings and will also download the pre-requisites but typically on a home network, you’ll be able to breeze through accepting the defaults.
The final step allows you to Proceed to Registration (or you can Close the setup but if you’re ready to schedule the backup, you may as well proceed to register your pc with the backup vault). The backup agent will ask for the vault credentials file that you downloaded and then you’ll need to specify a passphrase. This will be used for encrypting the data before transfer to Azure. Note the data is encrypted on the client device and stored in Azure encrypted. Microsoft do not hold the passphrase so it’s vital this is kept safe and secure otherwise you’ll only be able to restore encrypted data. In fact, the agent will not let you proceed to the next step until the passphrase is saved to another location.
And just as a final part to this blog, we have to thanks one of our trainers, Thomas Lee who scored this coup by asking nicely for it!
We recently wrote a blog for Microsoft explaining the new Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS). ECS includes a licence called Windows SA per-user. You can read the post on the Microsoft UK Volume Licensing site. In this post, I want to delve a little deeper into how Windows licensing can work on a per-user basis.
Windows and Office have historically been licenced per-device; the machine you use these on had to have a licence. Software Assurance provided a little bit of flexibility by allowing roaming rights in which the primary user of a licenced device could access the software from outside of the work domain (e.g. at home). However, mobility is the new norm. People work on lots of devices and in lots of locations and licensing software per-device is very limiting in these instances. Office 365 has seen enormous success with per-user licensing (overtaking the number of seats of traditional Office 2013) and Windows 8.1 can now also offer a similar flexibility.
Let’s cover some facts first:
Per-device licensing is not going away and there are myriad cases where it’s preferable; for example libraries, hospitals, warehouses, etc. where many people use the same device.
Office 365 allows 5 local installations of the full Office applications for the licensed user. Windows per-user allows the user to install Windows 8.1 on an unlimited number of devices for their own use, subject to some pre-requisites which I’ll detail in this blog post.
Windows per-user is not a cloud based service like Office 365. It can therefore enjoy downgrade rights so the user could install Windows 7 in place of Windows 8.1 for example.
Windows per-user is a subscription licence. If the subscription is not continued, the licence expires and Windows must be uninstalled. Whether there’s a mechanism to check for the subscription and remove functionality as there is with Office 365, I don’t know at the moment.
Windows per-user is only available through Enterprise Agreements at the moment so it’s not a case of popping to PC World and buying Windows 8.1 per-user I’m afraid.
I’ll start by looking at some current scenarios. That will highlight some limitations which ECS can address.
Windows 8.1 is licenced per-device.
Anyone at all can use Windows on the device, anywhere at all (e.g. at work or at home). It helps to have the device-owner’s permission but that’s just politeness and not a licensing requirement.
Running Windows 8.1 virtually.
Many organisations utilise virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) whereby the client OS is not locally installed on the licenced device but stored on a network server and then remotely accessed by the user. If the Windows 8.1 licence for the device includes Software Assurance (SA), these virtual rights, known as Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) come as a benefit of the SA. In this way, a user can access a virtual Windows desktop through VDI from a licenced Windows device. This is fairly simple if the device is corporate-owned, for example, a laptop provided by the company for the user. If the user wants to use their own (or a 3rd party) device to access their virtual Windows desktop, SA provides roaming rights to the primary user so they can access their desktop from outside work but 3rd party devices cannot be used to access virtual Windows desktops from within the corporate network, i.e. at work. The primary user is defined as being the person who uses a pc for more than half the time in any 90-day period. Let’s mention a few scenarios: the user can use their main work desktop pc whilst in the office; they can also access a virtual Windows desktop from their personal pc at home using VDI; they could also use a corporate laptop to access a virtual Windows desktop both at work and outside work (as long as the laptop is also licenced for Windows); they could not however bring their personal devices into work and access a virtual Windows desktop. I can sense you’re frowning so time for an illustration.
Whichever way you choose, the licensing benefits are the same. Firstly, it gets around the ‘cannot bring a 3rd party device into work and access Windows’ restriction. Secondly it allows the licenced user to install Windows 8.1 onto any number of devices. Yes, that’s pretty generous isn’t it? I mentioned in the facts at the start of this post there are some pre-requisites and the condition for installing Windows is that on devices with a screen size of 10.1″ and above, there must already be a Windows 7 Professional or Windows 8.1 Pro licence. Even if the device already has a Windows 8.1 Pro licence, Windows per-user allows you to install Windows 8.1 Enterprise and you can access virtual Windows desktops from inside and outside work. Time for a final illustration.
That’s a lot of green and green is good unless we’re drinking milk. The only red is that you cannot install Windows 8.1 on an iPhone, iPad or Android device but you can run it virtually.
In summary, there are still a few things to bear in mind, for example underlying Windows device licences don’t quite go away in most cases, but licensing Windows for a user gives enormous flexibility in allowing people to work wherever they are, whatever the device is and whoever it’s owned by.
If you’ve dealt with Microsoft Licensing, you’ll know there are lots of exceptions, gotchas, myths and riddles. We want to clear some of those up in our blog posts so number one is a good place to start. These all assume basic Microsoft licensing knowledge but if you need to top this up with some free training, look at our licensing courses or contact us.
Microsoft Exchange Server is licensed in a server and CAL (client access licence) model. The CALs can be per-user or per-device. These CALs provide the user or device rights to access the Exchange server but you need a client to read and send email, deal with calendar entries and so on. The obvious client is Outlook; part of the Office family of applications. In the past the Exchange CAL included an Outlook licence but this was no longer included after Exchange Server 2003 and since then, Outlook needs to be purchased separately.
Perhaps you don’t have Outlook? That’s ok because the Exchange CAL provides the rights to access e-mail, calendar, contacts and tasks through either Outlook Web App (OWA) or through a mobile device via Exchange ActiveSync.
Typically a user will access their mailbox from a number of devices. This is fine if you have deployed Exchange per-user CALs; the user can log into OWA from pretty much any internet connected device (hotel kiosks, airport lounge machines, home, work, internet cafés, etc.) and the user can synchronise to any supported mobile device.
If you have deployed per-device CALs then the user can only use OWA from licensed devices and can only synchronise from licensed mobile devices.
Hopefully you see the gotcha here. Exchange is brilliant at providing access anywhere, anytime and on any device but only if you licence per-user. For organisations that have per-device Exchange licensing, anywhere access becomes extremely restricted.
Perhaps you’re looking for a new job and you want to refresh your certification. Perhaps you’re hiring new staff and want to skill them up quickly or meet targets to earn a Microsoft Partner Competency. What’s the easiest way to earn a Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate (MCSA) accreditation?
Easy is the wrong word here. None of these exams are easy; they exist to test and prove your experience and knowledge in a topic. MCSA is also the prerequisite to earn the Microsoft Certified Solutions Expert accreditations which really are the pinnacle of Microsoft certifications.
However the fastest route to earn an MCSA, assuming you’re not upgrading an earlier qualification, is to work towards either Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 MCSA or towards the Office 365 MCSA. Each of these routes only require you to take two exams from scratch.
Your choice should clearly depend on your IT career path and the skills you’re going to need. If you are open to all areas though, of those three MCSA options, we’d advise the Office 365 MCSA. Firstly there is only one 5-day course whereas Windows MCSA involves two 5-day courses and thus more time out of the office and more cost. Attending a course is not required to take an exam but it’s a great way to maximise your chances. Secondly, the Office 365 MCSA can be used as the foundation to gain the MCSE qualification in Desktop Infrastructure, Server Infrastructure, Private Cloud, Messaging, Communications or SharePoint. The Windows MCSA does not have an MCSE route.
Of course, we’d love to help you gain nay Microsoft qualification so please get in touch and see how we can help.
Like many people, I work on multiple monitors. Take now for example; I’m writing this blog post on my main monitor and Jeremy Kyle is playing in Internet Explorer on the second monitor (is he the father and the brother? Who really cares?).
My monitors are set to different resolutions and when I drag an Internet Explorer window from my main monitor to the second monitor, it automatically scales to 150% which makes it unusable. This ‘helpful’ behaviour is actually extremely annoying to me but there is an easy way to prevent this from happening.
Right click your desktop and select Screen Resolution. Click Make text and other items larger or smallerand then check the box for Let me choose one scaling level for all my displays.
You may need to sign out of Windows and back in again for some bizarre reason but that should solve the issue.
Now, back to Jeremy Kyle, “My teenage son picks his nose too much”.
A play on the film title from “Dude, where’s my car?” in which, well actually, we can’t remember the plot but we do remember the title and something about a scene with tattoos.
Putting movies to one side, customers often want to know where their mailboxes reside in Office 365 and Exchange Online. If my billing address is in Europe I can assume my data centres are located in Dublin and Amsterdam but can I verify that? Also, the mailboxes for individual users and resources might be in either of those locations. Here’s where a little PowerShell comes in handy.
Windows 8.1 includes PowerShell by default so on the Start screen, type PowerShell, right-click Windows PowerShell in the search results and select Run as Administrator. I’ll explain why you need to run it as admin in a moment.
1 – Set the PowerShell execution policy. The default setting for execution policy is restricted which would not allow PowerShell to run scripts at all; secure but not very useful. RemoteSigned tells PowerShell it can run scripts on the local machine but any scripts downloaded from the Internet must be signed by a trusted publisher. This is also why you need to run PowerShell as administrator; in order to change this setting.
2 – Set your Office 365 admin credentials. A popup window will appear where you type in your Office 365 admin user and password. This will also tell the PowerShell cmdlets which Office 365 tenant you want to connect to.
$cred = Get-Credential
3 – In order to perform administrative tasks on Office 365 you can connect to the online service using the credentials you supplied.
Connect-MsolService -cred $cred
4 – You can list all the Office 365 admin commands. Note that Exchange, SharePoint and the other cloud services have their own set of commands.
Get-Command –Module msonline
5 – To connect to Exchange Online, type the following commands. You don’t need to change anything here; again, the tenant to connect to is specified by the login ID in the credentials.
There are a number of possible Lync clients including the Lync Windows Store App (Modern UI), Lync Web App and mobile Lync clients for Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad and Android devices. The most likely alternative for users will be Lync Basic which is a no-cost application to connect to Lync Online or Lync Server. For users already on Office 365 Small Business Premium or Midsize Business plans who are upgrading to the new Business plans, the update process will uninstall the Access & Lync applications and users will be able to download Lync Basic from their software portal in Office 365.
Although the functionality of Lync Basic was recently updated to more closely match that of the full Office Lync client, there are some quite significant differences including the lack of spellchecker for instant messages (after a long time of asking Microsoft to add a spell checker to Lync, losing it now is disappointing), using OneNote for Lync meeting notes and the ability to record meetings. Some features are not so relevant for SMB customers and there are also features which require on-premises Lync Server or SharePoint Server such as Skill Search and Persistent Chat; those features would not be available to Office 365 users even with the full Lync client.
Buying Microsoft Azure directly from Microsoft is as easy as online grocery shopping and for some people might even be cheaper (Waitrose does have a tempting cheese selection). Until recently, the pricing calculator on www.azure.com offered pay-as-you-go rates or discounted monetary commitment rates if you paid £300 or more per month for 6 or 12 months. You can read our previous blog post about this.
From July 26th, those commitment options are no longer shown, despite the website mentioning them. No notice, no announcement; one could even use the phrase ‘swept under the carpet’. Why is this?
As of 1st August, any Microsoft reseller can sell Azure monetary commitment to any customer in the same way they sell other Microsoft software such as Windows or Office (previously, Azure could only be purchased directly from Microsoft or through an Enterprise Volume Licensing Agreement). Customers can now turn to their IT provider and buy Azure credit in $100 chunks (approx. £65 of Azure services). This credit will then last for 12 months from the time the customer redeems the code online. So if you want £1,800 of Azure credit, you would buy 27 or 28 of the Azure monetary commitment chunks. We’ll run a blog post in the next week or so showing the experience in more detail.
As an example of how this credit might be used, a customer buying £1,800 worth of Azure monetary commitment from a reseller would go on to pay £34.75 per month for a 200GB Azure Backup Vault. Around 52 months’ worth of Azure Backup (the azure credit only lasts 12 months so they’d spend the rest on other services but work with us here, this is a simple example).
A customer buying direct through Azure.com and pre-paying £300 for 6 months (a total of £1,800) would gain a discount of 22.5% off the pay as you go price and bring the Azure Backup Vault cost down to around £26.93 per month. Around 67 months’ worth of Azure backup. Both methods cost the customer the same £1,800 up front so which would you go for? This is obviously detrimental to Microsoft resellers who wish to transact Azure as they wouldn’t be able to compete against those discounts.
So that is my understanding why the 6 month, 12 month and pre-payment pricing options on Azure.com were hidden in the little attic room. I believe it’s only for the time being and Microsoft is working towards rationalising the pricing waterfall and discounts across buying direct and via a reseller.
We’re proud to be working in conjunction with Microsoft to deliver monthly webinars on licensing. The 60-minute calls run on the second Wednesday of every month and will take you through a different topic each month kicking off with Azure in the Open Volume Licensing programme in August. The calls also include updates on products, technologies and promotions and each month’s call is also recorded so you can catch up with previous topics.
There are three calls on the day, each targeted to a specific audience segment:
10am – 11am Microsoft small and medium business (SMB) partners and distributors
12pm – 1pm Microsoft customers with volume licensing agreements
2pm – 3pm Microsoft Large Solution Providers (LSPs)
Registrations are monitored so please do not register for calls outside your segment or try to register with generic email addresses such as @gmail or @hotmail.
If you are an LSP, please contact your Microsoft account manager to register.
If you are an SMB partner primarily transacting Open and Open Value licence agreements, please contact your preferred distributor who can provide details of the registration links.
If you are a Microsoft Volume licensing customer, you have access to a great new UK specific volume licensing site. The site is a hub through which you can access UK specific VL content and resources. To view details on the Spotlight Calls as well as our upcoming 2-day Licensing Fundamentals events, please click on the events link in the rotating banner.