Update February 2021: Microsoft made a recent announcement which will see the retirement of one of their oldest licensing programs. The Open License program is over 20 years old, serving as an agreement aimed at small to medium sized organizations for purchasing multiple perpetual software licenses. But as Microsoft continues to drive the new commerce experience, some of these older purchasing options may need to be set aside to make room for the newer options being offered.

As of January 1st, 2022, all customers will be unable to purchase new perpetual licenses or renew Software Assurance (SA) or online services through the Open License program. The Software Assurance will continue to run until the current expiration, even if that date falls after 31st December 2021.

If you are an Open License customer and have active Software Assurance under the Open License Program after 31st December 2021, the recommendations are, if minimum requirements are met:

Also, as an option, Microsoft recently announced that commercial perpetual software licenses will be available through the CSP (Cloud Solutions Provider) program. From January 1st, 2021 Micromail will be able to supply perpetual licenses under CSP along with the online services already available.

The overall aim here by Microsoft is to simplify the purchasing experience for customers but unfortunately when it comes to licensing nothing is ever straightforward. For customers who have been purchasing perpetual software under the Open program, potentially for the last two decades, this new announcement will bring challenges. Especially for customers who need to maintain Software Assurance on perpetual on-prem server products. Make sure you talk to a licensing specialist who can help you navigate through the complicated world of Microsoft purchasing programs and licensing.

If you are impacted by these upcoming changes to the Open License program please contact your regular Micromail account manager or email info@micromail.ie to organise a call.

Microsoft customers have recently received a ‘Major Change Message’ concerning the license overallocation process for subscriptions purchased through Volume Licensing.

Sometimes transition periods, such as step-ups (moving a subscription to a higher plan edition) or reducing the seat count (true-downs or credits) can result in having more assigned subscriptions than licenses owned by your company. This is called ‘overallocation’.


Up to this point, an overallocation could result in unintended license consumption and due charges, known as True-ups, or service disruption for those extra users. Hereafter, the updated process will include periodic checks, what gives the customer a short timeframe to manage the transitioning of users, ensuring there will not be any interruption to the services.

To exemplify the changes, consider a step-up moving from 100 Office365 E1 to 100 Office 365 E3. The customer would be then licensed for 100 Office365 E3 only and during the transition period, those users still assigned Office365 E1 would be considered overallocated and could face service disruptions, as no Office365 E1 subscriptions would be available anymore, even though the new Office365 E3 subscriptions would be at hand for assignment.

With the new process, within this example, this customer would be provided with temporary Office365 E1 subscriptions for up to 100 users, so the access of these transitioning users is maintained during the process. A periodic check would then occur and adjust these numbers until the overallocated users goes to 0 and all 100 users are correctly reassigned to the new Office365 E3.

Important to note is that the customer remains accountable and the process does not grant additional use rights for those extra licenses. Transitioning should be completed as soon as possible and, in case the subscribed number of licenses are identified to be lower than needed, an additional purchase or reservation will be required.

In terms of immediate impact, the new process has been applied to all Enterprise Agreements (EA) and starting from the 2nd of November 2020, overallocation will be reset to 0.

There are three methods when it comes to a license assignment:

No action is required for customers using Microsoft 365 Admin Center.

In the case of Group-based licensing, you must have a license for each unique member of the group. The subscribed numbers should periodically be verified and matched to the group membership counts.

Customers using Power Shell do need to take action. The automation logic should be updated to avoid an overallocation. This should be completed before the defined date of 2nd of November 2020 as to avoid any process failure.

To discuss more on how these changes may impact your organisation or if you have any queries, talk to your regular Micromail account manager or email info@micromail.ie to organise a call.

Image: Screenshot of Microsoft 365 Admin Center

Over the past few months, we have seen a dramatic increase in remote working resources uptake. From Microsoft Teams to Hosted Exchange and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). Everyone I speak to just can’t support the demand with their current on-premise VDI deployment. My advice to them is to consider Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD). WVD is comprised of the Windows desktops and apps you’re delivering to users and the management solution hosted as a service on Azure. To deploy and manage your virtualization environment, you just need to set up an Azure subscription. 

Now, you can deliver simplified management, multi-session Windows 10 experience, optimizations for Office 365 ProPlus. With WVD, you can deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps in minutes with built-in security. It is the only Multi-session VDI solution available.

Let start at the beginning. Your users have physical desktops that are locked in the office and they can’t use them because they must work from home. Or you need to assign one of the VMs from your RDS host pool but have quickly run out of licenses or availability. Microsoft has made it so simple to migrate your VDI deployment to Azure. Using the Azure Migration tool, it will evaluate your VDI requirement whether it is RDS, VMware, Citrix, and or physical machines. It will then replicate them on Azure through a simple dashboard. Using Lakeside it offers you a tremendous amount of insight in terms of required usage and performance. This is where the Windows 10 Multi-session comes in and could potentially save you a lot of money on your VDI requirements. The analyses will show you user requirements and whether they are best suited for a dedicated host or can be assigned to a multi-session host. You can have up to ten concurrent lite users on one host.  It’s important to remember that you only pay for what you consume so it is relevant to demand and that makes financial sense. Utilizing Azure Cost Management means you will always be in control of your Azure spend.

So now you have an idea of how easy it is to spin up your WVD services. The question is what it can offer me:

So, there you have it, a quick, easy, and cost-efficient Virtual desktop infrastructure solution. Don’t invest in additional CAL licensing and/or hardware to support your legacy solutions. Run the Azure Migrate: Server Assessment tool today and see what your new VDI deployment will look like and cost in Azure.

Contact me to learn more about Microsoft’s Windows Virtual Desktop. Micromail’s licensing specialists will ensure that you are correctly licensed and our colleagues in Ergo can provide migration and deployment services.

Firstline workers can be found in all business verticals and represent a huge portion of potential technology users. These workers typically spend their days interacting with customers or working on factory floors, but technology has become more and more necessary to support them, which opens a major opportunity for digital transformation through this workforce.

To help support these firstline workers more, Microsoft have introduced a new entry-level plan called Microsoft 365 F1. This provides greater flexibility when tailoring licensing options to fit the needs of our customers. It is important to understand some of the restrictions with the new Microsoft 365 F1 plan and these include read-only access to office documents either through Office web or Mobile apps and consumption-only access on Stream.

Of course, this being Microsoft there would have to be some confusion about the naming convention used! There was already a Microsoft 365 F1 plan available, lets call it the original Microsoft 365 F1 and this is now renamed to Microsoft 365 F3, with no change in cost, but with added value in terms of functionality.

Office 365 F1 is also getting renamed and is now called Office 365 F3 and will continue to be available as a standalone plan or as part of Microsoft 365 F3.

All plans will now have the complete Teams skillset, as well as enhanced identity and access management features. Also, a few extra Teams functionality that haven’t yet been launched but are coming soon. For example, Walkie Talkie function comes into play for real time communication as the new F1 won’t include mailbox.

As a higher-level plan that contains a combination of the new Microsoft 365 F1 and Office 365 F3, Microsoft 365 F3 is also increasing capability for Power Platform and Windows related use-rights, now including rights to use prior versions, to access VDI and the ability to use KMS activation. 

Customers that have already purchased the original Microsoft 365 F1 will be automatically moved to Microsoft 365 F3. The change should already be visible in customers tenants and users don’t need to take any action.

The new Microsoft 365 F1 will be available from 1st April 2020 and it affects commercial, government and non-profit organizations. It does not affect Education offers, which means the existing Office 365 A1 offer will remain unchanged.

To discuss how these changes impact your organisation talk to you regular Micromail account manager or email info@micromail.ie to organise a call.