Print 38 comment(s) - last by alcalde.. on Nov 30 at 11:49 PM

BYOD fees for "user CAL" licenses of Sharepoint, Lync, etc. will jump 15 percent

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) has announced a change that's good news for its investors and bottom line, but likely bad news for business clients.

The change affects Microsoft's so-called client-access license (CAL).  If you own a business, you purchase a CAL from Microsoft, which allows your on-site employees to use software such as:
  • Bing Maps Server
  • Core Suite
  • Enterprise Suite
  • Exchange Server Standard or Enterprise
  • Lync Server Standard or Enterprise
  • Project Server
  • SharePoint Server Standard or Enterprise
  • System Center 2012 Client Management Suite
  • System Center Configuration Manager
  • System Center Endpoint Protection
  • Visual Studio TFS
  • Windows Multipoint Server
  • Windows Server
  • Windows Server RDS, RMS, Terminal Services
There are two flavors of CALs -- User CALs, which allow a unique user to connect any device they own, and the Device CALs, which associate a per device license fee.  Previously Microsoft had set these two licensing options to the same price.  
User CALDevice CAL
User CALs (left) are the preferred solution for BYOD users, versus Device CALs (right).

That was great news for enterprise users, as one of the hottest trends right now in IT is the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) craze.  BYOD means that one user may not only connect from both a work machine (say a work laptop), but also personal machines they own (say their personal tablet and laptop).  If a business was to buy a Device CAL license, it'd have to buy three licenses for those devices, but with the User CAL, the employee had the flexibility to use any of those devices, while the employer was on the hook for only a single license fee.

But the deal is about to get a little less sweet, as Microsoft has announced that it will be bumping the price of its various User CALs by 15 percent.  The price change will take affect Dec. 1. However, large customers that have Enterprise Agreements, Enterprise Subscription, Open Value Subscription, and Open Value Perpetual will be able to hang on to their current pricing until the end of their contract.

Ultimately this seems like a smart move for Microsoft.  After all, a 15 percent premium User CAL is still the cheaper option for enterprise customers, if the average user connects with 2 or more devices.  But the move could also backfire, forcing some smaller clients to free, open source alternatives.  However, making such a switch can be costly and the end result may be inferior software, in some cases.  
For those reasons it seems unlikely that Microsoft will see mass defections, even if it may be offering up an irritating change to its business clients.

Sources: SoftCat, Microsoft, ZDNet

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RE: Typical
By dgingerich on 11/27/2012 2:49:15 PM , Rating: 2
or switch to open source software and save even more money while gaining extra security.

Really?! I've dealt with open source software a lot lately in my test lab. We seem to do about 3/4 of our testing with Linux, mostly RHEL but some SLES. It's horrible. Things that it takes 4-5 mouse clicks and about 2 minutes to do in Windows Server take two hours and hundreds of keystrokes to do in Linux, but it is far better than HP-UX, AIX, or Solaris.

Before I had this job, I used to think "I don't know much about Linux or Unix, so they may have a point in thinking it is a better alternative." Now I know better. Linux is far less stable than Windows Server, and much more difficult to do just about anything. (RHEL 5 had some useful features, but they took them out in RHEL 6. What a horrible set of design decisions on the part of RedHat.) Unix, meaning AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, and the now defunct IRIX, May be more stable, but talk about horrible to work with, and they are horribly, horribly closed and proprietary. I completely fail to understand why anyone uses such horrible operating systems. Changing an IP address and domain in Solaris requires editing no less than 4 different text files in three different locations. There is no single control panel to adjust these things. What makes that even worse is the horrible text editor. IRIX is even worse! A coworker of mine has spent the last two months trying to make our new Spark T4-1 system even work, directly out of the box! He's spent more time on the phone with Oracle support than he has doing his testing, which is his main job.

There's a joke that goes around the office that goes something like this: "Microsoft gives you lots of tools, but Linux and Unix gives you the chance to make your own." My version is "While Microsoft gives you a hammer to pound in a nail, Linux leaves you with iron ore and a tree to make the hammer and nail." It's far, far more work to do anything.

Also, the general opinion on Windows supposed lack of security has been vastly overblown. It's more secure than any version on Linux, from my experiences. Seriously, NFS doesn't even have user credentials to access files. There isn't even a mechanism to allow for it! Permissions are handled at the file level, but when sharing between system over the network, you have to either give it all away to everyone or close it off to everyone. There is absolutely no user accountability. How much more insecure and inconvenient can you get?

On top of all that, remote management is horrible, too. The only things available are VNC, which is slow, buggy, and refuses to work for mysterious reason, or text only SSH or Telnet. All that typing is really hard on the hands.

In my opinion, any IT department would be wise to reconsider using any version of Unix, and shun Linux completely. Windows Server is so far superior, it's not even funny.

RE: Typical
By fic2 on 11/27/2012 4:07:29 PM , Rating: 2
Before I had this job, I used to think "I don't know much about Linux or Unix, so they may have a point in thinking it is a better alternative." Now I know better. Linux is far less stable than Windows Server, and much more difficult to do just about anything.

I think you were correct before you had your job - you don't know much about Linux or Unix...

RE: Typical
By Labotomizer on 11/27/2012 4:26:21 PM , Rating: 2
Or you don't know much about Windows Server stacks and assume Linux is easier. Just saying...

RE: Typical
By dgingerich on 11/28/2012 1:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let me put it this way, we have about 4 times as many Linux test machines than Windows test machines, with over 1300 systems total, yet I rarely get calls on Windows machines, about one per month or less. I get constant problems with Linux machines. In our last power outage, (we have rather unstable power, this outage was a yoyo type outage, where it would come up for about 15-30 seconds and go down again, repeatedly for over 16 hours) we lost 19 Linux boxes to software problems, and all had to be rebuilt from the ground up. We did not lose a single Windows machine. We even lost one Solaris machine. Our half a dozen AIX and HP-UX machines did fine, but they weren't set to autoboot after a power outage.

The Windows machines did have some issues booting up, in that they didn't complete the previous boot and went into safe mode asking if there was a hardware problem. I just had to go through ipmi and tell the machine to reboot normally. I've never seen Linux or Unix do that. I haven't even seen Linux or Unix have a safe mode boot option to try to salvage the server if there is damaged files.

On top of that, I can make a DHCP, DDNS, and firewalled router out of a Windows Server box in about an hour, but Linux takes days, and tons of typing and testing, and that's just DNS and DHCP. It can't even do dynamic DNS, and routing takes even longer to get working, if it ever works. (Yes, I know iptables does routing. Have you ever tried to get it to work? Have you ever tried to find directions? Apparently, there are so many different version that all use different syntax that you can't even be sure any of the commands are taken correctly. If a NIC goes bad, you have to redo the whole thing from scratch. Forget trying to do it with a VM, you'll have to redo the whole routing setup every time it reboots. ip6tables routing is even more mysterious.) Oh, and forget any sort of documentation. these programs are done by engineers in their free time, meaning documentation is sparse and completely inaccurate. Completely forget using Linux for any sort of database server unless you've been thoroughly trained, and then only for the version you've trained for. Absolutely nothing is intuitive in Linux. Windows is intuitive in everything.

In three years in this job, I have learned a lot about Linux. The more I learn, the more I hate it. It's ancient, very poorly designed, (I swear HP-UX was designed by hell-spawn) and very poorly supported. Advanced systems are easier to use. That's the point of advancement: to do more, easier. The ancient attitude of Unix and Linux engineers is completely backwards from what it should be. Making it harder to use doesn't ensure your job by making you irreplaceable. It ensures that you will be replaced by someone who will do it right.

Linux support people cost more than twice Windows support people, and Unix is even worse. More Linux and Unix support people are needed to do that support these days, too. Windows has become so much more stable and secure in recent years that it's passed up everyone in that area. Windows 7 needs less than a third of the support calls of previous versions, and many more of those calls are easily handled remotely. A company basically just needs trained script monkeys to support their machines these days. A single good support person could support and office of 500 to 1000, depending on how locked down it is, easily with Win 7, where WinXP required about 1 per 100. Linux is still stuck on needed about 1 per 50. Unix has been about 1 per 200-250, depending on the version, for about 30 years.

That's why Windows is constantly increasing in market share, and Linux and Unix are constantly losing.

RE: Typical
By GatoRat on 11/28/2012 11:31:05 AM , Rating: 2
Years ago, I worked at a place that announced with great fanfare that they were moving critical data center servers to Solaris. Long story short; six months later, they abandoned the project and returned the hardware. The only place it remained was to handle some massive disk drive arrays where terabytes of temporary records were stored (not in a database, but as files.)

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