Cloud Computing is placing new demands on licensing. Customers are looking for the flexibility of being able to deploy an infrastructure that suits their needs, whether it is on-premises, in the cloud, or a hybrid of the two.


One of the routes to cloud computing is to move workloads into cloud environments hosted by service providers. Under these circumstances, customers certainly don’t want to lose out on licensing investments they’ve already made for their on-premises server applications.


Until now, if a customer wanted to host their applications covered by volume licensing, in a service provider datacenter, those applications were required to be hosted on dedicated servers.

If those applications were deployed on shared hardware, customers were required to pay the service provider for use of those licenses under a different licensing program known as the Service Provider Licensing Agreement.


From the 1st July, License Mobility through Microsoft® Software Assurance extends the use of listed application server licenses to the cloud. What this means is that customers now have the flexibility to deploy certain server applications on-premises or in the cloud, without having to buy additional licenses. The Servers eligible for license mobility include:

  • Exchange Server® Standard and Enterprise
  • SharePoint® Server
  • FAST Search Server for SharePoint®
  • Forefront® Endpoint Protection, Identity Manager and Unified Access Gateway
  • Lync® Server 2010 Standard and Enterprise
  • Dynamics® CRM Server
  • Project Server®
  • Visual Studio® Team Foundation Server
  • Groove® Server
  • BizTalk® Server Branch, Standard and Enterprise Edition
  • Commerce Server Standard and Enterprise Edition
  • Forefront® Threat Management Gateway 2010 Standard and Enterprise Edition
  • SQL Server® Standard, Enterprise and Datacenter Edition
  • System Center® – Configuration Manager, Operations Manager Server, Data Protection Manager, Virtual Machine Manager, Service Manager and Essentials


The one notable exception is Windows Server®. The Windows Server® operating system licenses remain assigned to customers’ on-premises hardware. In a hosted environment, Windows Server® is provided to you by the Service Provider (as a part of their infrastructure software). It is not part of License Mobility.


Microsoft® does list a series of conditions:

  • The licenses need to include active Software Assurance. Your right to run licenses on shared third party servers expires with the expiration of the Software Assurance coverage on those licenses.
  • Although these instances can be run on shared hardware, but the application itself needs to be dedicated to the organization that owns the licenses.
  • To take advantage of License Mobility, you need to work with an authorized Service Provider that has a current Microsoft® Services Provider License Agreement in place.
  • You will need to submit a License Verification Form to Microsoft® that will indicate which licenses you are deploying to the cloud with License Mobility.


License Mobility through Microsoft® Software Assurance makes it far easier to adopt cloud computing via your existing Enterprise Agreement which will allow for the flexibility necessary to allow for licensing on-premises and hosted environments.

Nov 2016