Learn which Microsoft license option is right for you.

Microsoft Licensing

Which License Option Is Right For Me? Why Not Choose The Cheapest?

This may be the number one frequently asked questions our DirectDeals customer support team hears in a day. And those who ask it have sometimes saved up to thousands of dollars.

In a Nutshell.

  • OLP (Open License Program) is perpetual. Software upgrades are included.
  • OLP/SA (Software Assurance) renews every two years and you can upgrade free if a new model year comes out.
  • OLP+SA (Open License Program) plus (Software Assurance) combination of both Licenses, SA still ends in two years, can be renewed or left off and keep OLP
  • Office Retail is a one-time install.
  • PKC (Product Key Card) is a box with a card, but no disc is included.

Software Licensing Definitions

Microsoft Volume Licensing is a service offered by Microsoft for organizations that require multiple licenses, but not the software media, packaging and documentation supplied with the full packaged product (FPP). These agreements have been tailored to suit the differing requirements of all sizes and types of organization. There are agreements aimed at the small to medium sized business in the form of Open and Open Value, and agreements aimed at medium to large organizations in the form of the Select Plus and Enterprise Agreements. The advantages of Microsoft Volume Licensing include lower price per installation, two- or three-year license agreements and product use rights. An example of product use rights is copying the software for simultaneous use on multiple computers and devices. Starting with Microsoft Vista and later Windows OSs, VLKs were replaced with multiple activation keys or key management server keys.

Open License – Microsoft Volume Licensing program designed for businesses with between 2 and 250 computers that want to purchase in a very transactional way and prefer to pay-as-you-go. It offers the option to purchase Licenses, Upgrades (Windows Desktop O/S), License with Software Assurance, and Software Assurance. Offers perpetual licenses and is a two-year program. Available through any Microsoft reseller. Open License does offer an option called, “Open License Volume” which provides further discounts for large quantity purchases of Microsoft products.

Microsoft OLP (Open licensing programs) are a simple, cost-effective way for small and midsize organizations to acquire the latest Microsoft technology. Software upgrades are included. Example of OLP Microsoft and Offfice 2013 OLP.

OLP/SA or SA Open License (Software Assurance). SA is Open Licensing Software Assurance add-on. The core premise behind SA is to give users the ability to spread payments over several years, while offering "free" upgrades to newer versions during that time period.
Features:

  • Free upgrades: Subscribers may upgrade to newer versions of their Microsoft software
  • Access to exclusive software products
  • Training: Free training from Microsoft and access to Microsoft E-Learning, a series of interactive online training tools for users. This training can only be taken at a Microsoft Certified Partner for Learning Solutions and can only be redeemed for training that is categorized as Microsoft Official Curriculum.
  • Home use: Employees of a company with SA can use an additional copy of Microsoft software
  • Access to source code for larger companies (1,500+ desktops)
  • 24x7 telephone and web support
  • Additional error reporting tools
  • Free licenses for additional servers provisioned as "Cold backups" of live servers
  • Access to Microsoft TechNet managed newsgroups
  • Access to Microsoft TechNet downloads for 1 user
  • Extended Hotfix support: Typically, Microsoft charges for non-security hotfixes after mainstream support for the product has ended (e.g. 5 years for Windows); this charge is waived for SA customers

Core factor: A numerical value associated with a specific physical processor for purposes of determining the number of licenses required to license all of the physical cores on a server. Refer to the SQL Server Core Factor Table for core factors for specific processors.

CALs (Client Access License): If the workstations in your organization are networked, you likely depend on network server software to perform certain functions, such as file and print sharing. To access this server software legally, a Client Access License (CAL) may be required. A CAL is not a software product; rather, it is a license that gives a user the right to access the services of the server.

  • Device CALs. With a Device CAL, you purchase a CAL for every device that accesses your server, regardless of the number of users who use that device to access the server. Device CALs may make more economic and administrative sense if your company has workers who share devices, for example, on different work shifts.
  • User CALs. With the User CAL, you purchase a CAL for every user who accesses the server to use services such as file storage or printing, regardless of the number of devices they use for that access.

Key things to remember:

  • All open license agreements must be started with a minimum of 5 licenses or have a Reorder (authorization) number
  • Many products qualify to ignore the 5 license minimum
  • OLP Licenses with Software Assurance (OLP/SA) counts as 2 licenses
  • Any product with "OLP" in the title means that you and/or your company will be registered directly into Microsoft's Open License Program licensing system when you place an order. This is a perpetual license that will remain attached to the account it was assigned to.
  • If your product has "OLP/SA or SA" in the title, that stands for "Software Assurance". Microsoft's Software Assurance program gives you automatic access to new technology and provides productivity benefits, support, tools, and training to help deploy and use software efficiently. With Software Assurance, you receive the most recent version of the software at any time during the two-year agreement, or you can downgrade to previous versions of the software as well. you receive access to new versions of licensed software released during the term of your agreement to deploy at any time. This is not a perpetual license and needs to be renewed.
  • If your product has “OLP+SA” in the title, that stands for a combination of the “Standard Licensing” and "Software Assurance". This will allow you to have a Perpetual license on the product originally purchased but will also give you the ability to utilize the Software Assurance features and benefits for the next 2 years. Microsoft's Software Assurance program gives you automatic access to new technology and provides productivity benefits, support, tools, and training to help deploy and use software efficiently. With Software Assurance, you receive the most recent version of the software at any time during the two-year agreement. You do not have to renew the Software Assurance once it expires.

IMPORTANT! Whatever information is in the "Shipping Fields" upon checkout will be the fields used for your license registration with Microsoft. If you are an IT professional and you are purchasing for a client of yours, please be sure to put your client's information in the shipping fields. ...and don't worry - we never contact our customer's clients for any reason. It is just for registration purposes.

Once your order is placed with us, we will then register your order directly with Microsoft. Your license will be released to you in the form of an "Open License Order Confirmation", which is your official proof of ownership. This document includes your license authorization and agreement numbers, and a link to Microsoft's website where you can manage your license and/or download software and/or obtain your product keys for installation/activation.