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Authors Posts by Freyr Omarsson

Freyr Omarsson

A member of the Crayon Group CSP and Cloud-iQ team. Focusing on training and informing the field and customers of all the new and current options the Microsoft CSP and the Crayon Cloud-iQ portal gives to its users.

Transition vers Microsoft Secure Productive Enterprise E5 depuis Enterprise Cloud Suite

What is being launched?

Microsoft has announced the immediate availability of Windows Server and SQL Server Subscriptions through CSP. Windows Server and SQL Server Subscriptions also include Azure Hybrid Benefits, enabling noteworthy savings on server software compared to pay-as-you-go rates. The Server Subscriptions, together with Azure Reserved VM Instances in the CSP program, better enable partners to address fast growing customer demand for more cost-effective solutions to support highly predictable, persistent cloud workloads.

What products are available?

Included in this set of offers are one- and three-year subscriptions to Windows Server Standard, SQL Server Standard, and SQL Server Enterprise along with the CAL´s. The subscriptions include Azure Hybrid Benefit, which entitle customers to use the software with Azure or on premises. These subscriptions represent a great cost savings opportunity compared to pay-as-you-go VM software costs for customers with long-term Azure workloads.

Note: Customers who have active Windows Server and SQL Server Software Assurance (SA) purchased via traditional licensing programs should utilise Azure Hybrid Benefit from those existing assets if possible instead of buying new Server subscriptions via CSP.

Are the Server Subscriptions available in my country?

The Server Subscriptions are currently available for all countries except Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brazil, India, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Namibia, Russia, Taiwan, Ukraine.

How do CSP Server Subscriptions differ from VL options?





What is the minimum customer purchase commitment for Server subscriptions?

The minimum initial Windows Server subscription purchase is 16 cores, and cores are generally sold in blocks of 8. The minimum initial SQL Server subscription purchase is 4 cores, and cores are generally sold in blocks of 2.

When does the term of a newly purchased server subscription start?

The term begins immediately upon purchase. Partner or customer may then utilise Azure Hybrid Benefit with VMs or deploy on premises. If a customer wishes to use a Server subscription on prem, they may obtain software bits and keys from their partner.

All Server Subscriptions through CSP will have their own unique coverage period, i.e. not coterminous to any previous software subscription purchase.

 How will the partner be billed for Server subscription purchases?

The partner will receive the invoice for an up-front purchase of Server subscriptions as part of their monthly rhythm as with Azure RI.

Can Server subscriptions be returned or exchanged?

In alignment with CSP policy for software products, Server subscriptions may be returned within 60 days of purchase for a full refund. Partial returns are not allowed, and beyond the 60 days no returns or exchanges are allowed. Exchanges do not apply to Server subscriptions.

Next Step:

Ordering the Software licenses will be made available through the Cloud-iQ portal soon. If you have questions regarding the Server Subscriptions in CSP or have a customer that is interested in purchasing the Server Subscriptions through CSP, please reach out to your local Crayon contact who will be able to give you the needed info and work with you on completing the order and providing the License Key and Download Link.


Using Office 365 E5 to stay secure in the cloud

The Skype for Business Online Plan 1 will be retired, effective August 1 2018. After that date resellers can no longer sell new Skype for Business Plan 1 subscriptions. Existing subscriptions will not renew automatically when they expire and will not provide a renewal option.

To ensure continuity for customers, resellers should transition customers with expiring Skype for Business Online Plan 1 subscriptions to a supported SKU option, listed below. Crayon recommends moving customers to new subscriptions before the subscription’s yearly end date to avoid any service outages for customers.

Both Skype for Business Online Plan 1 commercial and government subscriptions are retired.

Resellers can move customers to a new plan at any time using the Cloud-iQ portal. 

Skype for Business Online Plan 1 replacement plans:

  • Option 1: Office 365 Enterprise F1
  • Option 2: Microsoft 365 Enterprise F1
  • Option 3: Other Office 365 plans
Feature Option 1 Option 2 Option 3
Get all the features included in Skype for Business Online Plan 1 Yes Yes Yes
IM and presence Yes Yes Yes
Peer-to-peer Audio and Video over IP Yes Yes Yes
Join meetings as an authenticated user Yes Yes Yes


Transitioning customers to new product plans:

Migrating customers from retired SKUs to newer ones requires the following steps:

  • Purchase the new subscription in the Cloud-iQ portal
  • Reassign current user licenses in the Office 365 tenant of the customers
  • Cancel old subscription

If you have any questions, please reach out to your local Crayon contact


The Cloud-iQ portal now offers Crayon partners to sell non-profit discounted subscriptions to non-profit organisations. Partners interested in this new offering can reach out to their local Crayon contacts to get access to the non-profit subscription in their Cloud-iQ portal.

There are no special certifications needed in order to be eligible to sell these non-profit subscriptions and the sales process is the same as with the regular subscriptions. However, it is only possible to sell the non-profit subscriptions to qualified non-profit Office 365 tenants. Organisations who are interested in qualifying their Office 365 tenant as non-profit, can visit this site to read over the eligibility criteria.

If the organisation believes they are entitled to the non-profit status they must register their Office 365 tenant through this site. Microsoft will then validate the registration and either accept or deny it; this process takes the pressure off partners of validating if an organisation is qualified or not.

After being accepted, partners can immediately assign the non-profit subscriptions to the customer’s Office 365 tenant, using the Cloud-iQ portal. Non-profit customers thus get access to the non-profit subscriptions and still have the option to buy all the other corporate offers that are available.

There is yet no option for partners to verify if a tenant today is approved as non-profit or not. Partners will need to ask the customers if they have an approved non-profit tenant or not. For customers that are unsure, the customers can try to log into the non-profit portal to verify. If the customer is unable to sign in, this most likely means that they do not have a qualified Office 365 non-profit tenant and need to go through the qualification process as described above.

The offerings made available for non-profits are Office 365, Power BI, EMS, Dynamics 365, Microsoft 365, and Windows 10.

Please note that Dynamics 365 will be available April 11th, EMS and Power BI will be available end of April and Microsoft 365 E5 will be available in CY18 during Q3.

This is an opportunity to assist non-profits in taking advantage of the digital transformation.

Business Apps:

The Microsoft Business Apps add-on for the Office 365 E3 and E5 subscriptions has now been launched. This is a free add-on subscription for users with the E3 and E5 plans that can be ordered through the Cloud-iQ portal. The recently introduced Office 365 business apps are designed to enable companies to run and grow their business with convenience and efficiency. Microsoft Bookings is the first app to be available and over time additional Office 365 business apps will become available.

Price Change:

There was an update for the March pricelist where the price for Microsoft 365 E3 and Microsoft 365 E5 was decreased by around 6%. Updated pricing visible in Cloud-iQ.

Microsoft 365 E3: Old ERP 31,50 EUR     New ERP 29,50 EUR
Microsoft 365 E5: Old ERP 58,10 EUR     New ERP 54,70 EUR

Common Area Phone:

From March 1st Skype for Business Common Area Phone offer has been made available in the Cloud-iQ portal. This new offer will allow customers with phone devices not assigned to users and used in areas such as reception areas, break rooms, shop floors or conference rooms to purchase just one offer in order to enable those devices with the ability to make/ receive calls. This offer is intended to provide customers the flexibility to license all calling devices in an Enterprise appropriately and compliantly without over licensing.


Microsoft 365 Business has been added as a Trial SKU available now through Cloud-iQ, offering 25 licenses for a 30 day free trial.

Non-profit Offers:

In early April, Microsoft will open up the non-profit offers through the CSP program. Customers interested in purchasing the non-profit offers must have a validated non-profit Office 365 Tenant; validation for these tenants can be made directly through Microsoft If you are interested in offering non-profit subscriptions to your customers, contact your local Crayon office.

How does Microsoft Secure Productive Enterprise (SPE) simplify IT?


Cloud resellers are now able to offer a 30-day free trial to customers who wish to evaluate the available Trial subscriptions through the Cloud-iQ portal. Currently the following subscriptions are available as a Trial subscription and each offers 25 licenses that can be assigned to users.



• Office 365 Business Premium
• Office 365 E3
• Office 365 E5 w/PSTN
• Office 365 E5 w/o PSTN
• Enterprise Mobility & Security E5
• Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Plan 1
• Dynamics 365 for Financials

When the trial period is over, the subscription can be converted to a regular subscription directly in the Cloud iQ portal. A trial subscription that is not converted will expire.

Data retention will follow the normal rules, but the subscription will be cancelled. There are no alerts when a trial subscription is about to end. The Cloud iQ portal however shows the days that are left of the trial. The customer will also see a message indicating that the trial has expired when he tries to log into the trial subscription. Therefore it is a good best practice to be aware what customers are using trials and when they will expire.

It is not possible to extend trial subscriptions, after the 30 days, the trial must either be converted or it will expire. The free trial subscriptions will not be visible in the Billing Statements available in the Cloud iQ portal, unless the subscriptions are converted into a paid subscription.

Trial Subscriptions can be ordered from Marketplace menu in Cloud-iQ and are also presented as an option when you click on Add subscription when you are in the Subscription overview for your customers.

If you have any questions on this, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Crayon representative to get further information on how you can start adding Trial licenses to your customers.

Cloud-iQ ISV blog post

Microsoft has announced changes affecting resellers who are selling Dynamics 365 through the CSP program. If you have sold Dynamics 365 through the Cloud-iQ portal or intend to do so in the near future, then this applies to you.

From the 1st February, Microsoft will require all resellers to have completed the Dynamics 365 Certification process to be able to sell Dynamics 365 subscriptions. The exams needed to be certified are detailed below. Microsoft will be auditing partners and remind them of these requirements. If resellers have not finished the exams before the 1st February, Microsoft reserves the right to remove the reseller from being able to sell Dynamics products through CSP. This applies to both resellers who are already selling Dynamics 365 subscriptions and those who are planning to do so.

However, resellers only selling Dynamics 365 Business editions or Dynamics 365 SMB Offer subscriptions are not affected. This is to give those resellers flexibility to build up their practice and ramp up their focus on Dynamics.

This new requirement from Microsoft is being initiated to secure the best experience for the customer. Dynamics solutions are part of the customer’s core business with impactful consequences if not served properly by qualified professionals.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Crayon representative.

What kind of certifications are required?

Please visit MPN to view the list of currently accepted exams for certification under Cloud Business Applications tab. Please keep in mind that this applies for two individuals.

For partners transacting Customer Engagement:

2 individuals must pass all the following exams:

  •   MB2-715: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Online Deployment
  •   MB2-716: Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customization and Configuration


2 same or different individuals must pass one of the following exams:

  • MB2-717: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales
  • MB2-718: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer Service

For partners transacting Operations:

2 individuals must pass all the following technical exams:  

  • MB6-894: Development, Extensions and Deployment for Dynamics 365 Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition  
  • 70-534: Architecting Microsoft Azure Solutions


The same or different 2 individuals must pass one the following functional exams:  

  • MB6-895: Financials Management in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition  
  • MB6-896: Distribution and Trade in Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations, Enterprise edition  
  • MB6-897: Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Retail 


2 individuals must pass all the following functional and technical exams: 

  • MB6-893: Microsoft Dynamics AX Financials* 
  • MB6-892: Microsoft Dynamics AX Distribution and Trade* 
  • MB6-890: Microsoft Dynamics AX Development Introduction* 
  • 70-764: Administering a Microsoft SQL Database Infrastructure 

* Retiring 31st December, 2017. These exams will continue to be accepted for competency qualification until 31st December, 2018.

Resellers must have 2 individuals certified for the product they wish to transact on CSP.  For example, if they wish to sell only Customer Engagement they need to have 2 certifications from the list of Customer Engagement currently accepted exams.  If they wish to sell both Operations and Customer Engagement, they must have 2 certifications from Customer Engagement and 2 from Operations.

Is cloud adoption widening the disruption gap?

Changes in the November CSP Pricelist – Visio Online

As of the 1st November 2017, “Visio Pro for Office 365” will be renamed to “Visio Online Plan 2”. With this, the price will be increased by approximately 15%. Customers will not be affected until the 12 months price lock per subscription ends. This means that customers who are still running Visio Pro for Office 365 do not need to purchase the new Visio Online Plan 2 until the 12-month subscription term expires. Visio Online Plan 1 has now also been introduced.

Changes in the November CSP Pricelist – Microsoft 365 Business

Microsoft 365 Business is now available in a live version.
This product offers various and selected functionality for Windows Enterprise, Office 365 and Enterprise, Mobility and Security suite specifically aimed for the SMB market. Larger companies, or companies needing additional functionality, should take a look at the Microsoft 365 E3 and E5 subscriptions.

Clarification of Windows Enterprise SKUs

Late this summer, Microsoft released VDA rights for Windows Enterprise via CSP.  This gave resellers the opportunity to offer their customers not only a local upgrade to Windows Enterprise, but also a virtual Windows 10.

There are now three SKUs to choose from, consisting of:

Windows E3 – only offers a virtual instance                                          12 USD
Windows E3 local only – only on physical machine                                 7 USD
Windows E3 VDA – a combined version of above products                    18 USD

(Price shown is the estimated retail price in USD)

Renamed Skype for Business offers now visible in the Cloud iQ Marketplace

Retired offer names New offer names
Additional PSTN numbers to extend Skype for Business features Additional Telephone Numbers
Office 365 Enterprise E5 without PSTN Conferencing Office 365 Enterprise E5 without Audio Conferencing
Microsoft 365 E5 without PSTN Conferencing Microsoft 365 E5 without Audio Conferencing
Skype for Business Cloud PBX Phone System
Skype for Business PSTN Conferencing Audio Conferencing
Skype for Business PSTN Consumption Communications Credits
Skype for Business PSTN Domestic and International Calling Domestic and International Calling Plan
Skype for Business PSTN Domestic Calling Domestic Calling Plan
Skype for Business Voice Credit Calling Plan Consumption


If you have any further questions regarding the material above, please contact your local Crayon representative who will be able to give you more information.

Resellers and customers who are interested in leveraging the Cloud-iQ portal to subscribe to Visual Studio Professional or Enterprise now have the option to do so.

Visual Studio subscriptions are billed as consumption through an Azure CSP subscription which Cloud-iQ users can create within their Cloud-iQ portal. After creating the Azure subscription, resellers and customers can order different Visual Studio plans by visiting To establish the Azure subscription connection with the Marketplace, users need to log in with an account that has “owner” rights on the Azure CSP subscription

See below for illustrated process:

Log in to:

Choose the preferred subscription and choose either the annual or monthly version of the subscription. Please note that the pricing visible here does not reflect your real price which is accessible in the Cloud-iQ portal.

After clicking on the desired subscription, you are presented with this view. To go to the next step, simply click on Get.

After clicking on Get, you will be prompted to sign in (this is the step where you sign in to the account that has the “owner” rights on the Azure subscription.) After signing in you will see a drop-down list where you can choose the Azure CSP subscription which will be connected to the Visual Studio subscription.

After choosing the Azure subscription and pressing continue, you can define the quantity of Visual Studio licenses needed. The price for the subscriptions can found in your Cloud-iQ portal under Marketplace and Usage-based services.

Which subscription term should you choose?  

When choosing between the Annual or Monthly subscription term you must be aware of the limitation that the Monthly subscription provides. In the Monthly subscription, the Subscriber benefits (previously known as MSDN) are not included. This means that if the user plans to use the benefits of Cloud Services, Software for dev/test, Software for production use, Training and Education, Support or Visual Studio partner offers, the correct subscription would be the Annual one.

Do I lose any benefits by choosing to purchase Visual Studio through a Cloud subscription versus purchasing the Standard vintage license?

The Cloud and Standard subscriptions differ in only a few ways. This table compares the main differences of the purchase options.

If you have any further questions on purchasing Visual Studio through the Cloud-iQ portal, please contact your local Crayon representative who will be able to give you more information.

Getting started with SQL Server 2016

Our Cloud-iQ portal now offers resellers and customers the option to choose between annual or monthly billing cycles for the Microsoft subscriptions created in the portal. With the annual billing option, customers can prepay for a full 12-month period. This is a suitable fit for customers who have few licenses and do not want to go through the process of having monthly invoices. For resellers, this option provides lower operational costs and reduced time spent on managing the monthly invoicing.

Opting for the annual billing cycle still gives customers the same flexibility they experience with the monthly billing option. Resellers can scale customer license needs up and down, whenever it fits their business needs and only paying for the active days of the licenses.

However, please note that it is not possible to change a subscription (that has a monthly billing option) from monthly to annual – you would have to create a new subscription with the annual billing cycle and suspend the old subscription.

Let’s look at example. A customer with Office 365 Enterprise E3 subscription would like to move from the monthly billing cycle over to the new annual billing. The reseller creates a new Office 365 Enterprise E3 subscription within the Cloud-iQ portal and selects the annual billing option. The next step would be to suspend the old subscription with the monthly billing cycle. After this you have successfully moved your customer from a Monthly billing to Annual billing.

If you are interested in knowing more about the new billing cycle option in the Cloud-iQ portal, please don’t hesitate to contact your local Crayon representative for support.

Free Windows 10 upgrade through CSP

Are your customers still running windows 7 or 8.1 and missed out on the free upgrade to Windows 10? Now Microsoft just announced a new way for these users to upgrade at no additional cost to Windows 10.

Customers that subscribe to Windows 10 Enterprise E3 or E5 or Secure Productive Enterprise E3 or E5 through Microsoft CSP will now be able to upgrade their Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 devices to Windows 10, without purchasing a separate upgrading license. The Windows 10 upgrade license that users will get access to for free is a perpetual license. Meaning even after the customer stops the subscription on CSP for Windows 10 Enterprise or Secure Productive Enterprise, the Windows 10 license will not expire or be revoked.

The Office 365 tenant admins with Windows 10 Enterprise or Secure Productive Enterprise CSP subscription should now see the Windows 10 upgrading option in the Home view of the Admin center. The admin will be able to share the download link, create installation media and troubleshoot the installation.

This is the perfect time for resellers to approach customer who are still running Windows 7 or 8.1 and inform them of the great flexibility and upgrade options Microsoft CSP can offer. Combined with the user friendly Crayon Cloud-iQ portal, adding licenses to users and upgrading them to Windows 10 will be like a walk in the park.

If you would like to know more, please contact your local Crayon office who will guide you through the CSP journey.