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Authors Posts by Freyr Omarsson

Freyr Omarsson

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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.

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

AND

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

AND  

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 

OR 

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 https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/subscriptions. 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: https://marketplace.visualstudio.com/subscriptions

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.

What you need to know about running SQL 2016 Server on Azure

Dynamics 365 is available on the CSP program from 1st of November, it is sold as Enterprise Plans and single applications depending on your customer needs.

CSP re-sellers will not be able to renew existing CRM Online subscriptions from the 1st of November or add new CRM online subscriptions to a customer that currently does not have an active CRM Online subscription on their tenant, purchased through CSP.
Existing Dynamics CRM or AX subscriptions will need to change to new Dynamics 365 Plans or single applications upon the renewal date. During this time, they will be able to increase the number of users for their current subscriptions. Subscription term for CSP is 12 months from initial order or renewal and can be seen in the Crayon Cloud iQ portal.

In the CSP price-list found in the Crayon Cloud iQ portal, you will find all new Plans and applications with prices. Below you can see how CRM Online maps to Dynamics 365.

mapping

The following table provides a high level comparison between the five User SL:

 

When comparing the Dynamics 365 licenses you will notice some licenses are marked with “Qualified Offer” and some are marked with “Transition offer”.

“Qualified Offers” are discounted transition prices for those with existing CRM Online licenses that wish to change to Dynamics 365 Plans.

“Transition Offers” are for existing CRM On-premise customers who have purchased multi-year Software Assurance / Enhancement Plans that can now purchase a cloud add-on license to switch to Dynamics 365.

If you have any questions or need assistance in setting up a deal for your customers, don’t hesitate to contact your local Crayon representative for further information.

An overview and thoughts on the new Windows 10 Enterprise E3 license on CSP

What exactly is Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and what customers is it targeted for?

Finally, the Microsoft Cloud stack is in a position to take over the Open agreements

Microsoft has just released Windows 10 Enterprise E3 on the CSP (Cloud Service Provider) program. This means that customers can move from the traditional vintage open agreements – where companies have to pay for all the licenses annually – to a more flexible monthly payment through CSP. It is clear where Microsoft is putting its focus and this is towards the CSP. Leading Microsoft representatives have even gone so far to say that open licensing will be dead during the next three years.

Now companies have the option to fully license their environments in the Cloud with Office 365, Intune, Enterprise Mobility Suite, CRM Online, Azure and Windows 10 Enterprise E3 all through CSP. Indeed, if your company has not explored the benefits that CSP and Cloud-iQ can offer, then the right time is now.

Windows 10 E3: the breakdown

But what exactly is Windows 10 Enterprise E3 and what customers is it targeted for?

The Windows 10 Enterprise E3 license on CSP offers users the ability to upgrade from Windows 10 Pro to Windows 10 Enterprise with all the additional benefits. These include Credential Guard, Device Guard, Applocker Management, Microsoft Application Virtualization and Managed User Experience.

The upgrading experience is something the users will enjoy. There is no need to download and go through an installation process. Instead, the license is simply assigned to a user in the Crayon Cloud-iQ portal, with the user then joining the Azure AD through his or her computer. Once that is clear, the user signs into their computer using the Azure AD account, gaining immediate seamless access to the Enterprise features of Windows 10.

There are still some limitations when comparing the CSP Windows 10 Enterprise E3 license to the traditional Software Assurance or Volume Licensing option.

These key differences are:

win10ente3vsvl

 

With no VDI or downgrade rights the question that often comes up is this: Is Windows 10 Enterprise E3 on CSP a viable solution for my customer? Arguments for this would be that you are receiving five licenses per user, so when the license expires or is transferred to another user the Windows 10 Enterprise device reverts automatically to Windows 10 Pro edition, following a grace period of up to 90 days. The monthly per user model also offers a flexible solution to companies along with the option to move licenses between users, as well as having an evergreen setup within the company. As such, Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is clearly therefore an option to consider for many firms. If the customer still needs the benefits offered by the traditional Microsoft volume licensing programs, then of course this should be compared with the CSP offering.

Some of the user scenarios that could benefit from the upgrade from Pro to Enterprise would be those who access confidential information or have elevated privileges, anonymous users who use kiosk or other public devices, those adhering to governance or compliance standards, and of course workers who travel with their devices.

The Windows 10 Enterprise E3 is a good starting point for Microsoft to offer the users the option to fully onboard to the cloud. Beyond that, Windows 10 Enterprise E5 is also on the horizon for CSP and should be available in October. This will include further offerings such as Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection.

The missing parts of the puzzle that we are waiting for from Microsoft are new licensing options for customers that have hybrid environments. As an example, these might be customers who are running SQL servers on premise and are not yet ready to move to Azure. The only option then is to license the servers through the vintage volume licensing agreements. However, it is not yet possible to create Open Value Subscription or Open Value Agreements without having Windows, Office or Client Access License included in the agreement. This would then make it a complex licensing scenario and can hinder the customer in moving the Windows licenses to the CSP. Yet in the cases where customers are not running servers on premise, the servers are getting outdated or they want to move to the future, then CSP provides the best option with all the flexibility, simplicity and value it offers.

Crayon Cloud-iQ users already have the option to start selling the Windows 10 Enterprise E3 product to their customers with all the added value that it brings. 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 marking your CSP footprint on the market.