Today, as expected, Microsoft has announced the Enterprise Cloud Suite (ECS). Over the past few years, Microsoft’s cloud focus has expanded from productivity and collaboration (Office 365), to total device management (Enterprise Management Suite) and now…Windows. 

This launch effectively completes Microsoft’s transition to a subscription-based model. If moving everything to a subscription leaves you feeling uneasy, you’re in luck: You still have a choice to stay with the traditional model. However, there are some major benefits to this new offering. Let’s explore those.

  1. User-based Windows: Let’s get this one out of the way first. Your device count is growing much faster than your user count. With your end users demanding all manner of fancy, new machines, they rarely think of the extra cost to keep your image updated on each device. Now, with user-based Windows licensing, this concern becomes a thing of the past. Unlike Office 365, there is no limit on the number of devices on which a user can install Windows. Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) rights are also included.
  1. User-based VDA: This is one of the most common questions our customers ask. And, truthfully, the answer always feels like a Monty Python sketch (“If your tablet weighs as much as a duck, then it’s made out of wood…and therefore you need VDA and Companion Subscription Licensing or CSL.”) Going forward, the question is academic. If you’re licensed with VDA per-user, there is no device requirement.
  1. Consistency: At this point, most people are licensed per user on their Client Access Licenses (CALs), and per user for Office 365. The only holdout was Windows, and that’s now gone. When attempting to figure out your license needs, let HR do the work.
  1. Bridge CALs: Are you exhausted trying to explain what the Bridge CAL is and why your organization needs it? With the ECS, the Windows Server CAL and System Center Client Management License CML are included. Licensing simplified.

Another thing to note, tangentially-related, is that Microsoft has also announced that Software Assurance Benefits will now be available to cloud Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers. As more information is released, we’ll tackle this topic on its own.

As with anything Microsoft, these new answers are bound to create even newer questions. If these changes interest you, reach out to your CDW License Account Executive to make sure your EA is “cloud ready.”

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