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simplifies IT transformation.

Our software platforms remove the guesswork so you can now plan with confidence.

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Moving to public cloud? Don’t forget to pack your software licenses.

Posted in: Blog



Pop quiz: How much should you expect new software licenses to add to the cost of your cloud migration?

It’s a trick question; in many cases, the answer is zero. One of the enduring myths about migrating to public cloud is that you can’t take your existing licenses (i.e., Microsoft SQL Server) with you. That you’ll need to get new ones for any instances you’re migrating—and leave behind any discounts or special enterprise agreement (EA) pricing you received for your current license agreements.

That may have been the case in the past, but in the modern public cloud, many software licenses are very much portable. And that’s true for more than just Microsoft Azure; in many cases, the same Microsoft licenses and EA discounts you’re using in your on-premise data center can be ported to cloud providers like Amazon Web Services (AWS) as well.

The myth that existing licensing and EA discounts can’t apply outside your data center is especially pernicious, because licensing costs can make a significant difference in your total cost of ownership (TCO) projections when building your business case for cloud migration. When you can move licenses you already own, and they aren’t factored into your calculations, you may be missing out on significant potential savings.

Modeling License Portability
We built the TSO Logic Platform with the goal of applying rigorous data science to cloud planning and data center transformation scenarios, and providing the industry’s most accurate TCO projections, backed by hard numbers. We recognized early on that any algorithmic model that doesn’t include the  cost of software licenses—including discounts from using licenses you already own—can’t provide an accurate picture. That’s why our cloud capacity planning and modeling tools automatically discover which licenses can move to your chosen cloud provider, and factor those elements into the calculations.

That’s not just an extra field where you can pop in a number. After all, understanding which licenses can move to which cloud catalog options is nuanced. You have to consider, for example, how optimizing instance size can affect software licenses—a significant factor for licenses like SQL Server, which are based on core count. If you move an SQL workload from an overprovisioned eight-core instance on-premise to a “right-sized” four-core instance in the cloud, for example, you’re now running the same workload with half the licensing cost. Additionally, not every instance supports license movement, and there is often more than one way to do it. And, even when existing licenses are portable, some cloud instance types will support them, while others will not.

The TSO Logic Platform parses all of those possibilities, so that our customers and partners don’t have to manually do it themselves. It can even understand Microsoft Enterprise Agreements for pricing details, and include them in cost projections. Just by selecting a Microsoft license or subscription type in pulldown menu (such as enterpreise agreements, MSDN, Windows, SQL Server), it will automatically factor those savings into your TCO analysis and ROI. And again, that applies to whichever cloud provider you’re evaluating, including both AWS and Azure.

The TSO Logic Platform identifies the instances that support license movement of your license types, while optimizing the required core counts to drive your spend down even further. It will also make sure you’re getting the best value possible by comparing the cost of moving your current license versus buying or renting the license from the cloud provider. (Just because you can move an existing license doesn’t necessary mean that’s the best value. Cloud providers have significant buying power, and may be able to offer the license at a lower cost without a long term commitment)

License Movement in Action
The TSO Logic Platform supports a wide range of license portability scenarios for Azure, AWS, and other public clouds, including:

  • Using Enterprise Agreements and incorporating pricing details and discounts
  • Bringing MSDN subscriptions for dev/test workloads
  • Modeling with the Azure Hybrid Use Benefit
  • Porting SQL Server licenses with and without Software Assurance
  • Modeling costs and benefits of SQL Server on RDS with and without license portability
  • Modeling dedicated hosts for Windows and SQL Server with optimization

Are you accounting for those scenarios when fleshing out your cloud migration business case? If not, you may well be looking at significantly higher cost projections than what you actually could be paying—and you may be missing out on the full value you could realize from migration.

For one real-world customer we modeled, keeping their existing licenses when porting SQL workloads to AWS, resulted in a 22% savings. Using their existing MSDN subscription discounts for dev/test workloads added another 16% savings. In another example we found 80% savings when moving SQL Server with license mobility to the cloud. Those savings can be significant—in this case, translating to millions of dollars annually. And that comes on top of the savings that the TSO Logic platform already models, simply from eliminating overprovisioning and migrating to “right-size” instances based on real-world historical utilization of your on-premise resources.

Find Out More
Don’t let missing licensing discounts skew your cloud cost projections—or worse, prevent you from realizing the full value of a cloud migration you’re considering. With the TSO Logic Platform, you can get at the real answers and the hard numbers. And you can develop a more accurate, defensible business case for cloud that will drive substantial savings.

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