I have been making heavy use of the license tracking ability of our KBOX, but am stumpped as an effective way to track the myriad of licensing possilities of Microsoft products.  We have software purchase with and without SA.  We have downgraded licenses galore.  We've got a team of twenty developers with three different levels of MSDN licenses.  How do I turn all of these into a trackable number that looks right on the compliance report?

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You start by going to the Microsoft volume licensing center and seeing what they have down for you. If you have a current volume licensing agreement, you should have access to that site. It will tell you what Microsoft knows about your licensing. Either it's good enough (not likely, because you're buying licenses through OEMs and need also to track things like downgrades, where your installed base won't agree with what MS has recorded) or you need to go further. 

You should also look for purchase records. If you have a specific reseller you work with, they can help. Your business office should also pull records on software purchases.

For MSDN, someone in your org must the the MSDN admin, who can tell you which subscriptions are active and who they are assigned to.

I'm not a software asset management expert, but that's where you would need to look next. Tap out what the kbox can do in terms of inventory.

Finally, you have to reconcile the purchase records from various sources with what your inventory turned up. That's the fun part--not. After you sort through that mess, try to figure out what information you wish you had had. Make sure you involve your purchasing folks and your IT folks in this discussion so they can work out some processes that will make sure your purchasing records, upgrades and downgrades, hardware or user assignments, and other stuff is recorded in a dabase or inventory system that will make it easier next time around.

Paul DeGroot
Principal Consultant
Pica Communications
www.picacommunications.com
"Solving the Microsoft Licensing Puzzle" 

Answered 04/23/2012 by: pdegroot
White Belt

  • This is good info. I've done license management, and this is what I've had to do as well. I'd add that if you have multiple vendors for MS products, get standardized on one ASAP. Having multiple vendors here will only lead you into madness.


    The big thing to keep in mind is: do you have licenses for what you use? so in that way, downgrades can be somewhat simple to take care of. if you have 200 MS offic 2010 licenses through VLA, it doesn't matter if you have 200 2010 installs or 20 2010 installs and 180 2003 installs. If, on the other hand, you have 200 2003 installs and the above distribution, you've got trouble.

    have fun with this - it's very fiddly and a real challenge to do the first time.
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