With the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), you can create and deliver a hosted Microsoft Office solution. This guide will take you through the required licensing components for providing a partner-hosted Office solution to your end users.
Required Licensing for Hosted Office
Offering a hosted Office solution requires the appropriate licensing of the entire software solution stack. The software solution stack includes Windows Server, Remote Desktop Services, and Microsoft Office.
You must license Windows Server in support of your Hosted Office solution. Windows Server is licensed in the following two licensing models in the SPLA program:
- Per Processor: Web, Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter Editions
A Windows Server processor license is required to be assigned to each physical processor on the servers running the Hosted Office service.
- Per User Subscriber Access License (“SAL”): Standard and Enterprise Editions
A Windows Server SAL must be assigned to each unique end user that is authorized to access instances of the server software.
Remote Desktop Services
A SAL for Remote Desktop Services (“RDS”) is required for each unique end user authorized to access the hosted Office service. Device SALs are not available. From the Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR):
“You must acquire a Windows Server Remote Desktop Services SAL for each user that directly or indirectly is authorized to access the server software to host a graphical user interface (using the Windows Server Remote Desktop Services functionality or other technology).”
Note that the Windows Server RDS SAL is required for delivering a graphical user interface even if you are not using RDS services.
A SAL for Microsoft Office is required for every unique end user who is authorized to access the hosted Office service. Device SALs are not available. The following editions of Microsoft Office are available through the SPLA program:
- Office Standard
- Office Professional Plus
Counting User SALs
All end users authorized to access the hosted Office service require all appropriate SALs for included products listed above for each month in which they are authorized to access the hosted Office service, regardless of the frequency or duration of their usage. To remove the reporting obligation for an individual end user, the end user’s access must be removed from the hosted Office service.
Limited free usage through SPLA
The SPLA agreement provides for limited, 60-day end user evaluations per end user. You do not need to report usage for end user evaluations. Conditions apply; see your SPLA Agreement for details.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I only count users who are accessing or actively using the hosted Office service each month?
No. you must count all unique end users who are authorized to access your service. From the SPUR:
“You must acquire and assign a SAL to each user that is authorized to access your instances of the server software directly or indirectly, regardless of actual access of the server software.”
- I’m not using the Remote Desktop Services functionality in Windows Server, but I am hosting Office; do I have to report the RDS SAL?
Yes. Providing direct or indirect access to a graphical user interface requires the RDS SAL. By providing end users access to Office (a graphical user interface), you are providing indirect access to the Windows Server. From the SPUR:
“You must acquire a Windows Server 2008 Remote Desktop Services SAL for each user that directly or indirectly is authorized to access the server software to host a graphical user interface (using the Windows Server 2008 Remote Desktop Services functionality or other technology).”
- Can I use the Windows Desktop Operating System as part of my hosted Office solution?
No. Windows Desktop Operating Systems may not be used to deliver any hosted solution involving remote access or delivery of a Software Service, such as a hosted Office service.
- Can I stream my hosted Office solution to a device and have it run locally at the end user site?
No. SPLA does not provide rights to stream Office to a device and have it run locally by the end user.