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    Microsoft licensing: advice needed please.

    Hi guys, very interesting forums you have here.

    i have some advice to ask so I thought now would be a good time for my first post.

    Basically keeping it short, I've taken over the IT support role in a middle school.
    I've been clearing up various mess, mistakes and incomplete jobs from my predecessor. (a long old list.....)
    One of the burning issues is software licensing.
    We have about 160 machines including staff laptops about the place and most of them appear to be missing licenses for microsoft products running on them.
    I have replaced quite a few computers with newer units that at least have a windows license but there is no evidence that any office installation is properly licensed.
    Also there is only one copy of Server 2003 to the 3 Servers that are running.

    Given the fact that the school is running with a mix of new and old machines I have standardised everything to run Windows XP SP3 with Office 2003 Pro SP3.

    I have tallied up what I need to get everything legal:

    84 Windows XP Professional
    156 Office 2003 Professional
    2 Windows server 2003
    CAL's??

    Is there any cost effective way to cover our use of the existing MS products?
    So far I have only found software distributors that sell discounted products on a per item basis. I have found Windows XP OEM packages for about £85 each and office 2007 enterprise at £35 each but it still seems quite expensive given the amount I have to buy.
    I dont think vista or windows 7 is a way forward yet given the fact some of our machines are up to 5 years old.
    Running office 2007 should be ok though.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by CtrlAltDel; 28th September 2009 at 03:52 PM.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Depending on how you bought them, your Windows installs may well be licensed already. Best to check with your supplier (if you can work out who that was, of course!) and see what they say.

    Remember that Office licences are backwards-compatible, so you can continue to run Office 2003 on the 2007 licences which you buy. Sounds like you have enough to worry about playing 'catch-up and rectify' without causing yourself the added hassle of rolling out a new Office release.

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    Thanks for the reply.

    I have checked, and the only physical proof of a licence is the windows COA stamped on the side of the newer computers in the building. It is possible that there was a microsoft agreement at some stage,maybe it expired and was not renewed. There is no proof of anything that currently covers our use of the software.
    We also don't have any genuine install media for the packages that are in use.

    I'm not sure if its better to get a quote on a microsoft agreement that allows us to buy the bulk licenses or just buy the packages from a third party.

    I'm keen to sort out as much of this as the budget will allow, even if I can't get it all done in one go, it at least shows some willing on the matter.

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    enjay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CtrlAltDel View Post
    I'm not sure if its better to get a quote on a microsoft agreement that allows us to buy the bulk licenses or just buy the packages from a third party.
    Investigate both, and see which looks most appealing/appropriate.

    Quote Originally Posted by CtrlAltDel View Post
    I'm keen to sort out as much of this as the budget will allow, even if I can't get it all done in one go, it at least shows some willing on the matter.
    If you don't think you can afford to do it all in one go, write to SLT explaining the situation and the potential implications of being under-licensed. This covers you should the brown stuff start flying, and just might get the money made available to you.

    Alternatively - and I would probably recommend doing this anyway - ask for a meeting in which you will discuss a 3 or 5 year plan, listing everything which you feel needs doing (and spending). Include your suggestion for priorities, get their opinions and then get their promise on the funding for it.

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    @CtrlAltDel: The most cost effective way to get licensed up in the short term is a Schools Agreement. Over 3 years (assuming you don't upgrade any software) SELECT licensing would be cheaper but ther is a much higher initial outlay.

    You should also consider Software Assurance. Schools Agreement comes with this by default and you will need it if you want to run Windows 7 Enterprise or Office Enterprise. Windows 7 Enterprise is the one with things like Bitlocker and other great technologies!!!

    The one problem you do have is getting your machines licensed if they don't have COAs on them.

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    Where are you based fella ?

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    Select Licensing

    I'm stuck on Select Licensing for the School here.

    I had exactly the same issue with 120 machines when I started here, Only 38 XP Licenses and 19 Office Licences!

    I looked at schools agreements, but I've been quoted around the £4,000 p.a.

    The 12k over three years is more than the £9k that I would spend buying both OS Upgrades and Office Updates. Being as I don't intend to move from Office 2007 until at least 2011 its not cost effective at all.

    The thing I missout on are Software assurance, especially for servers!


    Remember, having an agreement means you still need to own a copy of the OS to start with, it only coves upgrades (I far as I know!)

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    We got an agreement when I started as the previous tech was spending massive amounts on OEM versions for the PC's and Laptops. I came in, got refunds on all the OEMs, took out a Schools Licence Agreement and upgraded everything. Saving us around £3000 per year!

    Schools licence would be more effective, and I would go for 160 Windows and Office licences (to cover you completely), 2 server licences and 160 CALs for your servers (to be on the safe side!).

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    I think it all depends how much work you take on.

    I generally plan around a 5 year cycle for O/S's before retiring them now - The thing is if you take out an agreement a) you don't own the software and b) it could take Microsoft another 8 years to bring out a decent O/S that everyone uses in Schools.

    As you'll be paying around £30 per machine per year (£4,800) if you don't upgrade over a four year period that'll cost you almost £20k when you could have spent £10k on select licensing and been in the same position. The outlay is over twice as much to start, but thats 20 computers replaced!

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    Mr.Ben's Avatar
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    Just make sure that once you've bought licensing for the O/S you purchase all of your PC's without O/S's!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ben View Post
    Just make sure that once you've bought licensing for the O/S you purchase all of your PC's without O/S's!
    Your PC must always have an OS license. This is usually an OEM license but can be the cheapest license available.

    5 years of Software Assurance is not cheap and you will need it to use Windows 7 to its fullest - the new Bitlocker and BitlockerToGo features are worth it in themselves as timesavers when it comes to encrypting data!

    The only way to get the Enterprise features without SA is to buy Windows 7 Ultimate which is almost £100 more per OEM license!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ben View Post
    Just make sure that once you've bought licensing for the O/S you purchase all of your PC's without O/S's!
    WITH OS surely?

    The issue is that an VL scheme at the moment isn't going to cover a machine without OS. If they aew self built machines then I guess you could still get OEM windows licenses, if they aren't then FPP may be the only legitimate way (and very expensive too). Office and the server products would be fine under VL, just not desktop OS.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ben View Post
    it could take Microsoft another 8 years to bring out a decent O/S that everyone uses in Schools.
    That's the catch isn't it. No OS upgrade since 2001 and not much movement in Office either, so someone who bought an SA would be worse off compared to those (us included) who bought those outright.

    That said, if MS release schedules over the next few years go as suggested, then a Schools Agreement would be a good purchase, and better than paying in full for Offices 2007 and 2010 (and 2012 isn't it?) and Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Only time will tell which course of action is actually the best, of course, which is a bit pants really!

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    We were in a similar position, its not easy but when you point out to the SMT that you or they will be looking at jail time possibly they tend to find the money from somewhere.

    Office is only around £35 per licence XP around £30.

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    Thank you all for your useful replies.

    i'm based on the Isle of Wight.

    Glad i'm not the only one to have had to overcome this issue.
    Sounds like buying the XP OS licenses outright is a good idea, while perhaps having the office licenses subscription based?
    Can that be done?

    I'll also need to add in the cost of the bulk CAL's and server software licenses. Would that be subscription or bought outright?

    Also does anyone recommend any particular microsoft resellers?

    much appreciated.

    thanks again.

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