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Learn About Microsoft Licensing Agreement Options

Microsoft Licensing Agreement Options

November 2013

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Microsoft Licensing Agreement Options

microsoft licensing agreement options

In a previous article, I described the server/CAL options that would be most relevant to a Citrix and/or VDI environment. You may also be wondering about the various license program options that are available to you from Microsoft. There are several depending on your size and desire to have Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) upgrade and support protection on your Microsoft products.

If you buy your PCs from Best Buy or Dell, they come with OEM licenses of Windows and possibly other products. These versions of Microsoft products do not have SA or any type of support, which is how the PC manufacturers keep the cost of the total unit down. Likewise, full packaged products (FPP) that are purchased at Office Depot or the like in a box have no support either. If you want SA, which must be purchased when the product is bought (or within 90 days thereafter), you must purchase the product from a volume reseller (Whitehat is one…) under one of the following plans:


Open License Agreement – License Only:

OPEN agreements are a good choice for customers that want to make transactional pay as you go orders. The products can be purchased with or without Software Assurance. OPEN agreements are 2 year agreement with a minimum initial purchase of five software licenses. Some other Microsoft license agreement offer the ability to spread payments over time, but the OPEN agreement does not. Typical products purchased under an OPEN agreement are:

  • Windows Upgrade License
  • Office Pro Plus
  • Office Standard
  • Windows RDS User CALs
  • Windows Server User CALs

Open Value Agreement – License & Software Assurance:

Open Value agreements are optimal for small to midsize organizations, and are essentially an EA agreement for smaller organizations. The agreement also requires an initial purchase of 5 licenses, and licenses must be purchased with Software Assurance. This is a 3 year agreement, and discounts are available for platform & enterprise wide commitments. Typical products purchased under an OPEN Value agreement are:

  • Windows Pro Upgrade w/ SA
  • Windows Pro Upgrade w/ SA & MDOP
  • Office Pro Plus
  • Office Standard
  • Windows RDS User CALs
  • Windows Server User CALs
  • MDOP (requires Windows w/ SA or VDA subscription)
  • VDA Subscription per Device
  • VDI Suite w/ MDOP
  • VDI Suite w/o MDOP


Select + Agreements are the next step up the chain. No initial purchase required, and licenses can be purchased with or without Software Assurance. Each purchase equates to a point value, and there are three pools with minimum point values (500 points) that must be met to keep the agreement active. The pool types are:

  • Server
  • Application
  • System

This agreement is an evergreen agreement that continues until cancelled, and any Microsoft product can be purchased under this plan.

Enterprise Agreement

Enterprise agreements are for organizations with 200 or more users since a 250 license commitment is required. There are several ways to purchase and pay for Enterprise Agreements (EAs) that include spreading payments out in several ways. To hold an EA, companies must standardize on one of three enterprise products groups as their key

  • Applications
    • Office
    • Office 365
  • Systems
    • Windows
    • VDA
  • Servers
    • Core CAL

All licenses must be purchased with Software Assurance and this is a 3 year agreement. When we run across a company this is interested (and qualified for) an Enterprise Agreement, we bring in our Microsoft specialty partner, SoftwareONE. SoftwareONE is what is referred to as a Microsoft Large Account Reseller (LAR), which is a firm that distributes Microsoft software and has the ability to offer Enterprise Agreements, which Whitehat cannot offer as a volume reseller. They have an extensive staff of people that spend all day, every day keeping up with all the nuances of Microsoft licensing plans, and they are very good to have around.



Microsoft is a big company, as everyone knows, and seem to have a plan with increasing commitments and discounts for just about everybody.  We can help you with your needs in this area, whatever they may be. Let us know how we can help.

Related article: Microsoft Licensing for Citrix Environments