Licensing software in the cloud

A girlfriend of mine called me up this weekend looking for a DVD copy of an older piece of software. She was rebuilding a computer for a family member who had the product key but no installation media. I’m sure many of you have similar stories trying to fix or repair computers for your family and friends.

One of the nice things about using software online or “in the cloud” so to speak is that if your computer goes belly up and you need to rebuild it, the software will be there waiting for you, as soon as you can get computer back online.

For businesses, using online services can give you greater flexibility to pursue projects or try out ideas without having large upfront costs as well as providing  foundational IT infrastructure without investing in your own data center.

While a post I wrote a little while ago outlined the basics of traditional software licensing, I figured I should follow up with how to license software in the cloud since online software subscriptions are becoming more prevalent. This short video does a good job at laying things out – like why you’d want to consider using online services and some of the advantages and cost-savings of licensing software this way:

Microsoft has several online services: Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, Windows Azure Platform, Windows Intune and others. Each service can be purchased through a volume licensing agreement or the Microsoft Online Subscription Program and then activated and managed managed through web portals:

One day I’d love there to just be one portal to manage all your online subscriptions (kind of like one ring to rule them all but much less evil) but consolidation takes time and so I make no promises but I trust this is the direction our Online Services folk are heading.

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