Overview of administrator responsibilities

As an administrator, you can manage subscriptions for your organization. The administrator role also carries responsibilities to ensure that the subscriptions are managed in accordance with the license terms. This article outlines the responsibilities, benefits, and limitations of the administrator role.

Roles & responsibilities

A Visual Studio administrator has four key responsibilities:

  1. Understand the benefits and restrictions of Visual Studio subscriptions. Correctly understanding your benefits can enable you to reduce hardware costs by using cloud services, and reduce software costs with per-user licenses for pre-production environments.
  2. Assign Visual Studio subscriptions to specific, named individuals and encourage usage. Your contract requires that Visual Studio subscriptions be assigned to specific, named individuals. Follow up with your assigned individuals to ensure they access and take full advantage of the benefits included in their Visual Studio subscription.
  3. Accurately inventory your pre-production environment. This is essential to ensure all users who interact with Visual Studio-licensed software are appropriately licensed with their own Visual Studio subscription.
  4. Track user assignment changes and acquire additional licenses on schedule. Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) Agreements and MPSA give you flexibility in how you use and assign Visual Studio subscriptions. In return, you are expected to track changes to software usage and user assignments and process orders for additional licenses on the schedule outlined in the agreement. To help with this responsibility, there is a Maximum Usage report you can run in the Visual Studio Subscription Administration Portal.

Benefits and limitations

Visual Studio subscriptions allow development team members to install and use software to design, develop, test, evaluate, and demonstrate other software. Visual Studio Subscriptions software is not licensed for production environments.

User-based licensing MSDN Platforms and all levels of Visual Studio subscriptions are licensed on a per-user basis. Each development team member that will interact (install, configure, or access) with the software included with these products and services requires their own Visual Studio subscription.
Unlimited installations Each licensed user may install and use the software on any number of devices to design, develop, test, evaluate, and demonstrate software. The exception is Microsoft Office, which is licensed for one desktop. Visual Studio-licensed software can be installed and used at work, home, school, and on devices at a customer’s office or on dedicated hardware hosted by a third party.
Not intended for production environments Visual Studio subscriptions software is not licensed for production environments, including any environment accessed by end users for more than acceptance testing or feedback, an environment connecting to a production database, supporting disaster recovery or production backup, or used for production during peak periods of activity. Exceptions to this include specific benefits for certain subscription levels, outlined in the Visual Studio Licensing White Paper.
License reassignment When a user leaves a team and no longer requires a license, you may reassign the license after 90 days have passed. When you reassign a license, any product keys that were already used will still be available but will not be replaced. For organizations that have Enterprise Agreements (EA), any benefits that were used by the original user, such as Pluralsight training, will be reset.
Exception for end users At the end of a software development project, end users typically review an application and determine whether it meets the necessary criteria for release. This process is called user acceptance testing (UAT). Team members such as a business sponsor or a product manager can act as proxies for end users. End users who do not have a Visual Studio subscription may access the software for UAT if use of the software otherwise complies with all Visual Studio licensing terms. It is rare that someone whose primary role is designing, developing,or testing the software would also qualify as an “end user”.

Next steps

Learn more about responsibilities for administrators: