Microsoft Office and click-to-run technology

Microsoft has had a delivery mechanism called “MSI” which is the windows installer, for installing and updating the components of Microsoft Office for ages. This link has more on MSI.

Starting around Office 2010, we incorporated “Click to run” as an option for updating office.

Office 2019 is EXCLUSIVELY Click to Run.

Office 365 has been delivered by click-to-run primarily since 2013. We still have standalone office, but more and more industry customers are migrating to the cloud, and therefore deploying Office 365.

To get a sense of Office 365, you need to know Microsoft desires to do a more-continuous nonbreaking update model. This article can help explain it

To use a software management solution with Click to Run, check this article out. There is a COM interface you can use!

I hope this helps software vendors who integrate with Office!

Posted in Office, Partner | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What are Azure Hybrid Use Benefits and License Mobility for SQL Server and Windows?



Since 2012, Microsoft has sold Enterprise SQL Server licenses per core, 4 core minimum (The old processors became 4 cores per processor equivalent) and Standard edition SQL Server licenses either per-core, or per-server with CALs (Client access licenses). No client access licenses are required if your server runs on the per-core licensing model. Windows Datacenter was sold in processors, but as of 2016 is sold by the core, 8 cores per old processor.
If you wanted to use virtualization (on-premises or cloud), and also get updated software, and cold disaster recovery benefits, you needed software assurance on your cores. (or standard servers, but that doesn’t matter for the next part).

If you covered all physical cores in your environment with both Windows Datacenter and SQL Server Enterprise licenses, you could spin up as many VMs as you would like, until the hardware got overloaded. This is where fast processors and lots of RAM could benefit you. This is called “Unlimited Virtualization”

Microsoft sold licensing on-premises through Enterprise Agreements or through resellers. Big enterprises in virtual environments (VMWare etc) had to maintain software assurance. This is a good deal so far. This vehicle for purchasing licenses allows for greater discounts with volume, as well as 3 year payment plans on enterprise agreements.  More recently, there are available subscription licenses as well, for shorter-term usage.

In general, in Azure, if you are running virtual machines or databases full blast for three years straight, purchasing the licenses and software assurance will be cheaper than paying per-minute billing for Windows and SQL Server.

For Azure Hybrid Use Benefits… You can BRING your on-premises Windows and SQL cores to Azure.  We give a little grace period, but basically shut down those 8 cores on-prem, and bring them to Azure… either in a VM with 8 cores, or now, Azure SQL Managed Instance with 8 cores, or Azure SQL Database with the vCore model. Again, core licenses of SQL Server and Windows have to be purchased separately from Azure.

If you started with an Azure VM deployed with a pay-per-minute billing model, you can change it to BYOL (Bring your own license).

If you are purchasing Azure through a Cloud Solutions Provider (CSP): Think of the CSP as the Azure delivery mechanism (they can sell Dynamics and Office 365 as well), and licensed cores of SQL Server or Windows can land on top of the infrastructure you spin up there. If the CSP is also a license reseller, then they can sell you those cores of Windows and SQL Server.
Here is a scenario. Let’s say you leverage a CSP who sells Azure. You wish to build a solution which is then deployed and sold to your customers. They wish to have you sell them the Azure. The end customer goes into the azure subscription, and picks a vm, and says “YEAH I HAVE MY OWN CORES AND Software assurance”. The CSP has to ALSO become a reseller for SQL Server and Windows licenses, or you, the end customer, has to purchase those SQL and Windows licenses through a reseller.

If you deploy your own virtual machines onto Azure, there is no Azure-based tracking of licenses. You will need to ensure you have inventory of appropriate licenses to be compliant for those purposes. Software asset management has many paths to help you. Here is a tool that can scan your on-premises and Azure environment for this information.

I hope this helps clear up some confusion around Azure and Windows and SQL Server licensing!
Posted in Azure, Licensing, SQL Server | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Azure SQL Database, Managed Instance!

Recently announced was general availability of Azure SQL Database Managed Instance.  I am excited by how much easier it is nowadays to reduce your workload by migrating to Azure SQL Database, and lifting and shifting to Managed Instance.

What is this flavor of Azure and SQL Server?

Let’s step back.

Imagine a world where you have an application talking to SQL Server. It’s happy, you’re happy. Well, except for one thing: You hate patching.

Just ping me if you really like patching. That’s almost never true.

Also, what about upgrades? That also is downtime. High Availability? Can be a bit of effort. What other things could you do with your time if you didn’t have to patch?

To help solve these issues, Microsoft offers a variety of options to help you migrate to Azure, and to reduce your workload.

Our Platform as a Service (PaaS) offerings, like Azure SQL Database, are self-managing for the most part, do backups themselves, and can even auto tune!

Some legacy applications however, require too much rework to go to Azure SQL DB. So, what can we do?

Virtual Machines with SQL Server on Azure work, but require… you guessed it, PATCHING. Yes, we have tooling to help there. Additionally, HA options in SQL Server in VMs requires a bit of setup.

Azure SQL Database Managed Instance has most of the features you need from SQL Server, such as multiple databases on a server, SQL Server agent, .NET CLR for extended stored procedures, and a few other things.

This makes lifting-and-shifting with minor adjustments to Azure relatively simple. Here is a guide on how to migrate your database to Azure SQL DB Managed Instance.

To configure a Managed Instance, you will need to understand vnets in Azure. Also, you will have to configure the vnet to accept other connections, or set up a VPN into the vnet.  This article has topics that span this area and others in the form of how-to guides.

Once you get the Managed Instance up and running, you will need to connect your application. This guide will help you, whether the application is in Azure, or crosses on-premises.

New Note: Public endpoints are now available, via a powershell script.

If you wish to do a little more refactoring, migrating your application to use Azure SQL Database can be more efficient. You will need to decide that trade-off. Here are some articles on how to use a single database in Azure SQL Database service.

Here is a presentation I made to the New England SQL users group on Managed Instance.

Feel free to reach out to me for more information.


Posted in Architecture, Azure, Data, SQL Server | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The privilege of teaching others

I want to add to this article, the following material from Bob Ward, around SQL Server training materials. These materials are free!

George Walters

This past weekend, I realized was blessed by quite a few things:

1) An understanding wife, who lets me go and train people in other cities while dealing with our children.
2) The SQL Saturday program, where I have met wonderful people, and started volunteering my technical talents.
3) An awesome employer, who does well by us, and by the greater community.
4) Being a mentor for many people.

I was fortunate enough to designate SQL Saturday DC as the place where Microsoft would sponsor an after-event for a Cloud meetup centered around Diversity, Inclusion, and what career paths might be out there for people.
We had about 30 people attend, and it was a nice mix of people.

We discussed learning paths for people to “get into” the cloud, which I believe will help almost any IT pro or developer out there.

The list of sites to get training…

View original post 217 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How I Work – Using OneNote For My Daily Task List

I love OneNote. I also appreciate hearing how others benefit from using it to organizing documentation, customer meetings, etc.

Caffeinated Data Science

It’s not overstating
things to say that I use Microsoft OneNote
in every part of my life. I use it to create and track projects at work;
categorize, list and annotate the technologies I work with; share
information with my family
(from groceries to the punch-down list my wife
uses when she flips houses, to wedding planning with my daughter); I mean every
part of my life. I’m writing this blog post in OneNote, in fact.

To be fair, I’ve always been a note-taker. I taught myself note-taking when I was young, and then was formally taught to do it better. I started with those grey-speckled notepads you buy for school, graduated to a Day-Runner, and then on to ACT! and other Personal Information Managers (PIMS) when those came out on the early computers. I’ve used Outlook Tasks, Microsoft Project, Getting Things Done (GTD)…

View original post 1,342 more words

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SQL Blogs from Microsoft – The List

If you are looking for MSDN blogs on SQL Server, take a look at the new locations!

Caffeinated Data Science

We have migrated several active and inactive MSDN blogs to these new combined blogs. If you’re wondering where the content went, here’s a table that lists the old blog and the new URL for the blog. Note that each source blog has a label at the end there in the new target blog which allows you to follow that specific content – they are self-descriptive:


View original post

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SQL Saturday Boston BI: Migrate to Azure

This March 30th, in the Burlington, MA office of Microsoft, will be SQL Saturday Boston, BI Edition!

I will be speaking on a topic near and dear to me:

Re-Architect your Software as a Service Application for Azure: Tips and Tricks

I walk through a high level architecture of a real-world application: A Software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider who does financial transactions wanted to explore migrating to the cloud.

Why would they want to move off-premises? Well, apparently buying a new SAN (Storage area Network) for storage every few months was becoming less economical, and they wanted to also reduce the workload of maintaining this application.

Finally, they ran out of datacenter space, and had another 13,000 customers they could not sell to, due to that space restriction! This mean serious financial opportunity loss.

They chose Azure, and a team of us at Microsoft helped them build a path to get them from on-premises to Azure.

I talk through the journey this customer went through, what their architecture was like, and how it ended up. This relates to both business and technical challenges.

In the end, of course, Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) matters as much as reducing the workload to maintain a mission critical SaaS application.

There are many other great speakers who will be delivering great content as well. I hope to see you all there!



Posted in Azure, Conferences, Data, SQL Server, Training | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment