All posts by Rob OShaughnessy

vSphere ESXi 5.0 and 5.1 End-of-Support is August 24th!

VMware’s vSphere ESXi 5.0 and 5.1, which is the hypervisor included in vSphere 5.0 and 5.1, is going to end of support (EOS) this summer. Effective August 24, 2016, VMware will no longer offer General Support for these editions. Basically, this means no phone or email support regardless if you are current on your Subscription and Support (SnS) or not.

Now is the perfect time to upgrade. If you are current on our SnS you can upgrade to vSphere 6.0 for free.

vSphere 6.0 has many new changes that include increased stability, network I/O control and vMotion enhancements that are ideal for any cloud environment and make it an attractive upgrade.

Here are some of those new features:

From a compute standpoint, vSphere 6 increases configuration maximus. VMs now support up to 128 vCPUs and 4TB vRAM. Hosts will support up to 480 CPU and 12TB of RAM, 1028 VM per host and 64 nodes per cluster. vSphere 6 can close and deploy VMs 10x faster and the new NVIDIA vGPU offers accelerated graphics to virtualized solutions.

For networking, vSphere 6 offers support for per-VM Distributed vSwitch bandwidth reservations. This allows for the enforcement of bandwidth. With a dedicated network stack, vSphere 6 simplifies IP address management with a default gateway for vMotion traffic.

vSphere 6 has many vMotion enhancements that make it ideal for customers to upgrade.  vMotion can  now perform more increased long distance, non-disruptive live migration of workloads across virtual switches and vCenter Servers over distances of up to 100ms RTT.  That allows datacenters in Boston and Dublin to migrate workloads between one another because the increase is 10 times faster.  I know Aer Lingus is fast, but this offers a whole other level of “legging Shenanagans” (translates: fast things going on). With Replication-Assisted vMotion, it allows for active-active replication between two sites performing a more efficient vMotion, resulting in an expanded time and resource savings (which can be up to 95 percent more efficient).

vSphere also has other notable enhancements such as:

  • Support for latest Windows operating systems (Windows 10)
  • Support for instant clones in Horizon/VIEW 7 environments
  • Better multi-site/multi-vCenter support via Platform Services Controller (PSC) and shared vCenter services
  • Support for latest server hardware and Intel processors
  • Optimized Single Sign-On via PSC
  • Web based management interface

Assistance in Upgrading:

With all these enhancements comes significant architectural changes which may involve updating existing designs, specifically around vCenter. There are net new components and capabilities within vSphere 6 which have major architectural considerations.

If you’re not familiar with these changes, mistakes can inadvertently be made in design or deployment which could back you into a corner making it difficult to get out of. The upgrade is not a few clicks. It’s not a simple download the code and run-setup scenario. GreenPages has already mapped out the mine field to be able to help customers with a successful upgrade to a supported version, as well as potentially greatly enhancing the current infrastructure capabilities. If you have already made the upgrade on your own, we can also run a health check to validate your environment. Don’t hesitate to reach out!


By Rob O’Shaughnessy,  Director of Software Sales & Renewals


VMware Licensing and Product Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

VMware dropped some news this week regarding their product and licensing lineup. VMware announced the End-of-Life (EOL) of some familiar friends, slight additions to other products, and increasing and decreasing pricing.  There are a lot of moving parts so sit tight and let me walk you through what’s going on.

First some VMware licensing goodbyes

Like rolling your pants and B.U.M. Equipment t-shirts, some things just go out of style, and the same holds true for vSphere Enterprise, vSphere Standard with Operations (vSOM) and vSphere Enterprise with Operations (vSOM.)  VMware will no longer offer these three products starting June 30, 2016.  So what are your options?

  1. Continue to purchase vSphere Enterprise, vSphere Standard with Operations (vSOM) and vSphere Enterprise with Operations (vSOM until June 30th. You can continue to renew your subscription and support until March 2020.
  2. Buy vSphere Enterprise Plus and vSOM Enterprise Plus instead. For existing vSphere Enterprise and vSOM Enterprise licenses, VMware is offering a 50% off upgrade promotion until June 25, 2016
  3. If you are standardized of vSOM Standard, you will now just purchase vSphere Standard and vRealize Operations Standard 25-Instance Pack

Cue the memorandum music.  It was nice knowing you.

Price Increase to note: vSphere Enterprise Plus with Operations increasing by $150 per CPU

Well hello.

vRealize Suite is introducing a new flavor; vRealize Suite Standard Edition. Like vRealize Suite Advanced and Enterprise, vRealize Standard edition will include Operations Advanced, Log Insight Analyst, and vRealize Business for Cloud. vRealize Advanced adds Automation Advanced and vRealize Enterprise adds Automation Enterprise and Apps Monitoring.

vRealize is moving from a 25-Instance model to a per CPU license and will include a Portable License Unit (PLU.)  PLU includes 15 OSI’s (Operating System Instances) to be used in the cloud (i.e vCloud Air, Amazon etc. allowing you to switch from on-prem hosts and public and non-public clouds).

vCloud Suite is releasing version 7 and the new suite will simply be two products.  The new vCloud Suite 7 will include vSphere Enterprise Plus (like it always has) and one of the corresponding vRealize Suites:

  • vCloud Suite Standard:  vSphere Enterprise Plus & vRealize Suite Standard
  • vCloud Suite Advanced:  vSphere Enterprise Plus & vRealize Suite Advanced
  • vCloud Suite Enterprise:  vSphere Enterprise Plus & vRealize Suite Enterprise

vCloud will continue to be licensed by the CPU and it will also come with 15 PLU instances.

vCloud Enterprise will no longer include Site Recovery Manager (SRM) Enterprise, as this can be purchased a la carte via a 25-VM pack.


vCenter Standard Server and Log Insight are teaming up to form one product. Moving forward, vCenter Standard Server will include 25 instances of Log Insight for vCenter Server. There are no changes to vCenter Foundation Server, however, there will be a price increase of $1K for vCenter Standard.  The new MSRP for vCenter Standard w/ Log Insight will be $5,995.  Log Insight retailed for $5K, so the addition of it is actually a cost savings. Like Cognac, Cointreau and a touch of lemon, I hope the new vCenter Server leaves a good taste in your month.

Run Down on Price Changes

All price changes effective March 1st.

  • vCenter Standard will be $5,995 up $1000 (however it includes Log Insight which was a $5K value)
  • vSOM Enterprise Plus increasing +$150
  • vRealize Advanced down -$500
  • vRealize Enterprise down -$2,200
  • vCloud Suite STD increasing +$500
  • vCloud Suite ADV increasing +$500
  • vCloud Suite ENT down -$2,000


Try a free vSphere Optimization Assessment 

If you have any questions or are looking for more details, please reach out.


By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Director of Software Sales and Renewals


Photo Credit:

Want Your Team in the Super Bowl? Download a Virtualization Optimization Assessment (VOA)

We’re coming to the end of the NFL Playoffs. When I wrote the first draft of this post, there were four teams remaining with a chance to make the Super Bowl in Santa Clara, CA. After yesterday’s action, it’s down to two (being a huge Patriots fan this is difficult to swallow).  There is a very good reason why the Patriots, Broncos, Cardinals and Panthers were still remaining heading into yesterday’s conference finals games.  They built teams with solid defenses and offenses, created the perfect schemes to run, pass, and defend, and drafted or brought in the perfect player to fulfill their schemes. These winners did their research. They diagnosed and found out what their needs were and rectified, fixed and solved the issues that may have prevented them from being successful. Teams like the Browns, 49ers, or Chargers did not. Sorry if you’re a fan of one of those teams, but, the reality is, based on their records, these teams likely didn’t make the correct investments to ensure long term success and obtain a return on their investments. They didn’t implement a system to help them understand where their shortfalls were, allowing them to correct them. They made investments on the wrong players (hello Johnny Manziel) and now they are stuck with an underachieving asset.

Does this remind you of your virtualization infrastructure at all? Do you have the tools to find out how your investments are running? If not, it would be a great idea to run a free VMware vSphere Optimization Assessment (VOA) to get a better understanding.

VMware vSphere Optimization Assessment (VOA)

VMware vSphere Optimization Assessment (VOA) is a tool that can be downloaded that essentially allows you to install vRealize Operations to monitor your vSphere Hosts. It runs on your environment for a month or so and is different from a trial because it documents how your virtualized environment is running. It will let you know if you’re over-provisioned and provide capacity planning. It’s proactive in identifying issues and will even help fix them. At the end of the assessment, it will provide a detailed report of your environment and help you identify any potential weaknesses in your infrastructure. If you download the tool from GreenPages we will review the report with you and if additional software and licenses are required, we will work with you on the logistics.  Yeah, ok there’s the rub, we’d like you to purchase more licenses, if necessary; however we’d also inform you if you’re oversaturated with licenses and prevent you from over purchasing licenses you don’t require.

It’s always a good idea to step back and assess where you’re at when you’ve invested a lot of money and resources over the years in an area of your IT environment. When reviewing monitoring and management toolsets with a broad stroke, it’s easy to say they’re nice to have but not absolutely necessary. Yet if you dive deeper, there are many features and functions that make the investment worthwhile in the long-term growth and planning of your virtualization environment.

What the VOA can help identify

vRealize Operations enables IT to not just see immediate issues but also potential future problems which can have a dramatic impact on reducing unplanned outages. With Predictive Analytics and Smart Alerts, it proactively identifies and remedies system issues, while dynamic thresholds automatically adapt to environments to provide fewer and more specific alerts resulting in a 30% decrease in time to diagnose and resolve performance issues. That’s three hours of your day you get back allowing you to work on improving and emerging your environment rather than troubleshooting constant alert noises and notifications.

The old saying, it’s better to be safe than sorry, speaks volumes in a virtual environment and especially in over-provisioning.  Research has shown that 9 out of 10 virtual machines are over-provisioned. While this may not seem like a bad thing on the surface, it leads to diminishing efficiency and optimization within the virtual infrastructure and, more importantly, increased infrastructure costs. Having the ability to manage your VMs more closely and effectively with vRealize Operations (vCOPS), allows you to be able to finely tune each VM, allocating the resources that are really necessary and as a result save in potential hardware costs. This solution provides a holistic overview of your virtualized environment and provides deep insight into the health of your infrastructure which would otherwise be invisible.

Capacity planning is another key feature of the vRealize Operations toolset allowing you to model future resource needs and alert on constraints before those constraints result in unexpected system downtime.

As I said, I wrote the first draft of this post before yesterday’s games. The example I had in here originally involved the Patriot’s Malcom Butler. Well guess what? I’m keeping it in. Malcom Butler was an unknown defensive back out of University of West Alabama.  He was an undrafted free agent that the Patriots signed in 2014. Butler went on to make the game saving interception against the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX allowing the Patriots to win their fourth Super Bowl title.  It wasn’t sheer luck that the Patriots signed Malcom Butler. A lot of scouting helped identify key traits that he had that perhaps other teams missed. Once on the team, solid coaching and hard work allowed Butler to exceed. Due to this, the Patriots had the utmost confidence to put him in during the most crucial defensive play of the season. The Patriots could have easily drafted a much more touted defensive back from a larger school, but they didn’t want to assume a more recognized player would do the job. They made an investment and didn’t assume the easier model of managing their draft was a better model. They implemented a system to strategically provide them a better resolution and a stronger outcome and the reward for that was a Super Bowl.

The VOA is no cost tool and a no-brainer investment. The long term results of implementing such a tool could be very rewarding for your environment.


Click to start your free assessment


By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Director of Software Sales & Renewals


Painful Breakups: The Beatles, Ben & Jen, Now Symantec & Veritas

You probably saw the rumors come across Twitter, Facebook or on the newsstands in a checkout aisle. Perhaps, like me, you never thought it would actually happen, but the day is coming. Grab a tissue, Symantec and Veritas are breaking up.

Years ago, Symantec, an anti-virus company, merged with Veritas, a backup company known for such products as Backup and Netbackup forming a super power of sorts. This, however, is changing. Although Symantec and Veritas have been a staple in our lives for many years, starting next month they will be separated.

veritasWe’ve seen some tough breakups in the past. The Beatles, Ben and Jen, Britney and Justin, Ross and Rachel, Belichick and Revis, Peaches & Herb, (but I think they reunited), yet this Symantec and Veritas drama really stings. Like all good relationships, this one is coming to an end.

What’s the Deal?

Starting Friday October 2nd all backup related products like Backup Exec and Netbackup will change. This will be the last day to order these products under the current Symantec pricing and part number model.

On Monday October 5th any existing, open quotes for Backup Exec and Netbackup will need to be re-quoted using Veritas’s part numbers and pricing. The new Veritas SKUs won’t be visible until October 5th so, unless that changes, the new Veritas quotes can’t be created until October 5th. Since there is so much change taking place, there is a good possibility that pricing, at least on certain products, could change and increase.

Renewals: Big Change here. With Veritas, there will no longer be a 30 day grace period to get your renewals orders in. So, any Backup Exec and Netbackup renewals will have to be placed prior to its expiration date, otherwise Veritas will apply reinstatement fees. This will be strictly enforced.

There are no changes to Symantec i.e. AV products.

Dates to know:

Friday October 2nd – Last day to use Symantec related quotes for Backup Exec and Netbackup. This includes new and renewal quotes.

Monday October 5th – The new Vertias SKU’s will become available. Any open quotes will need to change over to the new part numbers. Pricing will likely change as well.

What Next?

If you’re working with GreenPages we will provide you a new Veritas quote, however, because we don’t currently know if there will be a price increase, we’d recommend placing your order prior to Friday October 2nd. Also, GreenPages has fantastic backup and retention solution architects and engineers. If you have any questions on Veritas or any other venders you could potentially switch over to, please let us know.


By Rob O’Shaugnessy, Director of Software Sales & Renewals

Migrate-Gate: What to do with Windows 2003 End-of-Life

windows 2003Deflate-Gate was the topic of conversation the past few weeks. Now that the Patriots are Super Bowl champs we can put this made-up, fake controversy to bed. What isn’t fake, however, is Windows 2003 support ending. What to do with End of Life approaching is a big topic of conversation now. It’s Migrate-Gate!

Tick…Tick…Tick. Does this sound familiar? Tick…Tick…Tick…Windows 2003 Servers support is ending. Tick…Tick…Tick 6-months to go and now it’s time to tick…tick…talk about what you need to do.

Assuming that you haven’t gotten sucked into Cats on Glass photos, many of you are probably aware that support for Windows 2003 Server ends on July 14th 2015. That’s this year…that’s this July! Oh wow, it’s coming faster than another Expendables movie!

Windows 2003 is so old, it knew Burger King while it was still a prince, yet many are still using it. It’s been a reliable and pretty stable product that may give you fits from time to time, but at the end of the day gets you where you need to go. Another way to look at it is that it’s a 1989 Honda Accord (both took CDs). Now, your mechanic is telling you that you’ve dumped too much time, money and energy into your car, except in this case it’s Microsoft telling (eh…forcing) you to upgrade your server.


Why Upgrade?


The big thing starting on July 14th is that there will be no more updates or patches from Microsoft, which can result in a less secure and less stable infrastructure for your business. So what does it really mean?

• Goodbye Updates – Say adios, au revoir, sayonara and beannacht (Gaelic) to updates for fix bugs, performance issues and security vulnerabilities. 2013 saw the release of 37 critical updates for Windows Server 2003/R2. Past the end of life date, these critical issues will remain unfixed, leaving you open to cybersecurity dangers such as malicious attacks or electronic data loss.

• Maintenance Costs – Running legacy servers is not cheap. Intrusion detection systems and advanced firewalls are required to protect a now vulnerable Windows Server 2003 platform. Also, think about all the increasing cost for maintaining aging hardware.

• No Compliance – So once support ends, you’ll still need to meet industry wide compliance standards. Regulations such as HIPAA and PCI require regulated industries to run on supported platforms. Those rules are tougher than the NFL’s PSI policy.

• Software and Hardware Compatibility Issues – New software and hardware devices are no longer being built to integrate with Windows Server 2003. By staying with Windows 2003, you could run into compatibility issues and may not be able to run new instances of software or communicate with the latest devices.

{Whitepaper: Windows Server 2003 End-of-Life Action Plan}

Before July you’ll have three options:

  1. Do nothing
  2. Move to an on-prem Windows 2012 environment
  3. Move your workloads into Azure. Sounds easy, right? Before you do anything here are some tips to consider

Three things to consider:

Analyze your environment: Understand the interaction of the servers in the data center environment. Moving one thing can impact another. Map out what is interacting with what and which users are interacting with which applications. Many reasons why Windows 2003 is being used is because of application dependency due to niche and custom applications.

Migration Licensing:  Review short-term and long-term costs of licensing. If you are considering an on-prem solution, understand what your licensing options are. Depending on quantity, customer type and physical vs. virtual there are several licensing programs to consider. Also, with licensing, Microsoft provides backwards compatibility, so Windows 2012 doesn’t necessarily have to be installed. If your application is compatible with an older edition like Windows 2008/R2, volume licensing allows you to run older platforms, so it’s important to work with your application provider to see how these applications can be transitioned to another server operating system. If you are looking to move into the cloud, it’s important to know what your workloads look like to size your Azure service appropriately. Lastly, you need to compare on-prem vs. Azure costs.  Do you want to purchase and own the SW with volume licensing or do you want to subscribe to using it in the cloud?

Consider professional services:  Who tries to make a soufflé without following a recipe? This is a big deal, so why do it alone? There are many pre and post migrations issues to consider so it would be beneficial to speak with experts who know what they are doing. i.e. GreenPages.  (Come on it’s our blog so we can include a plug!)

I would highly recommend registering for our upcoming webinar, “How to Approach a Windows Server 2003 Migration: Key Steps for a Better Transition” for more information. The webinar is being hosted by our Practice Manager of Microsoft Technologies, David Barter on February 19th.

If you haven’t had a discussion about Windows 2003, don’t wait until the last minute as 6 months will come faster than you think.

photo credit:

By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Director of Software Sales & Renewals

25% vSOM Discount Ends December 31st!

25% vSOM DiscountDid you know VMware’s offering a 25% vSOM discount? That’s right, VMware has been providing a 25% discount to upgrade to vSOM from naked vSphere since Labor Day weekend. The standard upgrade price is $825 MSRP, but the promo price drops it down to $620 MSRP. That’s over a $200 savings per CPU. There are some serious savings to be had here so I wanted to quickly bring you up to speed so you could assess the solution and see if it makes sense for your organization.

25% vSOM discount ENDS ON DECEMBER 31!


So what is vSOM? It’s a bundle of vSphere and vRealize Operations (formally known as vCOPS). When reviewing monitoring and management toolsets with a broad stroke, it’s easy to say they’re nice to have but not absolutely necessary. Yet if you dive deeper, there are many features and functions that make the investment worthwhile in the long-term growth and planning of your virtualization environment.

vRealize Operations enables IT to not just see immediate issues, but also potential future problems which can have a dramatic impact on reducing unplanned outages.  With Predictive Analytics and Smart Alerts, it proactively identifies and remedies system issues, while dynamic thresholds automatically adapt to environments to provide fewer and more specific alerts resulting in a 30 percent DECREASE in time to diagnose and resolve performance issues. That’s three hours of your day you get back allowing you to work on improving and emerging your environment rather than troubleshooting constant alert noises and notifications.

The old saying, it’s better to be safe than sorry, speaks volumes in a virtual environment and especially in over-provisioning. Research has shown that 9 out of 10 virtual machines are over-provisioned. While this may not seem like a bad thing on the surface, it leads to diminishing efficiency and optimization within the virtual infrastructure and, more importantly, increased infrastructure costs. Having the ability to manage your VMs more closely and effectively with vRealize Operations (vCOPS), you can finely tune each VM, allocating the resources that are really necessary and as a result save up to 30% in potential hardware costs. This solution provides a holistic overview of your virtualized environment and provides deep insight into the health of your infrastructure which would otherwise be invisible. Capacity planning is another key feature of the vRealize Operations toolset allowing you to model future resource needs and alert on constraints before those constraints result in unexpected system downtime.

Years ago many wondered what the ROI was for ESX?  It was nice to be able to put several VMs on one server, but was it needed?  When we moved from physical to virtual it was a big step, an unknown “pie in the sky” concept that made sense on paper, but would it work and would it be a worthy investment?  Well now we know that moving to a VM environment made sense, and for some it was easy to manage. However, this inevitably led to the issue of resource and VM sprawl and a lack of visibility to overall infrastructure health. vRealize Operations is a comprehensive tool which can provide predictive analytics, capacity planning, and performance and health management.  Hence, it is very much a “have to have” vs. a “nice to have.”

If you’re looking for more information on vRealize, I would suggest downloading this whitepaper.

Now is the time to take advantage of a good deal on a great product! As always, GreenPages can help. If you would like to learn more, get a demo or make the purchase, fill out this form and we’ll be in touch!


By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Director of Software Sales & Renewals

Have You Seen this Email? Microsoft Software Asset Management Review

By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Software Licensing Specialist, Pre-Sales Technical Support


I’ve been working in the GreenPages licensing department for over 14 years and many readers are probably asking the question, “why?”  Do you honestly like torturing yourself, Rob?  No, not really. I did have a full head of hair when I first started here and with each license change it recedes, so at least I’m saving on shampoo costs. Let’s face it, there are so many rules and regulations with licensing that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with.  Just when you think you understand, it changes.


We’ve been seeing an increase with our customers getting emails with the subject line: Microsoft Software Asset Management Review. Have you received this email? If you haven’t yet, there’s a good chance you may see one float in your inbox. This is Microsoft’s asset management team.  Their goal is to help you understand the licensing you currently own and match it up with what you’re running on your network.  Basically, this is an audit.  

Microsoft’s SAM doesn’t discriminate—everyone is a target. You’ll eventually have to deal with them so my recommendation is to not ignore the email. Now, just because you receive an email doesn’t necessarily mean you’re not compliant. Even if you’re 100% sure you’re compliant, it’s still best to work with them.  I can tell you that if their findings suggest that you’re short on licenses, the only real penalty is that you have to buy the licenses.  There are no fines, you’re not going to jail…this isn’t the Orange is the New Black. 

I suggest that if you do receive this email that you reach out to us here at GreenPages.  Like I said, I’ve been doing this a long time and there are some particulars of licensing that IMO the SAM team doesn’t know, especially when it comes to virtualization. Just a quick example: you may have 20 Windows Standard 2008 R2 VMs but only own five licenses.  Are you in compliance? Yes.  If you own Windows Enterprise 2008 R2 it allowed you to run up to 4 VMs with each license.  In this example the SAM team didn’t know the old rule when Windows 2008 R2 was around.   I mean, let’s face it, Microsoft licensing is confusing and the SAM team is human, so it’s always good to get a second set of eyes on it. 

This post’s goal is not to scare you and indict you of any wrong doing.  It’s to inform you.  If you do see this email I wouldn’t ignore it as much as you may be tempted to.  Hopefully it’s a quick and painless process for you, but regardless please let us know how we can assist.  If you already have worked with the SAM team, we’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences! 


Here are some FAQs I get from our customers:

Do I need a Windows Cal and RDS Cal?  Yes, Microsoft requires you to stack the CALs.  Same is true if you’re running Exchange, SharePoint, Lync etc.  Both the Windows and the specific application Cal is required.

What’s up with SQL Core licensing?  SQL moved from a per processor licensing model (when you got unlimited Cals) to per Core model when SQL 2012 was released.  So, the deal is, if SQL is running on a physical sever, you have to tally up all the cores on that box.  If SQL is running virtually you have to license all the cores allocated to the VM.  A minimum of four cores are required for each scenario.  This means that in a physical environment, even if the processor only has 2-cores, you’re still required to license four.  Same in the virtual world.  If you plan on only allocating 2 cores to the VM, Microsoft requires that you pay for 4-cores worth.  The reason is the price of the former per processor license is the same as the price of 4 cores today.  Licenses are sold in two-core packs. SQL Enterprise is now only licensed by the core.

What is multiplexing?  This mainly pertains to SQL, but it basically means that if users are hitting an application directly or indirectly a CAL is still required.  For example, your users are hitting a web server that has a back end SQL server.  The users are not touching the SQL app directly, but they are accessing information from it.  You need a CAL.

How do I reimage and downgrade my OEM Windows 8 Pro with a Windows 7 Pro MAK that I don’t have?  First off, yes you can legally downgrade and reimage an OEM copy of Windows.  The problem is getting the key to do it.   If you purchase a PC that has Windows 8 Pro, but you need to load Windows 7 Pro without a key, what you can do is purchase a single volume license of Windows Professional.  The cheapest way to do it is by purchasing an SA Only sku of Windows Pro.  You have 90 days to purchase this license after your PC purchase.  This will give you the ability to log onto the Volume Licensing Services Center (VLSC) site and obtain a MAK Windows 7 and download.  You only need to purchase one license as it will give you multiple activations.  If you need more you can call Microsoft Clearing House to obtain more.

The Outlook that’s included in Office Standard doesn’t allow Personal Archiving or Retention Polices when using the Exchange Enterprise Cal, but standalone Outlook and the Outlook included in Office Pro Plus does?  Isn’t it the same Outlook?   Yes, if you purchase the Exchange Cal you’re likely doing so to use the Personal Archiving or Retention Polices that are included with it. However, for it to work properly, you need to either own standalone Outlook (basically you can purchase Outlook a la carte) or Office Professional Plus.  For whatever reason the Outlook that comes with Office Standard doesn’t work.  Microsoft doesn’t have an answer for this.



March Madness Final Four: NCAA Basketball & Microsoft Ending Extended Support

By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Software Licensing Specialist, Pre-Sales Technical Support

It’s the Final Four for the NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament, and if you’re like me and your bracket is busted the only thing to root for is a potential happy hour deal at your local watering hole. By midnight on Tuesday morning a victor will be crowed, and there will be fans celebrating their teams win on the court (and winning bets) and fans mourning their loss both on the court and perhaps in their wallet.

On April 8th the season will be over and a new beginning of sorts will occur as teams prepare for the loss of their star players to the draft and or graduation. Some of these players have been loyal to the school and had productive years as players and students. They’ve given it their best to succeed and they should be commended for their efforts, but, as reality sets in, one must understand that it’s time for them to go. Newer, fresher players will replace them because the talent will continue to get better. It’s just the nature of the beast…

Ironically we’re in the Final Four days until Microsoft stops supporting iconic products of Exchange and Office 2003, Windows 2003 Server and Window XP Professional. On April 8th Microsoft will graduate these products and focus their attention on their more current offerings. There are still a lot of customers running these products, and why not, they’ve worked great, but the reality is they are over 10 years old and in four days will no longer be supported. If you’re someone using these products and are looking to make an upgrade, what can you do?

Microsoft has offered, and continues to offer, its products to be purchased through its various license programs. Microsoft technology can still be purchased as a perpetual license and be hosted on premise. In addition, Microsoft also offers some of their products through Office 365, which is their cloud technology sold via a subscription model versus owning a perpetual license. With regards to on-prem/perpetual license vs. cloud/subscription: each customer will have their own preference to choose which licensing model makes sense, but I can tell you this, Microsoft’s investment is in the cloud and they are making Office 365 a very attractive option. Don’t believe me? Let’s look at the numbers.

One of Microsoft’s more popular products is Office Professional Plus. To license Office Pro Plus with 3 years of Software Assurance (SA) in the Open Value program it would retail for $954 a device. After the 3 year SA period is up the renewal price for 3 more years of SA is $444 MSRP. Over a 6 year span the price to license a single desktop of Office Professional Plus is $1,398. By getting Software Assurance you’ll be receiving the latest editions that come out as well as Home Use Rights, which allows employees to purchase Office Professional Plus for personal use at a very cheap price.

Now the very same Office Professional Plus through Office 365 retails for $12 per User per Month, which is $144 a year. Over a 6 year period the price of Office Professional Plus through Office 365 would be $864, which is a $534 savings compared to purchasing through the aforementioned volume license option. Office Professional Plus through Office 365 is licensed per user and each user can run it on up to 5 business devices. So an employee can run a copy on their work computer, their Mac, home PC etc. Now, let’s say you don’t want Software Assurance and wanted to look at just the license cost of Office Professional Plus. Well, that would run you $508 per device. To compare, one could purchase Office 365 for 3 years for roughly the same amount, get the latest technology on 5 devices and true-up or true-down the user count depending on how many users need to run Office.

To take it a step further, Microsoft also offers different Office 365 bundles and one of their more popular bundles is the E3 Plan which includes Office Professional Plus, Exchange, SharePoint and Lync Online Plan-2. This is also licensed per user and runs for $20 per User per Month or $240 a year. When you look at the technology baked into that bundle it’s hard not to see the attractiveness. Plus, since you’re not loading the SW on your own infrastructure, money can be saved on hardware costs.

Lastly if you’re an SMB customer, Microsoft is running a promotion called the SMB Advantage where you can receive subsidy dollars on purchases of Office 365. From now until the end of May, Microsoft will cut a check for 15% on MSRP for Office 365 orders in April and 10% for orders is May. In addition, if the E3 or E4 Plan is purchased, Microsoft will kick in another 10%, so it would be 25% subsidy for April and a 20% for May. To put it in perspective a 100 user purchase of the E3 Plan in April would be a $6,000 subsidy check. This can be used for services, more software or even hardware. Please reach out to your GreenPages Account Executive for more details and to see if you’re eligible.

So as you can see, Microsoft is very cloud centric, and it’s not too late to upgrade that older technology via avenues in place to help you do that. Please reach out (you can fill out this form or send us an email at ) if you would like more details and to see if you’re eligible. GreenPages can also assist you with any migrations needs and questions you may have.

Come Monday night, when Jim Nance is handing over the NCAA trophy and “One Shining Moment” is playing in the background, rest assure that Microsoft won’t be picking up your call to assist with your XP and 2003 support issues. Those products are done, they’ve graduated, but there are some better ones out there…it’s time to move on. It’s just the nature of the beast.


Editor’s Note: Rob picked Syracuse to win the tournament (terrible pick). Luckily he knows a lot more about Microsoft licensing than he does about college hoops.




Time is Running Out: Important Price Changes of Windows 2012 R2

By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Director of Software Licensing


There’s some good news, and there’s some bad news.  The good news is Windows 2012 R2 is being released…the bad news you have to pay for it.

Microsoft recently announced the release of Windows 2012 R2 which will be offering some new functionality described here Windows Server 2012 R2. However, along with the new release is some new pricing that will make you…well…read on.

Microsoft is releasing Windows 2012 R2 on November 1st and will be increasing the price of Windows Datacenter by 28%.  This is not a typo.  I’ll spell it out for you: Twenty-Eight Percent.  For you Twitter people that’s #twentyeightpercentholycow.

Now, only Datacenter is going up in price.  Windows Standard Server and Windows Cals will remain the same price.  Also, Windows 2012 Cals will be compliant with Windows 2012 R2 so if you own Windows 2012 User or Device Cals you don’t need to purchase new Cals.  So it’s just Datacenter right?  Yes…well almost.

Also going up in price is Windows Remote Desktop Services Cals (RDS) which will be increasing by 20% on November 1st.   Same deal here – if you own 2012 RDS Cals they will also be compliant with Windows 2012 R2. This means new Cals are NOT required for Windows 2012 R2 if you own Windows 2012 RDS Cals.


Q: Why is Microsoft doing this?

A: Because, they can.

OK, so here’s what you have to think about:

  • If you want to have access to Windows 2012 R2 and typically purchase it with SA, be sure to purchase the license before November 1st to avoid the price hike.
  • If you are looking at getting Windows 2012 and are not in position to purchase or don’t need SA, you can purchase the license before November 1st to avoid the price increase but you won’t have access to R2.
  • If you want R2 and don’t need to purchase SA, be sure to wait until November 1st to purchase it. Otherwise, if you purchase the license without SA prior to November 1st, you will not have access to R2.
  • Lastly if you need RDS Cals purchase them before November 1st

It’s coming up fast as the last day to purchase Windows 2012 Datacenter and RDS is Halloween night…scary huh?

These are important decisions for your company to make, so if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly




Adobe’s Out of Box Thinking and Into the Cloud

By Rob O’Shaughnessy, Software Licensing Specialist


I attended Adobe’s MAX conference in rainy, LA, California last week and I felt bad, as a local, that a lot of travelers had to witness our once a quarter rainfall, however with all the forest fires ranging around SoCal it was an unexpected relief.  Adobe put some fires out on their own by providing some great insight as to what they are doing to the software community.

It was the first time that partners and Adobe sales team members were invited to this mostly technical event.   The room was divided between the cool hipster “Creatives” and the button-up suit with no tie looking sales people.  It was a 7th grade dance before the first slow song was played, but we were all there for the same purpose; to find out what’s going on with Creative Cloud.

So let’s backup if you haven’t heard of Creative Cloud.  Several months ago Adobe began offering a subscription-based licensing model for their creative products.  The Creative Cloud is essentially everything that’s included in the Creative Suite Master Collection.    It’s a subscription-based licensing model which gives you all the Adobe creative products for a monthly fee.  Like Creative Suite, it’s also an on-premise product so ultimately the big difference between the two boils down to how you want to purchase it – to subscribe to it or own it.

The biggest announcement at MAX was that moving forward Adobe will no longer provide future releases of Creative Suite or other CS products.  Like Rocky, Creative Suite has ended at version 6, so moving forward if you wanted to obtain the latest and greatest technology and features you will need to move to the Creative Cloud.  Also if you like box product, Adobe will no longer be offering shrink-wrap as well.  Customer will now need to purchase a volume license or jump into the Cloud.

In my opinion this is a good thing, because as a Creative it’s important to be up to date with all the latest enhancements that Adobe provides as it will allow access to all the cutting edge technology instantly as it comes out, instead of waiting every 18 months for Adobe to compile a list of enhancements and release an upgrade.  Plus the promo price till August 31st ($39.99 per month) is less than what I spend at the local pub, err I mean coffee shop.


If you’re interested in Creative Cloud and want to learn more about subscribing new users and co-terming future users, please fill out this form.