PowerBI Premium:

The PowerBI Premium offering was one you procured per node, as a capacity model. Microsoft has now announced a Premium offering per user. Microsoft states:

"Premium Per User is an exciting way to take advantage of advanced analytics and enterprise business intelligence (BI) capabilities to make better decisions. It offers a new way to drive a data culture in organizations at a competitive price and with flexible deployment."

This will be in public preview in November, and I am very curious about the price point of this offering for EA customers. Currently you always need to calculate a break even point between procuring Power BI Professional licenses before moving to the expensive Premium offering, so I hope this will help in limiting costs to companies generating large dashboards with small amounts of people, but being viewed by many. Especially the smaller enterprises are often faced with high cost on PowerBI.

Microsoft Threat Protection / Defender:

From the security teams, a big announcement was the rebranding of the Microsoft Threat Protection portfolio to Microsoft 365 Defender. This means, that while you were just getting used to all the Threat Protection offers from Microsoft, they are rebranding (again?). This is done for simplicity, and understandability of the full stack. The changes:

  • Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection is now Microsoft Defender for Endpoint
  • Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is now Microsoft Defender for Office 365
  • Azure Advanced Threat Protection is now Microsoft Defender for Identity
  • Azure Security Center's cloud workload protection is now Azure Defender

(by the way, Microsoft Defender now integrates with cloud native SIEM solution Azure Sentinel)

So why is this important? Well, for one, it does feel easier to understand what the stack does across the Microsoft portfolio. Secondly, this feels like a sign that Microsoft will try to bundle their licensing further. I suspect that new licensing suites and models will become apparent soon. Keep an eye out for this.

The next version of Application Servers (and some other things):

Microsoft has announced their further move to subscription based licensing, with the next version of Exchange, Sharepoint, Skype for Business and Project Server. Coming the second half of 2021, the new versions of these on premises application servers are only available as subscription licenses. Subscription entitles access to support, product updates, security and time zone patches.

This fits the Microsoft strategy, where you see them moving towards subscription based licensing more and more. This in part is being done because of the whole second hand licensing market, but additionally, it fits well in their contracting strategy, with the uptake of the Microsoft Customer Agreement as a one stop shop for organizations to procure their Microsoft software and services. Not a lot of details are known yet, but I suspect that they would need to differentiate for customers who currently own licenses versus customers that have typically rented licenses, or have not bought perpetual licenses with Software Assurance.

Additionally, Microsoft Office will see a new release for both Windows and Mac! This will also become available in the second half of 2021. No mention is done here on this being subscriptions, or this being a license that you procure.

Finally, speaking of Exchange, a little pet peeve of mine seems to get fixed: a Public Preview of Cross-tenant Mailbox Migration service was demoed. It seems this will let you easily move mailboxes from one tenant to another tenant, without the need to offboard the mailbox in the source and onboard it to the destination tenant. Customers of mine have been struggling with this during mergers, acquisitions, etc., but it seems an easier way has arrived!

Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare:

Not a licensing topic per se, but one that I found quite interesting none the less. On October 30th, Microsoft will have their Cloud for Healthcare Generally Available. The statement from Microsoft is that this is an integrated solution and will help healthcare organizations to access a portfolio of released (and/or new) healthcare capabilities in the cloud, while being mindful of the strict regulations in the Healthcare sector. Microsoft states:

"It unlocks the power of Microsoft Azure, Microsoft 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Power Platform, and our ecosystem of partner healthcare solutions to create trusted end-to-end cloud-based solutions. Healthcare organizations can engage in more proactive ways with patients and give caregivers tools to improve data interoperability, workflow efficiency, and streamline interactions."

What I will find interesting to see, is how they are going to market this. As a consultant who is also active in the Healthcare segment, this can provide huge benefits to hospitals, as the premise is that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and can cater from already created solutions that might fit your organization. Little known yet about how this is going to be marketed, but an interesting read none the less! Click here for more details.