Automating Microsoft SPLA Reporting With SPL Tracker – Part 1

Automate SPLA ReportingSPLA reporting is an expanding and increasingly complicated need as cloud and subscription-based solutions become more prevalent in Microsoft Windows environments.

And Really, It Isn’t Just About SPLA Reporting

In addition to Microsoft’s Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA), there is the Citrix Service Provider licensing program as well. Those aren’t the only two examples where subscription-based license reporting is necessary – more and more software vendors that cater to the Managed Service Provider (MSP) community are also offering this form of licensing.

As a result, one of the monthly chores that can considerably complicate the life of an MSP is recurring, subscription-based license reporting.

While monthly subcription based licensing greatly reduces startup costs and large, capitalized expenses, the reporting requirements can be challenging. Every month, the MSP must provide a report to various licensing authorities based on the number of users who used, or more frequently, had the ability to use specific classes of software.

This gets very tedious and labor intensive for MSPs. Some will attempt to script a solution, others will do simple counts based on AD membership or equivalent. However, both of these approaches are problematic, and they do not reflect total costs or utilization rates over time.

SPL Tracker for SPLA Reporting and More . . .

Our new Service Provider Licensing Tracker (SPL Tracker) is a powerful and cost-saving solution for this specific challenge. Leveraging the software usage history and RDS/ICA usage history collected by our Remote Desktop Reporter tool, the SPL Tracker can analyze the difference between actual usage and ability to use certain classes of licenses.

Best of all, it only takes a few steps to configure, and once configured, can completely automate your SPLA reporting and similar MSP license reporting requirements.

 

Two classes of license types are shown in this screenshot from SPL Tracker, an SPLA reporting software.
SPL Tracker targets the increasing need for SPLA reporting. Above, two classes of license types are shown – Microsoft Office Users and Remote Desktop Users.

Step 1: Defining License Types

By default, two of the most common license classes are defined for you automatically in the software – Microsoft Office Users, and Remote Desktop Users.

Microsoft Office Users

This class represents all users who have accessed Office components (e.g. Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, etc) in your shared computing environment, based on Remote Desktop Reporter’s usage history.

Remote Desktop Users

Similarly, the Remote Desktop Users class represents all users who established an RDS or Citrix XenApp session in a given time period.

Additional Definitions / Classes

You can create additional definitions to track the usage of other applications – those that access SQL Server, for example. Simply create a new license type definition, select the processes that reflect the usage, and save it for later use.

Keep in mind that you can automatically omit disabled user accounts from reports. And, you can also prevent the SPL Tracker from marking newly on-boarded user accounts in a client’s Active Directory as inactive.

Upcoming Insights on SPLA Reporting and More . . .

In Part 2 of our Service Provider Licensing Tracker series, we will demonstrate how to correlate historical license usage with the Active Directory groups that control access to those license types.

Do you have questions about what you’ve read here? Respond below!

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