Microsoft Volume Licensing Demystified: A Comprehensive Simplified Glossary


Understanding Microsoft Volume Licensing can be a complex task for businesses, with numerous terms and concepts to navigate. However, making informed decisions about licensing options can significantly improve cost management and compliance. By providing a simplified glossary of the essential terms and concepts related to Microsoft Volume Licensing offered by, this article can serve as your go-to resource for getting acquainted with and making the most of the available licensing options.

In this comprehensive glossary, we’ll clarify the difference between the key types of licensing agreements, including Open License, Open Value, and Enterprise Agreement. We’ll also delve into important concepts like Software Assurance, CALs (Client Access Licenses), and Downgrade Rights. Additionally, we’ll explore the significance of product use rights and offer insights into volume licensing benefits for small and medium-sized businesses.

Armed with this knowledge, you can make well-informed decisions about the licensing options that best suit your organization’s needs, enabling you to effectively manage costs, ensure compliance, and leverage the power of Microsoft products to their full potential. Whether you are a seasoned IT professional or a business owner seeking to understand better or explain Microsoft Volume Licensing, our simplified glossary will provide you with a solid foundation for maximizing the benefits of’s Volume Licensing offerings.

Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreements

Open License

The Microsoft Open License is a non-expiring volume licensing agreement for small and midsize businesses. It has a minimum purchase requirement of five licenses and offers a simple, cost-effective way to acquire the latest Microsoft technologies. With an Open License, organizations can purchase as many licenses as needed while taking advantage of volume pricing. The program also provides flexible payment options, enabling businesses to quickly install Microsoft software, manage licenses, and enjoy the benefits of Software Assurance for their IT investments.

Open Value

Microsoft Open Value agreement is tailored for small and midsize organizations seeking simplified license management, better control over software and services costs, and effective deployment planning. It allows businesses to make a one-time payment or spread payments annually over three years, reducing the cost burden. Open Value also offers Software Assurance benefits like access to new software versions, deployment planning services, and training.

Enterprise Agreement

The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is designed for midsize to large organizations with more than 500 devices or users. It provides significant cost savings and flexible licensing options, accommodating changes in software and service needs as the organization grows. The Enterprise Agreement includes Software Assurance benefits, offering additional support, training, and Software as a Service (SaaS) cloud services to help businesses optimize their IT investments.

Essential Volume Licensing Concepts

Software Assurance

Software Assurance is a critical component of Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements, providing businesses with access to new software versions, deployment planning services, training, and support. Through Software Assurance, organizations can continually stay up-to-date with the latest Microsoft software innovations and enhancements, minimize costs, and improve the return on investment for their Microsoft purchases.

Client Access Licenses (CALs)

Client Access Licenses (CALs) are required for Microsoft server products, serving as a bridge between the server software and end users or devices. CALs are used to grant permission for users or devices to access specific server resources and functionalities. CALs come in two types: User CALs, which allow a specific user to access the server from multiple devices, and Device CALs, which allow a designated device to access the server, regardless of the user. The choice between User and Device CALs depends on the organization’s specific needs and usage patterns.

Downgrade Rights

Downgrade Rights are an important benefit associated with Microsoft Volume Licensing, allowing customers to use an earlier version of a Microsoft product in place of the latest version acquired through their agreement. This flexibility enables businesses to continue using the version they are comfortable with while still taking advantage of volume licensing benefits and staying compliant with licensing requirements.

Understanding Product Use Rights

License Terms

The Microsoft Product Terms is a document outlining the usage rights and restrictions for software products and services acquired through Volume Licensing agreements. It provides information regarding license types, CAL requirements, downgrade rights, and other essential licensing details. Understanding the Product Terms can help businesses ensure compliance with Microsoft licensing rules and avoid potential legal and financial risks.

License Mobility

License Mobility is a Software Assurance benefit that enables organizations to move certain server licenses, like SharePoint, Exchange, and SQL Server, among different on-premises servers and authorized cloud environments like Microsoft Azure. This flexibility allows businesses to optimize their software resources, reduce costs, and improve the efficiency of their IT infrastructure when migrating workloads to the cloud.

Volume Licensing Benefits for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses

Cost Savings

One of the most significant advantages of Microsoft Volume Licensing for small and medium-sized businesses is the cost savings gained through volume discounts. By purchasing multiple licenses at once, businesses can enjoy lower per-license costs compared to purchasing individual retail licenses. Additionally, optional annual payments through Open Value agreements help spread costs and reduce the initial financial burden.

Simplified License Management

Microsoft Volume Licensing simplifies license management by consolidating all software licenses under a single agreement. This enables businesses to easily track and manage their software assets, ensuring compliance with licensing terms and reducing the risk of non-compliance penalties.

Software Assurance

As outlined earlier, Software Assurance provides businesses with access to new software releases, deployment planning services, and training resources to maximize their IT investment. For small and medium-sized businesses, these benefits can improve efficiency, support growth, and facilitate innovation by ensuring access to the latest technology solutions.

Volume Licensing Programs for Educational Institutions, Nonprofits, and Government Organizations

Academic Volume Licensing

Microsoft offers a range of volume licensing programs tailored for educational institutions, helping schools and universities gain access to cost-effective software solutions that cater to their unique requirements. These programs include Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES), which simplifies license management and offers benefits like subscription licensing, reduced administrative overhead, and access to the latest Microsoft technologies. Microsoft also provides the Open License for Academic and Select Plus for Academic programs, offering volume discounts and flexible licensing options for institutions of all sizes.

Nonprofit and Government Licensing

Microsoft recognizes the specific needs of nonprofit and government organizations by offering tailored volume licensing programs. Microsoft Nonprofit offers flexible, discounted licensing options designed to help nonprofits further their missions and optimize their resources. For government agencies, Microsoft offers the Select Plus for Government program, which provides significant cost savings, flexible terms, and access to the latest Microsoft technologies in a transparent, easy-to-administer manner.

Steps to Acquire Microsoft Volume Licensing

Determine Your Organization’s Needs

When considering Microsoft Volume Licensing, the first step is to assess your organization’s specific needs. This includes understanding the size of your organization, the number and type of software products required, and your organization’s growth projections. Identifying current and future software requirements can help you make informed decisions about the best volume licensing options from

Choose the Appropriate Volume Licensing Program

    Based on your organization’s needs, determine the most suitable Microsoft Volume Licensing program, whether it’s Open License, Open Value, Enterprise Agreement, or a specialized program for educational institutions, nonprofits, or government organizations. Consider factors like minimum license requirements, payment options, software updates, and license flexibility when making your choice.

    Purchase Licenses from a Trusted Reseller

    Once you’ve chosen the appropriate volume licensing program, purchase your Microsoft software licenses from a reliable and trusted reseller like This will ensure the authenticity of the licenses, compliance with Microsoft licensing terms, and access to accurate information, support, and guidance throughout the licensing acquisition process.

    Manage and Track Licenses

    After acquiring your Microsoft Volume Licensing, effectively manage and track your software licenses by utilizing tools like the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), a platform that helps businesses manage their license agreements, download software, and access product keys. Regularly monitoring and updating your software licenses can help you maintain compliance and streamline software updates and maintenance.

    Volume Licensing Compliance and Audits

    Understanding Licensing Compliance

    Maintaining compliance with Microsoft Volume Licensing terms is essential for businesses to avoid financial and legal risks. Compliance requires businesses to accurately track their software usage, identifying any discrepancies between the number of software installations and the number of licenses owned. This includes ensuring that CAL requirements are met, understanding product use rights, and adhering to the terms of the specific volume licensing agreement.

    Preparing for an Audit

    Microsoft performs regular software licensing audits to verify compliance and identify any discrepancies. To prepare for an audit, businesses should:

    1. Maintain accurate and up-to-date records of software installations and license acquisition.
    2. Monitor and evaluate their software usage regularly, identifying any areas of non-compliance.
    3. Develop a plan to address any non-compliance issues promptly and efficiently, including purchasing additional licenses if necessary.
    4. Conduct regular internal audits to minimize the risk of non-compliance and any resulting financial and legal liabilities.

    Tips for Maximizing Your Microsoft Volume Licensing Investment

    Stay Up-to-Date with the Latest Software

    By leveraging Software Assurance benefits and staying informed about new software releases and updates, businesses can ensure access to the latest technology solutions that optimize productivity and drive innovation.

    Utilize Available Resources and Support

    Make the most of your Volume Licensing investment by taking advantage of the resources and support offered by Microsoft and trusted resellers like, including deployment planning services, training resources, and expert guidance.

    Optimize Your Licensing Options

    Regularly evaluate your organization’s software requirements and existing licenses, adjusting your licensing configuration accordingly to minimize costs and streamline software usage. Your licensing needs may change as your business grows or evolves, so staying informed and proactive is essential.

    Microsoft Volume Licensing for Cloud Services

    Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Licensing

    Microsoft Office 365 and Microsoft 365 Licensing provide organizations of all sizes with access to powerful cloud-based productivity tools like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, and SharePoint, often on a subscription basis. Volume licensing options are available for these cloud services, allowing businesses to leverage the benefits of volume discounts and streamlined management while taking advantage of the powerful capabilities of Microsoft’s cloud-based software solutions.

    Azure Licensing

    Microsoft Azure is a comprehensive suite of cloud services, including Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. Azure licensing is available through Microsoft Volume Licensing, providing customers with access to Azure services, discounted rates, and flexible billing options based on their organization’s specific needs.

    Dynamics 365 Licensing

    Dynamics 365 is a cloud-based business application suite covering functions like sales, customer service, finance, and operations. Volume Licensing for Dynamics 365 provides organizations with a simplified licensing structure and flexible payment options that align with their unique business requirements.

    Strategies for Reducing Microsoft Volume Licensing Costs

    Assess Current Usage and Licensing Needs

    By evaluating the current usage of software within the organization, businesses can identify potential overlapping licenses or instances where staff members are using multiple devices. This information can help decision-makers optimize licensing purchases and avoid unnecessary costs.

    Consolidate License Purchases

    By consolidating license purchases under a single volume licensing agreement, businesses can take advantage of volume discounts while simplifying license management. This strategy can result in substantial cost savings and streamlined operations.

    Take Advantage of Software Assurance Feature

    Software Assurance offers organizations access to new versions of Microsoft software, training resources, and other benefits. By leveraging Software Assurance, businesses can improve productivity, optimize IT investments, and reduce the likelihood of additional costs associated with upgrading outdated software.

    Consider License Mobility and Hybrid Cloud Scenarios

    License Mobility can help optimize software utilization and reduce costs by moving licenses between on-premises servers and cloud services like Microsoft Azure for organizations that require a mix of on-premises and cloud-based software. This flexibility allows businesses to deploy the most cost-effective solutions based on their current needs and future growth.

    Best Practices for Microsoft Volume Licensing Management

    Use the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC)

    The Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) is an essential tool for managing and maintaining your organization’s Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements. Businesses can use the VLSC to download software, generate product keys, access Software Assurance benefits, and stay informed about their license entitlements. Regularly utilizing the VLSC can help ensure compliance and streamline software management.

    Conduct Regular Internal Audits

    Performing regular internal audits of your organization’s software usage can help identify any instances of non-compliance and facilitate corrective action. By conducting internal audits, organizations can minimize the impact of a potential external audit while ensuring adherence to Microsoft Volume Licensing terms.

    Stay Informed on Microsoft Licensing Changes

    Microsoft’s licensing terms and requirements can change over time, so businesses need to stay informed on these updates to maintain compliance and optimize software utilization. By subscribing to Microsoft resources and technical blogs, businesses can stay up-to-date on the latest licensing changes and make informed decisions.

    Maintain Documentation and Records

    Accurate record-keeping is a crucial component of effective volume licensing management. Organizations can streamline the audit process and ensure compliance with Microsoft licensing terms by maintaining documentation of license agreements, purchase details, and software inventory.

    Frequently Asked Questions About Microsoft Volume Licensing

    1. How do I determine the best Microsoft Volume Licensing program for my organization?

    To identify the appropriate volume licensing program, evaluate your organization’s size, software requirements, and expected growth. Consider factors like the minimum number of licenses required, flexible payment options, and access to Software Assurance benefits when selecting a program that aligns with your organization’s needs.

    2. How do I ensure compliance with Microsoft Volume Licensing terms?

    Businesses should monitor their software usage, track licenses with tools like the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC), and perform regular internal audits to minimize the risk of non-compliance. Familiarize yourself with product use rights and consider consolidating license purchases under a single volume licensing agreement to streamline license management.

    3. Can I transfer licenses between devices or users?

    This depends on the terms of the specific license agreement and product use rights. In some cases, such as with License Mobility, businesses can transfer licenses between devices or cloud services. Ensure you understand the specific terms of your organization’s volume licensing agreement before attempting to transfer licenses.

    Unlock the Full Potential of Microsoft Volume Licensing with

    Microsoft Volume Licensing offers invaluable benefits to organizations seeking cost savings, simplified software management, and access to the latest Microsoft technologies. By understanding your organization’s unique needs and selecting the appropriate Volume Licensing program, you can effectively optimize your software investment and enhance productivity.

    To maximize the benefits of your Microsoft Volume Licensing, purchasing licenses from a reputable and trusted reseller like is crucial. By choosing, you can be confident in the authenticity of your licenses, compliance with Microsoft licensing terms, and access to accurate information and support throughout the acquisition process.

    Whether you need licenses for Microsoft Office 365, Azure, Dynamics 365, or other Microsoft products, can help guide you through every step of the process. Their expert team will ensure that you make the right licensing decisions and support you in managing compliance effectively.

    Take advantage of Microsoft Volume Licensing and unlock the full potential of your organization’s powerful technology solutions. Visit to explore your licensing options and make a significant impact on your business’s bottom line today!

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