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|Opalis Deal Extended to Clients|
|Monday, 21 March 2011|
A change in Opalis licensing terms, announced in Feb. 2011, allows customers to use the IT process automation software with client computers as well as servers. To qualify, customers must have either an Enterprise Client Access License (CAL) Suite or System Center Client Management Suite (CMS) license with active Software Assurance (SA). The licensing change is a short-term accommodation until Microsoft more fully integrates Opalis into its System Center line of management products.
Only for Existing Suite Customers
Opalis software, acquired by Microsoft in Dec. 2009, provides IT process automation (ITPA) that works with other infrastructure management software from BMC, CA, HP, IBM, Microsoft, and others. The acquisition strengthened Microsoft's System Center Service Manager entry into the help desk arena by enabling ITPA for complex IT processes, such as trouble ticketing or provisioning virtual servers. The net intended results are to reduce costs and increase service delivery speed while lessening reliance on experts when problems arise.
Until the change in licensing terms in Feb. 2011, Opalis use was restricted to managing servers; there was no way to license Opalis for managing computers running a Windows client OS. Using Opalis to manage servers remains restricted to licensees of qualifying System Center Server Management Suite Enterprise (SMSE) and System Center Server Management Suite Datacenter (SMSD) Suite licenses with active SA. SA is a subscription-based software maintenance plan that gives companies a discounted upgrade path to new versions and delivers limited technical support, training, and other benefits.
With the new licensing terms, customers can now use Opalis to manage clients that are covered by either an Enterprise CAL Suite or System Center CMS. Use of Opalis for client OSs could allow companies to monitor and remediate problems with Windows clients and allow integration with Service Manager, Microsoft's entry into the help-desk arena. Opalis cannot be purchased as a separate product. Instead, customers who had SA active as of Dec. 2009 on a previously purchased Enterprise CAL Suite or CMS qualify to use Opalis, as do customers whose purchase of the Enterprise CAL Suite or the CMS falls between Dec. 2009 and Apr. 2012. (Previously, Microsoft had announced that Opalis was available to customers who acquired SMSE or SMSD licenses before Apr. 2011, but the Apr. 2012 time limit now applies to those suites as well.)
The System Center CMS contains client management licenses for Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, and Service Manager.
The Enterprise CAL Suite contains everything in the CMS and more than a dozen client-side licenses providing access to on-premises servers running Windows Server, Exchange Server, SharePoint Server, Lync Server, and System Center products (Configuration Manager, Operations Manager, Data Protection Manager, and Service Manager). The suite also licenses use of the Forefront Protection Suite to protect clients.
Opalis will eventually be integrated into the company's System Center line of management products. The licensing change to include client management likely occurred after the SMSE and SMSD deals were announced because the Enterprise CAL Suite and CMS have many Microsoft stakeholders and approval took longer. The time limit on the licensing rights for both servers and clients is probably a stopgap measure until future versions of Opalis are available and licensing details have been decided. By being transparent up-front about the temporary licensing arrangement, Microsoft hopes to mitigate licensing transition issues.
Availability and Resources
The licensing change announcement is in the System Center blog at blogs.technet.com/b/systemcenter/archive/2011/02/16/announcing-the-availability-of-opalis-to-cms-and-enterprise-cal-customers.aspx.
Opalis information and trial downloads can be obtained from www.microsoft.com/opalis.
Opalis capabilities are discussed in "Opalis Brings More Automation, Non-Microsoft Support" on page 19 of the Sept. 2010 Update.