Volume licensing program

Volume licensing program

Microsoft is moving your cheese: VLSC features going to M365 Admin Center
Microsoft has begun moving some key Volume Licensing Services Center capabilities to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Here's what's shifting over first.
Workers sitting around a table collaborating

Microsoft is moving some of its Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) features to the Microsoft 365 Admin Center (MAC) beginning this month. The goal is to centralize where customers manage their licenses, both volume and subscription, as noted on the "Cloudy With a Chance of Licensing" blog.

"Microsoft is gradually transitioning volume licensing capabilities to M365 Admin Center to enable customers to manage on-premises software, on-line services, and subscriptions in one site accessed by a single Log in ID," according to documentation in a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) article on the Microsoft Learn site.

The features with which Microsoft is starting off this migration are key ones, including the ability to download software and review the licenses customers have for it. But it's worth noting that this move does not substantively change how customers will manage their licenses or agreements, so should not have much, if any, impact on IT procurement or asset management leaders. There could be some short-term hiccups implementing these changes, but the VLSC has been known for being rather clunky and fragile. In the longer term, moving important licensing capabilities to a more robust infrastructure that gets a lot of attention should be a net-positive.

Microsoft notes that starting in late April it will begin "retiring" the VLSC functionality that already is available in the M365 Admin Center. Customers will automatically be redirected to the M365 Admin Center with no need to sign in again. Officials said the transition will be phased, meaning not all users will be impacted at the same time. Additionally, no Government Community Cloud (GCC) or GCC High customers will be impacted by the change.

Customers will be able to see downloads and keys; license summaries (labeled "Contracts"), and relationship summaries (included in "Contracts" in the MAC billing section under "Your Products.") Volume licensees won't see any other data that users with Billing Admin permissions in the Admin Center can see, such as non-VL bills, payments, etc.

Other details about the move:

  • M356 Admin Center administrators who do not also have VLSC permissions do NOT have access to VL features on MAC.
  • Global admins do not need to assign volume-licensing users any admin role on the M365 Admin Center or in Azure Active Directory.
  • Users who have registered permissions to view licenses in the VLSC will be able to access the Volume Licensing section of the MAC without requiring any MAC admin role.
  • VLSC Agreement Administrators should continue to use VLSC User Management to administer all volume licensing users, even for roles that use the M365 Admin Center.

Microsoft's goal is to transition all VLSC features to the M365 Admin Center "in due course," the documentation says. In the interim, Microsoft will enable VLSC features in the M365 Admin Center and run them in parallel until they deem that the feature is accessible by the VLSC customers.

For now, User Management, Reservations Management and Online Service Activation (OSA), meaning Open License, Open Value and Open Value Subscription keys and subscriptions will remain in the VLSC.

Subscribe to Volume licensing program

Microsoft’s Open License program will end on Dec. 31, 2021. Customers cannot buy new licenses or renew SA on licenses purchased through that program after that date.

The primary country where a license will be used; designation affects how credit for sales revenue is apportion within Microsoft and can have tax implications in some jurisdictions.

Programs designed to make bulk purchases more practical and convenient for organizations that want to license Microsoft products for production purposes, as well as for development and testing of internal applications.