Licensing…

It is surprising how quickly a day goes when you go from one meeting to another, but all in all a very positive day. First was a large corporate retailer with the potential of establishing TFS as their primary corporate work item management system (well if I get my way at least J ). There is a lot of potential here, but as we all know, corporates aren’t the most agile of entities, change takes time. One of their primary issues will be around licensing, as they do a lot of non-Microsoft (read Java and mainframe) development and testing – hence a bunch of licenses that would be required outside of the MSDN subscriptions that the MS developers already have. Microsoft has covered the Java market very nicely with Team Foundation Everywhere. But the primary problem is testers logging bugs and users logging work items.
Obviously the caveat exists where using “Team System Web Access” (TSWA) you can log bugs and work items without a CAL as long as you do not access work items that were not created by yourself. Unfortunately not viable in this corporate’s situation as teams manage buckets of items.
The next option is to look at buying additional CAL’s. At approx. $500 a CAL in South African terms not a cheap exercise.
The person I spoke to then spoke about an “external connecter” licence. But even if you could afford it, I don’t think that his situation would qualify for this licensing scheme.
Fortunately they use a fairly expensive product as it is to do test management, so a potential re-allocation of costs could be an option and getting back and reading up a bit I started looking at the possibility of SPLA licensing in a situation like this. It would definitely reduce initial costs, and be flexible to the amount of users on a monthly basis. Maybe something I must look into a bit closer.
The moral of the story: The complexity of the Microsoft licensing really causes headaches for the people on the ground that is supposed to use / purchase these licenses. I read an article stating that they would be surprised if a large number of the “fully” licensed companies were in fact fully licensed, possibly even paying too much.

On the positive side: when I got back fairly late in the afternoon, I was surprised by an email from a company asking about me. I had no contact with them before and have no idea how they got to me, but it was a real highlight. Maybe there is some hope after all.