Microsoft volume licensing explained

Having the correct type and number of Microsoft licenses in place is not only important to ensure your users can access the tools they need, but also to avoid compliance fines from Microsoft.

Understanding which type of licenses you need can be complicated and expensive – especially if you get it wrong. The type of license agreement you need can depend on many factors such as:

  • Which products or product set you want to purchase

  • Industry sector
  • Number of users and/or devices
  • Length of contract
  • How you choose to consume them
  • How you want to pay for them
  • Where you buy them from
Microsoft Gold Partner

If you have 250+ users or devices, the CAPEX volume licensing options are: Enterprise Agreements (EA), and, Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA). If your organisation prefers OPEX or subscription-based licensing, this is available through the Cloud Solutions Provider programme, which is becoming a popular choice as many organisations move their IT to as a Service (aaS) models.

Types of Volume Licensing Agreements


Enterprise Agreements

An Enterprise Agreement (EA) is a volume license agreement that offers best value to an organisation in excess of 250 users/devices for Public Sector customers or 500 users/devices in the private sector. EAs provide a range of products that include software assurance, access to online services and subscriptions.

Split into enterprise wide products (mandatory) and additional products for a committed 3-year period, organisations can take advantage of higher levels of discount, fixed pricing, a wider range of products, subscriptions and services and via partnerships that can use additional funding for project support.

EAs are also available as an on-premises model (EA) that supports the provision of perpetual licenses or as a Cloud subscription model (ESA) that offers non perpetual option at a reduced cost.

With a supporting agreement of the server cloud enrolment which provides discounts against core infrastructure, application platform, developer platform and Azure for an install-based commitment.

Server and Cloud Enrolment components:

Core Infrastructure

Windows Server
System Center

Application Platform

SQL Server
BizTalk Server

Developers Platform

Visual Studio

Microsoft Azure

Microsoft Azure

The EA structure incorporates an annual review and a balance check for a true up (purchase of additional licenses) or annual count to ensure that it still meets the original brief and adheres to Microsoft programmes rules. All of which is part of the management process that Trustmarque will help advise and guide you through as a standard service within our account review.

The commitment associated with Enterprise Agreements help to unlock additional services from Trustmarque and Microsoft in the form of funding requests, on application to Microsoft and the delivery of our Microsoft FastTrack services.

All Enterprise Agreements come with Software Assurance.

Contact our licensing team about Enterprise Agreements

Cloud Solution Provider – CSP

Office365, Dynamics365, EMS and Azure

The Microsoft Cloud Solution Provider programme (CSP) enables Trustmarque to offer a range of Microsoft Subscription services to customers who are looking at consuming cloud services. Providing Microsoft Cloud services, such as Office365, Dynamics365, EMS and Azure.

With CSP there is no minimum quantity or term and is the most flexible type of agreement with the ability to instantly increase or reduce licenses.

Our Microsoft Cloud Service, Cloud ESP, provides organisations flexibility in how they meet their requirements in the form of:

  • Flexible licensing – amend license requirements at short notice, flex up/down license subscriptions to support demand
  • Control costs – set spending limits and alert notifications
  • Managed billing – allow monthly billing in arrears providing cost management and visibility
  • Direct support from Trustmarque

The unique Trustmarque Cloud ESP portal gives you simplified management so you can control your license consumption and view current and projected Azure usage, as well as access detailed billing information.

Discover more about CSP

Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)

Transactional volume license agreement for business users who have more than 250+ users or devices.

The Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA) offers flexible purchase options on an ongoing basis with no end. It is a transactional volume license agreement for business users who have more than 250+ users or devices and offers perpetual products with or without Software Assurance and User Subscription licenses for Public Sector customers at the lowest pricing level available (Band D).

As this agreement is transactional customers have the flexibility to access a wider range of products without a defined commitment to Microsoft. With options to mix and match perpetual licenses with and without Software Assurance or take user subscription Licenses supporting a phased approach. Reducing subscriptions can be accommodated, simply by non-renewal of the subscription, however perpetual licenses after purchase are a retained asset and are unable to be reduced.

Utilised across multiple sectors with the same principles, but with Public Sector leveraging a single price level based on their eligibility.

Software Assurance is optional.

Contact our licensing team about MPSA

Compare licensing models

Feature Cloud Solution Provider—indirect reseller1 Enterprise Agreement (EA) Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA)
Minimum seats One2 500+ 250
Add/remove seats Monthly Annually Annually
Customer transactions Indirect provider and reseller collaboration Microsoft Microsoft
Customer support Indirect provider and reseller collaboration Microsoft Microsoft
Billing cadence Pay as you go Varies Varies
Product availability All Microsoft online services All Microsoft online services All Microsoft online services
Microsoft Azure availability Yes (2–3) Yes (4–5) No
Duration of agreement 12 months (minimum), evergreen Three years No term/Three years/Evergreen

1 Customer transactions, customer support, and partner compensation will vary in the direct model.
2 Minimum of five seats for Microsoft Dynamics 365.
3 Removing seats during term may incur charges.

Learn more

What is Software Assurance?

Software Assurance helps organisations get the most from their Microsoft technology investments by:

  • Reducing software and services costs with rights to new software releases and cost-efficient upgrades

  • Using consulting services to plan new, on-premises and cloud-based deployments

  • Improving operational efficiency through access to unique technologies and licensing rights

  • Increasing overall user productivity with instructor-led technical training and online end-user training

  • Maintaining an available and responsive IT infrastructure with around-the-clock support

Software Assurance at a glance

Next steps

See how Trustmarque can help you purchase the right licenses for your organisation and the support we offer you afterwards.

Buying your Microsoft licenses with Trustmarque