Looks interesting but here is the place where MS just keep losing me:
"Basic and premium editions will require a chat with your enterprise agreement licenser."
Why? This is 'cloud' - I want simple, I want a price structure that is easy to understand and sell, I want drop down boxes and radio buttons and I want to go from "hmmm, I'll provision a server" to "I've provisioned a server" in less time than it takes to think it through rationally once, let alone stop for a second thought.
I am SICK of Microsoft licensing being so complex that I have to "speak to my local reseller". I am a fucking reseller and I don't understand the half of it. Our "partner" doesn't either and I am thankful I have a good relationship with someone rather senior and experienced (a 'lifer') in the licensing team other wise I'd be at a loss.
Hell, at one point I was deploying a bunch of MS systems and got e-mailed the appropriate people and found out exactly what was needed, license-wise for the particular scenario. About a month after implementing it, I went back to MS to ask if they could audit the deployment and confirm that it was licensed correctly (I just wasn't confident I'd received the right information), as per their original assertions.
MS doesn't do this directly, of course - they have a third party. They ran their tools* and, long story short (see below if you have any doubt how much of a palaver this was) it was wrong, then wrong, then wrong some more.
This not directly relevant, of course, but the point is that MS need to get their act to get with licensing or they run a very real risk of being utterly left behind. Make it good value and make it simple to understand. If you're telling someone that they need to speak to a licensing specialist then you have failed in one of the key areas where 'cloud' succeeds - getting money signed off quickly and easily without gong through layers of crap.
That aside, what if I don't have an "enterprise agreement licenser"? Sure, your company might, but what if you and your business unit are doing this specifically to go outside of the 'gatekeepers'. Sure, as IT guys we might frown on that, but as a company that is SELLING this, Microsoft should make it as easy as possible to buy.
And how do I find out if I need the paid-for version or not? Say I want 'groups'. If I search, I find the following MSDN blog says that groups are a "free feature" but then implies that if I want to actually use those groups to apply permissions, through the "group-based application access feature" then I need pay. So what can I use 'groups' for in the free version?
* - To be truthful, we had to run them - they just told us where to download them and find the instructions. "Send us the reports they said". Well, the tools only installed on some of the instances because the tool they had directed us to wasn't tested on the current editions of the software we were running. So they directed us to a new version. Which was notably different and for which they didn't have instructions or anyone who could assist us in configuring it. Then of course there was a conflict between the older versions of the tool and the newer, meaning we had to uninstall (about as fun as AV uninstalls) the old version and go fresh with the new version across the whole lot - running mismatched versions is not supported, you understand. So, after basically TEACHING them how the tool worked, we provide the reports. Then we (of course) find that this tool only covers about 1/2 of the licensing and we need to manually audit the rest. That all done, It would surprise no one at all to learn that we were apparently out by tens of thousands of dollars in licensing. Fixing some issues via more manual auditing (the software was tres stupid) we revised the number down quite significantly but still 5 figures.
That having taken a whole month, we reached out to more senior people (lesson learned) and found that not only were we not in breach, we were actually OVER licensed, because we had been told that a given feature had to be licensed for every user on a server regardless of actual usage. It was only if we configured it in a very specific way (which we had never indicated we would) that would require the licensing originally specified.
So yeah - Microsoft licensing. Try some BYOD and VDI some day.