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Licensing options for service providers

The Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement is for service providers and ISVs licensing eligible Microsoft products to provide software services and hosted applications to end customers.


With the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA), service providers and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can license eligible Microsoft products on a monthly basis, during a three-year agreement term, to host software services and applications for their customers. The SPLA supports a variety of hosting scenarios to help you provide highly customized and robust solutions to a wide set of customers.

To learn more, download the SPLA Program Guide (PDF, 4.56 MB) and SPLA Reference Card (PDF, 509 KB).

Volume Licensing customers can license their server applications on-premises and in the cloud on a qualified service provider's shared hardware environment for specific applications. Get details about License Mobility through Software Assurance.


The following benefits are available through the SPLA:
  • Gain flexibility to deliver tailored IT services to your customers through a dedicated or shared hosting environment.
  • Pay only for licenses based on what you make available to provide software services for each month. There are no start-up costs or long-term commitments.
  • Provide your customers with the most current and capable Microsoft platform. Conveniently download your products at no charge through the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) instead of ordering physical media.
  • Use Microsoft Products to deliver software services to end customers in and from any part of the world where distribution is legally allowed.
  • Expand business reach to small and midsize businesses that provide software services through additional resellers.
  • Have the option to focus on hosting your application solutions and acquire infrastructure as a service (IaaS) from a Data Center Provider, including Microsoft Azure.
  • Install Microsoft products on servers under the day-to-day management and control of an outsourcing company to deliver your software services based on your capacity and server management capabilities. The outsourcer can then perform data center administration, testing, and maintenance support services on the end customer’s behalf.
  • Test and evaluate products internally before offering them to your customers as a service.
  • Install Microsoft products on servers that are located on an end customer’s premises under your management and control.
  • Have up to 50 user product demos on Microsoft software and provide your customers with a free 60-day trial period.
  • Include your affiliates under a single agreement.
  • Expand your business with specific price offerings available to your academic end customers.
  • Simplify licensing with the Microsoft Business and Services Agreement (MBSA). After an MBSA is in place, you sign a shorter and more simplified SPLA every three years. It also makes it easier to purchase Premier and Professional support.

Use rights

Licenses under the SPLA are non-perpetual (or subscription) licenses that can be used during the term of the agreement. The following licensing models are available for offering Microsoft licensed products to customers: 
  • Per Subscriber: A Subscriber Access License (SAL) is required for each unique individual user or device that is authorized to access or otherwise use the licensed products. With the SAL option, a separate Server License is not needed.
  • Per Processor: Each Processor License allows an unlimited number of users to access the software that is installed on that processor for products licensed through a per processor model.
  • Per Core: Each Core License (CL) allows an unlimited number of users to access the server software installed on the server with a determined number of physical cores for products licensed through a per core model.
  • Per Guest/Host Licensing Model: The Host/Guest licensing model requires both host licenses and guest licenses. Host licenses are required for your “host fabric,” a collection of physical and virtual operating system environments (OSEs) that are configured and operated as a unit to provide virtualization, networking, management, website, and file services. Guest licenses are required for your guest virtual OSEs.
    1. Per Processor for Host: License the hardware per processor for the host fabric in which an instance can run
    2. Per Instance for Guest: License for each virtual instance that runs on the host
  • Product-Specific Licensing: Download the Hosted Microsoft Office licensing brief (PDF, 149 KB) for answers to common questions about hosted Microsoft Office in partner-hosting scenarios. It covers the required licensing components for providing a partner-hosted Office solution to customers.
View the current Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR) here.

Get started

You can sign up for the SPLA program with a SPLA reseller. Learn how to get started with the SPLA.
Your organization must meet the following requirements to participate in the SPLA program:
  • Enroll in the Microsoft Partner Network. You must be a member of the Microsoft Partner Network at any level. Learn more about the Microsoft Partner Network.
  • Sign a Microsoft Business and Services Agreement (MBSA). Service providers that have an existing MBSA via another Volume Licensing agreement should work with their Microsoft account manager or reseller to provide their MBSA number and link the MBSA to their SPLA.
  • Designate a SPLA reseller. Designate a SPLA reseller and work with the reseller to complete the SPLA and the MBSA. The reseller can assist you on all aspects of the SPLA program.
You can find additional SPLA program materials here.

Additional requirements

To participate in the SPLA program, you must also do the following:
  • Comply with Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR). The SPUR specifies use rights and conditions that apply to a customer's use of the products licensed under the SPLA.
  • Provide monthly reporting on, and payment for, software licenses. Submit either a monthly use report of at least US$100 or Zero Use report (non-consecutive) to your SPLA reseller. You must also report on all licenses that you made available to your customers for your affiliates and software services resellers.
  • Provide technical support. Service providers are responsible for providing technical product support for the Microsoft licensed products they deliver to their customers.
For a complete list of requirements, download the SPLA Program Guide (PDF, 4.4 MB).