Back in the days of Dynamics CRM 2016 and earlier, one of the major benefits of opting towards an Online subscription versus an On-Premise license was the Dual-Usage rights granted to your organisation. This meant that, so long as your On-Premise Server installation was licensed, your individual Online User CAL’s would also be licensed like for like for CRM On-Premise. So, if you had 5 CRM Online Professional licenses on Office 365, you were also covered for the equivalent 5 On-Premise Professional user license CAL’s.

The Dynamics 365 for Enterprise (D365E) release took this offer a step further by also including the coveted Server user license as part of this offer. The official licensing guide for D365E elaborates on this further:

One of the advantages of Microsoft Dynamics 365 is the option to deploy either in Microsoft’s cloud or in a private on-premises or partner-hosted cloud. In some cases, customers may want to deploy both modes simultaneously, for migrating a Microsoft Dynamics on-premises deployment to Microsoft Dynamics 365, running private Dev/Test deployments in Microsoft Azure. With Dual Use Rights, Microsoft Dynamics users licensed with the required User SL do not need to acquire CALs to access Server instances. Users or devices licensed with Dynamics 365 SLs have use rights equivalent to a CAL for the purpose of accessing equivalent on-premise workloads. With Microsoft Dynamics 365 the server license is included with the SLs.

Thanks to this change, organisations can look to fully realise their dual-usage ambitions with D365E, without having to pay a single additional penny – nice! 🙂

When I first learned about the above, my first question was “Great! How do I get my license key for D365E on-premise?”. Unfortunately, the documentation available online is not 100% clear on which route you need to take to get your license key. Attempting to try and get an answer directly from Microsoft Online support can sometimes lead to you being redirected to the above licensing guide, which does not set out clearly how the offer works and a step-by-step account of how to claim your license key. I was recently involved in attempting to obtain a dual-usage license key for an organisation, so I thought I would share my experiences as part of this weeks blog post and provide a straightforward guide for others who may find themselves in the same boat.

Before you Begin…

The route you have to traverse will be dictated significantly by the method in which your organisation has obtained your Online D365E licenses. It could be that your business has:

  • Ordered your licenses directly on the Office 365 portal.
  • Purchased your online subscription through a Microsoft Partner.
  • Obtained a redemption key for your subscription via a Volume License agreement or similar with Microsoft.

So before you set out on your dual-usage license key quest, verify how your organisation originally obtained your D365E licenses. Assuming you have this information to hand, please see below for a summary that covers each license purchase route:

If you purchased your licenses via a Cloud Solutions Provider agreement (i.e. directly with a Microsoft partner)…

Then your license key should be viewable within your CustomerSource profile page for your organisation, underneath the Product And Service Summary Section.

If you purchased your licenses via a Microsoft Products and Services Agreement…

Your license key should be viewable within your Microsoft Business Centre page.

If you purchased your licenses via an Enterprise/Volume License Agreement

Log into the Volume Licensing Service Centre and, underneath your list of Products, you should see your product and corresponding license key.

If you purchased your licenses directly via Office 365 and have a partner of record for your subscription…

You should reach out to them directly and they can then log a support request with Microsoft’s Pre-Sales team. The turn-around for this will generally be a couple of days, and at the end of it, you should be emailed your license key.

If you purchased your licenses directly via Office 365 and DO NOT have a partner of record for your subscription…

Then I believe you will need to log a support request directly with Microsoft Online support to obtain the license key information. I am unable to confirm whether this will work successfully or not, so I would be interested in hearing from anyone in the comments below if this works.

Getting D365E On-Premise Installed

This is essentially a two-step process. Given that the D365E release was not a major application release, there is no dedicated installer available for the product. Instead, you will need to install Dynamics CRM Server 2016 and then download and install the December 2016 update to get the application version up to 8.2. All of the usual pre-requisites for a CRM On-Premise install will apply – you will need a SQL Server instance deployed, an Active Directory to authenticate with and be running a compatible version of Windows Server. The full list of requirements can be viewed on TechNet.

Conclusions or Wot I Think

The expansion of the Dual Usage offering as part of D365E is a welcome and highly beneficial development. Assuming your organisation already has existing infrastructure in place that supports an On-Premise deployment, you can begin to mitigate any extra costs required for additional sandbox instances on Office 365 by quickly setting up local D365E organisations on the On-Premise version of the application. I think there is definitely some work to be done around the whole process of obtaining the license key in the first instance – so, for example, perhaps a button/link in the Dynamics 365 Administration Centre that lets you view your On-Premise license key or fill out a request form – but the very fact that organisations are able to take advantage of this in the first place is one of the reasons why D365E is starting to move ahead of the competition within the ERP/CRM application space.

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