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What's New with Microsoft? A Deep Dive into Recent Product Updates

What's New with Microsoft? A Deep Dive into Recent Product Updates

2024 has been full of excitement already and one of the factors is that Microsoft made many major announcements! We already covered the release of Copilot for Microsoft as well as the introduction of Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites without Teams in earlier blogs.

 

In this blog post, we'll go over the other major updates from Microsoft related to licensing and product launches. At CloudServus, we are dedicated to helping you stay informed on the changing world of Microsoft products and licensing, so you can be ready for any changes that might impact your organization.

 

These are the noteworthy announcements in Microsoft licensing from the first quarter of 2024:

 

New Product and Feature Releases

 

Copilot for Security

Copilot for Security became available to all organizations on April 1st. You can learn how Copilot enhances security by watching this minute-long overview about AI-powered security and how Copilot for Security uses AI to protect your data.

Customers can opt for a standalone Copilot experience or an embedded one. Both will be billed monthly on a consumption model to a customer’s Azure subscription. It’s all going to work via a new Security Compute Unit (SCU) and will cost $4/hour.

How can customers estimate what SCU usage will be? That’s a great question.

According to Microsoft, estimating the SCU usage is not straightforward. It varies based on how complex the customer's queries are, because each prompt, workflow, and script to reverse engineer are of varied sizes. It’s recommended customers try out and learn and use their data in order to best guess their SCE usage needs. Capacity can be changed as needed. Customers can see the SCUs they have through a dashboard and change as needed. This dashboard will warn them if the workload gets close to the limit they set and tell them when it has reached the limit.

Microsoft Intune Suite Components

In February and March of this year, according to Microsoft’s Product Terms, they added three additional components to the Intune Suite. Organizations can also get these new components as add-ons to Intune Plan 1. The cost of these stand-alone components is:

Advanced Analytics - $5/user/month

Enterprise Application Management - $2/user/month

Microsoft Cloud PKI - $2/user/month

You can find the announcement here and pricing and product information on the various Intune plans here.

Microsoft Mesh

Ever thought how cool it would be to use an Avatar to attend a Teams meeting in 3D? Well now you can! Microsoft announced that Microsoft Mesh is now generally available which allows you to do just that. The creation of customized 3D spaces requires a Teams Premium license, and the features of Microsoft Mesh are available to users licensed with one of the following plans:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic/Standard/Premium
  • Microsoft 365 E3/E5
  • Office 365 E1/E3/E5

Clipchamp

Clipchamp is a video creation tool that makes video creation easier even for users with no prior editing experience. The Standard plan became available for free to Microsoft 365 E3/E5 and Microsoft 365 Business Standard/Premium users in November 2023. There is now a Premium plan users can buy which includes features such as premium stock content, premium filters and effects, and content backup. The introductory price of this add-on is $5/month for users licensed with one of the above-mentioned Microsoft 365 plans through June 2024. Starting in July, the price of the add-on will increase to $7/user/month.

Users not licensed for one of the Microsoft 365 plans eligible for the add-on can purchase Clipchamp as a stand-alone license. Standard plan is available for $3/user/month and Premium plan is available for $7/user/month through June and will then increase to $10/user/month.

You can find more information about Clipchamp as well as a comparison of the plans here and answers to FAQ here.

Other Updates

Exchange Server 2019 end of Mainstream Support

Exchange Server 2019 reached end of Mainstream Support on January 9th, 2024. Normally customers do not expect any non-security updates to be released after the end of Mainstream Support, however since Microsoft was not able to release a final Cumulative Update in December, they announced there would be 2 CUs coming in 2024. This is great news for customers still running Exchange Server 2019! Microsoft released the first Cumulative Update (CU14) of 2024 on February 13th, and is planning to release one more CU (CU15) later this year.

Azure SQL Database Failover Rights

Microsoft has announced the Public Preview of license-free standby replica for Azure SQL Database. What this means is if you only use a secondary database replica for DR, and it doesn't run any workloads or have any applications connected to it, you can reduce your licensing costs by marking the database as a standby replica. Microsoft does however still permit organizations to perform maintenance operations, connect monitoring applications, and run DR drills on the standby database.

One other important thing to note is that although you will be saving licensing costs, Microsoft will still bill you for the compute and storage that the secondary database uses. You can find instructions on how to configure the standby replica here.

Universal Print User SL

Universal Print is a modern cloud-based printing solution that allows organizations to manage their printing needs through Microsoft Azure. It works with Universal Print–compatible printers and the best part is you don’t need any on-premises infrastructure. Microsoft 365 F3/E3/E5/Business Premium or Windows 11 Enterprise E3/E5 licenses include Universal Print jobs so users licensed with any of these plans get it at no cost. Windows 11 Enterprise E3/E5 and Microsoft 365 F3 licenses include 5 print jobs while the other licenses include 100 print jobs.

Microsoft has added a new Universal Print User Subscription License (USL) SKU to the pricelist. This standalone license costs $4/user/month and includes 5 print jobs. Additionally, there are now two add-on plans available for higher print volume. For $25/month organizations can buy another 500 jobs, and for $300/month they can add 10,000 jobs. The add-ons are only sold on an annual commit though.

You can find more information on how Universal Print is licensed here.

As a Gold Tier Microsoft Partner, CloudServus helps organizations get the most out of their Microsoft licensing throughout the lifecycle with expert support and a thorough Microsoft Licensing Assessment.

We find that many customers understandably do not have the time to sift through Microsoft jargon to figure out which Product Term changes affect their organization, and the best licensing plans to fit the organization’s needs. Through license optimization and by providing more competitive prices, we have helped new customers save as much as 17% on average.

 

CloudServus is ready to help you evaluate your current Microsoft licensing and discuss your needs and objectives. Contact us today to find out the best options for you.

 

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