What’s Going on With AEM Licensing?

I was under the impression that AEM was free (certainly to SA customers) because CER was free to SA customers. But it looks like I was wrong. Mike Betts (www.momanswers.net) posted a question in the newsgroup about it.

So I did some digging (and I did have to dig to find the document – and when I went to look for it a second time I could not find it searching on Google or Microsoft). Luckily Stefan’s blog has the link to the document. System Center Operations Manager 2007 Licensing Brief.

It appears that if you use AEM that you still need a client license at $32 per client. Now if I had the OpsMgr agent on and was using ACS as well then the cost is taken care of. But if I am just using AEM it seems a lot for collecting some Dr Watson and Windows Error reports. I think it is a useful tool but I would find it hard to justify that level of spend.

Here are the relevant paragraphs from that document.

Are Operations Manager 2007 Client OMLs required for Agentless Exception Monitoring (?AEM?)?
Yes, except when the client device is also licensed for the Microsoft® Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance (?MDOP?) or when the exceptions are received from a server device which requires at least a Standard OML.

Is client monitoring or AEM also available through Windows Client SA?
The use of the AEM feature without an Operations Manager 2007 Client OML is available for Windows Client SA customers who purchase the MDOP. There is a special version of the Operations Manager 2007 server called Microsoft® System Center Desktop Error Monitoring (?DEM?) that is part of MDOP which is limited to just agentless exception monitoring of clients and does not have the right to use the Operations Manager Connector Framework (?MCF?) connectors to forward alerts to other management systems.

Is it possible to upgrade the DEM Server to the Operations Manager 2007 Server?
Yes. DEM servers can be upgraded to full Operations Manager servers with the purchase of an Operations Manager 2007 server license to enable use of connectors, and with the purchase of additional Operations Manager 2007 Client OMLs, full agented client monitoring.

Can MDOP customers using the DEM component use AEM without a Client OML in their full Operations Manager 2007 environments?
Yes, as long as the client device is licensed for MDOP and only AEM is used to monitor the client. Deploying an agent and management packs for client monitoring always requires a Client OML or Enterprise CAL.

Well the plot thickens as the document mentions you can get this licence under the Desktop Optimization Pack. And at TechEd there was an announcement about the new DOP.
And now there is a fifth element to the DOP – Microsoft System Center Desktop Error Monitoring. So now we have SC DEM or DEM.

When it first came out DOP was $10 per client. I can not find if that is still true due to the weirdness of the Microsoft Licensing system and the arcane structure of the licensing web site. But as DOP also contains Advanced GP Management, Asset Inventory Service, Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (Sysinternals) and the amazing SoftGrid then I would buy that if I wanted AEM and was not planning to use OpsMgr agents on the clients for monitoring or ACS.

What is Microsoft playing at? Spreading the uptake of CER/AEM/DEM? Or are they saying that AEM does not belong in SCOM even though you can upgrade you DOP version to it? Or just trying to confuse us? Especially having multiple names for the same thing. Maybe they are just being nice and given us choices. Who knows?

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