SCORCH - Don't Get Burned!

Remember last year when Microsoft changed its licensing model for System Center as a whole? Evidently, things are still not quite as clear as we thought. I know our user group had Microsoft folks tell us that if you had CM07 with SA, that you would now own the System Center Suite. And the suite included CM, SCOM, SCORCH, etc.

But it's not as simple as that.

Microsoft put out some pretty detailed information like this link:

Key to this document was that it really made clear how much easier it was to license servers managed by CM. It's what they call Server Management License (ML). And it entitles you to run SCOM to monitor your CM servers, for example (no licenses are needed beyond the one for the server SCOM would run on.)

What is rather gray here is how you can use SCOM to monitor your CM servers without issue, but you cannot use SCORCH so easily. I'm now being told that a license for SCORCH (via the SC Client Management Suite or the Enterprise CAL) is required for any desktop being managed indirectly via SCORCH's orchestration.


To be precise, SCORCH cannot be used to directly touch a PC - this makes sense just like SCOM licensing does (you'd expect to have to pay to use SCOM to directly manage PC services, for example). But Microsoft is making a new point that I've never heard of before regarding an indirect touch of desktops. They're now saying that because CM manages desktops, that we're indirectly talking to clients and are still responsible to pony up for an a license for all desktops in the CM database.

Examples of SCORCH use and licensing:

  • Optimize some SQL tables in CM, or to pull back a list of machines (even workstations) for reporting. This would be considered distant enough of a use of SCORCH to not require additional licensing.
  • Approve software in CM (recall the Application Approval Workflow?) or use SCORCH to add workstations to a collection. This would require additional licensing.

I know this new wrinkle could suddenly make any SCORCH work you've done so far put you on the hook for a lot of money.

If it helps, there will be a licensing session at MMS this year.

If you have any doubts about where you stand on this, I highly recommend you make this session.

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