Windows Process Activation Services Review

Central console enables us to see all of the activated and deactivated computers but it has poor alerts and frustrating technical support

What is most valuable?

The most valuable aspect of the solution is the central console, that allows you to see all of the activated and deactivated computers.

What needs improvement?

The solution needs to allow for other company product licenses to be included if possible. The solution needs to include other Microsoft products, like Exchange, SharePoint, etc. Right now, it's only for Windows and Office.

The solution needs to be made web-based. Right now, we have to install some tools and to use these tools we have to log into a specific server. If that server has an issue we cannot manage it. The solution needs to be able to be managed from any machine.

Alerting capabilities should be improved. If a license expires or there is a breach, or something is non-compliant, the solution should send out alerts.

For how long have I used the solution?

We primarily use the solution to automatically activate our licenses.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The stability of the solution needs improvement.

Sometimes the activation doesn't happen for some reason, so we have to restart the box. Sometimes it gets activated after a long time. There are a lot of false positives there.

For example, if the client is activated, they have 30 days to connect to the license server to keep the activation alive. Sometimes the console says it's not activated, even if the client is communicative. We then need to restart the service to refresh. Most of the time, just restarting the service or the server resolve the issue. However, we really don't know what is the underlying cause is.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

The scalability of the solution needs improvement.

How are customer service and technical support?

Technical support isn't great. We have tried to contact them, but it is very frustrating because we have to wait for half an hour to 45 minutes to reach someone. They keep on diverting us from one area to another. Finally, when you reach someone, sometimes there will be a person on the other side that doesn't understand the concept because it's quite complex. Their people don't seem to be well informed on the solution. They really don't know what they're talking about.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We didn't previously use a different solution. We always deal with Microsoft.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was complex. With each version, they keep on changing the configuration settings, and the requirements. From version to version you will find there's a lot of differences in terms of configuration or the way the activation itself works. It's a big challenge in setting it up.

What about the implementation team?

We tend to use our own internal resources and internet searches for the initial implementation.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We didn't evaluate other options; we always deal with Microsoft.

What other advice do I have?

I've been using the solution for three months. We use the on-premises deployment model. We're also Microsoft partners.

In terms of advice, I'd suggest users get Microsoft premium support and to seek an integrator's assistance for implementation.

I'd rate the solution four out of ten. 

The solution is kind of a necessary evil for us. It has given us a lot of trouble. It's hard to maintain it. We want to be compliant. Unfortunately, we don't have a proper tool, because we have hundreds of machines and dozens of software applications. In such a scenario, it is difficult to know what is compliant, and what is not unless you have some good tools. I'm not aware of any third party tool which gives us detailed information about this. Until there is a better tool or Microsoft offers up a better solution or set of features, we're stuck with this.

**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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