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Tips: How to understand and plan Office 2010 Volume activation options

We’ll have two primary methods for activating the software on client systems while deploying the Volume License editions of Office 2010. Now, let’s discuss the two primary methods.
•    Key Management Service (KMS)  We’ve already discussed about this approach. However, let’s have a glance on it. This is able to establish a local activation service hosted in your own environment.  In order to do this, we should configure a system on our network to serve as the KMS host by installing and activating a KMS host key. After that, the client systems throughout our organization then connect to the local Office 2010 KMS host for activation.
•    Multiple Activation Key (MAK) This is the second approach and in which the client computers activate Office 2010 online by using the Microsoft hosted activation servers or by telephone.

Most of the times, business require to use a mixed approach by using different strategies to target systems that fit different scenarios. For example, a small branch office, remote workers and desktop at the main headquarters may all benefit from different activation methods.

Now, let’s have a general overview for helping figure out what approach is right for our organization.

How Many Systems Are You Activating?
•    1 to 5 systems: For a small group of systems, such as a few clients at a small branch office, consider a MAK independent activation. In this approach, each system is independtly activated directly with Microsoft.
•    6 to 49 systems: For a slightly larger group of Office 2010 clients, you should consider a MAK proxy activation. In this scenario, clients are activated directly with Microsoft, but use a proxy server on your network. Meanwhile, you can use the Volume Activation Management Tool (available to download for free) to manage the the Office 2010 activation process.
•    50 or more systems: For a large deployment, you should consider a KMS activation. As mentioned above, this relies on an activation service hosted in your own environment. Clients do not connect to Microsoft directly to activate Office 2010. (If you need guidance on setting up a KMS host, see Configure a KMS Host for Office 2010 Volume Activation.)
Are You Running VMs?
To activate Office 2010 on virtual machines, you should consider the KMS approach. A MAK approach will also work, but each time a computer is activated with this method, the number of activations is decremented. (This applies to both physical and virtual computers.)

Note that the KMS host can run on a virtual machine, as long as the VM’s operating system is one of the supported platforms for a KMS host—Windows Server 2003, a volume edition of Windows 7, or Windows Server 2008 R2.
Do You Have Systems Not Connected To The Internet?
If you are using a MAK proxy activation or KMS activation approach and have some mobile clients that lack access to your network, you can have those systems use MAK independent activation, connecting directly to Microsoft to activate their installations of Office 2010.

Note that, if, by chance, you are using the KMS activation method and your KMS host has no Internet connection, there is an option available to activate your KMS host by telephone. Likewise, a KMS host can be activated and then moved to a disconnected network.
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