Microsoft Launches New Premium Assurance Offerings on Server Products

In December 2016, Microsoft released a new Premium Assurance product, targeted at Enterprise customers who have a business need to continue utilising older versions of Windows Server and SQL Server.

Premium assurance is an optional uplift to the pre-existing Software Assurance package, and extends the support timeframe of the product by 6 years, as long as both Software and Premium Assurance are maintained.

The first versions covered by Premium Assurance will be SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (Extended Support ends in July 2019) and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 (Extended Support ends in January 2020).

Whilst Microsoft are currently offering a discounted rate (5% of the value of the protected software), it should be carefully noted that the product itself does not provide any benefit until the Extended Support period for the product has lapsed, so early adopters will not receive any tangible benefit until July 2019 at the earliest.

Given the intended price point (Microsoft have stated it will be 12% of the current product license cost), Premium Assurance should be considered to be a point product, used to protect only instances that are absolutely vital to business continuity, rather than as a broad policy to avoid the need to upgrade server infrastructure.

The bad news is that this is another payment to support legacy systems (or soon to be legacy) as both software assurance and premium assurance will be required which may be expensive if volumes of legacy systems are to be maintained.

The good news is that SCC has a set of services to ensure you can make the best technical and commercial decisions:

  • Planning to ensure migration to later versions / editions are understood for a varying estate;
  • Understanding the issues and benefits of taking premium assurance; in certain circumstances this may be a benefit;
  • Understanding the wider IT risks for ‘sweating’ the hardware asset to ensure hardware failures do not create further issues on any decisions made
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