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Windows Server and SQL: 6 more years of support

Microsoft offers since today to customers who will not be able to store their old versions of Windows Server and SQL Server, a “Premium Insurance”. This new extended support option guaranteeing the delivery of vulnerability patches until 2026 – against 2020 initially – will however see its price increase over time.

Microsoft offers since today to customers who will not be able to store their old versions of Windows Server and SQL Server, a “Premium Insurance”. The new license option is chargeable, but it extends support for these products by 6 years and guarantees the delivery of vulnerability fixes until 2026.

This insurance is available for versions of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, and beyond. “Enterprises will be able to purchase an initial support period extension in early 2017,” Microsoft executives said in a blog post. “Premium Assurance allows you to meet compliance requirements and ensure the security of systems you cannot update,” wrote Mark Jewett, senior director, Cloud Platform Marketing, and Tiffany Wissner, senior director. , Data Platform Marketing. The oldest qualifying products – Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 – are the ones closest to retirement, January 2020 and July 2019 respectively, taking into account the 10 years of “current” and “extended” support. For example, adding a Premium Assurance option to a Windows Server 2008 license will extend support until January 2026.

“Assurance only guarantees delivery of security updates for vulnerabilities identified as ‘critical’ and ‘important’,” said Mark Jewett and Tiffany Wissner. Microsoft will give a reduction during the remaining two to two and a half years of availability, in order to encourage companies to commit. But be careful because if from March to June 2017, for example, customers will only pay 5% of the cost of the licenses for each year of coverage, the tariff will increase to 7% between July 2017 and June 2018, 9% between July 2018 and June 2019, and 12% from July 2019. According to the document released by Microsoft, Premium Insurance for a dual-core Windows Server license will cost $31 per year if the company purchases it between March and June 2017, but it will cost $76 per year if purchased in July 2019 or later.

Microsoft has reserved significant discounts for customers who quickly subscribe to the Premium Assurance option. (credit: Microsoft)

In some ways, Premium Assurance replaces what Microsoft has called “Custom Support,” a highly customized program that extends support beyond the usual 10 years, but the details of which are not publicly disclosed. “Premium Assurance replaces Custom Support Agreements (CSA),” said Dolores Ianni, research director at Gartner. Wes Miller, analyst for Directions on Microsoft, partly agrees with the analyst. But, according to him, there are several differences between Custom Support and Premium Assurance. This points in particular to the notable absence of a migration commitment in the new option. Generally, to benefit from the Custom Support Agreements, the customer was required to commit to migrating to a supported version according to a pre-established schedule. Failure to meet these migration “thresholds” entitled Microsoft to terminate the contract or discontinue support. This is not the case with the new assurance: customers can continue to run the old version for six more years, without being pressured by Microsoft to upgrade, as long as they agree to pay for it. privilege.

Only licenses covered by Software Assurance – the annuity program, the main benefit of which is precisely based on upgrade rights – are eligible for Premium Assurance support. In addition, licenses must have been originally acquired under one of four programs, including Enterprise Agreement, which means that some licenses – those purchased through a Microsoft Open License Agreement for example – are not eligible. Another requirement is that customers must subscribe to Premium Assurance before Windows Server or SQL Server versions end of support.

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