The Fries of Microsoft Licensing

Dishing Out the Details on Software Assurance

Melissa Curtis

Would you like some fries with that? It’s a question that most of us have been asked at least one time in our lives. If you’re anything like me, it’s tempting but do you really need it? With Microsoft licensing, a similar question is asked: would you like those licenses with Software Assurance? Read More for the answer.

In order to be able to answer that, you must first know what Software Assurance (SA) actually is. By definition, it is a suite of benefits specific to each of the Microsoft products. One of the most well-known and common benefits are the new version rights, but it can be so much more than that.

SQL Server 2014 comes with several Software Assurance Benefits:

  • New Version Rights
  • Step-Up Availability*
  • Planning Services*
  • License Mobility
  • 24 x 7 Problem Resolution Ticket(s)
  • Always On

* Not included in the Microsoft Open Business (MOB/Open Licensing) program

What does all of that even mean? If there is one thing that you take away from this article, please let it be License Mobility. If you plan on virtualizing your SQL environment – and that virtual machine is going to bounce around different host machines – you’re going to need this! Microsoft has a 90-day rule that does not allow you to move virtual machines around your farm less than 90 days at a time. License mobility will allow you to completely bypass that rule. Think of it as that nifty fast pass you can get at your favorite theme park, except for your server farm.

Software Assurance also gets you a secondary passive instance for your SQL Server. So if you want to stand up another instance for disaster recovery-purposes, you can do it without any issues. Another useful benefit is Always On, which unlocks failover clustering, high availability, load balancing, and availability groups so that your SQL Server is, well, always on.

With SQL Server 2016 right around the corner, you’ll love the New Version Rights that Software Assurance gets you. As long as your Software Assurance is active and current, you will get perpetual rights to new versions as they are released. So when SQL 2016 is released at some point next year, you will instantly become the owner of a SQL 2016 license, forever. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to immediately install it. If you’re not ready to upgrade for another five/ten/fifteen years, you still own the license and can upgrade at your leisure.

Other mentionable benefits are the 24 x 7 Problem Resolution Ticket(s) and Step-Up Availability. The purchase of Software Assurance gives you around-the-clock support from Microsoft. The number of tickets that you get depends on how much you spend. For the initial purchase of SQL with SA you get one ticket, and you’ll get additional tickets for every $20,000 spent on SQL licensing. Step-Up Availability will allow you to literally step up your Standard (Core model) SQL Server license to SQL Enterprise if you decide that you need to do so down the road. Instead of purchasing all new licensing, you would pay the difference between the Standard and Enterprise licenses.

So do you really need Software Assurance? The answer is up to you. The licensing experts at Connection are ready to listen to your needs and help you choose the best path for your organization’s unique environment, requirements, and goals. Give us a call today to learn more about our services designed to leave you confident in your licensing investment.