Concern over Microsoft’s New Volume Licensing

Author: Scott Braden

Microsoft is gradually rolling out an entirely new volume licensing agreement structure for enterprise customers, previewed in blog posts here:

Transformation on the Horizon for Microsoft Volume Licensing   and Microsoft Makes Sweeping Changes to its Volume-Licensing Plans

Reading between the lines:  the key concept is “committed” – like they’ve been doing with EAP / ECI agreements, you only get the great volume pricing when / if you include Software Assurance for every device / installation in the enterprise.

For many enterprises that’s a deal-killer.  Example: SQL Server. The current EAP agreement requires all SQL instances to be “included” – e.g. paying annual Software Assurance.   But many enterprises have remote offices and/or legacy apps that don’t need and can’t use Software Assurance for SQL.

So the net effect of these “committed” deals is that unit line item price decreases a bit, but total spend increases a lot, because “all” servers must be included.

Presently, that’s not such a bad problem because Microsoft offers so many agreement types and means to licensing that customers are able to customize to their specific needs.    Our concern with this new licensing model is that it hints that Microsoft may be shutting down some of those other more flexible options.

As always, NET(net) is watching these developments closely and will keep our clients updated.

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