Adding Software Assurance To Your OEM Server Purchase


Following on from the last post where I discussed some of the reasons that Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter should be considered for customer deployments, today's post addresses some common questions around buying OEM Windows Server licenses versus purchasing via a Volume License program. The most important takeaway from the following information is that you can reap the benefits of both with your new server purchases, which will be explained below.

Here are the top line differences between OEM and Volume Licensing. This is not an in depth comparison of every difference, instead just calling out some of the differences for those who may not have purchased via a volume licensing program for their customers previously.

Windows Server 2012 R2 with different OEM license types

MNA preinstall or ROK is tied to hardware and can be pre-installed onto hardware, and OEMs can modify the OEM image to include additional software or customized images.
System Builder (COEM) license can be sold individually when sold with component hardware
System Builder and ROK include media
OEM product keys are provided on a COA that is attached to a server.
OEM licenses included support by the Server Manufacturer

Windows Server Volume Licensing

Licenses can be reassigned to different hardware every 90 days.
Licenses do not include Media, these need to be downloaded from the VLSC
Product keys are provided online through the VLSC.
There are many different possible licensing contracts that provide discounts for large purchases.

Common To Both


Windows Server 2012 R2 through OEM and Volume Licensing offers the same downgrade and virtualisation rights, which I introduced in the last post.

Adding Software Assurance To OEM Server Purchases

Microsoft Software Assurance can be purchased within 90 days of the OEM Software purchase. Software Assurance on Server Products offers business benefits which you can read about at the Software Assurance overview landing page. Some Software Assurance resources you may find useful also include Software Assurance at a glance (PDF) and Learn more about the specific benefits available for the products you license. One of the benefits that's probably worth thinking about now is the inclusion of new version rights during the term of your coverage, and with the launch of Windows Server 2016 planned for this year, it might help the conversation with those customers that might want to delay their purchase until Windows Server 2016 is shipping.

Why buy OEM server licenses and then add Software Assurance rather than just buying through VL? A couple of reasons - first of all you will usually find that OEM software is the lowest priced option, and then adding Software Assurance still keeps the overall cost lower than a VL+SA purchase. If you are buying ROK or preinstalled, it also saves time during server setup and configuration.

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