With the Release of Windows Server 2012 next week, you are likely to start getting asked more and more questions regarding the licensing changes to include transitions, retirements, and software assurance (SA) license grants among other things. BVA, in his Windows Server 2012–Licensing and Software Assurance Grants post a few days ago provided some very useful information to this regard and also pointed to the Windows Server 2012 Pricing & Licensing FAQ, which I can confirm is an uncommonly good document.
Neither BVA’s post, nor the FAQ mention the fate of the holder of Software Assurance on Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium based systems however.
It should come as no surprise that Microsoft is phasing out support for Itanium as we made this announcement in 2010 on the Windows Server blog here. The question becomes how do those that purchased software assurance through our various licensing programs get taken care of.
I was able to hunt down the answer in the August Microsoft Product list available here. Incidentally, these product lists from the licensing site are quite authoritative and you should routinely check there for your licensing answers when all else fails!
Below is the text copied from the Product list:
Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium Based Systems will be discontinued with the next release of Windows Server. For every software license for Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium Based Systems with active Software Assurance coverage that a customer owns at the time of the release of the next version of Windows Server the customer will be granted one license for the version of Windows Server Datacenter that is released after Windows Server Datacenter 2008 R2. This product condition note and the customer’s volume license agreement together with evidence of its qualifying Windows Server 2008 R2 for Itanium Based Systems licenses evidence the Windows Server Datacenter licenses granted under this offer. Any use of the software licensed under this offer is subject to the customer’s volume license agreement and the product use rights for the software. The right to use software under this offer is in place of the right to use software under the qualifying license. The customer may not use software under both the qualifying license and the licenses granted under this offer simultaneously. Rights granted under this offer expire when the right to use software under the qualifying license(s) expire(s) (e.g., in the case of licenses acquired under a subscription program, upon expiration of the customer’s volume license agreement). Upon expiration of the Software Assurance coverage on the qualifying licenses, customer may acquire Software Assurance coverage for the Windows Server Datacenter licenses granted under this offer.
The net result is the customer is granted the commensurate license in Windows Server 2012, datacenter. I fair grant in my opinion.