When configuring or upgrading server hardware for customers, I often have conversations with partners about the value of selling a new Windows Server license under a Volume Licensing agreement as opposed to buying one pre-installed or even installing an older version [gasp!].
Partners definitely see the benefits to Volume Licensing such as downgrade rights, license portability, as well as the inventory of licenses within the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC). However our conversation then broadens into the future value and strategy of this technology investment.
Of course you can purchase just the License (L Only) for Windows Server, but that limits you to the version you’ve purchased along with previous versions… but customers want more.
In the new world of cloud where everything is “Always Up To Date,” backed up, and supported, how do we solve for that with Volume Licensing?
The answer is: Software Assurance.
When your customers purchase a Windows Server License with Software Assurance, they get access to:
- Spread Payments: Spread the costs of your License and Software Assurance purchase across three equal, annual sums versus one up-front payment to help reduce initial costs and aid in forecasting annual software budget requirements up to three years in advance. When you use the Spread Payments benefit, no interest or additional fees are incurred.
- New Version Rights: Upgrade each product license covered by active Software Assurance to the most recent version when available.
- Back-up for Disaster Recovery: Provides additional licenses for servers used as offline (“cold”) backups, to help you recover in case of a catastrophic event.
- 24x7 Problem Resolution Support: Includes around-the-clock phone support for business critical issues, or business hours phone support for non-critical. In addition, unlimited email support is available for non-critical problems.
- Planning Services: Get in-depth planning assistance from qualified Microsoft partners or Microsoft Services to help evaluate and create a structured plan to deploy Microsoft solutions. Private Cloud, Management & Virtualization Deployment Planning Services (PVDPS) provides the fundamental analysis, business case, process, and technical procedures that you need to optimize your datacenter.
There are a few more benefits that you can read about [HERE], however I wanted to spend a little time discussing these five, and how everything fits into the “cloud world”
With Spread Payments, instead of having to think about a large up-front cost, you are able to spread the payments for your agreement across 2-3 years without any interest! In the first year of purchasing the License + Software Assurance (L&SA), you will experience higher payments, but upon renewal, you are only paying for the SA portion! Similar to periodic billing in the cloud, SA helps us move to predictable recurring payments which are great for customers, and great for your sales forecasting!
Which leads us into “Always Being Up to Date.” With SA, you are entitled to New Versions of the software you are licensed for. As long as you maintain you SA agreement, you get all of the latest and greatest! I’m sure you’ve heard that Windows Server 2016 is on the horizon, but we encourage you to purchase your Server licenses with SA today, and you will receive the new version upon launch. Again, this is another benefit that cloud customers enjoy that Software Assurance customers also enjoy. It also gives you an easy upgrade/migration conversation in the future, as you no longer have to “sell” a new license and can maximize that services revenue!
We all know that your customers want 100% up time, and you want to provide that. In the cloud, we exclaim that there is redundancy galore, but what happens to their Windows Server on premises? In order to ensure as much uptime as possible, you would typically need to purchase a SECOND physical server and the software licensing to go along with it. With Software Assurance, you get Back-up for Disaster Recovery. This benefit provides additional licenses for servers used as offline (“cold”) backups, to help you recover in case of a catastrophic event.
Where’s your lifeline when you need it? In the cloud, you have access to support professionals should you need help with an issue. Software Assurance adds that 24x7 Problem Resolution Support to a Volume License. When you’ve tried all that you can to figure out what’s going on, or your customer’s business is down, you can count on Microsoft Support to help you with your dilemma.
I like to think of the last one on my list as a bonus benefit. Depending on how much Windows Server they purchase, your customers will be entitled to Planning Services. They “get in-depth planning assistance from qualified Microsoft partners or Microsoft Services to help evaluate and create a structured plan to deploy Microsoft solutions.” You’ll notice that I have underlined and highlighted ‘Microsoft partners.’ Why? Because if you have the relevant competencies you can avail of those planning services dollars! That’s a win-win for both you and your customer!
Now that you WANT Software Assurance, how do you get it? Speak your distributor! They will be able to direct you to the right part numbers.
There is a huge opportunity to also attach Software Assurance to any Windows Servers that you have purchased via the OEM model within 90 days. That means you can go back to a recently sold-to customer, and attach SA today!
Please check out our whole series on Windows Server 2012 R2 at https://aka.ms/ts2windowsserver2012r2