Making the Most of Software Assurance Benefits: Cloud Support

This is article two of four in a series of blog posts describing the many benefits of Software Assurance

Following on our first of four articles about Software Assurance (SA), which describes how SA can help customers move to Office 365, we’d like to highlight some additional SA benefits that may be of interest to customers considering migrating some or all of their applications to the cloud.

  • License Mobility through Software Assurance: With the range of IT deployment options available today (on-premises, Microsoft-delivered cloud services and partner-hosted  cloud services), License Mobility through Software Assurance provides the flexibility to deploy many  server applications with active SA either on-premises or to a partner hosted  cloud environment without having to buy additional licenses. This provides increased hosting flexibility and affordability with the ability to move server application workloads to the cloud and back every 90 days. Hosters offer a variety of cloud services and this SA benefit allows customers to move their existing server application workloads to both a dedicated or shared hardware environment.  The eligible server applications include Microsoft Exchange Server, Microsoft SharePoint Server and Microsoft SQL Server.  The complete list of eligible products can be found in the Product Use Rights.


  • Windows Thin PC: Microsoft Windows Thin PC is a Software Assurance benefit that enables customers to re-purpose  Windows 7 capable devices as thin clients by providing a low footprint, locked-down version of Windows 7.  Windows Thin PC can provide IT with significant cost savings for a thin client computing model by reducing the need for new thin client hardware. For example, older PCs with lower specifications can be setup with Windows Thin PC and provide adequate computing for task oriented users while being managed by the same tools and processes as all other PCs. Windows Thin PC is an SA benefit and doesn’t require the Windows Virtual Desktop Access (VDA) license that other thin clients would need in order to access virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) desktops or applications residing on the public cloud. Customers  can install Windows Thin PC on those devices covered by active SA and with an existing Windows client OS (Professional/Business, Enterprise, Ultimate).   Windows Thin PC can be downloaded from the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC).


  • Planning Services: With advances in Microsoft’s private cloud solutions and the availability of Office 365 and Windows Azure, Microsoft Planning Services have expanded to better support an organization’s deployment planning needs whether on-premises, in the cloud, or in hybrid environments. Software Assurance customers receive a number of planning services days, depending on their licensing agreement, for no additional cost.


In addition to the Office 365 Planning Services support described in the previous article, SA customers should take note of additional planning services now available for private cloud, public cloud and virtualization needs, namely:

  • Private Cloud, Virtualization and Management Planning Services (PVDPS) help evaluate how best to deploy a private cloud solution built on Windows Server Hyper-V and System Center to promote agility, reduce costs and optimize datacenter infrastructure.
  • Public Cloud, Windows Azure Deployment Planning Services (AZDPS) offer hands-on training and guidance on how to build, host and scale applications in Microsoft datacenters.
  • SQL Server and Developer Tools Deployment Planning Services (SSDPS) offer guidance on deploying SQL Server solutions that reside on-premises, or connect to private or public cloud solutions. They can also help improve team collaboration and development processes with expert advice on deploying Visual Studio.

This video showcases the value of Microsoft Planning Services along with the full range of benefits.

In the next article, we’ll dive deeper into how customers can make the most of more SA benefits including New Product Versions, 24x7 Support, Home Use Program, Training Vouchers and E-Learning.

For more information on Software Assurance please visit the Microsoft Software Assurance website. The Volume Licensing Service Center  also includes information on all the SA benefits available to customers.

If you have a question, join the conversation through our Twitter handle @Msft_VL or leave a comment in the comments section below.


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