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Microsoft extends lifecycle of Windows Server and SQL Server

Source: Microsoft

13 December 2016

In recent years, Microsoft has made enormous efforts to get people to migrate off products that had reached their end of life. In 2014, it was Windows XP. In 2015, it was Windows Server 2003. This year it was SQL Server 2005.

So, knowing what the company went through to make people migrate makes this latest bit of news somewhat baffling. Microsoft has quietly announced the addition of a third tier to its product lifecycle, expanding the lifespan of both Windows Server and SQL Server by an additional six years.

Microsoft usually offers two tiers of lifecycle support covering a 10-year lifespan. The first five years, known as Mainstream support, include new features as well as security and non-security updates. The last five years, covering Extended support, has security and non-security updates, but no new features are added to the product. After that, all support ceases.

Beginning next year, customers can purchase a Premium Assurance plan to extend the lifecycle of both Server and SQL Server beyond the traditional extended support period for six more years.

Under the current life cycle plan, both Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 are set to go to end-of-life in 2020. Yes, they had two extra years of life tacked on. With the addition of Premium Assurance, both 2008/2008 R2 products will now be supported until 2026. Premium Assurance will provide security updates rated “Critical” and “Important,” so basically, it is Extended support minus the non-critical fixes.

Extended support cost
However, there’s a catch. You didn’t think this would be a total freebie, did you? In the blog post announcing the new support layer, Microsoft says the cost of Premium Assurance will be up to 12% of the total license cost.

“Premium Assurance pricing will start at 5% of the current product license cost and will increase over time (up to 12%). Buying before the end of June 2017 means you will save nearly 60% on the cost of Premium Assurance.”

To purchase Premium Assurance, you must already have a Software Assurance contract. Software Assurance is Microsoft’s maintenance contract that covers updates to apps so they always have the newest version of the product, along with technical support and deployment planning.


IDG News Service

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