This week, Microsoft unveiled the coming licensing additions for its Premium Assurance plan in which it will extend patch support for Windows Server or SQL Server products for six more years beyond the current 10. The announcement was made a few days ago on December 8 and will be applicable to Windows Server 2008, SQL Server 2008 and later.
Throughout the six year period of Premium Assurance coverage, customers will get Security updates and bulletins marked “Critical or “Important”. Moreover, there will be certain bug fixes tht will come along with the plan.
“[Premium Assurance] helps you continue to meet compliance requirements and ensure security on systems you aren’t ready to update,” wrote Mark Jewett, senior director of cloud platform marketing, and Tiffany Wissner, senior director of data platform marketing.
Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 are the oldest eligible products in the program. These are also the software with the most pressing retirement dates, slated for January 2020 and July 2019. But now with a six-year extension added to the support, it is to last until January 2026.
Don’t have Premium Assurance?
The new Windows Server Premium Assurance and SQL Server Premium Assurance can be purchased either together or separately.
If you don’t have the plan yet, you have the chance to grab it with a discount in early 2017. The terms of the discount strongly suggest that Microsoft wants the Premium Assurance sold sooner rather than later. It turns out that the total license cost will be only 5% of the original price, if you sign between March and June 2017. That amount climbs to 7% from July 2017 to June 2018, and to 9% from July 2018 to June 2019. Delaying until July 2019 will increase the cost to 12 percent. A datasheet (PDF) explains the costs in detail.
We can’t help but see Premium Assurance as a substitute to what Microsoft has called “Custom Support”. It is a profoundly individualistic program that extends support after the standard 10 years and you might not have heard of it because it wasn’t discussed publicly in detail.