3 licensing options for migrating to Microsoft Azure from Windows Server 2003

 In Azure, Cloud, Microsoft, Software, Volume Licensing

Where will your organization go when Microsoft ends support for Windows Server 2003? Many organizations are formulating an answer to that question right now, preparing to meet the July 14, 2015 deadline. The myriad licensing models, program options, and cost scenarios for a Win2k3 migration make it a daunting task involving multiple decision points.

The top three options for migration are Windows Server 2012, Office 365, and Microsoft Azure, which will be the focus of this post.

Microsoft Azure is an option that can be implemented as an alternative to or in conjunction with an on-premises migration to Windows Server 2012. Azure infrastructure as a service (IaaS) provides organizations with a flexible cloud computing platform to build, deploy, and manage applications in a predictable operational expense model based on consumption. Microsoft Azure enables organizations to make an initial monetary commitment based on anticipated usage and future growth.


The most cost effective means to procure and manage Azure is through the Enterprise Agreement (EA) program. Here are three options for organizations looking to procure Azure under an EA model.

1. EA additional product (add-on): Customers looking to add Azure to their existing EA can do so by purchasing an Azure Monetary Commitment, which will be based on the customer’s estimated Azure usage over the course of the year. The customer is committed to a coterminous subscription, and they will be billed for coverage until the end of their EA. Any monetary commitment that’s not consumed before the year elapses will be forfeited.

The consumption for the initial term is determined by multiplying the prorated monthly commitment amount by the months remaining in the current year. Future billings of the service are determined by multiplying the monthly commitment amount by the months remaining in the subsequent annual term. For example, if you purchase Azure in month six of your EA term, you’ll be billed initially for a prorated six months of commitment and at anniversary for an additional 12 months of commitment.

2. Enrollment for Windows Azure (EWA): This enrollment is available under the EA program specific to the acquisition of Microsoft Azure. This enrollment type provides organizations with a separate enrollment under the hierarchy of the EA model to procure only Azure services. In addition, when signing an EWA, a customer commits to a coterminous monetary commitment to Azure that is annualized over 36 months.

3. Server and Cloud Enrollment: Released in Q4 2013, the Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) provides customers a licensing vehicle to procure server, application, and cloud technologies under a single enrollment structure. The SCE allows organizations flexibility in offering and price above what is available today in other program models. Specific to Azure, the SCE provides customers with the ability to sign an Azure-only enrollment or gain access through the commitment of another component of the SCE program (e.g., SQL Server). By committing to a component other than Azure, organizations will automatically gain access to the Azure portal where they can start provisioning the service without any initial upfront monetary commitment. They simply pay for what they use.

Microsoft Azure is one of a few options IT teams can deploy as part of their migration from Windows Server 2003. Microsoft’s various EA choices for Azure provide organizations with flexibility and options, from a more integrated licensing plan that combines Azure with current EA agreements to splitting the agreements into two separate enrollments. In this way, Azure allows for a smooth transition to the cloud.

Check back soon for the final installment of our Microsoft Windows Server 2003 licensing discussion. In the meantime, if you have any questions about Microsoft Azure, please contact your SHI Account Executive or leave a comment below.

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  • Megan Santosus

    Hi Blake,

    I’m interested in interviewing you on this very topic as I am writing an upcoming article for Channel Pro magazine. Let me know if you’re interested.

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