Why you should consider Premium Assurance for Windows Server and SQL Server

 In Microsoft, Software

In today’s rapidly evolving IT landscape, IT organizations are walking a fine line between transitioning to the cloud and retaining on-premises systems. They’re moving applications and infrastructure to the cloud for flexibility and scalability, but also need to maintain stable, secure, workable environments in house for applications that are not yet suited for cloud deployments. These transitions can take time, and often don’t happen in one fell swoop—mission-critical and legacy applications often have to stay on legacy server versions longer, and ensuring their security is vital to providing continuity and a stable environment.


To aid these transitions, and give organizations a more comfortable timeline to explore which aspects of their environment to transition to the cloud, Microsoft has introduced Premium Assurance, a new support model that provides an additional six years of support for Windows servers and SQL servers, version 2008 and later, to maintain their environments without disruption.

Premium Assurance was introduced on March 1 at its lowest price, but if you’re interested, you should purchase soon. Here’s everything you need to know.

Premium Assurance extends your servers’ security

The typical support lifecycle for Windows Server and SQL includes five years of Mainstream Support and five years of Extended Support. In the past, customers had to rely on custom support agreements to maintain security updates for their legacy server deployments after this support ran out. Now, Premium Assurance adds an additional six years to that lifecycle, providing security updates and bulletins rated “critical” and “important.”

This allows you to move to the cloud under your own timeline, rather than worry about your support lifecycle ending on a mission-critical application before you’re ready to migrate it.

Is Premium Assurance right for you?

Premium Assurance is only available for Windows Server and SQL licenses purchased through specific Volume Licensing programs: Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS), Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE), and Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES). Any servers bought through non-Enterprise Agreements do not apply.

Additionally, Premium Assurance must be purchased as a separate add-on to Software Assurance, and through the same enrollment as Software Assurance for base licenses. It also must be purchased for all server licenses contained in a given enrollment. Finally, while Premium Assurance coverage is not required for client access licenses (CALs) or external connector licenses, all CALs and external connectors used to access a server covered with Premium Assurance must have active Software Assurance.

Buying now could save big bucks

Because Premium Assurance coverage is only offered for Windows Server and SQL Version 2008 and later, whose security lifecycle will come to an end in 2019, many customers may be reluctant to purchase now. After all, Premium Assurance won’t actually be needed for another two years or more, depending on the version of servers deployed in your environment.

However, the sliding scale that Microsoft has provided for the purchase of Premium Assurance actually makes early adoption a monetary advantage. The longer you wait to buy, the higher the cost. The estimated pricing of the Premium Assurance Add-on, based on percentage of current license costs, is as follows:

  • March 2017 through June 2017: 5 percent
  • July 2017 through June 2018: 7 percent
  • July 2018 through June 2019: 9 percent
  • After June 2019: 12 percent

Premium Assurance must be purchased before the end of the current support lifecycle for the earliest version of Server that you are to secure.

Once you have committed to Premium Assurance, you are price locked in your given price series for current, new, and renewal purchases. In the long run, adopting early can save you up to 58 percent.

Adapting at your own speed

Premium Assurance is just one more way to make sure your environment meets your needs and changes on your time frame. Whether or not your organization is moving or planning a move to the cloud, Premium Assurance gives more options to keep your servers secure and up to date. Talk to your account executive today for more information on Premium Assurance.

Kyle Timm contributed to this post.

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