Sometimes you need support … sometimes you need extended support … but sometimes you need extended-extended support!

For instance, what if your proprietary software program only runs on Windows Server 2008? Or what if your quoting software is only compatible with SQL Server 2008? But at the same time you have compliance regulations which require your software to be covered by manufacturer support and the support period is almost over. What are you going to do?

Microsoft’s solution to this problem is a new offering they announced last December. It is called Premium Assurance. Here’s the deal …

The Offering

Microsoft Premium Assurance is an add-on subscription that provides you with an extended support period for Windows Server and SQL Server. Normally, Microsoft provides five years of Mainstream Support and then five years of Extended Support.

With Premium Assurance, Microsoft will provide you with an additional six years of what I like to call “Extended-Extended Support.” (Unfortunately, the marketing folks at Microsoft didn’t ask me and the best they came up with on their own was “Premium Assurance,” so we’ll just call it that.) According to Microsoft, this Premium Assurance provides “security updates and bulletins rated ‘Critical’ and ‘Important.’”

The following image (produced by Microsoft) shows how the support cycle typically works and where Premium Assurance comes into play:

microsoft premium assurance

SQL Server 2008 will reach the end of Extended Support in July 2019, and Windows Server 2008 will reach the end of Extended Support in January 2020.

microsoft premium assurance

The Restrictions

Unfortunately, there are harsh restrictions to this Microsoft offering. In order to purchase Premium Assurance, you have to be in a rather elite category.

First, you must be enrolled in one of the following licensing programs:

  • Enterprise Agreement (EA)
  • Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS)
  • Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES)
  • Server and Cloud Enrollment

All of these are licensing programs (or enrollments within a licensing program) for large organizations, usually over 500 desktops in size. If you are a small or medium business who purchases licensing through the Open License or Open Value programs (the typical licensing programs used by Mirazon clients) then you will not qualify for this offer.

Second, this offering only applies to licenses within those agreements that are covered by Software Assurance (SA).  If you let your SA lapse on some of your Windows Server or SQL Server licenses, then you cannot purchase Premium Assurance for those licenses.

The following illustration (again, produced by Microsoft) shows how these restrictions can limit the number of licenses which qualify for Premium Assurance:

microsoft premium assurance

If you’re still in the running for this offer and you want more information, I would point you to the following resources:

The Alternative

So in the end, this will not apply to most Microsoft customers. What is your alternative?

The alternative is to plan ahead. You still have two more years of Extended Support for SQL Server 2008 and three more years of Extended Support for Windows Server 2008. If you are using software in your business that needs to run on those versions, you need take action … today. You need to come up with a game plan and you need to start working through it. You can’t keep using those legacy products forever, and it is better to take care of the problem now while you are still covered by Extended Support than to wait until the system is broken or vulnerable to attacks.

If that task seems daunting, remember that you’re not alone. Mirazon is here to help.

Send us an email or give us a call 502-240-0404 and one of our knowledgeable engineers will sit down with you, help you analyze your Microsoft support situation, and come up with a game plan.