Microsoft is introducing a new support offering for customers with Software Assurance on Dec. 8.
The company is rolling out in early 2017 Windows Server Premium Assurance and SQL Server Premium Assurance , which add six more years of support beyond the current 10. During the six years of Premium Assurance, customers will get Security updates and bulletins that are rated "Critical or "Important."
Microsoft officials said in a blog post the new extended support will help those who need to "continue to meet compliance requirements and ensure security on systems you aren't ready to update." They also are positioning the extended support option as offering "flexibility as you move to the cloud."
The first versions of products that will be available for Premium Assurance coverage will be SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2, for which extended support is set to end in July 2019, and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2, for which Extended Support is set to end in January 2020.
The new Windows Server Premium Assurance and SQL Server Premium Assurance options can be purchased separately or together starting next year. They are purchasable as add-ons to Software Assurance, which is a Microsoft volume-licensing program that provides users with the latest versions of covered products for a set period (usually three years), along with other tools and benefits.
"Premium Assurance pricing will start at 5 percent of the current product license cost, and will increase over time (up to 12 percent). Buying before the end of June 2017 means you will save nearly 60 percent on the cost of Premium Assurance," according to Microsoft's post.
More pricing and licensing details are available in Microsoft's Premium Assurance data sheet.
I'm wondering if Microsoft is contemplating adding other products to this offer, especially given the recent decision not to provide enterprise users with the option of custom contracts for extended support beyond 2017 for Office 2007. I've asked and will update this post if/when I hear back.
Update: "Microsoft does not have plans to announce additional offerings," said a spokesperson.