Right on cue, on November 1, Microsoft introduced a new option to its Enterprise Agreement licensing plan that "allows highly committed customers to standardize broadly on one or more key Server and Cloud technologies from Microsoft."
Microsoft officials said last month that these enterprise discounts, slated to go live on November 1, "will be better than Amazon’s on commodity services like compute, storage and bandwidth." The new discounts will run alongside Microsoft's current guarantee that it will match Amazon.com's prices on compute, storage and bandwidth.
This new Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) offers users a subscription option for not just cloud, but also on-premises Microsoft software, including Windows Server, System Center, SQL Server, BizTalk Server, SharePoint Server and Visual Studio.
SCE adds new "cloud-optimized licensing options" and "the best pricing and terms," according to Microsoft's November 1 volume-price list.
To incent users to subscribe, Microsoft is providing a fiscal 2014 jumpstart promotion for SCE, which runs from November 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014. During that period, Microsoft will offer a 15 percent discount on Core Infrastructure Suite Data Center Licensing and Service Agreement (L&SA), as well as Software Assurance only to customers purchasing these products via Enterprise Volume Licensing. This price cut is available only for new purchases and will be available to customers via SCE in all customer segments worldwide.
Here's the fine print about SCE from the downloadable SCE datasheet and frequently asked questions document. (Thanks to Rich Gibbons from Bechtle for the datasheet pointer).
In order to enroll in SCE, users have to make "an installed-base-wide commitment to one or more components," for three years, which means committing to full Software Assurance coverage across the installed base of a particular component. For doing so, users get 15 percent discounts for new licenses and Software Assurance purchases, plus a five percent discount on Software Assurance renewals.
Microsoft will provide SCE subscribers with new "cloud-optimized" licensing options, "simplified license management" and "the best pricing and terms." According to the datasheet, SCE is the way users can get Microsoft's lowest Windows Azure pricing, application-license mobility to the cloud and other new benefits for using System Center to manage Azure resources. Other SCE benefits include a "new subscription-based option" which provides greater flexibiity for retiring workloads, consolidating or migrating to the cloud, the datasheet specified.