Microsoft gives away free server software licences

Just keep your machines switched off...

Just keep your machines switched off...

Microsoft has started doing the unthinkable – giving away free software licences to businesses.

The free licences are available as of this month for 'cold' servers – servers that are only switched on when needed – as a sweetener for those bulk buying Microsoft licences.

The software can be used only on servers used for disaster-recovery purposes that largely remain switched-off, with the exception of activation for patch management and testing, as well as in the event of an actual disaster recovery situation.

The give-away forms part of Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing programme.

With recent analysts' reports saying Linux is grabbing an ever-greater market share in the server market, some have suggested that Microsoft might be trying to keep fickle customers away from the arms of open source by adopting a similar strategy to its rival – giving away its software.