In recent time, Microsoft has made massive efforts to get people to migrate off products that had reached their end of life. In 2014, it was Windows XP. In 2015, it was Windows Server 2003. This year it was SQL Server 2005.
So, knowing what the Microsoft had went through to make people migrate makes this latest bit of news slightly baffling. Microsoft has silently announced the addition of a 3rd tier to its product lifecycle, expanding the lifespan of both Windows Server and SQL Server by another six years.
Microsoft usually offers 2 tiers of lifecycle support covering a 10-year lifespan. The first 5 years, known as Mainstream support, which include new features as well as security and non-security updates. The last 5 years, covering extended support, has security and non-security updates, but no additional features are added to the product. After that, all support stops.
Beginning of next year, customers can purchase a Premium Assurance plan to prolong the lifecycle of both Server and SQL Server beyond the traditional extended support period for 6 more years.
Under the current life cycle plan, both Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 are set to stop in 2020. Yes, they had 2 extra years of life tacked on. With the addition of Premium Assurance, both 2008/2008 R2 products will now be sustained until 2026. Premium Assurance will offer security updates ranked “Critical” and “Important,” so basically it extended its support minus the non-critical fixes.
How much it will cost to extend support
Though, there’s a catch. You didn’t think this would be a total free go, did you? In the blog post announcing the new support layer, Microsoft states the price of Premium Assurance will be up to 12 percent of the total license cost.
“Premium Assurance rating 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.”
To purchase Premium Assurance, you must previously have a Software Assurance contract. Software Assurance is Microsoft’s maintenance contract that covers updates to apps so they always have the newest version of the product, along with technical support and deployment planning.