New Microsoft license agreement could drive up costs

Microsoft debuted its new Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) licensing program, replacing the popular Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) and Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP) programs. The new program streamlines options, but may lead some enterprises to pay as much as 40 percent or more for critical Microsoft application and infrastructure offerings, according to one IT spend management consultant.

Designed for “highly committed” customers, SCE is intended to provide new cloud-optimized licensing options, simplified license management and the best pricing and terms. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be paying less, says Jeff Muscarella, executive vice president of the IT and Telecom Division at NPI.

“Everyone who makes heavy use of ECI and EAP today under their Microsoft agreements should take a look at this,” he says. “Take a look and see if it’s worth renewing for another three years under those terms.”

For some enterprises, the new program may make sense. Others may find that it will be more advantageous to license their Microsoft applications and infrastructure through a select agreement. It may also be worth seeking to renew the existing ECI or EAP terms for another three years before they expire.

SCE Offers Best Windows Azure Terms and Pricing

SCE is a new three-year Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that allows customers to standardize on one or more Microsoft Server and Cloud technologies. It’s not a minor commitment. To enroll, customers make an installed base-wide commitment to one or more components–a commitment to full Software Assurance (SA) coverage across the installed base of an SCE component, and, in the case of System Center, committing to full System Center coverage on their Windows Server installed base through Core Infrastructure Suites (CIS).

In return for this commitment, Microsoft says customers will receive significant incremental value and benefits, including the following:

A 15 percent discount on License and Software Assurance (L+SA) products, five percent off SA products and five percent off Azure when another component is included.
New subscription-based licensing options alongside perpetual licenses that give customers access to more flexibility when they need to retire workloads, consolidate or migrate to the cloud.
Incremental rights for CIS committed customers to use System Center to manage Azure virtual machines and resources at no additional cost.
Microsoft Premier Service’s customers may also qualify for unlimited problem resolution support for SQL Server, Windows Server and System Center, BizTalk Server and SharePoint Server.
All the benefits of SA, including access to License Mobility for many Microsoft applications, enabling more seamless migrations to the cloud.