4 Recent Microsoft Product Milestones

Are they bumps in your road?

We hit a couple of Microsoft milestones in April, affecting everything from Windows to Office to SQL, so I thought it would be helpful to note them all for you. To see what changes Microsoft has made and how they might affect you, read on.

1. End of Life for Windows XP (April 8th) 

Consumer response runs the gamut: everything from “I got XP, I am going to continue to use XP, and when it breaks we’ll upgrade,” all the way to “We need to get off XP like NOW, and by now I mean yesterday.” Here at PC Connection we are strongly recommending that our customers migrate to Windows 7 or 8.1 as soon as possible. Now that support for Windows XP has officially ended, we feel that it will be open season for viruses, hackers, and other malignant IT scoundrels.

2. End of Life for Office 2003 (April 8th)

3. End of Life for Exchange 2003 (April 8th)

4. Release of SQL 2014 (April 1st)

First, the good news:

  • Pricing is not changing. We were a little surprised as well, given the increases that we have seen with the last few versions.
  • Licensing rules regarding virtualization and cores are also not changing. 

Now, the less good news:

  • Active-Passive failover rules are changing. Until 2014 was released on April 1st, you could deploy one active instance of SQL and a secondary instance of SQL in passive mode for failover purposes with just one SQL license. This entitlement was not tied to Software Assurance (SA); it was tied to the license itself. Any new license purchased after April 1, 2014, will not have this active-passive entitlement unless SA is active.

What does this mean for you? Well, if you are running legacy SQL licenses without SA (2005, 2008, 2008 R2, or 2012), you are good—those licenses would be governed by the Product Use Rights for those older versions, allowing an unlicensed passive instance. However, any license with current SA (as of April 1st) is governed by the 2014 Product Use Rights. Therefore, you have active-passive rights tied to SA, and would lose that right if you drop SA, regardless of what version you are running. We view this as a major change to the usage rights for SQL and are encouraging all customers to take this into account when planning future SQL purchases. Some customers who have traditionally shied away from SA may find that it is now a must-have, or they may find themselves purchasing several more licenses than they had originally intended.

Below is a good refresher on hot, warm and DR licensing rules from 2012 to 2014:

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