Microsoft Unveils New Licensing, Expanded Product Support Policies to Ease Path to Virtualization

Microsoft just made a couple of noteworthy announcements.

Update: more background information on the Windows Virtualization Team blog.

Beginning Sept. 1, 2008, customers will be able to move any of 41 Microsoft server applications between servers within a server farm as often as necessary without paying additional licensing fees, and they can take advantage of expanded technical support.

As you probably already know, Microsoft also will begin a worldwide series of “Get Virtual Now” events this month that will showcase Microsoft virtualization products and partner solutions, reaching more than 250,000 IT professionals.

Microsoft is updating its software licensing terms for 41 server applications, including Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Enterprise edition, Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 Standard and Enterprise editions, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Enterprise and Professional editions, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Microsoft System Center products.

The company is waiving its previous 90-day reassignment rule, allowing customers to reassign licenses from one server to another within a server farm as frequently as needed. For many customers, the change will reduce the number of licenses they need to support their IT systems, increase agility, and simplify the tracking of application instances or processors because customers now can count licenses by server farm instead of by server.

Microsoft has also updated its technical support policy for 31 server applications so that customers can receive technical support when deploying those applications on Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Microsoft Hyper-V Server or any other third-party validated virtualization platform. Now customers can get the same level of product support in a virtualized environment that they are accustomed to with non-virtual environments.

To enable this support policy, Microsoft launched the Server Virtualization Validation Program last June. The program is open to any software vendor to test and validate its virtualization software to run Windows Server 2008 and previous versions of Windows Server. We just reported that Cisco and VMware are joining the program.

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