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29 Jul 2010  

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
Microsoft Enterprise License Agreements

So, my company is on the verge of having to renew a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement and I've been provided the privilege of being one of the people involved with validating our licenses and ensuring that we have what we need, etc. According to Microsoft, we save an estimated 45%-60% on retail licensing by having an EA agreement.

I found a few appalling things when I started digging into this.
#1). You are required as a participant to agree to purchase basic desktop software (OS, Office, CAL) for EVERY desktop computer in the organization...regardless if it's going to run Windows or not. For example, Apple Mac's and Linux boxes.

#2). Our company which uses a few Exchange servers, a few SQL servers and has about 300 desktops pays nearly a quarter million dollars a year for our current agreement and since we are in a renewal...this money simply covers the Software assurance part of the agreement as we already bought the licenses when we purchased the original EA agreement.

#3). If we decide to let our EA agreement expire...we can still use the software that we are covered for under our current EA (300 copies of windows 7 and 300 copies of Office 2010 and 300 CAL's). But if we decide 3 years down the road to get another EA agreement, we have to purchase new licenses for all of our devices all over again. Therefore, we would be buying licenses for machines that we already licensed under this program before. So, technically 2 licenses to run the same exact product on the same machine. Arrghhh....what a crock.

So, if SA costs 29% of the cost of the actual licenses (As MS says it does), this means that for 300 desktops, if we did a new EA 2 years down the road it would cost us about $850,000 for the licenses and $250,000 a year for SA...thus the cost of a year year would be 1.1 million a year. So, 1.6 million dollars in 3 years (the length of time of an Enterprise Agreement). So, I can either pay $250,000 a year for the next 3 years to be sure I can stay up to date...or just save my money and buy what I need either retail or OEM during that timeframe and be almost certain that it will be less than $250,000 a YEAR. the next time you get mad because your company is not keeping up to date on their versions of Office and aware that for a company with 300 or more employees...we could be talking huge numbers.
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