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Microsoft offers 'cold' server perk to customers

For businesses that have servers standing at the ready in case of disaster, Redmond has some good news.

Microsoft continues to add small touches to its licensing program. Though the perks are not monumental, the company this week introduced a few changes that could make some corporate customers happy.

The first is a disaster recovery benefit for Microsoft's Software Assurance maintenance program. Microsoft said that on June 1, for each server product covered by Software Assurance maintenance program, customers will get the right to install a copy of software on a "cold" server. The

You will see additional [licensing] benefits trickle out over time.

Alvin Park, analyst,

Gartner Inc.

company defines a cold server as one that is turned off unless a disaster arises.

By offering this option, customers won't have to license extra servers that sit around unused unless a disaster happens, according to Alvin Park, research director at Gartner Inc., of Stamford, Conn.

Microsoft also said it will include MapPoint Web Services and Office Live Meeting on its July price list for volume licensing customers.

Park and others have predicted that Microsoft will continue to add features to its licensing program until there is enough value to make people want to buy it without quibbling, regardless of whether they get an upgrade in their contract cycle.

"You will see

For more information:

Find out why Microsoft still has work to do in its licensing program


Learn who should renew their Licensing 6.0/Software Assurance deals
additional benefits trickle out over time," Park said.

Park said he has prodded Microsoft to consider several bigger changes to improve the value of the program. He suggests that Microsoft offer a guarantee that customers will receive a software upgrade. He also recommends that Microsoft drop its price to be more in line with what other vendors charge for their products. And, finally, he urges that the software maker improve the technical support offered in the program.

The price for Software Assurance on the desktop is 29% of the cost of a new license and 25% of the cost of a new server license. "If they dropped the price, the break-even point would elongate and people would be able to have a four- to five-year cycle, which is in keeping with that they want," he said.

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