A question that gets asked from time to time is, “Why should I add Software Assurance to my Desktop Operating System licenses instead of just upgrading?  In a simple answer: Access to more benefits for you and your company.  Now, let me expand on that greatly simplified answer…

First, having Software Assurance means you get first access to the new versions when they become available.  So with Windows 7, those customers that have Software Assurance on their Windows Desktop Operating System licenses get first access to the Windows 7 code for deployment through the Volume License Service Center download site.  In addition, some of you may recall that with Windows Vista, we released a separate version of Windows Vista for Software Assurance holders called Windows Vista Enterprise.  In the Windows 7 era, we are once again offering a specific version of Windows 7 for Software Assurance holders specifically called Windows 7 Enterprise.  So what are the additional benefits that you get if you have Software Assurance on your Windows Desktop Operating System licenses:

1) Windows 7 Enterprise - which gets you the following items that are not included in Windows 7 Professional:

  • DirectAccess - Give mobile users seamless access to corporate networks, when they are on Internet, without a need for them to start a virtual private network (VPN) connection.
  • BranchCache - Decrease time branch office users spend waiting to download files from remote servers by caching the previously accessed content locally in a branch’s network.
  • Enterprise Search Scopes - Make content on intranet portals, such as SharePoint sites, more discoverable and accessible to users, by populating links to users Start Menu, pointing them to the most appropriate data sources on the network.
  • BitLocker and BitLocker To Go - Help protect data on PCs and removable drives with the manageability to enforce encryption and backup of recovery keys.
  • AppLocker - Specify software that is allowed to run on users’ PCs with centrally managed, flexible group policies.
  • Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) Optimizations - Improved user experience for VDI with multi-monitor and microphone support. Reuse virtual machine (VHD) images to boot a physical PC.
  • Multi Lingual User Interface - Create a single OS image for deployment to users worldwide.
  • Subsystem for UNIX-based - Run UNIX applications unchanged on a Windows-based PC.

2) Virtual Operating System Rights - Use up to four instances of Windows in virtual OS environments for each license that has active Software Assurance coverage.

3) Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs - Available exclusively to Microsoft Software Assurance customers, this small-footprint, Windows-based operating system solution is for customers with legacy computers running early operating systems who are not in a position to purchase new hardware.

4) Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) - MDOP is an add-on subscription license that provides innovative technologies to help better control the desktop PC, accelerate and simplify desktop PC deployments and management, and create a dynamic infrastructure by turning software into centrally-managed services.

5) Windows Virtual Enterprise Centralized Desktop for Software Assurance - Windows VECD is an annual device-based subscription that enables organizations to license virtual copies of Windows 7 (or prior OS versions) in a variety of user scenarios.

In addition, customers with Software Assurance receive access to the following additional benefits:

As you can see, having Software Assurance on your Windows Desktop Operating System licenses instead of just an upgrade makes a big difference in what you receive and have access to for your computing devices.  If you are utilizing virtualization, for instance, the four virtualized desktop operating system licenses alone would save you a bunch of money vs. having to purchase those four licenses separately if you did not have the Software Assurance.

Hopefully this helps explain some of the big differences between the two options.  Also, be sure to check out the latest offers in the market for Software Assurance for your Windows Desktop Operating System licenses, such as the 15% off discount currently posted on the Microsoft Incentives site.  You can also check out our Global Promotions page as well to see what offers are available worldwide.  Be sure to check with your specific country to see if they are offering the Global Promotion you are interested in.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric LigmanFollow me on TWITTER clip_image003 and RSS clip_image004
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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