Are There Cost Benefits to Microsoft’s Server & Cloud Enrollment?

By Daniel Brewster

Director of Client Services - Microsoft, NPI

May 09, 2016

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The Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE) is the successor agreement to Microsoft’s EAP (Enrollment for Application Platform) agreement, and it’s designed for those customers that are standardizing on Microsoft’s server and cloud technologies. The products offered under the SCE include Biztalk, the Core Infrastructure Suite, many of the CRM products, SQL Server and development tools.

Microsoft is quick to promote that you will receive an additional discount by placing these products on the SCE. And that’s true to some extent. You will receive a programmatic 15% discount for new License & Software Assurance (L&SA) purchases and 5% for Software Assurance (SA) only purchases.

So, what’s the catch? These products are all considered “baseline products” and every installation of a particular product in use in your organization must be included on the SCE.

For those products that currently have SA, you continue as before with SA coverage of those products. If you have installations of a particular product that did not have SA, you will receive a subscription license for the most recent release of the product. You must agree to not use any versions of previously licensed products if they are not included on the agreement. For that reason, the SCE may not be the best vehicle if you have workloads you do not plan on upgrading for one reason or another.

For example, it is not uncommon to have a third-party application require a particular version of SQL Server. You would either have to purchase SA for that installation – or forego the right to use that version of the product. The subscription licenses can be beneficial as you can adjust those quantities (up or down) annually as you retire workloads or move workloads to the cloud.

Additionally, Microsoft typically limits the discounting they will perform on SCE, claiming that the program already offers a discount via the programmatic discount. Remember, everyone gets the programmatic discount. We recommend that you identify the practical licensing scenarios that could support your deployments (EA vs. SCE, for example), and then do scenario models of the math on the discounting – the devil is in the details, and the differences in the bottom line of the scenarios may surprise you.

SCE can be a beneficial option depending upon the product types that are being purchased. NPI recommends a careful analysis to fully understand the baseline commitment – and associated cost commitment – that you are making with SCE.