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SQL Server in a Microsoft Server and Cloud Enrollment: Is It Right for You?

img of SQL Server in a Microsoft Server and Cloud Enrollment: Is It Right for You?

Microsoft’s Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) offers a way to simplify licensing while obtaining discounts for Microsoft products. However, there are vital considerations.

What is Server and Cloud Enrollment?

SCE is an enrollment option within the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement. Essentially, it’s a commitment to upgrade or refresh your entire software estate to current Microsoft versions with Software Assurance. This can include products like:

  • SQL Server
  • Windows Server
  • Visual Studio Enterprise

In exchange for this commitment, you receive a discount. It’s a “one size fits all” approach to licensing.

Key Considerations: The Trade-Offs of SCE

  • Legacy Licenses: One major caveat of SCE is that it voids your legacy licenses during the enrollment term (usually three years). Even though you own them, you cannot use them for optimisation, assignment, or anything else.
  • Cost vs. Flexibility: While SCE might offer savings, a careful cost analysis is highly recommended. In the long run, it may be more cost-effective to license products individually as needed rather than committing to a large upfront quantity.
  • The Perpetuity of Licenses: Don’t be misled by “end-of-life” terminology for perpetual licenses, which is often used by sales representatives to inflate the bill. While a product version might reach end-of-life, your perpetual license remains compliant. The concern only lies with security risks for outdated software.

When Does SCE Make Sense?

SCE can be a good option if you have a clear plan to license your entire estate with the latest versions of core Microsoft products and you’ve determined through analysis that it’s your most cost-effective path.

Before Committing

If you’re unsure, carefully analyse your licensing roadmap for the next three years. Consult with a licensing Subject Matter Expert (SME) to compare the costs of SCE against a more incremental licensing approach that gives you flexibility when upgrading specific instances.