Software Assurance – Microsoft Support – Do you need it ?

In the dynamic world of Information Technology, “Software Assurance” has been making waves. But what does it mean? How does it function? And why should it matter to you?

This all-encompassing guide will demystify Software Assurance, highlighting its unique attributes and advantages and transforming how we manage, utilize, and deploy IT products. So, fasten your seatbelts, and let’s delve into the realm of Software Assurance!

What is Software Assurance?

Software Assurance (SA) is an all-inclusive program with a unique combination of technologies, services, and rights designed to streamline your IT products’ management, usage, and deployment.

You can view SA as a mandatory maintenance fee within the Enterprise Agreement. Any licenses you acquire in the Enterprise Agreement will necessitate the purchase of Software Assurance fees.

Microsoft asserts that SA provides a simplified approach to license management, eliminating the need to tally individual licenses. It also facilitates easy renewal, with no requirement for new permits.

If you prefer a license without Software Assurance, you must opt for a different type of Agreement, such as CSP, Open (deprecated), or MPSA. However, tread carefully, as certain products, like platform or enterprise products, can only be procured through an Enterprise Agreement.

Moreover, the rights to utilize the software can vary significantly if you have SA or not; SQL Server Enterprise and its unlimited virtualization benefit is a prime example of this.

How does Software Assurance function?

Software Assurance can be purchased when you buy qualifying Microsoft software licenses or within 90 days of acquiring new licenses. The cost of SA is typically a percentage of the license cost, but it fluctuates based on the specific licensing agreement.

The Advantages of Software Assurance

Access to New Versions

A key advantage of Software Assurance is that it entitles customers to new software versions at no extra cost during the coverage period. This implies that if Microsoft launches a new software version during the coverage period, customers can upgrade to the new version without purchasing additional licenses.

Technical Support

Software Assurance includes access to Microsoft technical support, which offers assistance with installation, configuration, and other technical issues. Customers can also access online training resources, webcasts, and other support materials.

Planning Services

Customers can leverage planning services, which offer assistance with deployment planning, architecture design, and other facets of software implementation.

Microsoft Workplace Discount Program

With Software Assurance, customers can participate in the Microsoft Home Use Program, which provides eligible employees discounted copies of Microsoft software for use on their home computers.

License Mobility

Software Assurance also includes certain license mobility rights, which allow customers to transfer their software licenses between servers and data centers, and even to third-party cloud service providers.

The Benefits of Software Assurance

A client can access 24/7 technical support and planning services with Software Assurance. Clients can also request end-user and technical training at no additional cost. Microsoft offers two different types of support services within the Enterprise Agreement:

Premier/Unified Support Services

With this option, you are allocated support annually throughout the term of your Enrollment. You buy additional support hours when you need them, with no True-up. Services offered include:

  • Hands-on assistance.
  • Escalation of important issues.
  • Evaluation of the IT health of your organization.
  • Training.

Usually, this is sold through a Microsoft Service Account Sales representative and is contracted outside of the EA, although it is possible to include it in your Enterprise Agreement.

Digital Advisory Services

This is an option for companies to change. Microsoft Digital Advisors support and assist in the design of your vision for the future. By signing up for Digital Advisory Services, you get a Microsoft Digital Advisor and other services assigned per year of the contract term.

Three different service offers are Connect, Foundation, and Portfolio. There is no True-up concept; extra capacity is purchased through a Capacity Add-on option.

The most common Software Assurance benefit is the right to use the latest product version when it is released. It also allows users to access virtual Windows instances and to choose from Microsoft cloud services, on-premises software, or a mix of both.

In the past, Windows licenses were not transferable. Organizations needed to abandon their license investment when they upgraded to the latest version of Windows. Upgrades are cost-efficient, which can reduce costs for software and services.

Software Assurance grants you access to unique use rights and technologies. Some of the notable mentions are:

  • Right to use Step-ups (moving from a lower edition product to a higher edition – e.g., SQL Server Std to SQL Server Enterprise)
  • Disaster Recovery Rights for Windows Server
  • Ability to lower your Azure costs through the Azure Hybrid Benefit.
  • Failover Rights for SQL Server
  • Option to purchase From SA subscription licenses when you move from on-premises licenses to equivalent cloud subscriptions

These are just a few! So, always check your purchased software product’s specific Product Terms entries.

Software Assurance Credit

Microsoft can choose to assign Software Assurance credits if Software Assurance coverage overlaps when renewing into an existing or new Enterprise Agreement. This is at Microsoft’s discretion.

A Customer or Channel Price Sheet is required to effectuate this correctly. You might need this when you, for instance, have a merger/acquisition or divestiture. Or if you are trying to consolidate multiple Enrollments with different end dates into one Enrollment.


Software Assurance is not just a buzzword in the IT industry. It’s a comprehensive program offering a unique blend of technologies, services, and rights designed to help you manage, use, and deploy your IT products efficiently.

From access to new software versions at no additional cost to technical support and license mobility, Software Assurance is revolutionizing how we approach software licensing. So, whether you’re a small business owner or a large enterprise, it’s time to embrace Software Assurance and unlock its myriad benefits.

Remember, staying updated in IT is not just an option; it’s necessary. And Software Assurance is your ticket to staying ahead of the curve. So, hop on the Software Assurance train and let it guide you to a more efficient, cost-effective, and future-ready IT environment.


  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson possesses 20 years of experience in Oracle license management. Having worked at Oracle for 9 years, he gained an additional 11 years of expertise in Oracle license consulting projects. Fredrik has provided assistance to over 150 organizations worldwide, ranging in size and tackling various Oracle licensing challenges, including Licensing Assessments, Oracle audits, Oracle ULAs, and more.