Summary:  Software Assurance coverage is tied to the authorization number so when you purchase makes a difference to maximizing the length of your benefit.  In this Licensing How To post, we cover the rules and recommendations for purchasing Software Assurance on an Open License Program.  Understanding how the program works and how it affects Software Assurance coverage isn’t just good to know, it’s critical to in order to get the utmost Software Assurance benefit for the licenses you purchase.

The Licensing How To series posts are provided by our Customer Service Presales and Licensing team members.  These scenario based licensing topics are written on trending topics and issues based on their interactions with customers, Partners and field sellers.  For more posts from the Licensing How To series, search the “Licensing How To” tag on this blog.

In the Open License Program, customers have the option to acquire Licenses along with Software Assurance (SA) at any time during the agreement period.  When you make a license purchase under the Open License Program, you must decide at the point of purchase if you are going to order SA coverage or not.  You cannot retroactively add SA to licenses purchased under an Open License Program.  When you purchase SA, the coverage period is tied to the agreement authorization number. When the agreement authorization number expires, your SA coverage for the associated licenses expires as well.

The Open License Program provides a two year term. No matter at what point during the duration of your Open License Program agreement term you purchase a license and Software Assurance (L&SA), you will always pay for two years of SA, even if there are two months remaining in your agreement. This applies to L&SA as well as SA only orders. 

So what does this mean for you?  If you were to place an order for L&SA, renew SA from another agreement, or add SA to a permitted OEM or Retail license in an existing Open License Program and that agreement expires in 30 days -  your SA coverage for that license will also expire in 30 days, even though you paid for two years of coverage. 

 

 

So how do you deal with this aspect of the Open License Program?  Every time you order SA with a new license, or renew SA coverage, it may be best to start a new Open License Program to realize the maximum benefit from your SA purchase.  At a minimum, be aware of this policy, plan your purchasing accordingly, and take into account how a current Open agreement expiration date affects your SA purchases on that agreement. 

Remember that the explanation above is written to address the Open License Program, and any products that can be purchased with SA coverage within it.  This also applies to subscription based licenses available under the Open License Program such as MSDN.  If Software Assurance coverage is needed or desired for your purchase, consider that there are other license programs designed for small to medium businesses that allow you to purchase new licenses during the term of your agreement at an annual prorated rate – such as Open Value.  Your reseller should be familiar with the Open License Program and place your orders, including SA and subscription renewals, accordingly.

Here are some resources to help you with your licensing decisions - Open Programs Overview and Open Programs Program Guide.  Also if you prefer there is a short video Watch the Open programs comparison video.

This is one scenario and licensing situation. Each customer scenario can vary by deployment, usage, product version, and product use rights.  Always check your contract, and the current Products Use Rights document to confirm how your environment should be fully licensed.  The blogging team does not warrant that this scenario will be the right licensing solution for other similar cases.