Microsoft has updated its Software Assurance (SA) volume licensing agreement to give companies the option of a cold backup for basic disaster recovery with no licence costs.
The move will allow companies to have a server loaded with the Windows operating software, in case it is needed as a replacement for disaster recovery, without having to pay for the additional licence.
The option, which will become available on 1 June, is aimed at customers who want basic disaster recovery. When another system goes down, a fresh one can be brought into use in its place.
"This is cold backup for disaster recovery," Mark Buckley, Microsoft's UK licensing marketing manager, told vnunet.com. "This is a change because Microsoft defines software loaded on a machine as requiring a licence."
Buckley said that 'hot' and 'warm' disaster recovery needed a second machine to be in operation in order to automatically take over in the event of a failure, and that these would continue to need a licence. For 'cold' disastery recovery, the system must remain switched off until needed.
"There are a number of reasons a system can go down, including loss of power, CPU or memory. In some cases it may simply mean removing a removable hard drive from the bad system," he added.
In addition, two further products can now be purchased through SA: the Microsoft MapPoint web service and Live Meeting 2003.
Microsoft has bundled in a series of new services since SA was first introduced three years ago. But customers have complained that their ability under SA to upgrade to the latest software releases has been undermined by delays to key products.
This year Microsoft has already put back the release date for the next versions of SQL Server database management, Visual Studio development environment and the Windows operating system codenamed Longhorn.
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