Software Assurance Benefits for Education

Software Assurance to most people means just free upgrades to the latest versions but it has so many more benefits. I’m going to do a series of posts on the various extras it gives and this is the first one-looking at software assurance for Education.

There are a huge variety of different benefits available with Software Assurance and not all of them are available to both Corporate and Education customers. Also, some benefits are only offered with certain Volume Licensing schemes! Here we’re going to take a look at what benefits you get on what program.

The different Educational Volume Licensing schemes are:

  • Open Academic
  • Academic Select/Select Plus
  • Campus/School Agreement (also SESP in UK)


New Version Upgrades: Gives upgrades to the latest version of software. Available on all schemes.

Home Use Program: Allows each Office Application licence to also be used at home. Available on Campus/School Agreement & SESP only.

Windows Vista/7 Enterprise: Allows each copy of Business/Pro to be installed as Enterprise. Available on all schemes.

E-Learning: For each Office Application/Windows Client/Server Licence, you get one licence for the applicable E-learning courses. Available on all schemes.

Cold Back Up for Disaster Recovery: For each server licence, you can run one instance on a “cold” backup server. Available on all schemes.

Technet Plus Direct: Gives you 1 subscription for Technet Plus. Not available on Open Academic.

Windows Fundamentals for Legacy PCs: Cutdown OS based on XP Embedded for older machines. Available on Campus/School Agreement & SESP only.

Extended Hotfix Support-Server: Available on all schemes.

Extended Hotfix Support-Desktop: Not available on Open Academic.

One benefit that isn’t available to Education customers is the entitlement to Training Vouchers.

The Microsoft page for the above is here.

The above are the direct benefits of Software Assurance but there are 2 slightly more indirect benefits:

Ability to purchase VECD: “Vista/Virtual Enterprise Centralised Desktop” is the required base for deploying a Microsoft VDI infrastructure and allows you to centrally store instances of the Desktop OS on your servers. For more info-see my post here and my post on VDI here.

Ability to purchase MDOP: The “Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack” is an excellent set of extra tools that can really improve and streamline your Systems Management. Components include App-V, MED-V, Error reporting and much more. I’ll be working on an MDOP post soon so will link that here ASAP :-) For now, here’s the official MDOP blog.

While these benefits often prove invaluable to Secondary schools/colleges, recent discussions I’ve had indicate that they’re not so attractive to primary schools. I’d love to get some feedback on that point?! :-)

If all/some of the above has piqued your interest-you next question is surely:

“How do I get Software Assurance?”

If you have Open/Select-you can choose to add Software Assurance (SA) when you purchase new licences. If you have a Schools/Campus/SESP agreement, all the licences are covered with SA as standard.

If you have any questions on the benefits of SA and/or how to obtain Volume licensing-feel free to drop me a mail at or tweet me @richfrombechtle.

When is Windows Svr 2008 R2 RTM out?

With all the interest in Windows 7, Server 2008 R2 is getting as much love as it was perhaps expecting. However as many of the best features of Windows 7 rely on Svr R2-it’s a good idea to know when you can get your hands on it:

ISV & IHV Partners: August 14th

Microsoft Certified/Gold Certified Partners: August 19th

Microsoft Action Pack Subscribers: August 23rd

OEMs: July 29th

Volume Licensing customer with Software Assurance: August 19th

Volume Licensing customer without Software Assurance: September 1st

TechNet/MSDN Subscribers: August 14th

Retail Channel: September 14th

According to Twitter-it could be August 19th for Technet/MSDN…

One thing I do find funny is that Microsoft are still telling customers it’s release date is January…but if you really push them, they’ll go to November :-)

Technet blog is here.