April 2013

          Licensing in Plain English: Newsletter on all things Microsoft

          A Note from your Licensing Specialists at PC Connection, Inc.:

          With all the buzz about Windows XP End of Support, as well as new revs of 7, 8, and “Blue” these days, it seems appropriate to take a closer look at Mainstream and Extended Support – what does each provide?  Why should I care?  And what are the upcoming dates I should be aware of?

          First of all, the “Mainstream Support Phase” of any product lasts about 5 years after General Availability (GA).  In the case of more popular versions, like Windows XP, these have been extended beyond this 5-year period.  Mainstream Support includes the following:  On-line support, , Security Updates and Hotfixes, Non-Security Updates and Hotfixes, and Service Pack updates.

          The “Extended Support Phase” (often referred to as ”end of life”) of a product typically extends 5 years beyond the expiration of Mainstream Support and includes the following: Fee-based Support (per support agreement or per incident), Security Updates and Hotfixes, Non-security Hotfixes (requires Extended Hotfix Support Agreement).

          So the basic difference here is that with Extended Support you only receive Security-related updates – no Service Packs or non-security updates.  In either support phase, Microsoft will only provide support for the most recent Service Pack.  So, with all of this in mind, let’s look at some upcoming support end dates…


          • Windows XP SP3 – Extended Support ends April 8, 2014
          • Windows 7 SP1 – Mainstream Support ends Jan. 13, 2015
          • Windows 8 – Mainstream Support ends Jan. 14, 2018
          • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 – Mainstream Support ends Jan. 15, 2015
          • Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 – Extended Support ends Jan. 14, 2020
          • Windows Server 2003 and 2003 R2 – Extended Support ends July 14, 2015
          • Office 2010, Visio 2010, Project 2010 – Mainstream Support ends Oct. 13, 2015
          • Office 2007, Visio 2007, Project 2007 – Extended Support ends Oct. 10 2017
          • SharePoint Server 2010 – Mainstream Support ends Oct. 13, 2015
          • Exchange Server 2007 – Extended Support ends Aug. 11, 2017
          • Exchange Server 2010 – Mainstream Support ends Jan. 13, 2015


          Make sure you are keeping these dates in mind as you plan your next deployments.  The end of a support phase should not be your only criteria for making the decision to move, but it should play a role in your decision-making process.  You need to assess your risk tolerance, particularly if you are running an older version that will no longer be receiving security patches.  Of course there are plenty of other factors to consider when evaluating your deployment roadmap.  If you would like any more information on GA dates, Support end dates, release dates, or anything else pertaining to Microsoft’s projected release schedule, please do not hesitate to contact your specialist here at PCC.  We are here to help!

          And now, here is a look at some of the headlines from March (LOTS of buzz about Windows “Blue” – we’re not exactly sure what to make of it yet, but it looks interesting….):


          Windows 7 Service Pack 1 heads to users March 19

          Microsoft is starting to push Windows 7 SP1 to Windows 7 users via Windows Update, ahead of the early April end-of-support date for the RTM version of the product.

          By Mary Jo Foley
          March 19, 2013


          How Windows XP end of life will affect your desktop applications

          As Windows XP comes to the end of its life, applications in enterprise desktop and virtualization environments everywhere will feel the effects.

          Gabe Knuth
          March 30, 2013


          Windows Blue May Include Multitasking App View

          Windows Blue will include new "Snap Views" that allow users to place up to four apps next to each other in Windows 8 view, similar to multitasking views that Windows supported with previous versions of Windows, according to the website The Verge, which said an early build had been available through several file sharing sites.

          By Tom Warren
          The Verge
          March 24, 2013 08:57


          First Look: 5 Cool Windows 'Blue' Features

          Cool Windows 'Blue' Features 

          By Edward J. Correia
          March 29, 2013


          Microsoft's Office 'Gemini': Windows Blue's twin

          The Windows team isn't the only one 'reimagining' how to build and deliver future versions of its core product. The Office unit is, too.

          By Mary Jo Foley
          March 27, 2013


          Microsoft's Office 365: Business users' top questions (and answers)

          Microsoft conducted a launch Webcast about the rollout on February 27. I pulled some of the audience members' top questions and Microsoft-provided answers from that event. I've added a couple of additional annotations in some cases, as I've indicated.

          By Mary Jo Foley
          February 27, 2013


          Office 365 for Businesses Updated
          Office 365 has been updated to use the latest versions of Microsoft's client and server applications. Office 365 is a set of services that combines Microsoft-hosted online services with optional subscription licenses to the Office desktop suite. Customers joining after Feb. 27, 2013, will automatically receive services based on the 2013 versions of Microsoft's applications and new Office 365 management and user interfaces that integrate the services together. Existing customers will receive advance notification and be updated during 2013. This release more closely mirrors on-premises capabilities and may persuade more customers to migrate to the service.

          Wes Miller
          Directions on Microsoft
          March 11, 2013


          BizTalk Server 2013 – New Per Core Licensing Model

          BizTalk Server 2013, expected to be released on April 1st, is to be licensed under a new policy. The main change is the move from per processor to per core pricing. According to Microsoft, conversion rules will be the same as for SQL Server 2012. What does it mean for BizTalk users? Should they purchase BizTalk licenses now or rather wait? Have a look at our findings on this topic.


          Expert Offers Tips on Microsoft's Software Assurance Program

          If the software product version is good enough for the next few years, then it makes financial sense to depart from SA coverage for a while, he said. But Horwitz cautioned those thinking about cancelling SA coverage to "be aware of product dependency." An upgrade of another product, such as Windows, SharePoint or SQL Server, could cause "a domino effect."

          By Kurt Mackie


          Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Includes Replicas
          The third version of Hyper-V, which shipped with Windows Server 2012, includes a new feature for replicating virtual machines (VMs) for disaster recovery, as well as improvements to VM importing and PowerShell administration. These and other improvements, such as Hyper-V's support for virtual networks, extending the virtual switch, and enabling file shares to store a VM's hard drives, make Hyper-V more competitive for virtualizing server application and desktop virtualization workloads. To benefit from replication, administrators must understand its capabilities, carefully plan the deployment and ongoing administration, and use the features in compliance with all applicable license-usage rights.


          Hyper-V Replica Aids Disaster Recovery
          Hyper-V Replica is a new feature of Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2012 that provides a hardware-, storage-, and workload-agnostic solution for disaster recovery of VMs. Disaster recovery solutions prepare an organization's vital technology infrastructure to ensure that critical services are quickly restored following natural disasters (such as hurricanes or floods) or man-made disasters (such as fires or power failures). Hyper-V Replica copies changes made to a VM disk at a primary site asynchronously across a wide area network and applies them to the disk of a VM at a replica site. If a disaster brings down the VM at the primary site, the VM at the replica site can be brought up quickly to provide business continuity. For disaster recovery, Hyper-V offers new deployment and management advantages over VM recovery technologies that Microsoft has offered to date.

          Michael Cherry
          Directions on Microsoft
          March 18, 2013


          Microsoft working to bring natural language, speech input to Excel

          Analyze uses natural-language tools and automatic-programming-generation techniques to allow users to perform basic calculations and other analytic tasks inside Excel spreadsheets. Instead of having to figure out a way to generate a specific query, users will be able to type in requested information, such as "who got paid the most," and let Analyze do the work of parsing and answering.

          By Mary Jo Foley
          March 25, 2013


          Why I love Lync 2013: A telecommuter's dream come true

          After seven years of working from home, I finally have the tools to communicate and collaborate seamlessly with my remote colleagues.

          By Jason Perlow
          March 19, 2013


          Head-to-Head: Microsoft Surface Pro vs. Apple iPad 4

          By Edward J. Correia
          March 8, 2013

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