Microsoft Licences

Recently I got the opportunity to be a part of the windows team. We are (yes still are) using a microsoft (yes the same microsoft) product to handle one of our websites due to legacy bindings – user base, existing technology, backend team.

My first encounter with microsoft on the enterprise end was when we were trying to use Microsoft Navision – supply chain management solution – in one of my previous companies. The reason why I say that we were “trying” to use was because it took us more than 6-8 months to put it into production. And spend another 3 months in training. Microsoft sucks the user. I saw that if I purchase 1 product from microsoft, the dependencies are so well built in that I eventually end up purchasing a lot of other microsoft product.

Microsoft NAV cost us around 1 million INR. Now I cannot use NAV as it is, it needs to be customized. And it cannot be customized by just any developer. NAV can only be customized only by companies / developers who have the licence to do so. The licence for customization is extremely expensive – maybe even more expensive than the licence for selling liquor in india. Once I pay for customization, I have to go ahead and deploy the software somewhere. For which I need microsoft licences – OS, web server, database server. And then ofcourse plan for HA (high availability) – which means atleast 2 of each. So the strategy here is that once you purchase a product licence, you need the complete platform licence and eventually you end up paying many times more than the actual product cost.

Another concept that I became aware of recently was “software assurance”. What is that ?? Well, have you heard of life insurance ? Software Assurance (SA) is somewhat similar to that. It ensures that you get all the patches and version upgrades – (may or may not be free) as and when they are released. So if you purchase windows 2012 and plan to shift to windows 2014 when it is released, it is possible. There may be some cost involved.

Among all microsoft licences, I believe that the DB licence is the killer. The standard licence costs 1/4th of the cost of enterprise licence.  The difference between enterprise and standard licence is that the standard can utilize only upto 2 cores in a machine. But an Enterprise edition can utilize upto any number of cores – and the licence cost is in mulitples of “dual cores”. So if you have a dual quad core machine (8 cores), you end up purchasing 4 licences which is 16 times that of the standard licence cost.

And why should I pay for microsoft? when there are so many technologies which are better and available for free of cost. If I have to pay for support, why should i pay for the product and then for the support. Why not get the product for free and then pay for support ?

Final accessment was that microsoft is like a spider’s web, once you get entangled, you keep on getting more and more entangled. And there is no getting out without losing your own investment. Beware!!!

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