Updates to Extended Security Updates

Extended Security Updates are critical if you want to continue safely running Windows Server and SQL Server workloads on versions that are out of support.

Extended Security Updates have been available for SQL Server/Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 since support ended, but will themselves end on July 9, 2022 and January 14, 2023 respectively. If you’re running these older products in Azure then you get 3 years of free Extended Security Updates, and Microsoft have just announced that one more year of Extended Security Updates will be available only on Azure.

It’s also time to think about support ending for SQL Server 2012 on July 12, 2022, and for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 on October 23, 2023. 3 years of Extended Security Updates will once again be available and, again, they will be free for customers running these versions in Azure. Customers will also be able to purchase ESUs through an Enterprise Agreement for on-premises workloads if they have active Software Assurance on their licences. They will just need to buy licences for the servers they need to cover, and costs will be 75% of the licence cost for the first year, 100% of the licence cost for the second year, and 125% of the licence cost for the third year.

You can find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3zg0KWL, find a datasheet here: https://bit.ly/3zg0KWL, and access a Customer FAQ here: https://bit.ly/3iskboG.

Windows 365 Cloud PC

Microsoft announce Windows 365 Cloud PC, which will securely stream the whole Windows experience, including apps and data, to any device. Windows 365 will be available from 2 August, 2021 and be licensed via per user per month pricing, with a choice of two editions: Business and Enterprise.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3kfTg1Q.

Changes to Power Apps licensing and pricing

Microsoft announce some changes to Power Apps licensing and pricing, effective from 1 October, 2021.

Firstly, the Power Apps Per User plan is reduced from $40 to $20 per user per month, and the Per App plan is reduced from $10 to $5 per user per month. The Per App plan also changes from licensing a user to access 2 apps and 1 portal in a single environment, to licensing a single app or portal.

There are also additional tiers available for customers buying large numbers of Power Apps Portals Logins, and the promotional offers reducing the Per User plan to $12 a month (5,000 licence minimum) and the Per App plan to $3 a month (200 licence minimum) are extended until the end of September 2021.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/2T8tuS1.

Windows 11

Microsoft announce Windows 11, available later in 2021. There aren’t any licensing implications – if your PC will support Windows 11 then it’s a free upgrade. However, there are changes to the servicing and support schedules.

Security updates remain on a monthly cadence, but feature updates will be delivered just once a year in the second half of the year. In terms of support, Home and Pro editions will receive 24 months of support from the General Availability date, and Enterprise edition will be supported for 36 months.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3eaECF1, and servicing and support information here: https://bit.ly/3AWKZ8X.

Microsoft Scheduler

Microsoft announce the availability of Scheduler, a new Microsoft 365 service to make scheduling meetings easier and faster. Users can now ask Cortana in their own words to schedule a meeting whether that’s with internal attendees, external people, or a mixture of both. Meeting organizers need to be licensed with a Scheduler licence which is priced at $10 per user per month and requires one of a whole host of qualifying licences – essentially Exchange Online Plan 1 or any plan which includes it.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/35CH0zJ, and the Product Terms page with the list of qualifying licences here: https://bit.ly/2OFt7vB.

Azure Virtual Desktop

Microsoft announce that Windows Virtual Desktop is now Azure Virtual Desktop. There are a whole host of new features in preview, as well as a new licensing option. Historically, users licensed with Microsoft 365 E3/E5/F3/Business Premium or Windows 10 E3/E5 or Windows 10 VDA E3/E5 licenses have rights to the service for virtual desktops and apps. Now, there’s a per user option for external users which is a monthly per user price of $5.50 for apps, or $10 for apps + desktops, with a no-cost promotional period from 14 July, 2021 to 31 December, 2021.

Find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3v4aa56.