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venerdì 6 maggio 2016

Some Considerations about SQL Server editions and pricing


Firts of all let me say I definitively love SQL Server and I'm really impressed about the product technical improvements in the last years, including the stunning 2016 Version. But at the same time I am worried about the SQL Server  market positioning on non-enterprise customers.
Standard Edition price is growing too much, by my opinion.
The free SQL Server Express edition is really too limited in terms of resources to work as a company central repository; Standard Edition can do this job well (altough the 128 GB RAM limitation can easly become a bottleneck), but, in many cases, affording a 10K licences price + the SA fee really becomes a serious obstacle  to the product adoption.
Please take in consideration that there are millions of small customers, using only SQL Server standard features as backend for their ERP, accounting software, stock management and so on, that your pricing strategy is pushing away (and this is not only true for SQL Server). 
So, although I am quite sure that my words will be lost in the wind, I would like to give some non-technical suggestion:
1) In SQL Server 2012 MS has introduced the BI Edition, why don’t cut off the Standard Edition  price as well as the BI features?
2) MS is still selling SQL Server as a product (license) and as a service (Software Assurance); now is giving free licenses to customers migrating from Oracle, but they still have to pay the service (SA). Why don't do a step forward and decide to sell the whole product, for all customers, as a service eliminating the initial licence price?
3) MS is already selling SQL Server nearly as a as a service in contexts like SPLAs,Enterprise Agreements and, of course, Azure
4) By my opinion Software Assurance is creating problems to both MS and Customers: MS is quite obligated to release a new Version every 2 years, and customers have to afford upgrading side costs; I think that adopting a more relaxed versioning can simpify the life to both parts
5) Software Assurance covers the whole product price in about 3 years, please consider the benefits of a costant lifetime entroy and don't be so aggressive in terms of fees
6) In the next years a lot of customers will move to cloud, Azure fee can be seen as a Computing service + a Software Service fee, now if your clients are already paying a monthly SQL Server fee it would be very easy to move from/to the public cloud to/from the private cloud simply adding or removing the computing fee
Other SQL Server experts at the same time are complaining about the Standard Editions features limitations.    
I think you have really developed a wonderfull product, but at the some time a discutable marketing strategy, that is positioning your product as an Enterprise solution even for the entry level editions; I hope I shouldn’t reskill myself on PostGress in the next years.

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