To whom it may concern up at Microsoft. I'm a small business server software assurance customer. Have been since 2000. Along the way there's been times that software assurance gave me a good deal (caught Live communicator as it peeled out of Exchange), and times it didn't (cough - SBS 2003 R2 comes to mind). So I'm coming up to my software assurance renewal as of June 30, 2013 in the first post SBS era renewal and I just can't justify it anymore.
As a result of me getting the parts of SBS - Windows Server 2012, Exchange 2013, the price tag of my overall agreement increased for one making me step back and really think hard about whether or not this is good value to my firm. Given that Microsoft is in this new era of "Apple like" disclosure - as in not saying anything about what they are up to - I can't predict what they will be doing in three years. While one of the guys in my office joked about whether or not Microsoft would be in business in three years - the reality of the software assurance benefits in the "new" era of Microsoft is vastly decreasing from what they were before.
New products lately haven't been more stable and we've had to wait for cumulative updates before things settled down (Exchange 2013 CU1 for example). So the often key feature touting of "new releases" is not necessarily a selling point. New things are new pain and not stable releases these days.
Elearning offerings for the server platform is typically out of date and not timely. You get better training from the Linked in Server group or Microsoft Virtual Academy. There is not a single Exchange 2013 course that I can see in the e-learning section. The only "Essentials" training is for Essential Business Server 2008 (you remember that platform, right?)
I get technet benefits from signing up for action pack. If I didn't sign up for action pack, I'd just buy technet plus outright instead of SA.
About the only thing that - assuming I did this - I might lose is the Cold Backups for Disaster recovery that are probably needed for server replication or fallover.
Bottom line in the small business space, software assurance was a hard sell before, now, I just don't see the benefits.
I don't know where Microsoft will be in three years to plan that far ahead.
So Microsoft? Give me a reason I should continue on with my software assurance purchase that expires June 30th.