Microsoft on Monday released retail pricing for the upcoming release of Windows Server 2003, which is due out in late April.
For the most part, consultants and customers found no surprises. Most large companies are not going to see much of an impact, since they negotiate individual agreements, but smaller business customers may feel it a little more, said Paul Hinsberg, chief executive at CRSD Inc., a Pleasanton, Calif., consulting firm.
Here's the good news: Web server pricing stays inexpensive, which is good, since competitors such as Linux and Apache are free. "If Microsoft wishes to stay in the Web server space, Windows 2003 for this use would have to be pretty inexpensive," Hinsberg said.
The Windows 2003 Standard price does not reflect any increase, since Windows 2000 with 5 CALs was $999 as well. "Upgrade pricing will be the big deal with most companies," he said.
So what's the bad news? Hinsberg said that Terminal Server client licenses remain priced at a level that seems to outweigh the perceived benefit of the product, which is no change from Windows 2000. "As Terminal Server is built into the OS and has no additional software to install, the user perception is that you are getting charged a second time for something you already bought," Hinsberg said.
Hinsberg said the same issue exists with the enterprise license price. Clustering is the major benefit of the enterprise product and remains a unique space for Microsoft on the Intel platform, he said. However, this pricing, which is about 300% of the standard product, puts high-availability solutions out of reach of many that could benefit. "I might be happier if I had additional support for this product," Hinsberg said. "But, in general, you do not."
The cost of connecting file and print users has increased as well, said David Freund, an analyst at Illuminata Inc., a Nashua, N.H., consulting firm. The price for 5-packs of CALs rose by $2 to $3 per user. In fact, the discount for buying CALs in larger "chunks" has disappeared, Freund said. "Twenty-packs now cost just as much per user [$40] as do 5-packs," he said.
Some customers, such as Roger Wilding, a senior technical advisor at CNF Inc., a Palo Alto, Calif., global transportation company, said the new prices won't impact his company because of license agreements already in place.
Wilding said he's concerned that companies cannot upgrade from one edition to another. If a customer owns a Windows 2000 server, it maps to the Windows 2003 Standard Edition.
If you haven't purchased Microsoft's Software Assurance licensing plan, you can't upgrade to the Enterprise Edition without buying a brand new license, he said.
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