What happens when you still need support for a Microsoft business or developer product after it has run through all the available years of regular basic support and extended support? The answer always used to be that you negotiated with Microsoft for a custom support contract and that hasn’t really changed except that Microsoft has now standardized the custom support process:
Microsoft Corp. today announced a new Custom Support Agreement (CSA) program for legacy products in an effort to help customers better manage their IT environments and give them more options when making product migration decisions — including the speed at which they migrate to new versions of products.
Customers will be able to migrate their systems based on their specific situation, taking into consideration the CSA costs and Microsoft’s Support Lifecycle policy timeline. The program provides customers with control over how quickly they upgrade from one product version to another given budgetary and/or IT requirements. In addition to providing customers with more autonomy, the new model also streamlines pricing so that customers pay only for what they need on a per-device basis.
A Custom Support Agreement is part of the Premier Support offering and requires a Premier Support agreement to be in place.
The biggest change seems to be the per-device pricing, but when you’re traveling in the realm of custom support it isn’t an inexpensive trip no matter how it’s calculated. Also note that not all products will qualify for custom support:
“Install base, technical and financial feasibility will be the criteria used to identify products eligible for this type of coverage,” said Ines Vargas, the director of support policy at Microsoft.
Microsoft will publish the eligible products 12 months before the end of support for each of them.
The first products to be implemented into the new CSA program will be NT 4.0, XP SP1 and Exchange 5.5, Vargas said.
and there’s also a catch – it’s only available to customers who have a migration plan to get off the legacy product.