MS Launches Premium Support Service, Starting at $200,000

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Microsoft announced Premier Mission Critical Support Tuesday. The service is aimed at enterprise IT shops which already license Microsoft's server and database products. It promises "enhanced support for mission-critical solutions through guaranteed response times," according to a Microsoft press release. However, the high price of the service and its limited support for third-party applications may make some IT managers think twice before signing up.

A Microsoft spokesperson, in an email to the Industry Standard, explained that each corporate customer will have "a dedicated team of engineers" experienced in and understanding of the customer's work environment. These professionals will be available 24 hours per day on each day of the week, according to the Premier Mission Critical Support Web page.

But will Microsoft be able to help troubleshoot all customer emergencies? Many mission-critical applications run on the platforms that Premier Mission Critical Support currently supports -- Windows Server 2003 and 2008, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 (Service Packs 2 and 3) and 2008 -- but the applications themselves are often developed in-house or targeted at specific vertical markets. The Microsoft spokesperson explained to us that the service "covers the Microsoft components of the solution. When an incident is detected in a third-party solution, the support engineers will isolate the incident and...communicate this back to the customer."

Pricing will vary, "based on the complexity of the solution," which will be determined in part by "the number of CPUs" on which the system runs. Our spokesperson told us that prices will range from US$200,000 to one million per year.

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