Frequently asked Questions

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Overview

Microsoft completed its acquisition of the FAST search business in April of 2008, enabling Microsoft customers to take advantage of world-class search capabilities for Internet and Intranet applications. In order to provide continuity for FAST customers during the integration of the FAST business, Microsoft enabled customers to purchase support and software maintenance directly from FAST.

In August 2012, taking a step towards finalizing FAST’s integration, FAST customers were informed that their legacy FAST Maintenance and Support contracts would no longer be renewed. This site is intended for FAST and Microsoft customers and partners to answer questions regarding this transition.

What is Microsoft communicating to FAST customers regarding FAST Maintenance?

FAST, a Microsoft subsidiary, is communicating to customers via a letter in August 2012 that FAST will no longer renew customers’ FAST Maintenance and Support (FAST M&S) contracts. While FAST M&S contracts will not be renewed, those contracts will remain in effect until the end of the current term of each contract.

FAST maintenance

Are customers’ FAST Maintenance contracts being terminated early?

No. If a customer has a current FAST Maintenance contract, it will remain in effect until the end of the term for which the customer most recently paid. At the end of that term, the contract will not be renewed, and the customer will not be billed for FAST Maintenance.

Will a customer with a current FAST Maintenance contract that is not being renewed realize any value from their FAST Maintenance contract?

Yes. Customers who have current FAST Maintenance contracts as of July 2, 2012 will receive notification and access to the next version of Microsoft SharePoint at its General Availability (GA). Microsoft will provide information to those current FAST Maintenance customers regarding their access to the next version of SharePoint in a separate letter at a later date. This follow-on letter will provide the terms and conditions under which the customer may access and use the next version of SharePoint.

What is Microsoft Software Assurance (SA)?

Microsoft Software Assurance is a comprehensive program that offers customers access to the latest versions of Microsoft products, helps companies improve their return on their Microsoft investment by supporting best practices in software management, and provides a range of services and technologies that help organizations to be more productive and efficient.

Can customers purchase Software Assurance (SA) for legacy FAST products?

No. Legacy FAST products are not available through Microsoft’s Volume Licensing program, and only products available through Microsoft Volume Licensing are eligible for SA. To learn more about volume licensing, visit the Microsoft Volume Licensing site.

What should a customer purchase instead of FAST Maintenance?

Customers who have current FAST Maintenance contracts as of July 2, 2012 will receive notification and access to the next version of Microsoft SharePoint at its General Availability (GA) through a separate letter. This follow-on letter will provide the terms and conditions under which the customer may access and use the next version of SharePoint. After customers receive their granted SharePoint licenses, they will have the option of purchasing Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) on those licenses, within 12 months of the date of the follow-on (grants) letter, once again giving them access to future releases of Microsoft’s search technology.

What will a customer’s Software Assurance costs be going forward?

Microsoft has not yet published pricing for the next version of Microsoft SharePoint. Pricing for the next version of SharePoint will be available closer to general availability of the product.

FAST support

Are customers’ FAST Support contracts being terminated?

No. If a customer has a FAST Support contract that is currently valid, it will remain in effect until the end of the term for which the customer most recently paid. However, at the end of that term, the contract will not be renewed and the customer will not be automatically billed as in previous years.

Will a customer receiving the non-renewal notice be able to get support for their legacy FAST products after their current FAST Support contract expires?

After a customer’s FAST Support contract expires—and assuming the customers’ legacy FAST products continue to be officially supported—a customer can get support for their FAST implementation from Microsoft Premier Support services or they can purchase pay-per-incident support from Microsoft Professional Support.

The letter simply indicates that FAST will no longer renew the customers’ FAST Support contract. The customer’s FAST Support contract remains valid until it expires, and the customer can continue to access FAST Support services under the terms of that contract until the contract expires.

What support options will be available when a customer’s FAST Support contract expires?

After the customer’s FAST Support contract expires, customers have the following support options:

  • A customer can get support for their legacy FAST products by signing a Microsoft Premier Support services contract.

  • A customer with an existing Microsoft Premier Support contract can add their legacy FAST products to the contract.

  • A customer can purchase pay-per-incident support for their legacy FAST products through Microsoft Professional Support.

  • A customer can opt to receive their support from a partner that has a Microsoft Premier Support for Partners contract.

Note that not all legacy FAST products are supported. Some legacy FAST products have passed the end date for their support lifecycle. Information on which legacy FAST products are supported is available at Microsoft Support Product Lifecycle site.

How does a customer get information on signing a Microsoft Premier Support contract?

To learn about signing a Microsoft Premier Support contract, a customer should contact their Microsoft sales representative. Alternatively, a customer can visit the Microsoft Premier Support Site. For list of FAST products supported through Microsoft Premier, please refer to question "Which legacy FAST products are supported by Microsoft Premier Support and by Microsoft Professional Support" in this FAQ.

My customer’s FAST Support contract doesn’t expire until later this year, can they move to Microsoft Premier Support now?

Yes, a customer may purchase Microsoft Premier Support at any time. However, Microsoft does not provide refunds for FAST Support purchases. As a result, a customer with a current FAST Support agreement might consider waiting until their FAST Support agreement expires before moving to a Microsoft Premier Support contract to avoid paying twice for support.

Is pay-per-incident support from Microsoft Professional Support available for legacy FAST products?

Yes. Microsoft Professional Support is available for legacy FAST products that are in mainstream support as defined by the Microsoft Product Lifecycle policy.

For list of FAST products supported through Microsoft Professional, please refer to question "Which legacy FAST products are supported by Microsoft Premier Support and by Microsoft Professional Support" in this FAQ.

Pay-per-incident support for legacy FAST products from Microsoft Professional Support is available here: http://Support.Microsoft.com/select/Default.aspx?target=assistance.

Information on which legacy FAST products are supported is available at Microsoft Support Product Lifecycle site.

Who should customers contact if they have a question regarding their support options after their FAST Support agreement expires?

In general, customers should contact their Microsoft sales representative.

For questions regarding Microsoft Premier Support, a customer should contact their Microsoft sales representative or their FAST reseller. Alternatively, a customer may visit the Microsoft Premier Support site.

For questions regarding pay-per-incident support through Microsoft Professional Support, customers should visit the Microsoft Professional Support Site.

Which legacy FAST products are supported by Microsoft Premier Support and by Microsoft Professional Support?

The following chart shows which legacy FAST products are supported by Microsoft Premier Support and by Microsoft Professional Support:

Legacy FAST ProductMicrosoft Premier SupportMicrosoft Professional Support
FAST AdMomentum 3.3-Y
FAST AdMomentum 3.4-Y
FAST ESP 5.2YY
FAST ESP 5.3YY
FAST ESP for SharePointYY
FAST Featured Content 1.3YY
FAST ImPulse 5.0YY
FAST ImPulse 5.1YY
FAST ImPulse 5.2YY
FAST Recommendations 2.2YY
FAST Recommendations 2.5YY
FAST Search Server 2010 for Internal Applications (FSIA)YY
FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Sites (FSIS)YY
FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint (FS4SP)YY
FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Internet Sites (FIS-E)YY
FAST Security Access Module 5.2 with ESP 5.2YY
FAST Security Access Module 5.3 with ESP 5.3YY
FAST Unity 2.5YY
A customer used to get support from a FAST partner. Will the FAST partner still be able to provide support to the customer in the future?

A customer will continue to receive support from their partner until the customer's FAST Support contract expires. After a customer's contract expires, they can purchase support from either Microsoft Premier Support, Microsoft Professional Support or choose to continue to receive their support through their partner as long as that partner has a 'Microsoft Premier Support for Partners (MPSfP)' contract.

Does a customer have to purchase Software Assurance in order to get support for their legacy FAST products?

No. Customers can purchase support regardless of whether or not they have purchased Software Assurance.

Will there be changes to the mainstream support and/or extended support timelines for any of the legacy FAST products?

No. The support timelines remain unchanged. You can see the support timeline information here: Microsoft Support Product Lifecycle site.

Can a customer purchase support through a FAST reseller/partner?

Potentially. It is possible for a customer to engage a partner to deliver support services for a legacy FAST product. However, partners will no longer be able to resell FAST Support agreements. If a partner is not able to directly deliver support services for a FAST implementation, a customer may choose to use Microsoft Premier Support or Microsoft Professional Support.

Can a customer use an existing Premier Support agreement with Microsoft to meet its FAST support needs?

Yes. A customer with an existing Premier Support contract can use their unused hours on their contract towards support for legacy FAST products.

Today, customers get their patches and fixes for legacy FAST products from the Microsoft Connect website. Once their FAST Support contracts expire, will they still be able to access patches and fixes from Microsoft Connect?

As long as customer has a FAST Support contract as of July 2, 2012, they will be able to continue getting their patches and fixes from the Microsoft Connect website (http://connect.microsoft.com).

FAST license grants

What is the FAST License Grants program?

The license grants program provides eligible FAST customers with license rights to one or more SharePoint 2013 search products newly incorporating FAST technology. These license grants are intended to enable qualified FAST customers to upgrade, at no additional license cost, to corresponding SharePoint-based search deployments.

What were the criteria to qualify FAST customers for license grants?

The following are eligibility requirements to identify FAST customers entitled to license grants:

  • Qualifying product. Eligible products are Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for Internal Applications ("FSIA"), and Microsoft FAST Search Server 2010 for Internet Sites ("FSIS")

  • Perpetual license. Only perpetual licenses were eligible for license grants through this program. Term licenses were not.

  • Current on M&S. Customer must have been current on FAST M as of July 2, 2012.

Are the new FAST-enabled SharePoint products sold through Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) or through FAST licensing?

SharePoint Server 2013 is available through Microsoft VL only. FAST maintenance and support are not available for these VL products, but Microsoft support and SA are available.

Which products did eligible customers receive license grants to?

Qualified FAST customers were granted licenses to SharePoint 2013 and SharePoint standard CALs with limited use rights, if appropriate. Any customer who receives SharePoint 2013 licenses can migrate their search applications from FAST to SharePoint. This is an exclusive OR, not an AND: it does not allow customers to 'double' their deployment. Once a customer has made the choice to migrate from FAST products to SharePoint 2013, they may not switch back.

What are the important dates and deadlines to keep in mind?

Signing up for SA. If customers receive grants to SharePoint 2013, they can add Software Assurance to some, all, or none of these licenses on or before December 31, 2013.

What is the licensing model for SharePoint 2013?

SharePoint 2013 is licensed using a server/CAL model. Use rights for SharePoint 2013 per user or per device are included with the SharePoint Standard and Enterprise CALs.

See question below for server types requiring license coverage.

What types of servers require license coverage for SharePoint 2013?

All servers need license coverage. The appropriate way to achieve license coverage depends on what the server is used for.

  • Production (includes active and fault-tolerance servers), staging, admin, and hot and warm stand-by servers all require product licensing.

  • Cold stand-by servers used for disaster recovery do not require product licenses only if the customer is current on SA. This is a benefit of SA, and customers who do not choose SA or who drop SA lose this benefit.

  • Development and testing servers can be covered in a few ways. Under Microsoft VL, customers can choose to cover them with product licenses (server/CAL) or via MSDN subscriptions.

  • Each virtual machine on a physical server counts as a server and requires a separate license. This is consistent with Microsoft licensing for server technology hosted in a virtual environment.

What does it mean that the customer is receiving grants for Client Access Licenses (CALs) with 'Modified Use Rights'?

Although SharePoint provides multiple features such as collaboration, document management, e-discovery, etc., the granted CAL licenses provide rights to use Enterprise search features only.

Do the granted licenses come with downgrade rights? Can the customer install an earlier version of SharePoint, like FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint (FS4SP) or FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint Internet Sites (FIS-E)?

Yes, customers may exercise downgrade rights by following the Volume Licensing downgrade processes, to install a prior version of SharePoint.

Will SharePoint 2013 grants come with development licenses?

Development licenses will be available through paid MSDN subscription.

How can a customer expand the usage rights of the granted CALs to include all features of SharePoint?
  • Customers can gain access to all the standard features of SharePoint by attaching Software Assurance to the granted SharePoint server and CAL licenses.

  • To gain access to Enterprise features, customers will need to purchase either SharePoint Enterprise CAL or Enterprise CAL suite licenses.

How long do customers have to sign up for SA for their granted licenses?

Customers can add SA to some, all, or none of these licenses up to and including December 31, 2013.

Do eligible customers receiving license grants have to "accept" these grants?

No action is required by customers upon receipt of the SharePoint 2013 license grants. Customers may decide when, or if, they wish to undertake technical migration. However, if they choose to add SA to their grants, they must do so on or before December 31, 2013.

Are customers obligated in any way to make the technical migration?

No. License grants confer a right to the licenses, but not an obligation to undertake technical migration. These license grants are perpetual: they never expire. If a customer does not wish to make the technical migration, they need not take any action.

How long can customers stay on their existing FAST implementation?

Customers eligible for license grants may remain on their FAST products as long as they wish. FAST products will be supported as previously announced. For exact dates, refer to: http://www.microsoft.com/enterprisesearch/en/us/fast.aspx#fifth-tab

If customers use SharePoint 2013 license grants and make the technical migration, do they have to sign a new contract for maintenance and support?

SharePoint 2013 is available only through Microsoft VL, and support is available only through Microsoft Support. Software Assurance (SA), the analogue to the "M" portion of FAST M&S, may only be purchased through Microsoft. Customers can only initiate coverage of SharePoint 2013 under Microsoft Support or SA.

How can FAST customers buy additional capacity?

FAST customers may purchase SharePoint 2013 and request a downgrade to legacy FAST product:

  • Customer buys SharePoint 2013 through Volume Licensing

  • Microsoft Sales rep provides downgrade order form to customer

  • Customer signs FAST downgrade order form, naming FSIS/FSIA as the products to which they wish to downgrade

  • Downgrade order form is also subject to customer’s FAST license agreement and will be signed by Microsoft

What steps should customers take in order to attach SA to their SharePoint 2013 license grants?
Type of CustomerSteps for attaching SA
Customer has an Enterprise Agreement (EA) with MicrosoftCustomer should contact Microsoft Reseller who is involved in the EA and order SA ONLY for SharePoint 2013 license(s).
Customer has purchased one or more of VL products through a reseller and doesn’t have a Microsoft rep assigned to the accountCustomer should contact their Microsoft reseller and check if they handle Open Licenses. If yes, customer should order SA ONLY for SharePoint 2013 license(s). If not, customer should contact any local Microsoft Reseller who sells Open Licenses, and order “Software Assurance” only for SharePoint 2013 license(s).
Customer does not have any relationship with MicrosoftCustomer should contact any local Microsoft Reseller who sells Open Licenses, and order "Software Assurance" only SharePoint 2013 license(s). Customers should order Software Assurance Only; and not the Software Assurance/License combination since they already have the license(s).
Software Assurance (SA) Scenarios
  • SCENARIO 1: A customer has a grant for 8 SharePoint 2013 and they make the migration for all 8 servers. They only deploy 4 servers in April 2013 but don’t plan to deploy the remaining servers until December 2013. Do they have to pay for SA on all 8 servers at once?

    SA can be added at any time up to 12/31/2013 in any increments. However, it might be best to wait until the latest possible date and add all servers to SA at the same time, because customers don’t need to be under SA to put SharePoint Server 2013 into production.

  • SCENARIO 2: A customer has a grant for 50 servers. Let’s assume that they start with 30 servers in March 2013 but don’t plan to use the remaining (20) servers until March 2014. Do they have to pay for SA on all 50 servers starting December 31, 2013?

    If customers don’t add SA by December 31, 2013, after this date, they will need to purchase licenses for any additional servers they want covered by SA. E.g. in the scenario explained above, even though the remaining 20 servers are perpetual licenses, customers cannot attach SA to these servers after the December 31, 2013 deadline.

  • SCENARIO 3: How will customers get support for SharePoint 2013?

    Like any other VL product, customers can get support for SharePoint 2013 through the MSFT Premier Support program. Click here for details. Customers who would like to start using SharePoint Server 2013 should consider doing one of the following, prior to deploying the SharePoint Server 2013 to production:

    • Add additional hours to their current Premier Support agreement if necessary, or

    • Enter into a Premier Support agreement if they don’t already have one.