With SQL Server 2014 released, there's the temptation to upgrade for many DBAs. However the licensing costs and debatable improvements in the product will temper the DBA's enthusiasm with the reality of the ROI seen by management. While reading about the licensing changes, I also saw this note from Tom LaRock, where he wrote about the features most of us aren't using. It made me think about upgrades, and perhaps the strategy Microsoft is employing.
As Tom mentioned, the features not being used are Enterprise Edition features. This prevents many of us from upgrading to use them because Enterprise Edition is so expensive. Actually, even Standard Edition is expansive these days, given the per-core licensing, and I suspect lots of companies with SQL Server 2008, 2005, even 2000 are debating whether or not the upgrade is really worth the cost.
The piece also mentions that Azure is much less expensive in the short term, and you should consider it. Of course at some point the money you pay will be more than buying a license and a server, but that assumes you run them for the same length of time. You'll likely upgrade at some point, and if you upgrade both hardware and software, the cloud starts to look more attractive.
It's not simple to move into the cloud, nor is it appropriate for some applications, but it does seem that Microsoft would prefer to have most companies running in Azure, on a single platform they run, they patch, and they support. Many companies might prefer the same thing, though I do worry that we might find the on-premises version of many products becoming second class citizens. Vendors will spend less on development and support if too many customers move to the cloud.