Windows Server Licensing for Virtual Environments

In this text, we’ll look on licensing options of the Windows Server 2019, 2016 and 2012 R2 working methods from the standpoint of latest Microsoft licensing mannequin. Also, we’ll inform in regards to the guidelines and licensing procedures when utilizing Windows Server as a visitor OS in a digital machines, together with the HA clusters with the flexibility emigrate digital machines between hypervisors (VMWare VMotion, Hyper-V Live Migration, and so forth).

Beginning with Windows Server 2012, Microsoft has modified and simplified the licensing mannequin of its server platform. Now it meets the fashionable tendencies to in depth use of virtualization applied sciences.

Windows Server Editions

In most circumstances, when contemplating the Windows Server licensing mannequin, it’s advisable to think about the Standard and Datacenter Windows Server editions.

The options of the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2012 R2 is nearly an identical besides for the license rights to run digital machines. It implies that you select the version relying solely on the variety of digital machines on the bodily host  as an alternative the supply of the required options.

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard – the license permits to run solely as much as two digital machines;
  • In Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter – you’ll be able to run a limiteless variety of digital machines on a single bodily host (recall that such digital machines might be simply activated utilizing the ).

In reality, when selecting Windows Server 2012 R2 Edition it is advisable resolve whether or not you’ll use virtualization or not.

The Windows Server 2016/2019 Standard license additionally permits you to run as much as two VMs with Windows Server on the identical bodily host.

Windows Server 2016 and 2019 Datacenter help a lot of new applied sciences which can be helpful in a virtualization and the Azure cloud surroundings. For instance, the Windows Server 2016 Datacenter helps:

  • Storage Replica
  • Shielded Virtual Machines
  • Host Guardian Service
  • Network Fabric
  • Microsoft Azure Stack

Note. We don’t think about Essentials and Foundation Windows Server editions, since they’re designed for small companies. These OSs have a lot of particular limitations and no rights for virtualization. It needs to be famous that Web Server version has been eradicated fully.

Per-Socket Licensing in Windows Server 2012 R2

One license of Windows Server 2012 R2 permits you to run the OS on one single- or dual-processor server. I.e. one license covers as much as two processors (sockets) positioned in a single bodily server (cores will not be processors!). You can not break up one license for two single-processor servers (on this case you’ll have to buy two Windows Server licenses). If a bodily server has greater than two processors, you’ll have to purchase one license for every pair of processors. For instance, for a Four-processor server you will want 2 Windows Server 2012 R2 licenses.

Windows Server 2016 and 2019: Per-Core Licensing

Microsoft switched from the licensing mannequin of bodily processors to the core licensing mannequin (Core-based) in Windows Server 2016 and Windows Server 2019. This is as a result of tendency of CPU and server producers to extend not the variety of processors, however the variety of cores on a single socket (Microsoft doesn’t need to lose income when prospects begin to mass use multi-core servers). Windows Server 2016 and 2019 licensing mannequin is mentioned intimately in article. Note the details:

  • 1 license of Windows Server 2016 permits you to license 2 bodily cores on a single server (i.e., Microsoft ships two core licenses);
  • The value of 1 2-x core license is eight instances decreased in comparison with a one single processor license for Windows Server 2012 R. However, it is advisable purchase at the very least eight such a licenses (for 16 cores) – that is the minimal package deal for 1 bodily host. Thus, the licensing value for one bodily 2-processor server with as much as eight cores per socket has not modified. The following licensing rule is true: 1 * Windows Server 2012 R2 (2 CPU) = eight * Windows Server 2019 (2 Core);
  • Now additionally out there 16-core WinSvr licenses, permitting you to shortly license 1 customary bodily host (for instance, WinSvrSTDCore 2019 SNGL OLP 16Lic NL CoreLic);
  • All enabled cores on a bodily server have to be licensed.

Understanding Windows Server Virtual Machine Licensing

If you propose to make use of your bodily server as a hypervisor on which a number of VMs with the Windows Server are operating, it is advisable select the OS version relying on the variety of VMs that will probably be operating in your server.

For instance, you’ve gotten a twin processor server with complete 16 cores. If you bought eight licenses of Windows Server 2019 Standard and licensed all of the bodily server cores, you might be allowed to run as much as 2 VMs with a Windows Server on a licensed bodily host. The Datacenter license permits you to run a limiteless variety of digital OSes on a licensed host.

You don’t want to think about licenses for digital machines with non-Microsoft working methods.

What if it is advisable run greater than two digital machines on a server with a Standard license? You must purchase the required variety of licenses based mostly on the next consideration: one Standard license permits you to run 2 digital machines.

For instance, you need to license a dual-processor (eight cores per CPU) server with 4 digital machines. According to the Windows Server 2016 Standard licensing mannequin, it is advisable purchase 16 dual-core Window Server Standard licenses (2 units of licenses closing all bodily cores) or eight dual-core Datacenter licenses (you’ll be able to ).

Note that the licensing process is as follows: first the bodily cores are coated, after which the digital machine situations.

According to the present Microsoft costs, it’s value to purchase the Windows Server Datacenter version if you will run 14 or extra digital machines on one bodily host. If the variety of VMs is much less, it’s higher to get a number of Standard licenses to fit your cores and VMs calls for.

If you utilize virtualization in your bodily server with Windows Server 2019, you should use the host OS solely to take care of and handle the Hyper-V function and digital machines. You can not set up Windows Server 2019 on a bodily server, run two VMs on it and get three full-fledged Windows server situations for your duties. In Microsoft terminology, the bodily OS occasion known as POSE (bodily working system surroundings), and digital – VOSE (digital working system surroundings).

Windows Server Licensing and VMs Migration between Physical Hosts

Further we’ll think about licensing peculiarities if the Windows Server digital machine can transfer between bodily servers in a virtualization farm (utilizing VMotion, , and so forth.).

Note. According to the Microsoft licensing coverage, digital machines might be run not solely on Hyper-V, but additionally on another platform that you simply select, like , XEN, and so forth. Thus for those who licensed a bodily server (8x WS-Standard dual-core licenses) and set up VMWare ESXi/ Free Hypervisor, you’ll be able to run 2 digital machines operating visitor Windows Server 2019.

Software Assurance (SA) offers the suitable to switch the product license between bodily hosts for most Microsoft server merchandise. But Windows Server is an exception to this rule. According to the licensing settlement, the license might be migrated between the hosts as soon as in 90 days.

How to license a virtualization farm, by which VMs can transfer between hypervisors (host OSs)? In this state of affairs, you’ll have to purchase that variety of licenses for every bodily server overlaying the utmost variety of digital machines that may be run on it at any time (together with the excessive availability situations when all digital machines of the farm are moved to the one of many hosts). I.e., the digital machine licenses are linked to a bodily host and don’t transfer between the hosts along with the VMs.

For instance, for two separate single processor bodily servers with two digital machines on every of them, we’ll want 2×eight Windows Server Standard licenses.

However, if the digital machines can transfer between these servers, we’ll want one other set of two×eight licenses (offering that Four VMs might be run concurrently on every server).

In the case of the Datacenter version, one set of licenses will probably be adequate for every bodily host, overlaying all cores (within the minimal configuration, eight Datacenter dual-core licenses). Since this license permits you to run a limiteless variety of VMs.

Therefore, it’s best to select the Windows Server license relying on the utmost variety of VMs on a single host.

Calculating Windows Server Licenses for Virtualization

Below are some examples of calculating Windows Server licenses for bodily hosts when utilizing virtualization.

Example 1. There is a Hyper-V cluster of 5 hosts. Each server has 2 processors with 20 cores. Each will run 10 digital machines.

Because 5 servers are united into HA Hyper-V cluster, which implies that as much as 50 digital machines might be operating probably on every host throughout VM migration (failover). Accordingly, it’s extra worthwhile to buy the Datacenter licenses.

Number of licenses for 1 host:

  • Total variety of cores – 40
  • Number of 2-core licenses (WinSvrDCCore 2019 SNGL OLP 2Lic NL CoreLic) – 20

Total variety of 2-core licenses (WinSvrDCCore) for 5 servers – 100.

Example 2. The department workplace has 1 server with 2 sockets with Four cores every, on which Four digital machines are operating. How many Windows Server licenses do I must buy?

The server has eight cores. Under the phrases of licensing – it is advisable cowl at the very least 16 cores. So it is advisable purchase eight licenses of Windows Server 2016 (WinSvrSTDCore 2 Core). This will assist you to run 2 VMs. To run further 2 VMs, it is advisable purchase one other set of core licenses.

So, to license such a server you want 16 2-core Windows Server licenses (WinSvrSTDCore 2019 SNGL OLP 2Lic NL CoreLic) or 2 16-core licenses (WinSvrSTDCore 2019 SNGL OLP 16Lic NL CoreLic).

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