Microsoft Licensing is difficult at the best of times. The licensing for Windows Server and the associated server technologies that run on top of Windows Server (Exchange, SQL, SharePoint, etc) as well as how to properly license Windows Client for a VDI solution is very confusing. I make 3-4 presentations a week on virtualization and need to cover this in detail and in most cases go over it at least twice to even get close to people understanding it. Just this evening I had a meeting with a partner in Belfast and this topic came up. We had to cover it twice to make sure that we all agreed on what was being said and understood, and these guys do virtualization very well. The one point I make sure I communicate is the fact the licensing for Windows products in virtualization is exactly the same if you are using Hyper-V, VMware of XenServer, very important fact to recognize. The following links are Briefs/Documentation for proper licensing of Windows Operating Systems in Virtual Environments. In other words, if you are doing either of the following:
- Virtualizing Windows Server operating systems and running them in production
- Virtualizing & hosting Windows client operating systems (2000/XP/Vista/7/etc.) and running them in virtual machines, either in VDI or in instances on a desktop
…you should probably review these documents from our Volume Licensing site. Licensing Windows when in virtual machines has some very important differences in comparison to licensing Windows on physical machines. http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/resources/volbrief.mspx
- Licensing Windows Server 2008 to Run with Virtualization Technologies
- Licensing Windows Vista for Use with Virtual Machine Technologies
I hope these documents help a little in making the licensing questions a little clearer.