As we look at the new licensing model around Windows Server 2012, I want to clarify some of the “fine print” in licensing. This same “fine print” existed for Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard and Enterprise Editions. I reviewed the PUR (Product Use Rights) for Windows Server 2012 and the thing I want to point out is licensing Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition with two VMs. Check out page 26 from the PUR located here:
- You must assign each license to a single server.
- One license is required for every 2 physical processors on the server
- For Standard licenses, you may use one running instance of server software in the physical OSE and one running instance in up to two virtual OSEs on the licensed server.
- For Standard licenses, if both permitted virtual OSE instances are used, you may use the instance in the physical OSE only to host and manage the virtual OSEs.
- For Datacenter licenses, the number of virtual OSEs is unlimited, and use in the Physical OSE is not limited to hosting and management.
- License reassignment is permitted anytime physical processors are reallocated from one licensed hardware partition to another, two or more partitions are created from one licensed hardware partition, or one partition is created from two or more licensed hardware partitions, as long as prior to repartitioning, each hardware partition is fully licensed, and total number of licenses and physical processors remains the same.
- You may use additional software listed in Appendix 3 in conjunction with your use of server software.
- As a one-time alternative to assigning base CALs per user or per device, base CALs may be dedicated to an instance of the server software on a single server to permit the same number of users or devices to access that instance.
I highlighted Bullet 4, this same language existed for Windows Server 2008 R2, and it still applies to Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition. My interpretation of line 4 says that in Standard Edition, if you are running two VMs, the host OS can only deliver services to support the VMs; the host OS is not licensed to deliver workloads other than those needed to support the virtual machines.
Consider the following scenario:
Host OS: AD DS, DNS, DHCP
This is not a valid scenario with just one SKU of Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition. You would need to license a second Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition SKU to be properly licensed since the host OS is delivering AD, DNS, & DHCP.
I will be the first to admit that this is one of those details we need to pay attention to. You still get the additional VM license, but remember what’s needed if you need more that two OSE’s delivering workloads to your customers.
Until next time,