Cloud Computing

IT New Years Resolution #1

cloudProper Licensing for Microsoft Windows Server

Microsoft Windows Server licensing can be a confusing topic and the details change on occasion. As of the writing of this article, Microsoft had switched from processor socket licensing over to core-based licensing for Windows Servers and Application Servers (SQL for example). There are two licenses available: standard and datacenter. All cores in the physical hardware must be licensed and there is a minimum of 8 cores for both editions. The Standard edition license covers two Operating System Environments (OSEs) while the Datacenter edition covers as many virtual machines as can be run on that particular set of hardware. If running more than 2 VMs on a set of hardware then all the cores must be licensed again.

With Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016:

  • All physical cores in the server are required to be licensed.
  • Each physical processor is required to be licensed with a minimum of 8 physical cores.
  • Each physical server is required to be licensed with a minimum of 16 physical cores.
  • Core licenses are sold in packs of two (i.e. 2-pack core licenses).

List price for Standard is $110 per 2 core license (minimum of 8 per physical server)

List price for Datacenter is $770 per 2 core license (minimum of 8 per physical server)

Let’s walk through an example of a server with 1 single CPU with 10 cores running a total of 9 VMs

 

Standard Datacenter
Licenses required for CPU 8 licenses

(10 cores/2 cores per license but brought up to minimum of 16 physical cores licensed)

8 licenses

(10 cores/2 cores per license but brought up to minimum of 16 physical cores licensed)

VM per license set count 5 ( round up)

(9 vms / 2 OSEs per license set)

unlimited
Total licenses required 40 total license packs 8
Total Cost $4,400 $6160

In this example, you can see its more cost effective to stick with Standard edition which makes sense as that is the version intended for this type of use case – single server running a handful of VMs in a remote office or small business. However, once we start to factor in a cluster of VMware ESXi or Microsoft Hyper-V servers it gets more complicated. The VMs are associated with the license (at least on paper) and the Standard edition licenses are not “portable” and can only be reallocated once every 90 days to cover hardware failures. A VM cannot be moved to another virtualization host without an entire second set of licenses.

Here is a second example: 2 virtualization hosts with 9 VMs each and the ability to run all 18 vms on either host at any time would require a total of 160 Standard edition licenses for a total of $17,600 vs using datacenter edition which instead would be $12,320. The scenarios can start to spiral from here but as a guideline, you can start to see a breakeven around 8 vms per host once you start getting into larger clusters. When in doubt about the licenses you need we’d suggest reaching out to your reseller for specific guidance.

Microsoft’s official information is posted here https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server-pricing

One more thing. Don’t forget you also need to have the appropriate number of client access licenses (either per user or per device)!

Contact Thrive today to learn more.