Windows 2008 Server and Citrix Xen Server 5.6 license doubts

ravindhalani used Ask the Experts™
Dear Experts,

In our company we have a pool of Xen Server 5.6 (Dell R4 with 16 GB RAM and two CPU) and all VM are Ubuntu and Debian. Next year the financial department needs a new Windows Server environment (no matter 2003 or 2008) to run SQL Server, SAP Business One and BI tools (QlikView).

Now we only have one Windows 2003 server and our IT department has not much expertise in MS. We need your help to make a decision about the following points:

- Which is your opinion about virtualize a Windows 2008 server. The current machine (Windows 2003 server) has 8 GB RAM, has the SQL, SAP and BI together, and the load doesn't go above 4 GB. Only finance people use it, 10 users.
- If I have a Windows 2008 Server and I move the VM from one Dom0 to another, will be any license issue?
- Can I make a clone of a Windows 2008 VM for backup? Is there any license issue?
- SAP Business One requires a hardware key to generate a license key. This license will be affected when moving the virtual machine?
- Which version of Windows 2008 do you recommend us? Please note that we don´t require Active Directory, only Terminal Server access for a few users (up to 5).

Sorry if some questions are too obvious but we are really new in MS world.

Thanks in advance!
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I run 8 virtualized Windows 2008 Enterprise servers with no issues.  If the IOPS are low you can use XenServer with any NAS device via iSCSI, if you want to fully utilize virtualization.

There is no licensing issue with moving VMs every 90 days if this is due to emergencies.  Technically your supposed to have a license for each copy on each instance of a server.  Server 1 has one Windows 2008 Standard copy then you need Server 2 to have a copy, if your attend to use XenMotion and or HA.

Yes,  you are allowed to make a clone.  This is perfectly legal.

I'm not sure about SAP, but if you have two servers with similar hardware and you aren't moving LUNs then Windows nor SAP should ask you to reactivate.  I'm not sure about the legality of moving it around.  Just make sure you DO NOT buy an OEM copy of Windows 2008.  This can cause major headache's in the long run.

The big difference between Standard and Enterprise is the amount of VMs you can host.  Enterprise allows 4 VM, where Stanard allows one.  It sounds like it would be cheaper for you to buy two copies of Standard.  One foe each host you want to migrate it around.

You will also need to buy Windows 2008 Server CALs for each person or device that connects to the server.  I know Enterprise edition comes with 25.

Oh and you will need to purchase Terminal Services CALs.  You can have two or three admin accounts, that wouldn't count as a TS license.  The Windows 2003 TS CALs don't cout toward 2008.  I would stick with 2008, just to stay up with the technology.  Microsoft finally ended support on Windows 2000 in July.   That's why I would urge a fresh install to be Windows 2008 or Windows 2008R2.


Hi pfc_it, thanks for your quick answer and sorry for the delay in reply... life has been busy here.

Ok, so no OEM license and Standard is enough for me, got it. The point I still have some doubts is about the license issue when moving the VM from one XenServer to another:

- I do not plan to use Xen motion or HA, I will move the VM because emergencies or CPU or RAM shortage. In this case is one license enough?
- When moving the VM from one server to another do I need to make any change or update any license or it is just a legal agreement? What I mean is if when I boot the VM in the new XenServer the OS will know it and will prompt for any kind of update or something like that.

Ok to the TS license.

Thanks again!
You will be fine with licensing.  I'd recommend an Open License if possible.  This gives you more flexibility when moving VMs.  Just make sure you don't move the VM twice in 90 days.  This is where the technicality comes in.  Windows may prompt for reactivation if you switch to a different motherboard/cpu set.  In my case it only happened when I transfered from a different LUN.



We will start working on it... if I get in trouble I will ask again.

Best regards

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