Re-using old SBS2003 on network with new SBS - licensing issue?

We have an old server with an SBS2003 (premium) licence, currently not in use.  We have a newer server that is running SBS2003 (standard) and is the production server, set up as normal with Exchange etc.

Now I now that it's possible to have the old machine coexist with the new SBS by wiping it, reinstalling the base OS from the SBS installation media, promoting it to a DC, and demoting it again (the last bit stops the SBCORE service from rebooting the machine every couple of hours (100 minutes I think).

My question is this: does this procedure conform to the licensing agreement?  We have sufficient CALs, the licence is applied to the correct server, and we won't be disabling the SBCORE service.

In the event of a software audit, could this be flagged up as a problem?
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAsked:
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Brian PiercePhotographerCommented:
You could of course re-use the hardware, but it you have SBS installed on it then SBS will complain. SBS is designed to be used as a DC, if its not then it WILL complain.
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
As I mentioned, I know that it's possible to install Server 2003 from the SBS media, cancel the full SBS install, then DCPROMO the machine to be a DC, then demote it again.

My question is not whether or not the SBS will complain - I can deal with that.  It's whether or not Microsoft's legal team will complain!
Cliff GaliherCommented:
Doing anything to disable the SBS licensing service (sbcore) on an SBS installation is a breach of the EULA and would be illegal. If you want a second server, it must be installed with windows standard (or enterprise or data center) media. You cannot legally use two SBS I stall actions on the same domain.

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Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
To be properly licensed SBS must be at the root of the forest and hold all of the FSMO Roles.

All components of the server suite are to be installed on that same box as well.

Only one SBS can exist in a domain as per the above technical requirements. An exception is made to migrate to a new SBS server.

21 days are allowed for migration so long as the source remains a DC. Demote the source and the limit is 7 days. BTDT.

David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
cgaliher: I did mention that we would NOT be disabling SBCORE, simply using a workaround (promote the DC then demote it again).

MPECSInc: That's answered the question for me.  Is this listed in the SBS2003 EULA?  It's just that I know it's legitimate to use such a server temporarily (as in a Swing Migration) and would just like to see it in black and white from Microsoft.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
A workaround that causes sbcore to not work is still disabling it. Thus, illegal.
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
Fair enough.  Can you point me to the part of the EULA that explains this?  Thanks.
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
All of the links to the previous Microsoft content that explained the whole FSMO and forest root requirements are dead. :(

This is the closest I can get to them with the post reiterating the Microsoft content:

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As per "Cause" section of
"Windows 2003 Small Business Server must be a domain controller and hold all FSMO roles for the domain.  In order to facilitate migration from an existing domain, the Small Business Server can function for 7 days after installing without being promoted to a domain controller.  After that time, the Small Business Server must be promoted to a domain controller using the integrated setup.  If the integrated setup is not completed, the SBCore service will initiate a shut down of the server."

Microsoft extended this from 7 days to 21 with a patch.

Further, note the description of SBCore Event ID 1001: "The server was shut down because it did not comply with the EULA. For more information, contact Microsoft."

SBCore enforces the EULA - it is not the EULA itself.  Disabling it doesn't disable the End User License Agreement.  And most EULAs prohibit certain changes ("hacks" to Windows" and I would consider disabling SBCore, especially if it were not as simple as disabling the service under NORMAL conditions to be a hack).

Do what you want, but I assure you, if you check out the profiles of those answering your question, we're all quite familiar with the product and it's licensing.  And even if you DO trust us, keep in mind:

DISCLAIMER: Licensing advice offered here is a "best effort" and based on the understanding of the respondents. Licenses can change and we may not be aware of these changes or may misunderstand them. Further, licenses can differ by country and/or region and what we understand to be true in our region could be false in your region. "they told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid defense in a software audit.  All licensing questions should be confirmed with the appropriate licensing authority (the maker of the software/issuer of the license).  

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David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
Well, there's enough doubt here to not risk it - so I think we'll be getting a shiny new Server 2008 R2 open licence that we can downgrade to 2003 for now and move to new hardware when the time comes.

In any case I just slogged through the EULA, and found no reference to "domain controller" or "FSMO roles", nor anything suggesting that you can't run a second SBS server - although of course there are technical reasons that prevent that.  The only possibly relevant section I could find is as follows:

8. SCOPE OF LICENSE. The software is licensed,
not sold. This agreement only gives you some rights
to use the software. The manufacturer or installer
and Microsoft reserves all other rights. Unless
applicable law gives you more rights despite this
limitation, you may use the software only as
expressly permitted in this agreement. In doing so,
you must comply with any technical limitations in the
software that only allow you to use it in certain ways.
For more information, see the software
documentation. You may not

* work around any technical limitations in the

... etc.

So (in my opinion, for what it's worth) this suggests that as SBCORE is a "technical limitation" working around it by disabling it is clearly in contravention of the EULA - and, as stated by cgaliher, so is using a technical loophole like promoting then demoting the server.

However, this does not appear to prevent you from installing the second server fully (or without Exchange) in a different domain on the same network (just need to disable DHCP of course).  I can't think of a reason you'd want to do that though!  Just for testing perhaps...
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
Excellent information from experts - I think I deserve a few points for reading the whole EULA though!
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
You can Accept using the console as per your points delivery.

Thanks for that.

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
The asker of the question cannot be awarded points.
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
Of course not... it was just a manner of speaking.  I awarded 450 of the available 500 to the answers, I just felt that I completed the question myself and so did not award all the points.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
As stated, you cannot be awarded points as the question asker.  And you cannot award others fewer points than the question was worth - that would be considered a point reduction and you cannot do that either.
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
As stated, I did not award points to the question asker.  I did however accept my own comment as one of multiple solutions.

If it makes you feel better I'll share the remaining points out.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Nothing to do with me.  I'm explaining what the policies of EE are.  But if you'd prefer to hear it from a moderator, that's fine.
David HaycoxConsultant EngineerAuthor Commented:
Moderator just closed the question with points unchanged.  I was sure I'd closed a question in a similar way in the past, and had no problems.

Thanks again to all.
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