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windows server 2008 r2 licensing on an esxi host

i was told by a manager to use the same windows server 2008 r2 (datacenter) license on all my virtual windows boxes.
they are all running on the same ESXi host
when asked why i should be using the datacenter license, he told me that the way the licensing works for this, is that if i run them all off the same host, we only get charged for 1 datacenter license, but if we use windows 2008 r2 standard, that we pay for each installation of windows 2008 standard
can anyone confirm this for me?
also, what if i wanted to install a different version of windows 2008 on the host, if indeed this is true? meaning, if i installed a windows 2008 r2 standard, or windows 2008 standard (non-r2)
do i get charged for the non-r2 datacenter versions?
1 Solution

you can downgrade to any other OS-Versions (Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter to any supported Windows Server OS like 2008 R1 and 2003 R1/R2) on the host or on all VMs. You can also downgrade to any other OS-Edition like Server 2008 R2 Standard or Enterprise.

You need a Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Licence pre CPU Socket, no matter what you install on the host itself, e.G. VMWare. So if you use 4 CPUs (not cores) in your Host, you need 4 Datacenter licences. Datacenter Licencing is available for 2 Sockets and above. Single Socket is not supported with datacenter.

With full-Socket licenced (not installed) Datacenter you can install an unlimited Number of Windows Server Operating Systems without need for additional OS-licencing.

I recommend to use Standard or Enterprise Edition Downgrade Installations in the Virtual Machines, so you can change your licence model in the future and do not depent on the datacenter licences on the host.

As i know its like that, so when you buy datacenter license you can install all virtual machines using same datacenter license, it does not matter how many vm:s you have, but you need to have datacenter license for each PHYSICAL machine.

Allso you can install all other versions of windows if you are using datacenter license. (example windows xp)
i have asked this sometime ago from microsoft licensing support.

But i dont know what key i should use for install windows xp, i totally forget to ask since im using ea to install those.
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
This is correct, it may be cheaper for you to use a Datacenter license than Standard or Enterprise.
You can use existing licence keys from your volume licences or order additional disks for the other operating systems with own product keys from microsoft.

Neil RussellTechnical Development LeadCommented:
In your question you say "we only get charged for 1 datacenter license"

There is 1 Datacenter licence required PER Physical CPU. Make sure you are covered on this!
If you have a quad CPU Server then you need to Licenece Datacenter for 4.
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