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SBS Premium 2011 Question - HyperV

Hi There!

I would like to have a few of my smaller clients running SBS 2011 Premium on a single server (They understand the performance issues). I am wondering if it's a valid config (licensing wise) to install SBS 2011 on Physical hardware and The 2008 R2 Windows Instance under Hyper-V installed on top of SBS 2011?

There is one main reason I prefer this setup, and that is that most of my clients still run tape, and I can't see how I can backup both OS's to tape if they are both installed as guests in Hyper-V installed bare metal.
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Cliff Galiher
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Yes, this is correct for Licensing.

With the SBS 2011 Premium Add-on, you can run one instance of Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard technologies in a physical or virtual operating system environment (OSE).
If you run it in a virtual OSE, you are allowed to run an additional instance for the physical OSE in order to run hardware virtualization software, provide hardware virtualization services, or run software to manage and service virtual OSEs on the licensed server.


Have you considered a different technology to tape, which is faster and more efficient, and quicker to restore virtual machines?

e.g. Veeam for Hyper-V
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cgailher: I run hyper-v on many SBS Servers for the sake of other products like spam filters, without issue once.

Hancocka: Thanks for your information, very useful. They already own tape, it's very reliable, very fast and they already own the backup exec software. Purchase of Veam would be an additional expense they aren't interested in unless required absolutely.

Also FYI, Altaro is a cheaper alternative, more accessible for small businesses.
Yes, Altaro is very good, but "new"! just out of Beta!

see my Blog, as one of the first testers!

As documented here:


"Because of this, Windows SBS 2008 does not support using the primary server as a Hyper-V parent partition. "

I can tell you that not only is it not supported, it DOES break things. You may be "running" it successfully, but I can also tell you that key files are not properly getting updated by certain patches, making your systems a high risk for instability and security. I've seen the internal survivability docs generated on these scenarios. Its not good.

Also, the links hancocka provided are for using the PAO, which is a 2008 R2 standard license as the parent. They are NOT referring to using the SBS server as a parent, so licensing is also an issue.
Fyi, while the docs refer to SBS 2008, the same applies to 2011. Nothing was changed for virtualization licensing or support.
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cgailer: Can you link me specifically to the MS Documentation that states that that MS Doesn't allow this from a licensing perspective? I know it's not technically supported, but it does allow it technically and as far as I can see, I don't see any reason MS would block it, 1 copy of each license in SBS Premium is being used.
There is no specific document that states what *cannot* be done. To do so would open up a legal door where then they would have to list *every* possible oddball condition that someone would come up with...such a list would quite literally be infinitely long.

Instead, refer to the PUR on what *can* be done. The PUR has very specific guidelines on what s considered an OSE and where it can be installed. No version of SBS is listed as a valid parent OSE, thus the idea that it cannot be a parent is implied.

Also, as noted, I've already linked to official documentation from Microsoft regarding running Hyper-V and SBS. If such a thing were allowed, they'd have added it to their support matrix and supported it.

You have to keep in mind that SBS, while built on the standard kernel, is not a Windows Standard license. As such, they are allowed to change licensing rules. Such as not allowing trusts. Sure, they technically enforce it, but there are plenty of documented ways of disabling that technical check.

There is *no* document that specifically states that disabling the check is legal, but the licensing of SBS clearly means that to do so would be a breach of licensing and thus *is* illegal, even if they didn't bother to spell it out word for word. Running Hyper-V (or RDS for that matter) is *not* technically blocked. However in both instances, it is pretty clear in the PUR and supporting technical documentation that doing so is not allowed.

Sadly I have this conversation regularly. Not so much in Hyper-V realms (although as this illustrates, it does come up) but I'm surprised how many sysadmins want to run RDS on a domain controller and try to install the role. It isn't supported, it isn't allowed, and it isn't licensed. That is what I've heard from the SBS team and the Microsoft Licensing team repeatedly and consistently.

Some areas of Microsoft licensing are definitely grey areas and if you call up pre-sales you will get inconsistent answers. This is not one of those times.

As always, Microsoft is the final authority when it comes to licensing, not I. But if you want to protect yourself, you can either configure Hyper-V as intended, or you can call MS licensing and try to get them to send you a legally binding document stating that Hyper-V *is* supported on SBS as a parent. That would be the *only* way I'd run that setup.

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Thanks to all those who participated. I tried everything I could to find a legal way, but this is the only configuration that SBS Supports from a legal perspective. It's interesting to note that MS Themselves will often give the wrong answer depending who you ask.

Small Business Server (SBS) is a line of server operating systems targeted at small businesses by bundling the operating system with a number of other Microsoft products that would normally need to be purchased or licensed separately. The most notable inclusions are Exchange, SQL Server, SharePoint and ISA/TMG (Microsoft's firewall and proxy server).

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