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Server 2012 vs SBS 2011 - Features and Licensing

Posted on 2013-06-12
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Hello Experts,

I'm having difficulty deciphering the Server 2012 licensing requirements. Please forgive me for the verbosity of this question.

I need to upgrade an SBS 2003 environment. Current software/features requirements: DC/AD, Exchange, Terminal Services (Now RDS), SQL Server. SharePoint Services are not needed, nor is Web Serving (IIS) a factor, except for WSUS.

35 Users. Hardware target = 1 physical box.

The way I see it, I have 2 options: 1) SBS 2011 Premium with premium CAL's, or 2) a-la-carte Server 2012 + Exchange + SQL (+RDS?)

For the  SBS solution, I assume I could install SBS 2011 on the physical box and use it to control the AD/DC components. I Would use the built-in Exchange 2010 on this box, and run two VM's in Hyper-V... The first VM I would use the included 2nd installation of Server 2008 Standard to run SQL Server 2008, and the other VM I would install Server 2008 on and use for RDS.

Do the Premium CAL's cover the above scenario?

For the Server 2012 solution, how would I achieve the same type of setup on one physical box? The way I understand it, Server 2012 comes with licensing for up to two (2) VM's, but if you use them both, you cannot use the host OS for anything besides hosting the VM's (It can't be used for AD/DC), is this correct?

In this scenario, I assume I'd use one VM for AD/DC and Exchange, and the 2nd for SQL Server 2012. Would I then need to buy another copy of Server 2012 Standard to run RDS as a 3rd VM on this same box? What would licensing look like (minus SQL licensing) for this scenario?

Thanks in advance for the help and information.

-Dan
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Question by:Danlo
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by:JAN PAKULA
ID: 39242237
SBS 2011 Premium is and of line - so don't go there


http://blog.smallbizthoughts.com/2012/07/microsoft-announced-end-of-sbs.html

@ licensing - rds is a role of server so you wont need 3rd VM

you would need 3 server cals (1 physical + 2 vms) - 35 users cals and 35 SQL user cals

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx#tab=2
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by:Danlo
ID: 39242279
@janpakula,

Thank you for the quick response! So if I understand you correctly...

Server 2012 comes with the ability to run two VM's, but I would need to purchase the separate Server licenses for both of those VM's?

I can add the RDS role to either of the two VM's, as part of the Server 2012 Standard license?

Thanks again,
-Dan
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by:JAN PAKULA
JAN PAKULA earned 100 total points
ID: 39242344
yes RDS is a role - but you will still need to buy 35 rds cals

SQL wise you will need SQL Server cal and 35 user cals

you will need one windows 2012 standard (that will also cover licensing of 2 vm servers)
and 35 Windows server user cals


-----------

Server 2012 only has two editions: Standard and Datacenter

standard has 2 VMs and datacenter unlimited


A single license of either edition covers two processors, They don’t care about the number of cores.

Standard edition includes licensing for 2 VM’s

Datacenter edition includes licensing for unlimited amount of VM’s

NO feature limits or differences between Standard and Datacenter.

Assuming your servers have 2 processors. The decision point at which you should consider buying a Datacenter license (to save money) is when you are running more then 10 Windows Server VM’s on a single host (using retail pricing). Until that number, you should just buy more Standard licenses which stack on top of each other, two VM’s at a time.
Server 2012 licenses are only assigned to hardware. So if you have an unlicensed VM, you would need to buy a single Server 2012 Standard license, which would be assigned to the host hardware and give you two more VM licenses for the host.

Remember if you users access just one Windows Server 2012, then they need to have a up-to-date 2012 CAL.
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by:Danlo
ID: 39242358
OK Perfect - that tells me what I needed to know.

Thanks, I appreciate it!

-Dan
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 400 total points
ID: 39242514
I know an answer has been accepted, but since I disagree with the answer, I will post anyways, with my answers in-line to the original question, and then a summary of where I specifically disagree with the answer above:

"For the  SBS solution, I assume I could install SBS 2011 on the physical box and use it to control the AD/DC components. I Would use the built-in Exchange 2010 on this box, and run two VM's in Hyper-V... The first VM I would use the included 2nd installation of Server 2008 Standard to run SQL Server 2008, and the other VM I would install Server 2008 on and use for RDS."

SBS *cannot* be a Hyper-V host. If you go the SBS route (which I think is perfectly acceptable), you will install Hyper-V and then install SBS as a guest and then a second OS as a second guest, and preferably a 3rd OS as a 3rd guest. The SBS guest will handle AD and Exchange. Buy the premium add-on as a second OS and that will handle SQL. And buy server standard (I'd buy 2008 R2 just to simplify CALs) for RDS. SBS cannot be a terminal server, and running TS on a SQL server will be a significant performance issue. Hence the 3 VMs. CAL-wise, you'll need SBS CALs for the SBS and OSes. You'll need premium-addon CALs for SQL. And you'll need RDS CALs for the terminal server. So three CALs (one of each) for each user.

Do the Premium CAL's cover the above scenario?

Not entirely. The premium-addon CAL does *not* cover SBS access. Still need an SBS CAL for that. Nor does it cover RDS. Need an RDS CAL. But it does cover the SQL portion.

For the Server 2012 solution, how would I achieve the same type of setup on one physical box? The way I understand it, Server 2012 comes with licensing for up to two (2) VM's, but if you use them both, you cannot use the host OS for anything besides hosting the VM's (It can't be used for AD/DC), is this correct?

That is correct. If you use the 1+2 licensing in standard, the host cannot host other roles.

In this scenario, I assume I'd use one VM for AD/DC and Exchange, and the 2nd for SQL Server 2012. Would I then need to buy another copy of Server 2012 Standard to run RDS as a 3rd VM on this same box? What would licensing look like (minus SQL licensing) for this scenario?

Two 2012 Server standard licenses will allow up to 4VMs on 4 processors on one server. And given your requirements, you'll be using all four.

VM1: domain controller (AD)
VM2: Exchange (cannot be on a DC)
VM3: RDS (cannot be on a DC and definitely *shouldn't* be on the Exchange server, so you really do need a 3rd VM for this)
VM4: SQL (technically you could coexist this on one of the above servers, but since you have licensing for 4VMs, might as well break it off and keep things clean.)

CALs: 2012 OS CAL for each user. EXchange CAL for each user. RDS CAL for each user. And SQL CAL for each user.


-------

Now for why I posted.  There were a couple things I disagree with in the original and follow-up answer:

"@ licensing - rds is a role of server so you wont need 3rd VM"

While it *is* true that RDS is a role, if you go the 2012 route, there are several roles that *cannot* coexist. You will need 3 VMs to get all of the roles you want, as I explained above.

"you would need 3 server cals (1 physical + 2 vms)"

One CAL covers all OSes in a domain. You don't need 3 CALs per user (or device). Just 1, and that will cover the physical and VM access for that assigned user or device. That makes a huge difference when buying CALs.

So if you go the 2012 route, you are looking at this for licensing to meet your minimum needs as originally asked:

2 licenses for 2012 Standard (cheaper than 1 datacenter),
~35 Server2012 User CALs (assuming licensing per-user and not per-device)

Exchange (2010/2013, I'd go 2013)
~35 Exchange CALs

1 SQL Server (edition? depends on your LOB app and what it works with)
SQL Server CALs (count is dependent on how many users will be making use of the SQL server)

and finally RDS CALs (count again for the number of users that will be accessing RDS)

Hope that helps.
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by:Danlo
ID: 39242660
@cgaliher,

I appreciate the response, especially after there are no more points to be awarded (on this particular post, anyway...). I have some questions though regarding your post:

I agree that SBS 2011 would still be viable, especially since the company looking for an upgrade is currently still running 2003 and is only looking for newer software that will work with Office 2013. Of course, upgrading to any Exchange above 2007 means upgrading the whole server family, so here we are.

I'm a little confused by your comment
SBS *cannot* be a Hyper-V host. If you go the SBS route (which I think is perfectly acceptable), you will install Hyper-V and then install SBS as a guest and then a second OS as a second guest...
Is this in theory or in practice? Because (and maybe my definition of 'SBS' is not accurate, but) I also support another business currently utilizing the following setup:

Physical Server 1: SBS 2008 Installed. Domain Controller, Active Directory, Exchange. Hyper-V Installed and hosting 1 VM: Server 2008 Std (for Web Server).

Physical Server 2: Server 2008 R2 Standard Installed. SQL Server 2008. Also Running Hyper-V with one VM: Server 2008 R2 Std (for Remote Desktop Services [TS]).

Also, If I "install Hyper-V and then install SBS as a guest", which OS would Hyper-V be running on?

Regarding Server 2012 (and back to the company in question), you hit the nail on the head in terms of answering the underlying question - which is what licensing is required to match SBS Premium and TS CAL's.

SQL version will depend on whether SBS 2011 is used (SQL 2008) or Server 2012 is used (SQL 2012). Their current LOB apps run on SQL 2005, so either will be fine.

(Should we move this discussion to a new post?)

-Dan
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by:Alan Hardisty
ID: 39242709
Cgaliher is 100% correct. SBS is not supported running Hyper-V although it can be done, it breaks things.

Alan
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 400 total points
ID: 39242712
That is in practice. Hyper-V necessarily does things to the networking stack that breaks SBS. You can forcibly get it to work, but it isn't stable, isn't supported (which matters in a server-down situation and you need to call Microsoft), and is against licensing as well.

FYI this is true for SBS 2008 as well. So while you may have a business running the setup as you describe above, that business is currently not legal and you are in a precarious situation when it comes to disaster recovery. You should earnestly look into that.

As far as the second physical server, yes you *can* run SQL and Hyper-V on the same server, but it isn't recommended. Hyper-V should really be run alone. Any and all other workloads should be run as guest VMs within Hyper-V. The licensing cost is the same. Let's break down your second physical server:

Server 2008 R2 Standard offered 1+1 licensing for Hyper-V. Which means 1 host and 1 guest *as long as the host holds no other roles!* ....so by adding SQL to the host, you no longer are legally entitled to 1+1. You need a server license for the host since it is running SQL, and you need a second server license for the guest since it is running RDS. That is two server licenses.

Now, you can just as easily take those two server licenses. Install a host with *just* hyper-V. This entitles you to leverage 1+1 licensing rights and install that same server license as a guest. Run SQL server on that guest OS. Then take your second server OS and install it as a second VM and run RDS.

Still 2 server licenses, but now SQL and Hyper-V are isolated, which for security and stability is *much* preferred. So licensing costs *never* justifies running Hyper-V with another role. Period.

Which I think now answers your other question about which OS Hyper-V would be running on. If you buy SBS, buy a PAO for SQL, and buy a 3rd 2008 R2 Standard license for RDS, you can use either the PAO or the 3rd server license and leverage 1+1. Install a host. Enable Hyper-V. Install again as a guest and install SQL or RDS. Then use the other licenses and install additional guests, including SBS.

-Cliff
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by:JAN PAKULA
ID: 39243709
Hi Cgaliher

agree with you that 4 vms is neater solution - and it would be easier to manage and troubelshoot - not mentioning backups.



@VM2: Exchange (cannot be on a DC) - sure it can - its just not recommended

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms.exch.setupreadiness.warninginstallexchangerolesondomaincontroller(v=exchg.150).aspx

@VM4: SQL (technically you could coexist this on one of the above servers, but since you have licensing for 4VMs, might as well break it off and keep things clean.) - which if you dont have money for it, you can save - up to Danlo to decide if he wants to spend extra money on licensing

I would spend extra to have nice 4 vms setup - but if cost of licensing is issue then 2 vms would be enough.
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by:Danlo
ID: 39245357
Hi All,

All of this information is incredibly helpful! I definitely appreciate the attention to detail this question has received. I hate diving into licensing, because (for me, at least) the sea of compliance vs noncompliance is so murky. This all helps a great deal!

OK, now onto answering some of your questions and comments.

@alanhardisty - I understand what you're offering in terms of making sure I'm satisfied with the given answers, but I don't know if I feel comfortable 'docking' points from someone after the answer has already been accepted as a solution. (I've subscribed to EE a long time, but I don't utilize it very often so I honestly don't know if that sort of thing is protocol / generally accepted). That being said, however, I would definitely like to see Cgaliher receive something for his input, since it has been useful, and also caused me to think about and question some things I would have created additional questions for anyway. Again - I'm not up to speed on protocol and ToS - but would opening another question to have Cgaliher answer it be acceptable?

@ Cgaliher - I'll definitely look into the SBS/Hyper-V setup of company #2, to see how that was achieved. If no changes are made to their current configuration, It looks like 4 server licenses are required (1 license for each physical server to run Hyper-V on, and an additional license per physical server to enable other roles on host OS), is that correct ?

Referring back to company #1, Buying Server 2012 Std. and running 2VM's is essentially the same (license-wise) as Installing H-V Server 2012 as the host, and buying a license for 2012 (thus enabling 2 VM's), no?

So the way I understand the licensing now, please correct me if any of the following is wrong or not best practice:

RDS is used to connect several users to the LoB using four (4) terminals. There is 1 employee that works remotely (from home)

For Server 2012,

1. Configuration

I would buy two Server 2012 Std. Licenses, giving me 4 VM's total. I could then install either Server 2012 Std or just H-V Server 2012 on the physical box, and have 4 separate VM's:
AD/DC
Exchange
SQL
RDS

2. Licensing

35 Server CALs
35 Exchange CALs
If I get 5 RDS Device CALs and 5 user CAL's, we should be covered, right? Would I also need Server 2012 Device CAL's for those terminals?
For SQL, I would need 35 user CALs and 5 Device CALs
For SBS 2011,

1. Configuration

I would buy SBS 2011 Premium, and a Standalone Server 2008 Std. giving me 3 VM's total (??). I would then install H-V Server 2008 on the physical box, and have 3 separate VM's:
AD/DC + Exchange
SQL
RDS

2. Licensing

35 SBS Premium CALs
Would I need separate CALs for RDS? If I get 5 RDS Device CALs and 5 user CAL's, we should be covered, right? Would I also need SBS 2011 Premium Device CAL's for those terminals?
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Cliff Galiher earned 400 total points
ID: 39245668
I won't bother to cut and past your response again, but I'll answer your questions in the order you asked:

Re: company #2. If you insist on running other roles on the host (...don't. REALLY REALLY don't) then yes, you need a license for the host and *ANOTHER* license for the guest. It is *far* better to run all roles as guests (multiple guests if necessary) and leave the host as-is. At that point. For 2008 R2, you can leverage the enterprise edition which intitles you to one host (no roles) and 4 guest VMs. Or Server standard which entitles you to 1 host (no roles) and 1 VM. So two "standard" licenses would entitle you to 2 VMs *or* 1 host with roles and 1 VM. Since you could use the 2nd VM to host the roles you'd otherwise put on the host, that is always the preferred method. Repeat after me: There is *never* a good reason to run Hyper-V and other roles on the same bare metal in production.

Next question, back to company #1. Yes, 2012 Server Standard allows 1+2. 1 host (no roles) and 2VMs. If you choose not to exercise the 1 host, and use the free Hyper-V server instead, the result is still the same. The one license still entitles you to 2VMs *ON THE SAME HARDWARE* ....you cannot split the VMs, even though you are using the free hyper-V server.

As such, I honestly don't see any reason to use the free version of Hyper-V in that scenario. As of Server 2012, the "limitations" of Standard vs Datacenter have been removed. Now the only differentiating factor is the VM licensing...no longer feature-limiting. Additionally 2012 allows you to add and remove the GUI as a feature. So the "free" edition of Hyper-V offers *nothing* that the 2012 Standard version as a host doesn't offer. In 2008 R2, it did. There were RAM limit differences, as well as Clustering support. If you wanted more RAM or to cluster, you ran free Hyper-V, Enterprise, or Datacenter, but not Standard. In 2012, Enterprise edition is gone, and Standard has been grown up to fill the void.

The free edition of Hyper-V server is now more target to now MS guest OSes, or client OS VDI, where you  couldn't leverage the 1+x licensing of Standard or Datacenter. As long as you are virtualizing MS server OSes, leverage 1+x, install the host, configure, then remove the GUI. Administering 2012 Standard from the console is *far* easier than the free version of Hyper-V. It'd have to be a *real* edge case to justify using the free version in this type of scenario.

Now for the answer you might not like so much, regarding RDS CALs. The answer is the ame for both your 2012 and 2011 scenarios.

When you set up an RDSH server, you must choose whether it is licensed per user *or* per device. You cannot "blend" the two. This puts you in a rather odd situatoin because of that home user.

If you choose to license per-user, you will need an RDS CAL for each unique user. Based on your SQL CAL count, I'm guessing all 35 users would be using these terminal stations. So that'd be 35 RDS User CALs.

If you license per-device, you need RDS CALs for each device that will be used. For the 4 terminal stations, that is 4 CALs. For the user that works from home, 1 additionaal CAL for each device he may use. If you are comfortable telling him he can only use one computer from home, 1 additional CAL. If he or she wanted to use their personal computer, a laptop, and an iPad, for example, that is 3 devices, so an additional 3 RDS device CALs. So that is 5 (or more) RDS device CALs. It would also mean users would *not* be allowed to RDP into the RDS server from any other computers or devices. The "assigned" terminal clients are the only means of access.

Another option would be to run two RDSH servers. One licensed per device. One per user. Seems overly complex to me, but still an issue.

My personal opinion is that you'd be best served licensing RDS per-user. This adds flexibility, allows more future mobility, and matches your OS licensing so tracking is simplified.

Which brings us to the SQL CALs. Technically you *can* blend per-user and per-device, but again tracking and making sure you are legal becomes a real issue. A per-user CAL is required for each user that accesses data housed on the SQL server (either directly or via LOB) and is doing so on a device that is *not* covered by a device CAL.

A device CAL is required for any device that accesses the SQL data, either autonomously, or by a user that is *NOT* covered by a user CAL.

By blending, you have to really know exactly how users are accessing the data, and while there are some cost savings there, at such a small user count, I wouldn't think the hassle justifies the difference. Again, just my opinion. Again, I'd go per-user, as it would match your other licensing, including RDS above, and would provided maximum coverage.

So if all 35 users of the network access the LOB app. 35 RDS user CALs and 35 SQL user CALs covers everything and any type of access. From home. From terminals. From the desktop via an app or via RDP. And allows future access opportunities such as BYOD scenarios. No device CALs needed, for the OS, for RDS, or for SQL.

-Cliff
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by:Danlo
ID: 39246164
Well, this does get interesting then (if you can't blend CAL types). This is what I meant when I said "murky"... Sigh.

I was hoping not to have to bore everyone with the details.

See, the "terminals" are actually just thin clients that are stationed around the shop (warehouse), utilizing touch-screen monitors for user input. Each "terminal" stays persistently logged into a TS session (via RDP) on the Terminal Server. Each of those 4 sessions is locked down to run only a single application - a small extension of the LoB that reads/writes directly to/from the SQL database.

The LoB extension can be thought of as a punch-clock-type of application, used for tracking progress of jobs outside in the warehouse. As it takes only seconds to punch their code in at the terminal, each employee is never using a terminal for more than 3 or 4 minutes (total) throughout the day. At any given moment, any one of the 30 warehouse employees can be using any one of the 4 terminals, since many of their tasks involve working in different areas of the 60k SqFt warehouse.

The individuals that utilize these terminals are employees in the warehouse and are not part of the 35 users in the office.

The reason for wanting to include the device CALs, was to cover those 4 terminals, rather than the 30-something additional employees.

Sorry for the added complications, but it sounds like the licensing just got more, well, complicated.

-Dan
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39246295
Yep
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by:Danlo
ID: 39246380
So there's no way to use a Device CAL and a User CAL on the same server OS?

If not, what about...

1. Server 2012 license 1 of 2

VM #1
AD/DC
VM#2
Exchange
35 server User CALs
35 Exchange user CALs


2. Server 2012 license 2 of 2

VM #3
SQL
VM#4
RDS
SQL 4-Core license
5 RDS Device CALs


Or am I way off base?

Thanks again,
-Dan
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 39246389
Given your deeper explanation, you will also need 5 server device CALs (or 30+ more server user CALs) to cover the server OS itself for those warehouse workers. And the work at home user will be limited to one device.
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by:Danlo
ID: 39253017
Thanks so much - this has been extremely helpful.
-Dan
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