Moving to New Versions of Windows Server 2012 and need advice

We have 3 servers. A Windows Server 2003 Domain Controller / Fileserver, a Windows 2003 Server Running Exchange 2003 and a Windows Server 2008 being used as a terminal server. We wish to upgrade to Windows  server 2012 R2. All 3 current Windows Servers are  already running as VM's on  VMWARE ESXI 5.1. I have learnt that Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard  gives you a further 2 VM Licenses.

My questions is, is this limited to HYPER-V or can I create 2 Windows Server 2012 VM's
under vmware with no loss of entitlements ?

What are the pro's and cons.

I am familiar with VMWARE but not HYPER-V.

I need to be able to replicate and do stuff like Fault Tolerance, Replicas Etc. does HYPER-V
provide these functions?

Any advice appreciated.
cdsausAsked:
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arnoldCommented:
Yes, the entitlement on a windows server 2012 is for 2 hyper-v VMs runing windows server versions and not that you can use a windows server 2012 to create two esx-i Vms running windows server 2012.

Not clear on your question.
What hardware do you have? it depends on what your VMs would be doing.
If you have the hardware to baseline a server 2012 HYPER-V with two VMs and a similarly situated hardware with vmware with two VMs.

Most people have a preference for what they are comfortable with and with the costs.
cdsausAuthor Commented:
We have a HP Proliant DL380 G7 With Twin Core CPU's running at 2.93 GHZ
8 300GB SAS 10K Drives and 128GB RAM.

We also have 2 IBM X3650 Dual CPU 24 GB RAM Each 6 300GB SAS Drives

The question is can I use the 2 VM licenses and use them in a VMWARE environment
or can I only use these VM licenses in a HYPER-V environment only.
lruiz52Commented:
You can only use the VM licenses provided in Server 2012 with Hyper-V.
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arnoldCommented:
The entitlement in windows server 2012 is vertical i.e. a parent OS (windows server 2012 core/hyper-v) to child VMS.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
First, DISCLAIMER!!!!!

The following is my opinion and no opinion, mine or another person's on EE, is legally binding. You can't go into court and way "I read on Experts Exchange..." as a defense. ***CALL MICROSOFT*** and get answers to all licensing questions you have *IN WRITING* when in doubt.

END DISCLAIMER!!!

Now, As to the questions, I disagree with some of the comments above. You can read Microsoft's Product Use Rights for volume licensing here, but retail and OEM EULAs also contain very similar language.

http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/product-licensing.aspx

For 2012, if you look under the licensing (page 24), bullet points 3, 4, and 5 cover physical and virtual OSEs.  Standard edition allows up to 2 OSEs as long as you meet all of the conditions outlined, and at no point is one of the conditions list that the physical OSE has to be Hyper-V. There are plenty of large VMWare datacenters that exercise this right with Datacenter Edition, and it is not uncommon.

So, unlike most of the comments I've read, it is my strong belief that you can indeed run your two VMs (on a single 2-processor physical machine) under VMWare legally.

As for your other questions:

Pros and cons.  Too many to go into. The VMWare vs Hyper-V war has been going on since Hyper-V started gaining popularity in 2009. That is 5 years of active product development and knowledge. No way can that be summed up in an EE answer. Like "what is the best backup" or "what is the best antivirus" ...there are folks in each camp that will insist their solution is the best. The only *REAL* answer is stay educated on new product developments (on both sides) and pick what fits you.

To your final question, yes, Hyper-V supports replication. It supports clustering for fault tolerance. It supports moving live VMs around amongst legitimately licensed hosts for maintenance purposes or hardware replacement purposes. It has many of the expected features a modern hypervisor is expected to have. But it implements them in its unique way, just as any hypervisor is unique.

Hope that helps.

-Cliff

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Seth SimmonsSr. Systems AdministratorCommented:
The 2 licenses you are referring to are for 2 virtual guests running in hyper-v.

Windows Server 2012 R2 Licensing Datasheet

http://download.microsoft.com/download/F/3/9/F39124F7-0177-463C-8A08-582463F96C9D/Windows_Server_2012_R2_Licensing_Datasheet.pdf

You can use the 2 IBM servers for your cluster (if clustering is supported on that model), though i strongly suggest adding memory to each one - especially when exchange is involved.  You also need a supported shared-storage environment (iscsi/fc, etc.) for the cluster resources and offsite replication if that's what you're looking to do.
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