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Affixing multiple OEM stickers to a single machine

Posted on 2014-04-07
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Last Modified: 2014-05-08
I'm building a server for a client of mine which is going to run Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 + Hyper-V Role.

The client wants to have these virtual machines:

  2x Windows Server 2012 R2 VMs  (for various things, DC, Fileserver, Webserver)
  2x Windows Server 2012 VM    (for Exchange 2010, and some future task maybe VPN)

Normally I would purchase and affix an OEM sticker to the server to license it, but because this server is going to be a virtual machine host, I need to license more than one copy of the operating system.

Can I purchase and affix TWO OEM stickers? One of them will be a Server 2012 R2 OEM sticker and the other will be a Server 2012 OEM sticker. Each of the stickers entitles the customer to install 2x VMs of that OS each, and consider them properly licensed?
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Question by:Frosty555
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Expert Comment

by:Matthew Kelly
ID: 39984806
So for any licensing question I would always recommend asking a Microsoft license specialist and to get it in writing (email, etc), as the licensing changes from version to version. Microsoft made major changes to how things are licensed between 2008 and 2012 versions of software (SQL, Windows Server, etc). Any company you buy the licenses from should have someone who is a microsoft licensing specialist.

From the licensing data sheet, your assumption would be correct. Two standard licenses should allow you to do (4) virtual machines. You would still only have one host of course.

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

"Determining the number of licenses for Datacenter and Standard editions

Each license covers up to two physical processors on a single server. The minimum number of licenses required for each server is determined by the number of physical processors. For Standard edition you can add more virtual instances by assigning
additional licenses to the server (two incremental virtual instances are added per license)."

http://www.zdnet.com/microsoft-ups-price-on-windows-server-2012-r2-datacenter-by-28-percent-7000019168/

"Customers can also choose to assign multiple Standard Editions licenses to a single server, in order to increase VM density on that server"
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Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 39984843
Agreed that all licensing questions should be submitted to Microsoft and answers gotten in writing.

While it is true that licenses can be "stacked" to get more VMs, OEM is always a little more tricky. If you haven't negotiated your own terms with MS, and are using generic system builder OEM licenses, you are restricted to one per physical machine. :..last I checked.

Any additional licenses must be retail. I haven't followed system builder licensing lately, but I'd be surprised if they've loosened this restriction.
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Expert Comment

by:Schuyler Dorsey
ID: 39984939
As Cliff suggested, OEM licensing restricts you to that one physical host.

So if you ever want to add a second virtual host, you cannot fail over or migrate your current VMs without violating the OEM licensing. I always avoid OEM licensing in virtual setups.
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by:Cris Hanna
ID: 39985659
I third Cliff's comments.  You can't use OEM to get the additional HyperV Guests
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by:Kimputer
ID: 39995361
Official Microsoft document, look at Q14:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/D/B/4DB352D1-C610-466A-9AAF-EEF4F4CFFF27/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_FAQ.pdf

This document states only license, not mentioning open volume licensing or OEM. (OEM is mentioned once in a non-related question). Therefore I can only conclude that any license, be it Volume or OEM, is meant with license.
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Assisted Solution

by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 500 total points
ID: 39995446
Since OEM software is not supposed to be available through retail channels and has other restrictions, end-user documentation *rarely* mentions OEM licensing or its restrictions. The idea here is that the end-user wouldn't be purchasing OEM software and therefore none of it would apply.

If you sign up as a Microsoft partner, there is separate partner documentation and if you are the right kind of partner, that covers "system builder" OEM licensing. (Large manufacturers negotiate their own OEM contracts and therefore don't even fall under system-builder status, hence the distinction.)

Licensing is kinda like property law; it is never wise to say "It didn't say I couldn't, so I thought I could." You can't dump toxic waste in your back yard and claim ignorance of environmental law because it was on your property. And you can't claim ignorance of software piracy because one FAQ didn't tell you about OEM restrictions.

----

As always, EE is a user forum and differences of opinion will occur. NONE of this is legally binding. I'll revert to what Matthew Kelly said first, and which I wholeheartedly agree. Get it in writing from Microsoft.  THAT at least gives you some legal protection.

However, don't be surprised if you can't get Microsoft to agree to give you anything in writing regarding assigning multiple OEM licenses to one piece of iron. They likely will not because of the reasons I've given above. It just isn't how OEM was intended to be used and that is why MS offers retail and VL. That is the route you'll need to go in all likelihood.
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