vm licensing

Posted on 2014-08-12
Last Modified: 2014-08-14
I get confused on the licensing sometimes, so if someone could help me out with my specific scenario.

I have a box running Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise that I understand I can run 4 VM ????

We run ESXI and I have 4 VM servers set up.

I want to add 2 - 4more servers (convert from old Windows 2003) to be virtual.   I know I need to get 2-4 more licenses for those???????       And with that being said, is that all I need to add more VM's?
Question by:bankwest
    LVL 3

    Expert Comment

    Yes, Windows Server Standard 2008 gives you 1 physical and 1 virtual instance.
    Enterprise gives you 1 physical and  4 virtual instances
    Datacenter gives you unlimited virtual instances.

    Just make sure you have enough disk space and memory.
    LVL 95

    Assisted Solution

    by:Lee W, MVP
    If you are converting the 2003's into VIRTUAL 2003's AND the licenses aren't OEM, then you can just convert them, no additional licenses needed.  If you are upgrading them to 2008/2008 R2 it would be foolish to buy more than 2 copies of server 2012 - you MUST buy Server 2012 - buy it through volume licensing - and you can install 2008 R2 instead.  2012 gives you TWO VMs PER Standard Server license which means 2 Standard Licenses gives you 4 LICENSES TOTAL for use in virtual environments.

    That said:
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    LVL 77

    Expert Comment

    by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
    I know I need to get 2-4 more licenses for those???????       And with that being said, is that all I need to add more VM's?

    the 4 VM's is for THAT product using that product key, additional VM's use their product keys (if needed)

    so you don't need more licenses as long as they are full retail or VL licensed media, OEM software need not apply as it is bound to the hardware it was first activated on.

    Author Comment

    Sorry this may be a pretty dumb question....   In my defense (LOL) I took over the IT area when the previous IT manager quit and am learning by fire.

    How do I know if I have VL licensed media.         I know it's not OEM as the server it is on, was not preinstalled.     My invoice on VLSC just says Open License.   For Windows Server - Enterprise 2008 Release 2.

    So if this is full retail, as I think it is.............are you saying I don't need more "server" licenses to add another couple  VM servers, I just need the VM licenses.
    LVL 11

    Expert Comment

    Hi bankwest,
    "Open License" means Volume Licenses. So it is not OEM.
    Though if you plan to add a lot of VM in a short time I advice you to buy Win 2012R2 Datacenter edition in order to have unlimited VM with Win 2012R2 standard licensed (as mentioned by experts above).
    LVL 3

    Accepted Solution

    To answer the question on "more" server licenses. You must obviously license the physical server. The license you purchase for a physical machine gives you licensing for a certain number of virtual machines. In this case, Server Enterprise 2008 R2 gives you the physical server license and up to 4 virtual machine licenses for the same Operating System. You can convert your older physical machines to virtual machines and if they are not OEM licenses then they are ok. If you want more VM's then they need to have their own license just like any other server.

    Windows Server 2012 dropped the Enterprise SKU, so you only have Standard and Datacenter.

    I want to follow up with Mr Tortur's comment, a very good comment indeed. I won't quote any pricing, your pricing will depend on you supplier. The price on Server Datacenter went up a lot in 2012, Datacenter will cost you anywhere from 5-7 times more than the Standard license. So you will need to run at least 10 VM machines on your physical host before Datacenter becomes a good deal. Outside of actual Datacenters, I don't see smaller businesses investing in hardware truly capable of running more than 10 VMs effectively. There are always exceptions, but that is what I see most of the time.

    This document explains a lot of the details on Server licensing.
    LVL 3

    Assisted Solution

    One more comment about your scenario. Remember that if you have User or Device CALS, the CALS must be of at least the level of your highest server. So right now you say you have 2003 and 2008 R2 Servers. If you have any User/Device CALS then you probably have 2008 CALS. If you decide to purchase 2012 and implement in your infrastructure then you will need User/Device CALS for 2012. That can change the budget significantly depending on how many CALS you have.

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