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Which Windows Server edition should I select for a public web server?

Posted on 2014-08-20
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I'm looking at putting in some Windows Server 2012 machines for a large web application.  The team likes .Net, so we're pricing that option.

Which edition of Windows Server should I look at?  I'm thinking Standard, but is there a licensing problem if, for example, we have 5000 concurrent connections to the website?

DB server is separate, so not part of this question.  

Thanks!
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Question by:Daniel Wilson
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Brad Groux earned 1600 total points
ID: 40274711
The licensing for Server 2012 has been greatly streamlined. There are only two versions of Server 2012 for business use. Standard and Enterprise. Standard has all of the functionality of Enterprise and zero limitations. Enterprise only makes since if you are utilizing Hyper-V as it has built in licensing for virtual machine hosts (unlimited licenses for Enterprise, two licenses for Standard).

Standard is all you need, it limits you in no way.
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by:Daniel Wilson
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Thanks for the quick response, Brad.

Do I need server license + CAL's?  Or just a server license?
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by:Brad Groux
Brad Groux earned 1600 total points
ID: 40274739
No CALs are needed for external users. You'll need standard CALs for all internal users, but if you already have those there are no additional CALs needed.
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by:Cliff Galiher
Cliff Galiher earned 400 total points
ID: 40274740
It is standard and datacenter actually. As far as CALs, it is dependent on the details of the web application. You may fall under the web workloads clause if all access is open and users are not uniquely identified. But if not the on CALs or an EC license will be needed.
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by:Brad Groux
ID: 40274752
Thanks for the correction on Datacenter naming Cliff, old habits die hard!

This website explains CALs pretty clearly - http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/client-access-license.aspx
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by:Daniel Wilson
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Thanks!
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by:Cliff Galiher
ID: 40274757
It should also be noted that licensing advice from EE should never be considered trustworthy or legally binding. If you follow particular advice and get stung, the "I was told it was okay from a guy on EE" excuse won't save you. You realm should call MS pre-sales and get something in writing.
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by:Daniel Wilson
ID: 40274761
Good point, Cliff.  I'm getting close enough for ballpark pricing at this point. :)
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by:Brad Groux
ID: 40274785
The problem with Microsoft licensing is that you can ask 10 different MS reps and get 10 different answers, so definitely take a better safe than sorry approach. Thankfully, Server 2012 made it MUCH easier than the past.

As a good rule of thumb, always have a standard CAL for all of your users and a license for all of your production servers and DR servers and you should be good to go. But certainly consult your licensing reps from either Microsoft or third parties like CDW.
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