Licensing requirements for server2012

Can anyone in simple English point me in the direction of what licensing is required to build a Server 20120 R2 for a domain controller upgrade from server 2003 to server 2008(we will downgrade the license)

The volume licensing page has 9 license/CAL/connector/services user/services devices/etc, etc

We are a Non profit Continuing Education organization.  We do webcasting and have archiving of video with an outside vendor. We also publish books for our particular niche, and e-books.  We have multiple subscription products.

Our AD is currently on a server 2003 box that was installed 10 years ago,  We have 2008, a group of 2003, and one server 2000 NAS box
as well as  a ESX box running VMWare and several server 2008 and two 2012 virtual servers.

Can anyone make sense of license requirements?
Larry RungrenDirector of TechnologyAsked:
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Muhammad MullaSystems AdministratorCommented:
I will write down as how it goes as far as I understand, but licensing can always be a confusing issue. Especially MS licensing.

1. Each physical server will need it's own server license.
2. Anonymous users accessing your web content don't require any license.
3. Users and/or devices on your network will require a CAL each.
4. As far as VMs go, Windows Standard includes server license for 2 VMs, Datacenter includes license for unlimited VMs for a single processor (if your ESX host has 2 physical processors - not cores- you will require 2 Datacenter licenses).

If you are in the UK and Not for Profit, you should apply to tt-exchange for Microsoft licensing donation. There will be an administration charge, but it is much cheaper than purchasing a license. The US has a similar program, but I'm not sure about other countries.

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Unless you already have a Server 2008 license that you can apply to the upgraded server, you would have to purchase a Server 2012 license, presumably Standard, since the Essentials license does not appear to be a choice for your situation. Since you already have Server 2012 in your environment, you may already have a sufficient number of Server 2012 CALs to cover your users or devices. If that's not the case, you should take care of this issue as soon as possible.

You may be eligible for a "charity" priced copy of the license (and CALs).

If you purchase through a Volume License channel, you will have downgrade rights to install the upgraded server with Windows 2008 Standard instead of Windows 2012 Standard. Your question is a bit unclear about what you are intending to do.

Remember that the licensing advice we can give on Experts Exchange is general guidance only. The vendor from whom you obtain your license should have someone on staff who can authoritatively answer your Microsoft licensing questions, specifically for your situation.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
First, you should see if you qualify for TechSoup - if so, many of your licenses will be 95% off.

Can anyone in simple English point me in the direction of what licensing is required to build a Server 20120 R2 for a domain controller upgrade from server 2003 to server 2008(we will downgrade the license)

As stated above, Each physical server (with 2 physical CPUs (not cores)) requires a single Windows Server 2012 R2 license.  *IF* you virtualize (and you SHOULD - it's NOT new technology - it's been around 7+ years as a feature in Server and longer with VMWare) your 2012 license permits you to setup TWO complete servers in VMs on a SINGLE physical install.  If you want more than 2 VMs running Windows server on the host, you need an additional Windows server license for each two additional Windows VMs (Linux VMs do not require Windows licenses).

As for the other items, you said they were with an outside vendor - it depends entirely how your setup to work with that vendor if you need additional licenses.  It sounds like you have a complex (or at least more than basic) setup that would probably be best served by finding a consultant who understands licensing and can come in and work with you too identify what you need.  Again, look at TechSoup - they have (at least had) a directory of consultants who work with non-profits.

Licensing Disclaimer
License information provided here is "best efforts".  The comments of the respondents are based on interpretation of the license agreements and their knowledge of the particular laws and regulations in their geographic location.  Laws in your location may invalidate certain aspects of the license and/or licenses can change.  "They told me on Experts-Exchange" will not be a valid excuse in an audit.  You need to contact the license granting authority to confirm any advice offered here.
Larry RungrenDirector of TechnologyAuthor Commented:
All answers are correct in their own way, and I was trying to avoid having to spend an entire day wading through the absolute foolishness presented by Microsoft.  I have gleaned from all three points that we have put to use with our connections at Tech Soup

Thanks to all
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Windows Server 2012

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