Windows Server 2012 Licencing Question

Hi Experts.  I've trying to get a simple licencing question answered for Windows Server 2012 STD.    If I buy Server 2012 STD, one CPU, how many Virtual Servers can I load for free.   Appreciated.  Thanks
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Cliff GaliherCommented:
I don't recommend getting licensing advice on EE or any forum. Call Microsoft.  Nothing, and I mean *nothing* here is legally binding. And if you follow bad advice, "I read it on the internet" is not going to make much of a legal defense. You'll be on the hook for potentially big money for piracy.

With that said, in the US, 2012 Standard allows up to 2 VMs on a 1 or 2 CPU server as long as the host is only running the Hyper-V role and not offering other services or workloads. You can confirm this through Microsoft pre-sales.
James HIT DirectorCommented:
You are entitled to run 2 additional VM's under the Standard OS. That is the limitation of 2012 STD.
PNRTAuthor Commented:
Thanks Cliff and by that we mean as long as the server is acting as the host only and not offering other services.   But if the server is offering other services, can it still run one additional VM for free?
Has Powershell sent you back into the Stone Age?

If managing Active Directory using Windows Powershell® is making you feel like you stepped back in time, you are not alone.  For nearly 20 years, AD admins around the world have used one tool for day-to-day AD management: Hyena. Discover why.

Cliff GaliherCommented:
The wording is ambiguous, but in general my interpretation (and most of the licensing experts I've spoken with at Microsoft) the answer is no. You are either taking advantage of 1+2, or you aren't. It is an either/or proposition.  The logic being that if you have services you are currently running in the host, you should move that to a VM and the licensing cost does not change. Two VMs, or one VM and one physical OS is from a pricing standpoint the same, but from a supportability standpoint can be very different. So Microsoft is choosing to only allow configurations that help cut down their support costs, but do not incur extra costs to the user.

And as a clarification to Spartan_1337's comment, there is no "limitation" to the number of VMs in Standard. It is a licensing requirement, not a technical one. You can legally take standard and run 200 Linux VMs if you wanted. Or for VDI scenarios, run dozens of Windows client desktops as long as you license those windows desktops.  The two-VM clause is strictly the rights to run two Windows Server VMs with the one license as long as you follow the licensing guidelines.  And you can stack two standard licenses allows you to run four VMs.  Three allows six. And four would allow eight, but at that point you are in datacenter pricing where that might make more sense...unless you have 4 CPUs, where you'd need two datacenter licenses, then four Standard licenses is still cheaper.  All about juggling the numbers and seeing what works.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
PNRTAuthor Commented:
Whilst I understand your comment about not getting advise from forums such as EE, after reading you last comment, I think it would be obvious to anyone why us lesser mortals do.  Microsoft does not speak English and its nice to have it explained in that language.   No guarantees of course.   Thank you.
Cliff GaliherCommented:
To be fair though, I did say *call* Microsoft. Their licensing documents are indeed nearly greek (I just happen to be able to *read* greek so it doesn't bother me.)  But calling their pre-sales and licensing desk (or most vendors like CDW who actually have MS staff working their MS product licensing desks) is a different experience. By talking to a human, they can ask you about your environment and give you a much clearer answer than a wordy licensing document. And they can usually provide a written validated copy that states you are compliant as long as your environment continues to meet the things you shared with the licensing expert.  Calling Microsoft is usually not a bad thing, and isn't as complicated as a legal PUR.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Windows Server 2012

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.