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Server 2012 R2 Licensing on ESXi

Posted on 2016-10-04
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2016-11-22
I purchased a Dell Server with MS Server 2012 R2 Standard Open License. I was told I can run 2 instances (VMs).

I want to setup 2 VMs on ESXi 6.0. Can I activate 2 VMs with this one license? Or, do I have to install one instance on the hardware and use the MS Hyper-V?
Question by:GreenWingRider
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LVL 123

Accepted Solution

Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 41828854
You can use 2 VMs on ESXi 6.0, because Windows 2012 R2 entitles you to have a license for the Bare Metal, and 2 VMs.

So a "paper license" is allocated to the Host, and then you have two licenses to allocate to your VMs.

You do not need to use Hyper-V.

Author Comment

ID: 41828860
So, If I would install the Server 2012 on the Bare Metal and use the Hyper-V instead of ESXi then I could actually have 3 servers running, 1 on the Bare Metal and 2 VMs?

Author Comment

ID: 41828876
So, I actually loose one server license by using ESXi instead of Hyper-V?

Can I install the Server on anther piece of hardware and still use the VM's on the ESXi based hardware?
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LVL 123

Assisted Solution

by:Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2) earned 2000 total points
ID: 41828877
That's correct, but it's bad practice to use the Host OS for anything other than the Hypervisor!

and it requires more disk space, and of course you've got to patch it every month, because it needs Windows Updates!

e.g. Hyper-V because it's a Host OS.

Can I install the Server on another piece of hardware and still use the VM's on the ESXi based hardware?

Technically - That's a breach of the licensing agreement. You are allocated the virtualisation rights to run 2 VMs which are hosted on that server which you have licensed with your 2012 R2 Standard license.

You need to decide if you want to use Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere, both will then give you licenses for two Virtual Machines for free.

see here

Author Comment

ID: 41828899
Ok, Thank You. Your answer was very clear and helpful, as were the article links. I guess ESXi it is.

Just have to get over the hurdles of getting the VMs to recognize the LTO Tape and RDX hardware I had installed internally on the system for backup.
LVL 123
ID: 41828907
No problems.

If you struggle with your backups, please a new question, and myself or other Experts can assist.
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 41828950
"So, I actually loose one server license by using ESXi instead of Hyper-V?
Can I install the Server on anther piece of hardware and still use the VM's on the ESXi based hardware? "

On my info that is not correct. There are two things that you must take into account. A windows server license is tied to one server hardware (you can have one one hyper-v host and two VM's on the same hw box) and on hyper-v host you can not have installed anything else, except administrative/management  software. If you install anything else, one license for VM is gone for host.
(Page 2. and 3. of first Andrew's link)
With open license you can relocate license on different hardware every 90 days, except if you buy SA you gain "license mobility" feature. You can move licenses around more frequently for let say clustered environment.
Anyway, getting info about Ms licensing is not so easy, because we are not authoritative to give you such info. If you will say that somebody in EE said this, it will mean nothing to BSA or Ms layers.
And second, Ms employees will sometimes (or frequently) give you wrong info because of:
- complicated licensing and they will want to be on safe side
- to sell more
LVL 123
ID: 41849736
do you require any additional help to close out this question?

Author Closing Comment

ID: 41852149

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