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Win Server Data Center 2008 R2 / 2012 R2 Standard Hybrid Setup

Des Kelly
Des Kelly asked
Last Modified: 2017-04-13

I have posed this question via official MS license channels - but I am finding contradictory information.

Customer has 2 node ESX cluster with Windows Server 2008 R2 Data Center edition and CALs for all users
The solution is fully license compliant.

The customer is undertaking a cloud migration but in the short term require to deploy a single Server 2012 R2 VM within the ESX cluster.
1) I am aware we'll have to buy 2016 under the core model and use the down grade right to deploy 2012
2) I am aware that a CAL upgrade will be needed

Given the situation I am proposing to buy Server 2016 Standard just for the single new deployment.

I am told that mixing Standard & Data Center within a cluster is not permitted from a license perspective.

Anyone any help or issues?  I can find little or nothing on a hybrid deployment.  While the customer is happy to buy upgraded CALs, which will be needed no matter what - they want to buy as little underlying Server license as possible
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Datacenter platform engineer Lindows
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Des KellySystems Engineer


Thanks Patrick - Happy with the allowed instances, if we needed more if you be a single Data Center upgrade!
STD is enough for this requirement!
Michael MachieIT Supervisor

Actually, the 2 VM licensing per key is INCORRECT. Do not mak this mistake that most every licnsing reseller has done.

That refers to running server os running hyper-v only (license use #1). The first VM on that Hyper V install can use the "2nd" license. This was designed to compete with vmware free licensing so that two licenses were not required to run a single windows server VM on hyper-V.

In other words, MS made it legal to have a hyper-v instance with a single VM and be compliant. Any additional VMs require a separate license.

That said, if you have datacenter licensing for all your clustered hosts you can install this vm with no added licensing - unless it is of a version higher than your datacenter licensing, at which point the 2016 license is needed. However, if downgrading to 2012, with datacenter licensing at 2012 - no extra licensing is needed until you upgrade to 2016 at which point you would need 2016 licencing.
Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer Lindows

Dont know why incorrect needs to be yelled in capitals maar according to my knowledge and Some Microsoft dudes standard gives you the right to run two virtual instances.
Check the TechNet discussion here
Michael MachieIT Supervisor

Incorrect in caps because of the potential significant fines and common misunderstanding by the licensing retailers.

I've been through multiple audits for my customers and have had this conversation numerous times. I have been correct  every time except the first, which is how I learned the licensing resellers were not correct.

Use the licensing how you see fit at your own risk - the verbage is tricky.
Patrick BogersDatacenter platform engineer Lindows

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