Server 2012 Licensing with Hyper-V VM's and replication

I had this question after viewing Server 2012 Standard VM Licensing.

If I have two servers each running Server 2012 Std R2 with Hyper-V and each server has 3 VMs on it, do I need one additional license for each physical server?

To complicate it further, multiple vm's are replicated between the two servers.  Here is the current config:

Server 1
     VM3 (replication of VM5)
     VM4 (replication of VM1)
     VM6 (replication of VM2)

A follow up question would be is this replication scenario a bad idea?  My customer's in-house IT person has implemented this and I'm wondering if it has issues.

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Brandon DubeDirector of ITCommented:
You need any additional license of standard per hyper-v host for this to be legal. A single datacenter license per host covers it as well (though overkill)

Standard license covers the host plus 2 VMs. you would need two licenses of standard on each physical box for this to cover up to 4VMs each.

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kbollerAuthor Commented:
Thanks Brandon.  Any insight on the replication component of my customer's configuration?
Brandon DubeDirector of ITCommented:
This replication is not bad, I don't know much about the specifics of their budget or infrastructure, but it looks like a very cost-effective way to provide simple redundancy.

Depending on the hardware spec of the hosts it could have terrible performance running 3 VMs off 1 disk. I would run a DR test of a single host failure to see how it goes.

Any redundancy is better than none as long as there is also a form of reactive backup in place as well.
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kbollerAuthor Commented:
Thanks again Brandon.  Do the replicated VM's need their own license or is the license for the active VM sufficient?
Brandon DubeDirector of ITCommented:
MS says you need a license per VM active or replicated so the replicated VMs will need licensing too. Standard gives you 2 guests so in the deployment you described you would need 2 licenses of Standard on EACH host for up to 4vms each physical host.

Why you pay for machines that are off never made sense to me, but that is Microsoft's way.
kbollerAuthor Commented:
>>Why you pay for machines that are off never made sense to me, but that is Microsoft's way.  


One last question (I promise).  Server1 was originally used for some other tasks including file sharing and Remote Desktop Server which are still active.  (Not what I would have recommended)  Does that negate the license for the 2 VM's from the original physical license?

Thanks for your help!
Philip ElderTechnical Architect - HA/Compute/StorageCommented:
The VMs can move around once per 90 days no matter the underlying Windows Server license.

So, the source and destination servers need the same licensing to be legit.

Now, the catch: Software Assurance is required if the VMs are to be moved back to the source site before a 90 day window happens.
Brandon DubeDirector of ITCommented:
Using the host as a file server or RD gateway does not stop you from hosting 2 guests from a licensing standpoint (even though as you stated is bad practice).
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
Hyper-V comes with 2 licenses for RUNNING ADDITIONAL Windows VMs.  My interpretation.  As such, replicating the VMs to each other server in that configuration would not violate licensing UNTIL/UNLESS they are turned on.  I have recommended similar configs on occasion - the issue is you can't ACTIVATE the replicas until you have appropriate licenses OR there's catastrophic failure of the host VM.  This assumes the license is NOT OEM which can't be transferred under any circumstance.

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kbollerAuthor Commented:
Thank you, that really helps!
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