Microsoft Licensing

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Need some advice on how to do a license calculations for Hyper V Cluster environments? Thanks.
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Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

Buy Data Center - Unlimited VMs per host.

If you want more advice, please be more specific.
My AdminOperations Admin


Thanks Lee.

E. g. Running with 3 Hyper-v nodes with Cluster enabled. for 15 VMs.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process Advisor
Most Valuable Expert 2013

For that many VMs since licenses cannot be transferred between hosts more than once every 90 days, Data Center is what I would strongly recommend.  Otherwise, you need 8 licenses per host.  to support 15 VMs.  It might be SLIGHTLY cheaper to go with standard today... but add a couple more VMs and you're now paying as much or more than Data Center.

EXCEPTION - you're still not being clear - 15 VMs of what?  Linux?  Standard is fine.  Windows?  Data Center!  (Microsoft doesn't license per VM - it's per Windows Guest OS).
Distinguished Expert 2018


I share the same opinion of Lee,
Windows licenses are by operating system and not by VM.

Also everything depends on the Windows server version that you have installed, whether Standard or the simplest Datacenter, being the most powerful, since you can run many virtual instances in your environment in an unlimited way.

Also the hardware components of your physical host play a very important role depending on how many vm you want to deploy in the future.

What version of Windows server do you have? 2012, 2016, 2019? , standard, or datacenter?

Operations Admin
Clustering, failing over, and moving instances

In addition to understanding foundational licensing concepts mentioned above, it is helpful to understand how software is typically deployed and used. Two common scenarios for higher availability and dynamic datacenters involve:
- Running the same workload simultaneously on two servers, or
- Running a workload on a primary server and periodically moving it to a second server due to a failure, load balancing, patching, or planned downtime

In both scenarios, regardless of whether the workloads are running in physical or virtual operating system environments (or OSEs), each server must have the appropriate number of licenses assigned to it prior to the workload running on it. This holds true regardless of whether you plan the workload to:-
- Always run on a single server.
- Run in parallel on the server as a backup when the primary server fails.
- Run the workload if the primary server is down.
- Load balance when the primary server has high use.
- Only run the workload during maintenance.

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