Windows Server

A virtualization-friendly inclusion in Windows Server 2008 licensing


With a wave of the wand, Microsoft made impressive licensing changes to Windows Server 2003 that made running virtual server instances more cost-friendly. Under the Enterprise edition of Windows Server 2003, organizations can run up to four virtual servers without incurring any additional licensing fees beyond the physical host license. Under the Data Center edition, you can run as many virtual servers as your hardware can support.

With the introduction of Windows Server 2008, Microsoft is extending this program to the Standard edition, albeit in a more limited way. With Windows Server 2008 Standard, you'll be allowed to run your physical server as well as one virtual server on that physical host without incuring an additional charge.

As is the case with Windows Server 2003, Microsoft is not dictating the virtualization solution that you must use to take advantage of these licensing features. That said, with the Standard edition licensing change, you will need to use something like Virtual Server 2005 or VMware Server to be able to take advantage of the offer. With the Enterprise and Data Center offerings, you can take advantage of the offer as long as you apply the physical Window license to the host server.

About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

4 comments
misi999
misi999

If I install VI3 or ESXi and therefore do not use the physical license, am I still allowed to use the four virtual ones (or one in the Standard version)?

Photogenic Memory
Photogenic Memory

When you think about it; VM's just make things more profitable? A physical license is the same as it would be in virtual environment. I guess the trick is to get an OS that doesn't need to be licensed or isn't supported by MS anymore. This would allow you to rake in profits you'd otherwise have to spend on ridiculous licensing fees. Yeah, cut out the middle man and cash in.

nilslorvick
nilslorvick

Would you be able to use 2 licenses if they were both run inside of a VMware environment?

mcooper
mcooper

One licese is physical only, one licese is Virtual only. Same thing with Enterprise Edition. With EE, you can use 4 virtual and one physical. But you can't do 5 virtual in a VMWare of Xen environment. The best option is still Data Center Edition, which give you unlimited Virtual instances, regarless of which technology you use.