I am currently beta testing Virtual Server 2005 R2 SP1 Beta 1 and I wanted to make you aware of the virtual licensing changes that have taken place. Now that R2 has been released, licensing has also changed.

In the past, if you owned Virtual PC or use Virtual Server (now that it is free), you must have a license for each virtual machine (VM) that is running in your environment. Seems costly, doesnt it?

Virtual Server R2 loaded on a Windows 2003 box implements new licensing for vm’s. To quote Microsoft,

“Licensing does not depend on which virtualization technology is used. With a license for Windows Server 2003 R2, Enterprise Edition, you can run one instance of the software in a physical operating system environment and up to four instances in virtual operating system environments. With VMWare GSX Server, this means you can run one physical instance plus four virtual instances. With VMWare ESX Server, it means you can run four virtual instances because there is no need for a physical instance.”

This is a great deal! You can use any virtualization software you want and get up to 4 virtual instances with one license of Windows Server 2003 R2. Under the new licensing agreement, you only have to pay for active vm’s RUNNING, not stored vm’s. You use to have to license active and stored vm’s.

When Longhorn Datacenter is released, you will be able to have an unlimited number of vm’s on a 64 bit platform.

What do you think of the new vm licensing model?