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Right Sizing Your Windows Server Environment

Microsoft | Posted on February 16, 2017 by Jessica Koester

Did you know that Windows Server is one of the most mislicensed products under SPLA?

This can lead to unnecessary audits and expenses that no one wants to deal with.

We all know that Microsoft introduced a new licensing model for Windows Server 2016 when they changed the model from Processor to Core. As we wrote in our July article, the biggest concern was that if you were running more than 8 cores per instance (the minimum required) you would have to license the additional cores when you upgraded to Windows Server 2016 or when your SPLA contract renewed.

However, there is another important aspect of licensing Windows Server that is often misunderstood and it pertains to the Standard edition.

Standard is a bit trickier than Datacenter because it’s not as easy as just licensing all the instances, physical or virtual. Instead, Microsoft stipulates that with the Standard edition you need to count all the VMs you have on a server, and then multiply that number by a number of Physical Processors on that server. The physical processors (host) themselves don’t need to be licensed but you should be aware of the math used to calculate licenses and costs so that you can make the right choice.

Let’s look at some numbers:

  • Two-physical processors on a server with 4 VMs. Total licenses of Standard required: 8 / Datacenter: 2
  • Four-physical processors on a server with 4VMs. Total licenses of Standard required: 16 / Datacenter 4
  • Two-physical processors on a server with 15 VMs. Total licenses of Standard required: 30 / Datacenter: 2
  • Four-physical processors on a server with 15 VMs. Total licenses of Standard required: 60 / Datacenter: 4

Now keep this in mind: Datacenter costs 6 times more than Standard.

Therefore, in the first two scenarios above, it makes sense to license with Standard, whereas in the second two scenarios it is way cheaper to license with Datacenter.

In other words, if you have more than 6 virtual machines on a server, regardless of how many physical processors are on that server, it would always be cheaper to license with Datacenter.

One last thing to note is that Microsoft continues to update the Services Provider Use Rights (SPUR) regularly and we encourage you to review it and reach out to us for any questions and inquiries. You can download the February 2017 SPUR here.

We hope this information helps you choose the most efficient option for your hosting environment!

The Softchoice SPLA Team

Written by: Aleks Hara and Jessica Koester

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