If you’re like me then you view Microsoft’s licensing like the IRS – every time time they say it’s simpler it’s actually just differently complicated. Such is the case with the new per-core licensing model that Server 2016 is sold under.
The handy chart above is great once you understand the concept behind this new licensing model.
- Server Standard is 16 cores and 1+2 installations. This gets you 8 cores for each processor. You can then install it on a hyper-v parent and run two virtual instances on that same parent.
- Data Center is 16 cores and 1 + unlimited installations. You can then install it on a hyper-v parent and run as many virtual instances on that same parent as you like.
- For both editions you can buy more cores in two-core licensing packs. This licensing model doesn’t care how many processors your server has. And it only cares about physical cores.
Layers of Complexity
There are a couple of important things to know about 2016 in addition to the cores.
- Server Standard and Enterprise no longer have the same feature set. Gosh wasn’t nice in 2012? But no more. Enterprise has additional features – again.
- If you purchase SA with your licenses, you can use some of your virtual instances in Azure instead of on-premises. You’ll still pay some Azure fees but a greatly reduced rate.
The potentially ugly
Let’s envision a couple of common scenarios and see just how ugly they might get.
- You have purchased your server licenses with SA for years. Customers are paying SA-only at renewal time now. It’s time to upgrade the physical hardware…some time has passed it is now the future…8 core processors are no longer available. You have to purchase 10 core processors. Which means that you’ll have to purchase 2 2-core packs plus SA for them to add into your licensing agreement.
- You’re a small business. Almost everything moved to the cloud except that Access Application. So you need a small server to run it. Server Standard with 16 cores is your entry price. But you only bought a server with 1 processor and 8 cores. Sorry 8 cores will go to waste.
Time to Prepare
- Get an accurate count of your cores. Microsoft is going to give you a certain number but you need to be ready to claim all of your cores if you have more than 16 in a server now. You’ll need to provide this information at the time of your SA renewal.
Pricing and licensing for Windows Server 2016 https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/windows-server-pricing
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