Windows server 2016 licensing



  • How does it work? The information provided by Microsoft is unclear and contacting them about it brings controversial answers from different people. How does their per core licensing go?



  • Since 2016 is not yet released, everything is speculation based on pre-announcement hints from Microsoft. We just don't know all of the details yet. There are some details that have been provided but are subject to change.



  • I fully believe they will be moving to per core pricing.... If not this release the next one. I always think this is a bad move and will have people moving to Linux for some things 🙂



  • Core pricing has been announced, but I don't believe that all of the details around it have been yet.



  • @anonymous That part is easy to explain. It's a move to secure a bigger market share for Intel vs AMD as far as CPUs go. But honestly, considering the trend was faster cores for desktops and more slower cores for servers, which made sense, considering the kind of workload a server handles, people will have to look for ways to get the same performance with less cores in their servers, from the look of things.



  • @ardeyn said:

    @anonymous That part is easy to explain. It's a move to secure a bigger market share for Intel vs AMD as far as CPUs go. But honestly, considering the trend was faster cores for desktops and more slower cores for servers, which made sense, considering the kind of workload a server handles, people will have to look for ways to get the same performance with less cores in their servers, from the look of things.

    They will have to look to... Linux.



  • Next we'll see vCPU licensing... Sigh.



  • I feel that that is unlikely only because it is so problematic. Because you can have a vCPU that is a tiny fraction of a real core OR you can have one that many cores are servicing. vCPU is extremely "gamable" and would not be in any software vendor's interest to use for licensing as hypervisor vendors would compete on who could deliver the most performance "per vCPU" to screw the sofware vendors.

    It would be an instant siphon for MS directly to VMware or Xen. And if Hyper-V didn't play the same game, not only would it siphon off Windows Server profits, it would eliminate Hyper-V as a hypervisor player overnight as well.



  • I'm wondering how cores themselves can even work.

    If you VM host has 16 cores, now you have to license them all? And if so how many VMs can you put on that server.

    I know we have no answers today...

    I thought I read that old VL with SA would get something like 4 cores, so I have no clue how that will affect my 6 core server....



  • @Dashrender said:

    If you VM host has 16 cores, now you have to license them all? And if so how many VMs can you put on that server.

    That's correct, you have to license all of the cores. It all works exactly the same as CPUs work now. Currently a single "standard" license from the 2012 era comes in a "two CPU pack" with two CPUs on a single physical host. If you have only one, your license is kind of wasted. If you have three or four, you have to buy a second "pack" to get up to the number that you have.

    Cores will work the same. If you have a "pack" of sixteen cores on a single device, then you get up to sixteen. If your server has between sixteen and thirty two, you'll need a second "pack". Between thirty two and forty eight, you'll need a third pack. Like that.



  • @Dashrender said:

    I thought I read that old VL with SA would get something like 4 cores, so I have no clue how that will affect my 6 core server....

    It gets you nothing. You will need to buy another pack of at least two cores (I'm guessing that twelve or sixteen cores will be the minimum) to get enough to make the four usable.



  • You have a six core server? Just one CPU and only six cores? That's totally useful in most SMBs, but I rarely see it.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    You have a six core server? Just one CPU and only six cores? That's totally useful in most SMBs, but I rarely see it.

    Yes, it is two years old.



  • You think they will be sold in 12 or 16 core packs?

    Lets step back and assume they sell them in 4 core packs... How many VMs would you guess you get with that?

    If you have a 12 core system, buy three 4 core packs... Assuming you get two VM per pack, does that mean you can have up to 6 VMs, or only two, because it took 12 cores to cover the server. so in this example you'd need 11 cores worth of licenses per two VMs... That of course would be crazy.

    I don't deal with quad proc servers so I don't know how that works today...

    I know if you have a 4 proc server you must assign at least two server licenses to that box. But does that give you 2 or 4 VMs?



  • @Dashrender said:

    You think they will be sold in 12 or 16 core packs?

    I believe so. Two reasons... the big one is because I think that I was told that 🙂

    The other is because as it is the smallest you can get in the 2012 era would have been an eight core equivalent and going into the 2016 era it makes sense to be larger.

    I think 16 is most likely as it doesn't completely screw AMD, but still favours Intel heavily.



  • @Dashrender said:

    If you have a 12 core system, buy three 4 core packs... Assuming you get two VM per pack, does that mean you can have up to 6 VMs, or only two, because it took 12 cores to cover the server. so in this example you'd need 11 cores worth of licenses per two VMs... That of course would be crazy.

    If it is like how it has been, and we must assume that it is, you would still only get two VMs on those cores. You would need another set of licenses to get more VMs.

    You would go to Datacenter Licensing pretty quickly.



  • It's a base of sixteen cores, then increments of two as you increase. So you always start with sixteen, but if you just needed twenty, you would need the base plus two two-core packs.

    Windows 2016 Core Licensing PDF from Microsoft



  • Looks like pricing wise dual proc 8 core , pricing will remain the same.

    Licensing a 10+ core PE proc will be more than it is today, but only for the base machine.

    But this could change the break even point for how many VMs before datacenter licensing is worth it.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Licensing a 10+ core PE proc will be more than it is today, but only for the base machine.

    Base machine?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Licensing a 10+ core PE proc will be more than it is today, but only for the base machine.

    Base machine?

    Maybe it works the same way today.

    If you have a quad processor server, you need 2 Windows Server licenses just to get started. That alone allows you to put 2 VMs on it.

    Then if you want to add two more VMs you only need to purchase one more Windows Server license, not two.
    But then again, maybe it doesn't work that way today.

    From reading the link you provided, it appears that you need to license the host to start, so you have 20 cores, you'll need 1 Windows Server full licenses ( Which provides 16 cores worth), then you'll need two 2 core add-ons packs to get to 20 cores.

    This will give you 2 VMs on that host.

    Now when you want to add 2 more VMs you don't need to double your earlier purchase (1 full server license and two 2 core packs) instead you'll only need the 1 full server license.

    At least this is how I read it.



  • @Dashrender said:

    Then if you want to add two more VMs you only need to purchase one more Windows Server license, not two.
    But then again, maybe it doesn't work that way today.
    .

    I thought that you needed two more licenses today.



  • @Dashrender said:

    This will give you 2 VMs on that host.

    Now when you want to add 2 more VMs you don't need to double your earlier purchase (1 full server license and two 2 core packs) instead you'll only need the 1 full server license.

    At least this is how I read it.

    I couldn't find anything on that sheet that said one way or the other. It never talks about standard license about two VMs.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    Then if you want to add two more VMs you only need to purchase one more Windows Server license, not two.
    But then again, maybe it doesn't work that way today.
    .

    I thought that you needed two more licenses today.

    @Dashrender said:

    But then again, maybe it doesn't work that way today.

    I honestly don't know how it works today.



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    @Dashrender said:

    This will give you 2 VMs on that host.

    Now when you want to add 2 more VMs you don't need to double your earlier purchase (1 full server license and two 2 core packs) instead you'll only need the 1 full server license.

    At least this is how I read it.

    I couldn't find anything on that sheet that said one way or the other. It never talks about standard license about two VMs.

    @PDF:

    The Standard Edition of Windows Server and System Center will license up to 2 VMs when all of the physical cores on the server are licensed.

    Now that I re-read this, it could easily go either way, for every 2 VMs you want to have on a physical server, you could have to have enough cores for every core on the box, OR once all the cores are covered by the first set of VMs, any additional 2 VMs would only require a base Standard Edition Windows Server license.



  • Yup, that's what I saw... no information at all 🙂