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New Licensing Terms Implemented for Windows Server Virtualization

New servers running Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition will now have the right to run an unlimited number of virtualized Windows Server instances.

This change went into effect on October 1st of this year and means that by installing and licensing the host server with Microsoft Windows Server Datacenter Edition, you will be able to run other Microsoft operating systems such as Windows Server Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, Datacenter Edition or any combination of the three without worrying about licensing on the virtual machines.

Microsoft explains the licensing, as such:

On October 1, 2006 the following enhancements went into effect for Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition:

  • Availability through Volume Licensing: For the first time, customers will be able to license Windows Server Datacenter Edition on their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement from Microsoft resellers and account managers for use with any x86/32-bit and X64/64-bit servers.
  • More options to license from original equipment manufacturers (OEMs): Customers will be able to purchase Windows Server Datacenter Edition preinstalled on servers with two to 64 processors with or without the Datacenter High Availability Program.
  • Unlimited virtualization rights: Starting October 1, 2006, new servers licensed with Windows Server Datacenter Edition (and previous licenses with new version rights) will have license rights to run an unlimited number of virtualized Windows Server instances. By simply licensing the server’s processors with Windows Server Datacenter Edition, customers will be able to run Windows Server Standard Edition, Enterprise Edition, Datacenter Edition or a mix of the three editions without having to track the number of virtual machines or pay for additional Windows Server licenses.

The changes demonstrate Microsoft’s commitment to Windows Server Datacenter Edition as the high-end Windows Server edition for the highest reliability, scalability, and large-scale virtualization. The Datacenter Edition enables critical solutions for databases, ERP, high-volume and real-time transaction processing, and server consolidation. The high-end Windows Server scales up to 64 processors and to 1 terabyte of RAM, and supports 8-node clustering.

Unlimited virtualization rights significantly extend the savings customers can realize through server consolidation on the Windows Server platform. Together, Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition and Virtual Server 2005 R2 are an ideal, cost-effective platform for “scale out” virtualization.

"Microsoft's announcement of unlimited virtualization offers the promise for more cost-effective use of Windows in highly virtualized environments,” said Al Gillen, Research Vice President, System Software, at IDC.

Virtualization is a key technology to help customers to achieve self-managing dynamic systems, the goal of our Dynamic Systems Initiative. These enhancements represent more progress on our commitment to make virtualization broadly accessible and affordable for partners and customers through our investments in Windows platform technology, licensing, and the partner ecosystem.

In October 2005, Microsoft announced unlimited virtualization rights would be available with the Datacenter Edition of Windows Server code name “Longhorn,” but decided to make these virtualization rights available with Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition based on customers’ requests to make licensing easier and more cost-effective for large-scale virtualization.

“The change to unlimited virtualization for Microsoft Datacenter licensing significantly enhances the value proposition for virtual machine deployment. We expect this significant increase in customer value will accelerate the adoption of virtualization in enterprise data centers,” according to Mark Feverston, Unisys’ Vice President of the Enterprise Server Business.

With these changes, customers can turn to Windows Server Datacenter Edition as the easiest and most cost-effective Windows Server edition for large-scale virtualization, with and without the Datacenter High Availability Program. The unlimited virtualization rights will be particularly attractive for large-scale virtualization on 2 and 4 processor servers with quad-core processors.

The Datacenter High Availability Program is an optional program that complements the Microsoft Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition operating system. The Datacenter High Availability Program has a unique support and services model built for customers with mission-critical server requirements and consists of the following components:

  • Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition
  • Qualified Datacenter configurations that have been tested and shown to be highly reliable
  • Certified Datacenter Support Providers (DSPs)
  • High Availability Support Program to ensure maximum uptime for customers’ applications.

Servers with the Datacenter High Availability Program option have been found in a study to have 99.996% planned uptime. The program will be increasingly attractive to combine with virtualization because the importance of uptime increases with the number of simultaneous server instances that would be affected by a server failure.

Licensing

Windows Server Datacenter Edition is licensed by the processor plus Windows Server Client Access Licenses (CALs). Servers with Windows Server Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition licenses covered by Software Assurance can be “stepped up” to a Windows Server Datacenter Edition processor license to take advantage of the new, unlimited virtualization rights. Datacenter Edition can be purchased through Volume Licensing direct from Microsoft or resellers, and it can be purchased from OEMs preinstalled on servers. The Datacenter High Availability Program is only available through OEMs.

The Windows Server Terminal Services Client Access License is required to access the graphical user interface of a server or virtualized instance of Windows Server running on a server licensed with Windows Server Datacenter Edition.

Thanks to Richard Cardona for passing this along.

 

Published Friday, October 06, 2006 7:33 AM by David Marshall
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