Windows Server 2012 Licencing Question

Hi Experts. I've trying to get a simple licencing question answered for Windows Server 2012 STD. If I buy Server 2012 STD, one CPU, how many Virtual Servers can I load for free. Appreciated. Thanks



I don't recommend getting licensing advice on EE or any forum. Call Microsoft. Nothing, and I mean *nothing* here is legally binding. And if you follow bad advice, "I read it on the internet" is not going to make much of a legal defense. You'll be on the hook for potentially big money for piracy.

With that said, in the US, 2012 Standard allows up to 2 VMs on a 1 or 2 CPU server as long as the host is only running the Hyper-V role and not offering other services or workloads. You can confirm this through Microsoft pre-sales.



I don't recommend getting licensing advice on EE or any forum. Call Microsoft. Nothing, and I mean *nothing* here is legally binding. And if you follow bad advice, "I read it on the internet" is not going to make much of a legal defense. You'll be on the hook for potentially big money for piracy.

With that said, in the US, 2012 Standard allows up to 2 VMs on a 1 or 2 CPU server as long as the host is only running the Hyper-V role and not offering other services or workloads. You can confirm this through Microsoft pre-sales.



You are entitled to run 2 additional VM's under the Standard OS. That is the limitation of 2012 STD.



Thanks Cliff and by that we mean as long as the server is acting as the host only and not offering other services. But if the server is offering other services, can it still run one additional VM for free?



The wording is ambiguous, but in general my interpretation (and most of the licensing experts I've spoken with at Microsoft) the answer is no. You are either taking advantage of 1+2, or you aren't. It is an either/or proposition. The logic being that if you have services you are currently running in the host, you should move that to a VM and the licensing cost does not change. Two VMs, or one VM and one physical OS is from a pricing standpoint the same, but from a supportability standpoint can be very different. So Microsoft is choosing to only allow configurations that help cut down their support costs, but do not incur extra costs to the user.

And as a clarification to Spartan_1337's comment, there is no "limitation" to the number of VMs in Standard. It is a licensing requirement, not a technical one. You can legally take standard and run 200 Linux VMs if you wanted. Or for VDI scenarios, run dozens of Windows client desktops as long as you license those windows desktops. The two-VM clause is strictly the rights to run two Windows Server VMs with the one license as long as you follow the licensing guidelines. And you can stack them...so two standard licenses allows you to run four VMs. Three allows six. And four would allow eight, but at that point you are in datacenter pricing where that might make more sense...unless you have 4 CPUs, where you'd need two datacenter licenses, then four Standard licenses is still cheaper. All about juggling the numbers and seeing what works.



Whilst I understand your comment about not getting advise from forums such as EE, after reading you last comment, I think it would be obvious to anyone why us lesser mortals do. Microsoft does not speak English and its nice to have it explained in that language. No guarantees of course. Thank you.

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