Visit the SOS blog for the latest SOS news and insights from our current SAM and ITAM projects.


Windows Server 2016 licensing changes explained (part 1/4): How the change to Core licensing will affect you

posted on
Windows Server 2016 licensing changes explained (part 1/4): How the change to Core licensing will affect you

Windows Server 2016 was released at the end of September, and with that came a new licensing model.  

Over the next few weeks we will publish a number of blog posts that will aim to help you understand how these changes will affect you. The series will run as follows (links will be added back to this article as each post is written):

  • Part 1: Overview of the change to Core licensing
  • Part 2: Detailed analysis of the switch to Core licensing
  • Part 3: Standard vs. Datacenter Licensing
  • Part 4: The impact on System Centre and the cost savings for Azure users


Let’s begin. The fundamental change that Microsoft has made to Windows Server 2016 licensing is this; the model has changed from one license covering 2 Physical Processors, to one license covering 2 physical Cores.

If you have an Enterprise Agreement or Server and Cloud (SCE) agreement that expires after 1 October this change won’t affect you till renewal, so you have time to get ready and work out how the changes will affect you.

Summary of Changes:

  • 25%, this is how much more servers with 10 core processors will cost to renew or purchase, over the previous 2 processor model.  12 Core processors will cost 50% more.  Based on the most common 2 processor servers.
  • Extra cores can be disabled in hardware to reduce costs
  • You won’t pay any less for older servers as minimum 2 processor and 16 core licenses per server
  • Datacenter now has technical features not included in Standard
  • Significant savings are available for Azure as a software assurance benefit
  • For Virtual Desktop Hosts look at the free Hyper-V Version

First a primer on how the volume licensing works for Windows Server 2012

  • Each license covers 2 physical processors, so for servers with 4 physical processors double the licenses are needed
  • Standard and Datacenter have all the same technical features apart for Virtualisation.  The only technical feature Datacenter has over Standard is Automatic Virtual Machine Activation
  • Standard allows downgrade rights to all previous versions of standard, as well as all previous versions of Windows Server Enterprise
  • Standard covers 1 Physical install and or 2 Virtual installs, multiple licenses can be stacked together to increase virtual installs
  • Datacenter covers 1 Physical install and unlimited virtual installs
  • If you are using Windows as your hypervisor for virtual desktops or non-Microsoft server operating systems such as Linux, we suggest you look at Microsoft Hyper-V Server.  This is a FREE version of Windows Server that only provides the Hyper V layer

In Part 2 we will look in more depth at the changes to core licensing and the differences between Standard and Datacenter versions of Windows Server 2016.

| Categories: Software Asset Management (SAM), Software Licensing | Tags: Windows Server, Windows Server 2016, licensing changes, software licensing, software asset management | View Count: (4987) | Return

Post a Comment

Email : contact@sossuccess.com


"SOS were able to help navigate the complexity of public cloud cost usage and provide valuable optimisation recommendations which translated to cost savings on a monthly spend in cloud. I was impressed with the way the team delved into consumption data and found scenarios in which we could optimise our spend in cloud."

Gehan De Silva, Infrastructure Lead, Silver Chain

"SOS was instrumental in giving us the understanding we needed about our licensing position. We would never have been able to do it and understand it without an impartial observer. SOS helped us look at the business from a granular level, and they provided us with sound licensing and spending decisions based on operational requirements. "

John Hagley, IT Manager, Community Broker Network (CBN)



Achieve Clarity. Make Savings.

Our software specialists give you the clarity to make data-driven decisions & achieve lower costs, reduced risk and increased security.