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Windows Server 2016 licensing changes explained (part 3/4): Standard vs. Datacenter licensing. Which license to choose?

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Windows Server 2016 licensing changes explained (part 3/4): Standard vs. Datacenter licensing. Which license to choose?

In part 3 of our series of blog posts on Windows Server 2016 licensing we take a deeper look at the differences between Standard and Datacenter Edition.


Primary consideration: Bear in mind that Datacenter Edition costs SEVEN times more than Standard Windows Server

  • As Datacenter is approximately SEVEN times the cost of the Standard edition the break-even point when Datacenter becomes cost effective for hosts is 14 VMs per 2 processors.
  • As a quick guide SOS recommends that if Host servers are not going to have more than 10 virtual guests at any one time then stacking Standard licenses is the most cost effective
  • Never use Datacenter Edition as the guest operating system. Often when looking at our clients we see hosts with only a couple of VMs that could be licensed with Standard Edition, yet they are licensed with Datacenter Edition for x7 the cost
  • Or we see physical servers with no virtual guests also running Datacenter 2012, consuming a license that provides no technical benefits and costs 7 times as much as Standard


Standard vs. Datacenter: Feature differences

  1. Nested Virtualisation, this allows you to run a VM inside another VM, so effectively the hyper V host itself can be virtualized.  While Standard does support this, be aware than that a nested VM consumes both the 2 Virtual installs that come with a standard license.
  2. Shielded Virtual Machines are supported only in Datacenter.  This feature effectively allows you to shield the data contained in a VM from the administrators who manage the Hosts, meaning IT admins have no access to the data inside the VM which may be confidential to the business unit.
  3. Software Defined Networking.  This allows you to keep applications separate across all network layers, this is basically the architecture Azure is built on to allow multiple customers on shared hardware with no interaction between each customer’s network.
  4. Storage Space Direct.  Another Datacenter only feature, this allows you to aggregate spare server storage, allowing you to create your own version of infrastructure as a service, and effectively create a SAN without needing extra hardware or software
  5. Storage Replica.  The last Datacenter only feature, this is designed for disaster recovery and preparedness, providing zero data-loss replication at the block level.
  6. Azure Hybrid use, with Datacenter license remains usable on premise.

What Microsoft is doing here is providing some of the features you may have been purchasing from other software vendors. So you have the option of reducing your software spend on other vendors (and Microsoft hopes increasing with them).

Look out for our final blog post next week where we will look at the impact of Server 2016 licensing on Windows Systems Centre 2016 and how Azure users can make significant savings…

| Categories: Software Asset Management (SAM), Software Licensing | Tags: Windows Server, Windows Server 2016, software licensing, licensing changes, software asset management, SAM, Datacenter Edition, Standard Edition | View Count: (7847) | Return

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