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Crucial Licensing Changes in Windows 2016 Release

Windows 2016 is almost here & there are going to be important changes to note around licensing! Back in 2012, Microsoft came out with a Core-based license model for SQL Server, and you probably thought to yourself, did I leave the iron on, this is going to be a hot mess! I have to count now?  I have to do math? Come on Microsoft, you make licensing more complicated than coding. Well, for some of us, over the past couple of years we’ve sort of become accustomed to the way SQL is licensed. It’s the direction a lot of manufacturers are going. Around the same time, Microsoft also released Window Server 2012. However, instead of being Core-based, Windows Server’s licensing focused on being CPU or Socket-based. Whether you chose Windows Standard or Datacenter, you were required to license all the physical sockets in the host. The main difference between Windows Standard versus Datacenter was how many VMs you received. Windows Standard allowed you to license two VM’s per license and Datacenter jumped to unlimited VMs per license.

The Windows Server 2012 (and R2) license model had a pretty good run, but in an effort to always keep us on our toes (and allowing me to continue to write licensing blogs) Microsoft went ahead and changed how Windows Server is licensed with the release of Windows Server 2016. Just when everyone was starting to grasp the per-socket model, Microsoft throws a new wrinkle into our lives. Kind of like when you turn to your friend or spouse after watching and episode of Game Of Thrones and you say “I think I get what’s going,” only to be confused the following week. Wait, which house does that character belong too and where is Danny going now? Wait who’s Danny, oh its short for Daenerys. Speaking of names why do some characters have unique names like Theon and Sansa and others are known as Jon, Jamie and Robb?  I mean did George R. R. Martin just run out of creative names? GOT needs a guy named Sully to appear in an episode or two.  Everyone knows a Sully.  Perhaps we can dive into that in another blog, for now onto to Windows Server 2016…

Moving forward, in a similar fashion as to how SQL is licensed, the licensing of Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions will shift from being based on physical processors to being based on physical cores, much like SQL. However, there will be some differences. With Windows, your still required to license all the cores in the host, whereas SQL you could just license the allocated cores. Windows Server 2016 licensing model for Standard and Datacenter will also requires CALs.

So here’s the lowdown:

Moving to Core-Based Licensing:

Standard vs. Datacenter

Microsoft has a release date of September for Windows 2016. We’ll be sure to keep you up-to-date with official release dates and information surrounding Windows 2016! If you have questions, please reach out and I’d be more than happy to help out.

A backlit keyboard.

Rob O’Shaughnessy

Director of Software Sales & Renewals