Microsoft Server 2016 is changing the way Microsoft licenses its server operating systems. When Windows Server 2016 debuts later this year, Microsoft will move from per socket licensing to a per core licensing model that is aligned with other products sales, like SQL Servers. The change seems to be a reaction to the increasing core processor core counts and the reduced importance of high socket count systems.
Prior to this change, Microsoft sold Windows Server 2012 with a simple licensing to its server operating systems. There were two choices of editions – standard and datacenter. These two editions had identical features besides the fact of the number of virtual operating systems they supported. The standard edition only supported two virtual machines, in addition to the host; the datacenter edition was unlimited. The Microsoft licensing for these were sold in two socket units – one license was needed for each pair of sockets a system contained.
Now, with the release of Windows Server 2016 – the Microsoft licensing becomes a little more difficult with a two part change. The first change will bring back the functional differences between standard and datacenter editions. On top of the standard features, the datacenter edition will have additional storage replication capabilities, a new network stack with virtualization features, and shielded virtual machines that protect the content of a virtual machine from the administrator of the host operating system. The second change is that Microsoft changed the licensing to a per core model. Server 2016 will use a two core pack, with the license cost of each 2016 pack being an eighth of the price of the corresponding two socket pack for 2012. Each system running Windows Server 2016 must have a minimum of 8 cores per processor, and a minimum of 16 cores per system.
For more information on Microsoft Licensing changes for Windows Server 2016, check out Microsoft’s data sheet that best describes the changes from 2012 to 2016.
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