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October 11, 2005

Microsoft Pushes Virtualization with License Changes and More

Posted by David Hunter at 7:29 AM ET.

You can refer to the press release and the Q&A with Brent Callinicos, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Worldwide Licensing and Pricing, but Ward Ralston has a nutshell summary at the Windows Server Division Weblog of the licensing changes coming December 1:

(1) Starting with Windows Server 2003 R2 Enterprise Edition – customers can run up to 4 virtual instances of Windows Server 2003 (any edition) with no additional licensing costs. Zero, nil. Additionally, Starting with Longhorn, If you purchase Datacenter Edition of Windows Server, you can have unlimited virtual machines – still at no additional cost. Pretty cool, huh?

And a nice incentive to get Datacenter.

(2) Some of our Windows Server System products are licensed by the processor. (BizTalk, SQL, Etc) When these technologies are run in a virtual machine, you only need to license for the virtual processors being used rather than for the physical processors in the host computer.

For Microsoft Virtual Server which only supports virtual uniprocessors this seems straightforward. However, the new licensing applies to any virtualization product including VMWare which does support virtual multiprocessors, so depending on what the VM’s are being used for, a little planning for optimal license usage might be required.

Finally, only the active instances (and not dormant copies) of virtual machines will require licenses and the licensing of active instances is portable among physical Windows Server machines. These are forward looking provisions for leading edge users of virtualization for dynamic workload accomodation.

Also in the press release: a list of companies was announced that are working with Microsoft on virtualization solutions and standards; there is an announcement that Microsoft will increase investment in management software for virtual machine environments; and

As part of its continued commitment to virtualization solutions, Microsoft will build virtualization capabilities into the Windows platform based on Windows hypervisor technology, planned for availability in the Windows Server “Longhorn” product wave.

That confirms the buzz that the equivalent of Virtual Server will become part of the Longhorn Server OS.

Filed under Alliances, OS - Server, Servers, Virtual Server, Virtualization, Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008

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2 Responses to “Microsoft Pushes Virtualization with License Changes and More”

  1. Microsoft News Tracker » Blog Archive » RC1 of Windows Server 2003 R2 Released Says:

    [...] reports that Release Candidate 1 of Windows Server 2003 R2 has gone to beta testers. R2 is scheduled to ship before the end of the year and Tom Sanders observes that since the recent virtualization licensing changes taking effect Dec. 1 call R2 out by name, it’s likely that the ship date is after that.   [Permalink] [...]

  2. Microsoft Virtual PC now free -- Microsoft News Tracker Says:

    [...] Also related: Beginning Oct. 1, 2006, customers will be able to purchase Windows Server 2003 R2, Datacenter Edition, from Microsoft resellers and account managers on their Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement as well as from OEMs preinstalled on servers with two to 64 processors, with or without the Datacenter High Availability Program. Windows Server, Datacenter Edition, licenses will also include the right to run unlimited virtual instances on one server at no additional charge, which can potentially extend the savings customers can realize through server consolidation on the Windows Server platform. This one is rather odd because part of the cachet of Datacenter was always that you could only buy it from an OEM with strict support guarantees. The unlimited virtual instances of Datacenter isn’t actually new news, but now there’s a new incentive to buy a volume licensing contract and, of course, the real money makers are the Microsoft middleware licenses and associated client access licenses for what will be running on the virtual machines. Microsoft is planning on bundling virtualization directly into Windows Server Longhorn which will make it all the more seamless. [...]

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