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Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Planned Release – Major Licensing Changes

Enterprise Edition goes away and Standard moves to Per Processor license

By Cynthia Farren on Tue, 07/10/12 - 4:49pm.

Microsoft has recently announced a planned change to how it licenses Windows Server that could have a substantial impact on your organization. Even though you may have no plans to move to Windows Server 2012 at release, this will impact all Windows Server purchases made after General Release.

Summary of planned changes:

1.      All server licensing is changing to the per Processor model (no more “per server” licensing)

2.      They are eliminating the “Enterprise” edition (the only difference between the remaining editions of Standard or Datacenter will be how they license virtual OSEs…functionality between editions will be exactly the same).

3.      Each license will cover 2 processors on the same device. Existing licenses with Software Assurance will convert as follows*:

a.      Datacenter – 2 licenses will convert to a single Datacenter license

b.      Enterprise – 1 license will convert to two Standard licenses

c.       Standard – 1 license will convert to one Standard license

4.       Standard will now include the right for 1 physical or 2 virtual OSE’s per 2 processor box

*If these conversions will not cover your current (fully licensed) environment than you can qualify for additional licenses by completing a self-assessment with an inventory tool which can archive a time/date-stamped inventory of both your hardware and your Microsoft Windows Server installs.  See Question 22 of the Licensing FAQ for more details.

Microsoft has published a datasheet that can be downloaded for additional details.

Timing of release appears to be September – I recommend you analyze your environment and determine if you want to execute a purchase prior to general release so as to minimize the impact by maximizing the conversion ratios.

As always, if you need help or simply want to discuss this further let me know – I know Microsoft licensing (particularly when it changes) can be confusing…I’m happy to help explain it. Keep an eye on my blog on Software License Management for ways to manage your costs and risks associated with software licensing.

Please note, these changes are “planned” – by the time General Release occurs there could be more changes as the licensing terms are typically not set until release.