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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

For disaster recovery purposes, i am considering the possibility of using a VM to restore a backup of our Windows Server 2008, or even different hardware as a temporary solution. I imagine a solution like acronis universal restore should do the trick, but my question is about the server license.

Being an OEM license, does it allow usage on different hardware? How about virtualization, can the VM permited by license be used outside the server hardware itself?


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marked as duplicate by Iain Feb 2 '12 at 21:44

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

up vote 5 down vote accepted

This type of question is one reason why we never buy OEM server licenses. I want to be able to move licenses around if necessary.

The usual rule for OEM licenses is that if you change the motherboard, it's a different computer and you can't use the license. Here's one article about what hardware changes in XP can require a new OEM license.

If it were me, how I'd deal with this depends on what sort of disaster I was thinking of. If it's a temporary server to run while rebuilding the original, I'd go ahead and use a VM. Yes, it might be violating the license, but only for a short period while replacing the hard drives or whatever on the original server. Then, if it turned out to be a dead motherboard, I'd buy a new license. If you want to have something to fail over to and then run indefinitely, you'd need to be sure it's allowed under the OEM license, which it probably isn't.

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ou can buy OEM licenses and move them if you buy SA on the server- and that's usually a better value than just buying a license with SA. – Jim B Mar 4 '10 at 15:45
Thanks for the comments. I don't think having an un-activated VM for a few days is a huge issue, and unfortunately there is no SA on the server. Also, i have actually read in a couple places that motherboard failure does indeed qualify as a valid reason to move/reactivate (by phone, i guess) to a new server - is this valid?thanks again. – jcinacio Mar 4 '10 at 16:53
It's not a big deal- unless you get caught. While I haven't heard of microsoft not activating someone that calls in, legally if your motherboard dies, so does your OEM license. However I can't see how anyone is going to determine that the motherboard was replaced (other than you having kept very strict records on motherboard serials). Most of the non-legal docs refer to "upgrading" the motherboard as requiring a new license. – Jim B Mar 4 '10 at 17:20

You need another license. SQL server is the only product I am aware of with extended failover rights as part of the PUR. However, if you bought SA on the server then you do have cold backup rights which allow you to run the products on a second server.

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