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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

I've heard that with Enterprise Edition Server 2008, if you run a pure Hyper-V machine, you are also allowed to run four additional installations as guest VMs. The same goes for Standard edition except you only get the single guest install.

Can someone please clarify the terms of the guest VMs? For an enterprise edition Hyper-V installation, the four guest machines would also need to be enterprise edition to fall under this licensing arrangement, is this correct?

The reason I ask is because we currently run a bunch of standard edition VMs, but are looking to roll out clustering and thought it'd be a good opportunity to go for the enterprise licensing deal. However, I'm unsure if moving our current standard edition machines onto the enterprise host will count as 'one of the four', or whether these machines will need to be reinstalled as enterprise edition.

Does anyone know how this works? Cheers!

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marked as duplicate by Skyhawk, Mark Henderson Nov 14 '11 at 5:19

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 11 down vote accepted

You are correct... The Standard Edition license allows for a single guest, Enterprise Edition for 4 guests, and Datacenter Edition for unlimited guests on a given server. Keep in mind that if you are using the license for virtual machines, the Host OS can only be used to manage the guests (you can't also use it as a domain controller or file server or anything else).

As to what OS's you can run in the guests... From a technical perspective, anything. From a licensing perspective, the virtual guests using the host's license must have the same (or lesser) OS. So... A guest running on Standard must be Standard, a guest running on Enterprise can be Standard or Enterprise, and guests on Datacenter can be Standard, Enterprise or Datacenter editions.

Short answer to your question is that you can run Standard edition as one (or 4) of your 4 guests, without needing to reinstall.

The definitive document that covers how all of this works is here: Licensing Microsoft Server Products in Virtual Environments

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Very well stated – mrdenny Jul 17 '09 at 2:02
Awesome, that's exactly the info I needed, nice answer :) That's also great news that we can run our Standard edition servers within the Enterprise edition guest OS arrangement. – CapBBeard Jul 17 '09 at 2:44

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