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Do I need a separate license for Windows Server 200X to run a warm standby server?

I have a Windows Server 2003 machine running SQL Server 2005. I also have a Windows Server 2008 machine running SQL Server 2005. I know I'm good on the SQL Server 2005 licensing to run a warm standby with log shipping. But I cannot find any documentation on licensing the windows 200X in this situation.

I'm planning on bringing up 1 new server running Windows Server 200X (2003 or 2008). The only thing this will be used for is Disaster Recovery. No users or apps will be talking to this server.

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Yes, you will need a separate license. Windows does not have the same licensing goodness for warm standbys.

Just think of it this way: You need 1 license of windows everywhere it is running, no matter what it is doing, even if it is doing nothing.

This gets a little sticky when you start talking about virutlization, but it doesn't seem you will be doing that.

Just fyi when you virtualize you get the following ratios. Edition - purchased Lic/Virtualized servers (as long as they are on the same PHYSICAL box)

Standard Edition 1/1
Enterprise Edition 1/4
Datacenter Edition 1/∞

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If it's in production you need an OS license, end of story. Even a cold standby would be an OS in production. Where you will save here is on CALs.

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A cold standby no longer needs a license according to Microsoft in Australia. – John Gardeniers Sep 12 '09 at 5:49

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