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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

This question would be for anyone that has downloaded from MSDN Windows Server 2008 R2 Data Centre edition and set it up in a Hyper-V / VM environment (Note: this is for a development/testing (non-production) environment!).

I see if you purchase the Data Centre edition you get unlimited virtual images, where as if you purchase Enterprise you get licenses for the host + 4VM instances. (taken from this comparison chart)

I know with MSDN you get 'x' keys for each instance of the O/S that you can download (is it 5 or 10 for 2008 Server?). So taking it to the extreme I am wondering if you could install 10 instances of the data centre edition and have each one running 20 virtual instances? As long as it's not being used for production then that would be OK.

To put this in context, we are looking to set up a virtualised development environment that may have the requirement for 5 instances. We are wondering if that would need 5 keys (one for each instance) or could it be done through a single Data Center installation?)

Hopefully that makes sense. As MSDN allows you to set up for development / testing this does feel like something common.

marked as duplicate by voretaq7 Feb 11 '12 at 4:19

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I think you would need indicidual keys as typically with a datacenter install, you would set up a KMS to handle activations. You should have plenty of keys as anyone that needs to touch those boxes is required to have an MSDN license, and if it's just for you you should be able to get the number of activations raised (as MSDN is unlimited number of devices per person). Note that MSDN licenses are for development only (specifically design, develop, test, or demonstrate) so you can't use an MSDN license as a backup to production.

standard disclaimer: Talk to your Microsoft licensing specialist for specifcs about your license agreement.

  • Definitely aware of the no production rule. also because it will be a "managed" development environment our IT support guys that have rights to those machines will also need their own Visual Studio + MSDN versions Technet or MSDN on it's own doesn't actually come with SQL Server I found out today. But it could still work out cheaper than buying licenses for o/s + SQL. – Paul Hadfield Sep 9 '10 at 18:56
  • that depends if this really is for testing then you can download a trial edition that will run for 180 days of SQL and also use trial editions of windows. Your MSDN alows you to install windows for your purposes and the trioals allow you to deploy to a "QA" build – Jim B Sep 10 '10 at 2:35

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