We've got a big Hyper-V host machine running Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. This hosts all of our VMs.

I'm about to create a bunch of Server 2008 VMs for various projects and wanted to know what edition I should install. Our license allows us to use whatever we want so cost is not an issue.

Are there disadvantages to using Enterprise or Data Center?

We don't really need anything beyond Standard Edition today but if using enterprise or data center doesn't hurt anything (and in our case doesn't cost any more), I might as well use those, right?


1 Datacenter license gives you unlimited VM licenses on the same physical host. You're right, for licensing purposes it doesn't matter now what version you install.

However, you may want to move a VM off the box. Now you may end up with an artificially high license cost.

So you either have more freedom to use upsell features or more freedom to move VM's.

Choose your poison.

  • This is the kind of insight I'm looking for, thanks! – Michael Haren Jul 21 '09 at 18:02
  • To expand, you could even install Windows 2003 VMs onto 2008 Data Center and be fine with licensing. – Will Jul 21 '09 at 18:31

I always use the enterprise solution, just in case. I also generally do not need the extra features but if I ever do, it will be too much of a pain to upgrade, and since I like to do the install once, and make copies of the VM, I only want to have one template lying around from which all others are created.

I believe there is very little extra resources required to install/run the EE version versus standard, especially if you just leave all those features inactive.


I generally use Standard Edition, because that's what the vast majority of my customers use. When I need clustering or the advanced features of the other products, I install those. There's probably a small size/memory footprint difference between them all, but I'm not 100% on that. I also typically stick to 32bit images unless I KNOW I'll need to utilize higher quantities of memory.


I'd go with what you feel the majority of your clients/customers/solutions are going to require.

Its silly to develop on Enterprise if your end solution isn't going to need any of the functionality.

I don't know about your situation exactly but I'd be inclined to go with Standard Edition until you actually hit an issue that requires the Enterprise version.

If I read your question wrong and this is ALL FOR YOU then heck, go ahead and go with Enterprise. As long as you have the resources to run/support it... its certainly not going to hurt anything.

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