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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

From what i understand from microsoft's website is that with Enterprise Edition Server 2008, you are allowed to run 4 guest VMs. what if i want to run 12 guest VMs ? is data center edition my only options or i can just get a different licence (cheaper ?) ?



If you're planning on running 12 vm's on one physical host , with no previous licensing, Datacenter Edition will probably be a better deal money-wise in the long run. Especially if those are going to be Enterprise versions that you want to run (Datacenter allows you to install any lower version of Server). It also allows you expansion in the future if you decide to upgrade hardware capacity. Hyper-V itself can run as many VM's as you have license for and that your hardware can support. You can also use existing Win client/server licenses if you're migrating those physical machines into the virtual space.

  • any cheaper solutions other than datacenter edition ? because the setup is only for 12 vms – khalil Aug 3 '09 at 3:45
  • There is a virtualization pricing calculator available on the MS website. – Jim B Aug 3 '09 at 13:07
  • Well, you have 3 options. Use existing licenses if you have them. Which obviously would make it cheaper because you're leveraging existing resources, or you could purchase individual Windows Server licenses for the 12 hosts (expensive), or you could purchase 1 copy of Windows Server Datacenter edition (still expensive, but cheaper than buying 12 individual licenses). – Tatas Aug 3 '09 at 23:12

I'm not sure what you're asking. The 4 VMs from Enterprise means that the single license that you purchase allows for 1 physical installation plus installation of that license in 4VMs. 4 is not the limit of VMs that you can run in Hyper-V, it is just the limit that you can run without having to buy additional licenses.

  • about the license, is it the CAL or do i need to buy another 8 windows server 2008 OS ? – khalil Aug 3 '09 at 3:21
  • Client Access Licenses are what Microsoft uses to say that client PCs are allowed to access resources on a server. If you purchase them on a per-seat basis, you don't need any extras assuming that you're legal with your licensing now. – MDMarra Aug 3 '09 at 13:11

You can run as many VMs as your resources (memory, CPU and disk space) on the host allows. The 4 VM count with Enterprise Edition means you get 4 windows licenses for free with the purchase of Enterprise Edition. You can buy additional licenses if you go over 4


Unless you have some good raid / multiple hard drives, running 12 may be a IO problem!

That being said, there are no limitations to the number of VM's that you can run in Hyper-v

I believe that each licence of Enterprise gives you the ability to run 4 Enterprise guests. You may either buy 3 licences for what you want, or as you said, buy the data centre edition.

  • You can't just buy 3 enterprise licenses to run 12 VM's on a single machine - that's outside of the licensing terms. The 4 guest licenses with each Enterprise license are only if you run them under THAT SPECIFIC LICENSE on a server. – Scott Ivey Aug 3 '09 at 13:07
  • That is not true. I have been to events at Microsoft and they stated that EACH copy of Windows 2008 gives you x additional licences for virtualisation. This includes if you use ESX or any other hypervisor - or multiple licences for one server – William Hilsum Aug 3 '09 at 13:41

I know this has been answered, but want to record this...

Here's the URL you're looking for: Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 . Note the "Guest Virtualization Rights Included in Host Server License" row, where it states:

  • Each additional Windows guest VM requires a license.

So Enterprise means you get a license for the host, plus 4 additional VMs. If you need a fifth, you buy a liceneses for Windows Server.

I'm not sure if you can "stack" enterprise licensing - buying two enterprise licenses doesn't get you 8 VM licenses, I believe it gets you 1 host, 4 VMs plus one more Enterprise.

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