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.


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/∞


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.

  • 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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