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Hyper-V cluster with ENT, licensing in-place upgrade to datacenter question

    Question

  • Right now we have a Hyper-V cluster with 3 nodes (Windows Server Enterprise) and a SAN (cluster shared volumes) and 50 virtual machines (all running Windows Server Standard).

    We have 3 Windows Server ENT licenses and say that we would have 38 Windows Server STD licenses (right now we some more); 38 because the 3 ENT licenses are covering 12 guests (4 each), so that 38 additional lics would be required to cover all 50 guests.

    I understand that during normal operation, this is fine. However, when one of the nodes fails or is taken down for maintenance, its guests will temporarily be moved to the other two nodes. Now, my questions:

    1) Is it still so that this contradicts the product use rights (that is, 4 licenses will be missing because the 4 included in the offline node's ENT license don't count anmore)? Or have the PUR been modified recently to cover such situation?

    2) Apart from the 4 missing licenses in that case (which could be solved by getting 42 instead of 38) - what about the "license reassignment" issue? Still, in case of maintenance we would "reassign" a license to a different physical server and then back to the original server again within less than 90 days.

    3) In case that we decide to go for Datacenter instead of Enterprise edition - is a kind of in-place ugprade possible? That is, move all guests from Node1 to other nodes, then upgrade Node1 to Datacenter edition, then move all guests from Node2 etc. ... I read that this should be possible (though not supported), but there are also contradicting statements. (We have full version of Enterprise installed, not Core, and would also use the GUI version of Datacenter.)

    4) I understand that moving to Hyper-V server would not be possible since GUI and Core installations can't be mixed in the same cluster (that is, not only that it is not supported but it really is not possible) - is that true?

    Thanks for some comments!

    Monday, February 20, 2012 7:47 AM

Answers

  • Hi!

    Please note that I'm not a Microsoft representative or license reseller.

    From what I've been told (and read in MS articles) here's my understanding:

    1) As long as the server with the Enterprise license used to activate four VM's, is a member of the failover cluster, the VM's may be moved to any other node without violate the virtualization rights. If the node is evicted into a stand-alone Hyper-V server, then the VM's must be placed on that host or if you wish to keep the VM's in the cluster, the host must be dismantled. You can not split up the licenses across multiple Hyper-V servers/clusters.

    2) See answer to question "1". A VM migrated to another node does not normally require re-activation if activated with volume license.

    3) Unless you install datacenter on a physical server, you should be able to activate VM's with the datacenter licenses. Even if possible to upgrade (never heard of anyone doing it though), I found that the best way to change edition on a physical Hyper-V server is to reinstall it completely.

    4) No, the failover cluster will not validate a cluster with mixed core/full editions. You will receive warnings, and the validation will be halted.

    As I stated before, you sould wait for official Microsoft statements regarding your licensing question to be sure. I've noticed that licensing changed somewhat regarding virtualization rights lately to fit other hypervisor technologies. For instance, you can benefit from unlimited VM activation that comes with datacenter edition even if you're running VMWare as host.

    Monday, February 20, 2012 8:06 AM
  • Hi,
     
    For license issue, you can check the following video. You can also contact License Center so that you can get the most qualified pool of respondents. Thanks for your understanding.
     
     
    By the way, you can mix a Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition and a Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition in one cluster. So your case3 is ok.
     
    In addition, you can either perform a fresh installation or check the following blog.
     
     

    Best regards,
    Vincent Hu
     
     
    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:38 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • Hi!

    Please note that I'm not a Microsoft representative or license reseller.

    From what I've been told (and read in MS articles) here's my understanding:

    1) As long as the server with the Enterprise license used to activate four VM's, is a member of the failover cluster, the VM's may be moved to any other node without violate the virtualization rights. If the node is evicted into a stand-alone Hyper-V server, then the VM's must be placed on that host or if you wish to keep the VM's in the cluster, the host must be dismantled. You can not split up the licenses across multiple Hyper-V servers/clusters.

    2) See answer to question "1". A VM migrated to another node does not normally require re-activation if activated with volume license.

    3) Unless you install datacenter on a physical server, you should be able to activate VM's with the datacenter licenses. Even if possible to upgrade (never heard of anyone doing it though), I found that the best way to change edition on a physical Hyper-V server is to reinstall it completely.

    4) No, the failover cluster will not validate a cluster with mixed core/full editions. You will receive warnings, and the validation will be halted.

    As I stated before, you sould wait for official Microsoft statements regarding your licensing question to be sure. I've noticed that licensing changed somewhat regarding virtualization rights lately to fit other hypervisor technologies. For instance, you can benefit from unlimited VM activation that comes with datacenter edition even if you're running VMWare as host.

    Monday, February 20, 2012 8:06 AM
  • Hi,
     
    For license issue, you can check the following video. You can also contact License Center so that you can get the most qualified pool of respondents. Thanks for your understanding.
     
     
    By the way, you can mix a Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition and a Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition in one cluster. So your case3 is ok.
     
    In addition, you can either perform a fresh installation or check the following blog.
     
     

    Best regards,
    Vincent Hu
     
     
    Tuesday, February 21, 2012 8:38 AM
    Moderator
  • Vincent,

      To follow up this thread may i bug your expertise with a similar matter - could SQL server 2008 R2 instance “sustain” OS upgrade from Standard to Enterprise? You look like as very a well-educated person , so could you please share your opinion?

     We're facing a necessity to upgrade Win2K8 R2 server from Standard to Enterprise while keeping the installed instance of SQL Server “untouched”. What we have is SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition installed on top of Win2K8 R2 server (Standard). Currently the SQL database is limited to 32GB of RAM due to licensing constraints, and we need to upgrade the server to 2008 R2 Enterprise to triple the memory space. Is it possible to perform such upgrade without rebuilding the SQL installation from scratch – as far as it’s  production environment we’re really limited in possibilities to downtime the SQL server running?

    Thanks in advance

    Friday, October 26, 2012 9:52 PM
  • I'm not an expert as Vincent but as the Standard-to-Enterprise ugprade is only a DISM command (and not an installation), I don't see a reason why it should harm the SQL server. Basically the command simply changes the license key.

    Besides, you might consider ugprading the server to Windows Server 2012 Standard if you have Software Assurance. This way you wouldn't need the Enterprise license (which does not exist anymore in Server 2012) but still you could address as much RAM as you like. 

    Monday, October 29, 2012 6:48 AM