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Server 2016 Essentials License Questions

    Question

  • User vs. Device count.

    I have seen on several Microsoft pages the phrase "ideal for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices," is the a choice or do I have to stay below both limits?

    What is counted as a device?
    Does the Server itself count?
    I assume each workstation counts as one.
    Does each network attached printer count?
    Does each iPhone that is set to download email count?
    Do the remote PCs that only connect via RWA count?
    Does my network attached PBX count, even though it does not log into the server?



    Remote Web Access

    How many of my users can access their office computer remotely at the same time using RWA?


    To run both Server 2016 Essentials and a copy of Server 2016 on one box I would need:
    Server 2016 license and a CAL for each user.
    Server 2016 Essentials license

    Is that correct and feasible?

    To add Exchange 2016 into the mix I would neet to add:
    Exchange 2016 Licenses
    Exchange 2016 CALs
    Another Copy of Server 2016 License
    No Additional Server 2016 CALS would be needed.

    Does this make sense? 
    Is there any advantage to running Exchange on a separate box?

    Thanks for the information

    Matt


    Monday, February 13, 2017 10:33 PM

All replies

  • Hi,

    Windows Server Essentials is primarily designed as server solution for small businesses that need support for up to 25 user accounts and up to 50 devices. 

    So, both user and devices should conform with this limitation. It may also be understood as 25 User Licenses and 50 Device Licenses.

    The Device Limitation includes computers, printers, all other devices that connect to your server. Essentials Server itself does not include. 

    Different from SBS, for Windows Server Essentials, there is no Exchange Server included. “each iPhone that is set to download email count” can be ignored. If you want to add Exchange Server to Essentials domain, another server is necessary, if so, server license and CALs are necessary to be purchased for the adding server.

    For user who access server via RWA, it can be considered as accessing server using user credential – user cal. And the user limitation should be the max user number that RWA supports. 

    >To run both Server 2016 Essentials and a copy of Server 2016 on one box I would need:
    >Server 2016 license and a CAL for each user. Server 2016 Essentials license
    It is correct.

    >Is there any advantage to running Exchange on a separate box?
    Exchange server is not recommended to be installed on DC/Windows Server Essentials. Details you may reference - Installing Exchange on a domain controller is not recommended:
    https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms.exch.setupreadiness.warninginstallexchangerolesondomaincontroller(v=exchg.160).aspx

    For Exchange relate questions, you may post on Exchange forum – Exchange Server 2016 – General Discussion:
    https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-us/home?forum=Exch2016GD&filter=alltypes&sort=lastpostdesc

    Above are suggestions for you and just for your reference. For licensing relate questions, please call 1-800-426-9400 to speak directly to Microsoft licensing specialist. 

    Or, access below link to find contact information in your locations:
    http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/index/worldwide.asp 

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    • Proposed as answer by diramoh Tuesday, February 14, 2017 2:29 PM
    Tuesday, February 14, 2017 9:41 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Eve has covered it, but I want to add that if you are interested in the features of Essentials and want/need another copy of Server for Exchange or anything else, you should probably purchase and install Server Standard as a hyperV host and use the same copy of server for the two guest VM's the license allows.  (Data Center allows unlimited VMs on the same license) Then install the first VM with the Essentials Role, then the second for Exchange or RDP or whatever.  The Essentials Role enables 500 users and devices, but you must purchase CALs, which you will have to do anyway if you add another server.  Still only backups 75 stations, but after all the chief cooks and bottle washers how many PC backups do we need?  At that level you should be using a standardized image.


    Larry Struckmeyer [MVP]-- --If your question is answered please mark the response as the answer so that others can benefit.

    Tuesday, February 14, 2017 4:09 PM
    Moderator
  • Hello Eve,

    Thanks for the detailed response and the links. I have called Microsoft Licensing twice, but still have not been directed to a document or URL that confirms that I do not need additional RDS CALs if more than two remote users connect at the same time.  Most of the Microsoft employees that I talked with, believe this to be the case.

    Matt Reed

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:27 PM
  • Hello Larry,

    Thanks for the information.  That is exactly how I planned to setup the system. Discussing the hardware and licensing with my Dell contact and their Microsoft rep, I was informed that Server 2016 Essentials does not play well with other servers in the domain and that I should not use it in this manner. Instead they highly recommended that I use Server 2016 standard for all my server installs.

    Have you heard of issues with Server 2016 Essentials "not playing well with others?"

    Or maybe a better question, have you seen any installations that have worked well?

    Thanks again for your input.

    Matt Reed

    Tuesday, February 21, 2017 3:32 PM
  • Hi,

    >I do not need additional RDS CALs if more than two remote users connect at the same time.
    For the Essentials edition, as with previous versions, the use of Remote Web Access does not require an RDS CAL.

    As far as I know, Windows Server Essentials itself only supports 2 active sessions, regardless of how many RDS CALs you own.

    Understanding Licensing for Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials and the Windows Server Essentials Experience role:
    https://blogs.technet.microsoft.com/sbs/2013/09/03/understanding-licensing-for-windows-server-2012-r2-essentials-and-the-windows-server-essentials-experience-role/

    >Have you heard of issues with Server 2016 Essentials "not playing well with others?"
    Windows Server 2016 Essentials is newly released OS version with new function and improved performance, and it is a recommended OS for customer who want to use Windows Server Essentials.

    Also, the same as the previous OS version, Microsoft will provide Windows Update/Hotfix to fix known issues and improve the performance. 
     
    Whether select Standard or Essentials version, it depends on your requirement. Essentials has it’s limitation, such as user and device max numbers, no need to purchase CALs and it is cheaper than other OS version. Standard provides two virtual instances, Essentials Experience role which provides the same function as Essentials Server, at the same time, CALs are needed.

    Microsoft Evaluation Center provides free OS download, you may build a test environment and confirm that which is more suitable for your requirements. 

    Microsoft Evaluation Center:
    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/evalcenter/evaluate-windows-server-2016

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017 7:34 AM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    Regarding the "plays nice with others" query, there is nothing about Essentials, the role or the SKU that inhibits its functionality in any way in a multi server environment.  Additional member servers or DCs are both allowed but for the SKU there is little advantage to additional DCs.  There are no known adverse effects of adding additional servers to an Essentials domain. 

    Regarding licensing ... the basic Essentials SKU does not require additional licenses of any kind so long as it is the only server in the domain and installed on bare metal or in the case of 2012/2016 as a VM under itself.  As soon as a second server is installed Server CALs are needed for any user that accesses any part of that server, such as Exchange, RDS, file and print, and so on.  What is often missed is that the Essentials Role, (not the SKU) requires Server CALS and if Remote Access is used, RDS CALs for any user or device that accesses the Remote Gateway, excluding the two licenses granted to Administrators for Administrative work only.

    I have not been able to clarify the scenario where Server Standard or Data Center is the HyperV host and Essentials, the SKU is a guest VM.  While that may seem to be duplicate licensing it is certainly less costly from a licensing perspective than purchasing 25 RDS CALS if your user base is 25 (or less).  Certainly if one of the other guest VMs (or a bare metal) is Server then you need CALS for it.  But unless one of the VMs (or bare metal)is an RDS Server it does not appear you would need RDS CALs if the RWA gateway is Essentials.  Seeking clarification on this, if anyone can post up a related link please do so.


    Larry Struckmeyer [MVP]-- --If your question is answered please mark the response as the answer so that others can benefit.


    Wednesday, February 22, 2017 11:24 AM
    Moderator
  • Hello Eve,

    Now I need some more clarification.  You wrote "As far as I know, Windows Server Essentials itself only supports 2 active sessions, regardless of how many RDS CALs you own." I talked on the phone to two different persons in the  Microsoft Licensing department and asked this specific question.  I was told that ALL 25 users could Remote into their desktop at the same time with the Server 2016 Essentials license. Neither of which could point me to a document that spelled out their comments.

    In reading the link you included, it appears to say that if I just install the Server 2016 Essentials Role on a Server 2016 standard license that I would need RDS CALs. 

    So my question to you is:How do I get an official clarification of this question?

    Thanks

    Matt Reed

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017 4:46 PM
  • Matt,

    Server Essentials, the SKU, does not require any additional licenses for any kind of client access, including RWA to desktops inside the LAN.  At the extreme, you could have ONE desktop inside the LAN and allow all 25 users to connect to it, each for slightly less than one hour a day, but that would get tiresome very fast.

    Only if you add the ROLE to Server Standard do you need CALS, and then you would need them for either RWA to the desktops or to a RDS server if you chose to not have desktops in the LAN.

    And it should be obvious that even with the SKU you would need RDS CALS (as well as Server CALs) if you implemented an RDS server.


    Larry Struckmeyer [MVP]-- --If your question is answered please mark the response as the answer so that others can benefit.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2017 5:07 PM
    Moderator
  • Hi,

    I am checking to see how things are going there on this issue. Please let me know if you would like further assistance.

    You can click “Mark as answer” if the reply is helpful. It would make this reply to the top and easier to be found for other people who has the similar problem.

    Best Regards,
    Eve Wang

    Please remember to mark the replies as answers if they help.
    If you have feedback for TechNet Subscriber Support, contact tnmff@microsoft.com.

    Monday, February 27, 2017 3:04 AM
    Moderator
  • Eve,

    Want to clarify things for me and other readers...

    Just to be perfectly clear, the 25 users and 50 devices applies to resources being used on the server or connected to the domain.  Question then, if a device uses DHCP from the server for IP addresses such as Wi-Fi guests do these count towards the 50 devices and 25 users.

    Asking because we have an office with staff that meet these 25/50 limits but not including the guest devices that use the inet ONLY but we use server for DHCP leasing.

    Thank You.

    Saturday, April 15, 2017 2:24 AM