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Non Microsoft VM Guests on Server 2012 R2 or Server 2012

    Question

  • I have  read  a  number  of   documents  on Server 2012   licensing wrt POSE and  VOSE.  Nothing specifically addresses non  WOSE as VMs on a server 2012 Host.  I have  placed  my view  and  links  from different sites  on the  matter  and  simply  would like to know  if  I have a Windows  Server 2012 Standard  license  if  I can run a  number/unlimited number  of  Free VOSE on it  and  still  be in compliance  with Microsoft virtualisation license  wrt Server 2012 standard.

    1. The licensing difference between standard and datacenter editions, is that datacenter comes with virtualization rights that allows you to run an unlimited amount of VMs without having to purchase individual licenses for each guest operating system –    .........................................................................................................................................................................................................................   MP  - The point  in yellow  identifies that  you  ‘buy a  license’ to facilitate  for a  guest  operating  system. The reason  I say that  the  license  is  only  for  Microsoft OSE is because  it  is  not rational that  Microsoft  would charge  a customer  for a license   to run a guest VM and  not able to  support  all the  VOSE abilities  of the  guest VM.

    1. https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/f1e7abc5-6eb6-4649-9820-1e0920211081/how-many-guests-can-i-run-on-windows-server-2012-with-hyperv?forum=winserver8gen   Windows Server 2012 standard supports one physical installation and two virtual, while windows 2012 datacenter supports an unlimited number of virtual guests. The catch is that the virtual instances must be hosted on the same physical machine.As a result, if you have purchased a single Windows 2012 standard license you can install 2 Windows 2012 virtual instances on the same hostYou don't need a windows license for linux VMs.   ................................................................................................................................................................            MP- The  copied  portion in  point 2  was copied  from the  link  also shared in  point 2   and  this was  shared  by a  Microsoft Partner ,  the  yellow  highlighted part  is what  I am  focused on.

     

    1. https://serverfault.com/questions/450059/number-of-vms-on-windows-2012-standard

          

     You may run 2 virtual instances of Windows 2012 standard with a single licence. If you decide to use that Windows 2012 Standard server as a hosting platform you may buy additional windows 2012 licences to run more virtual instances, or run other Operating systems, given you have licenses for those. Of course in the case of Linux, depending on the Distributor you may run an unlimited amount for free.


    New information, changes your outlook ....



    • Edited by scuba19 Thursday, April 13, 2017 12:26 PM
    Thursday, April 13, 2017 12:25 PM

All replies

  • I have to give the standard warning about licensing questions. As always, check with your vendor license rep for official answers to licensing questions. 

    However, to answer your point. Microsoft does not license "guests" or "VMs". It licenses installations of Windows operating systems. They do not currently have any licenses specifically for Hyper-V, Hyper-V guests, or anything else I'm aware of for Hyper-V. The only limit on any Hyper-V install (for every version released to date) in the number of guest VMs that it can run is physical resources. 

    Every installation of an OS not fully written by you requires a license, Linux and other FOSS software included. The 2012 Server Standard license gives you permission to install the Windows Server OS on 1 physical machine, and then on 2 virtual machines on the same physical system. Linux generally operates under GNU type licenses and other similar licenses, but it is a licensed OS, just like Windows. Microsoft words it the way they do because they only worry about their software licenses and not the licenses of 3rd party software.


    Thursday, April 13, 2017 1:47 PM
  • Short answer is yes, you can run as many "free" VMs as your hardware will support. 

    The main issue is lack of precision in a lot of threads.  The sku of Hyper-V matters, Windows Server 201x Standard vs Hyper-V Server 201x have different meanings when it comes to licensing.  Also, most of the MS documentationon the OSEs included isn't specific to Windows and it should be.

    You can essentially run an unlimited OSes on any version Hyper-V 2012 or 2016 (limit of running VMs is 1024)  Your true limit will be hardware.

    Windows Server 2012 Standard provides you with 2 Windows Server instances that you can run without needing to purchase additional licenses.  If you want to run 3 or 4 Windows Server instances you'd need to buy another  Windows 2012 Standard license and assign it to your host.

    You may need a license to run Linux, i.e. Red Hat Linux, but you'd get that from Red Hat, not Microsoft. 

    Hyper-V, as well as ESXi, Xen/XenServer, and KVM, have no "licensing" mechanism that monitors your VMs for appropriate licensing.  That licensing enforcement comes via other methods, like Windows Activation, etc.

    Thursday, April 13, 2017 4:33 PM
  • Thank you  for the  response, in short if  the  Linux OSE  is free like ESXi ,  then  I do not need to  get  more than  the  original  1 Server 2012 standard  license ,  if  I  would like to  run thee  or four  ESXi  VMs  on the Server 2012 standard  host. 

    New information, changes your outlook ....

    Thursday, April 13, 2017 5:49 PM
  • "I  would like to  run thee  or four  ESXi  VMs  on the Server 2012 standard  host."

    Need to check with VMware on that one.  Not sure that they support nesting their hypervisor (ESXi) under Hyper-V.  Though I'm not sure why you would want to run their hypervisor as a VM under Microsoft's hypervisor.

    The key point to remember, besides what D.Pope said about checking with licensing specialists to get licensing questions answered, is that Microsoft does not make any claims on licensing third party products.  ESXi is licensed by VMware.  You need to talk with them about licensing their product.  Any Linux distribution has its own license which you must abide by.


    tim

    Saturday, April 15, 2017 12:39 PM