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Windows Server 2016/2019 Core Licensing Explained (With Examples)

Since Windows Server 2016, Microsoft has changed the licensing model. Cores are now licensed, not CPUs.

The following conditions apply here:

  • The minimum licensing per physical server is 16 cores. So even if your server has fewer than 16 cores, these must be purchased. For example, does your server have B. 4 CPUs with 8 cores each, it must be licensed with a total of 32 cores.
  • The minimum licensing per physical CPU is 8 cores.
  • All physical and active cores must be licensed.

Virtual machines?

With Windows Server Standard 2016 and 2019 you can install two virtual machines, with Datacenter unlimited.

By doubling the cores, you can license two more virtual machines each. If you e.g. For example, if you need four virtual machines instead of two, and the server has 16 cores, you need to buy 32 cores. In this example, 48 cores are required for six virtual machines.

If you need multiple virtual machines, it definitely makes sense to consider purchasing a data center license.

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Sample calculations for licensing Windows Server 2016/2019:

Example 1)

Requirement: A server with 2 physical CPUs, each with 6 cores, should be licensed with 2 virtual machines.

Solution: 16 cores are required, although the server only has 12 cores. This is because the minimum licensing is 16 cores. The Windows Server Standard Edition is sufficient here.

Example 2)

Requirement: A server with 4 physical CPUs, each with 4 cores, should be licensed with 4 virtual machines.

Solution: Either the purchase of 32 cores Windows Server Standard (= 16 cores times two, since two additional virtual machines can be licensed by doubling the cores) or the purchase of 16 cores Windows Server Datacenter.

Example 3)

Requirement: A server with 4 physical CPUs, each with 8 cores, should be licensed with 10 virtual machines.

Solution: Either purchase 32 * 5 = 160 Windows Server Standard cores or 32 cores from Windows Server Datacenter.

As you can see, it definitely pays to calculate whether you need to purchase Windows Server Standard or Datacenter. With Datacenter you have more flexibility in terms of virtual machines, but the purchase is significantly more expensive.

Do you have questions about licensing Windows Server 2016/2019? Then call us on +43 1 997 27 87-10 or write to us under Contact.

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