Last week there was an important change in licensing for Windows Server 2008 related to CALs and Virtualization. The announcement is below;
A number of trends, including consolidation and high availability, are driving more deployments and evaluations of Hyper-V. Based on feedback from our customers, the Hyper-V/Windows Server team are updating their licensing policies to address these new scenarios enabled by virtualization.
Currently, if your physical server environment is running Windows Server 2003, matching version CALs are required for all users (i.e. Windows Server 2003 CALs). However, if you move your physical Windows Server 2003 Operating System Environments (OSE) to run as virtual machines hosted by Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V, Windows Server 2008 CALs are required. This is per the current use rights. With the change in our licensing policy, Windows Server 2008 CALs are no longer required if you are using Windows Server 2008 solely as a virtualization host. The only exception to this is if you are running Windows Server 2008 virtual machines, which would require Windows Server 2008 CALs.
To help demonstrate the effect of the licensing change, I have included three scenarios below and the resulting requirements.
We think this change will help ease the adoption of virtualization technology for our customers. If you would like more in depth information on this change, please read the updated Volume Licensing Brief.
So what does this mean for SBS and EBS customers. Well if you’re running SBS 2008 or EBS 2008 and you had the CALs to go along with it, you would have been covered. But if you were running SBS 2003 in Hyper-V then this change just made your licensing that much easier, per the examples above.