Some elements are not going to change despite the new version, for example:

  • Windows Server access still requires Client Access Licenses or External Connectors
  • Additional workloads such as Remote Desktop Services or Rights Management Services will require additive Client Access Licenses
  • Client licensing for System Center remains on a per OSE or per User basis

What still needs to be clarified

The preview documents published by Microsoft (see the resources section below) give a high level detail of the licensing requirements and rights, but some of the finer details are still missing. Here are three examples, with an indication of the outcome we can expect, based on previous experience.

There is no clear indication on the licensing datasheets and FAQ of how many licenses are required to cover VMs in addition to the virtualization rights granted by Windows Server Standard.

Example, a two-processor server will require 16 licenses, or eight 2-core packs. Windows Server Standard Edition grants the right to run 2 VMs, but what if the requirement is to run 4? The available documents do not clarify how many additional licenses would be required. To remain consistent with the existing model, we would expect that 8 licenses (four 2-core packs) would be required for each additional VM.

No clear indication was given on renewing Software Assurance for a number of cores per processor in excess of 8. We expect that Microsoft will make options available to renew SA on all physical cores, subject to the customer creating and retaining an inventory report to show its eligibility. We also expect this option to be available for a limited time only, consistently with the approach Microsoft took following the move from Server to 2-processor licenses in 2012.

For Microsoft products that are currently licensed on a per core basis, the licensing requirement is based on a "Core Factor Table", a document that details how many licenses are required for different processor types. We expect the core factor table to also apply to Windows Server and System Center 2016.

For all these scenarios, the applicable and legally binding use right terms will be included on the Product Terms document issued once the products are made available to Volume Licensing customers.

What to look out for

Microsoft is giving early notice of these changes. This gives customers time to work with their partner to:

  • Review the rhythm of the existing Microsoft Volume Licensing Agreement to understand how Agreement and Software Assurance expiry dates will be impacted by the upcoming changes
  • Review licensing entitlements, existing and future license position, and whether any changes are required to ensure that entitlements are being maximized
  • Gain an understanding of the current and new use rights , and how the existing and future options for multi-cloud deployment can support customers’ IT roadmap
Further resources:

System Center 2016 Licensing Datasheet

Windows Server 2016 Licensing Datasheet

Windows Server and System Center 2016 FAQ

As a Microsoft-designated Licensing Solutions Provider (LSP), Enterprise Software Advisor, Authorized Government Reseller, Academic Reseller, and SPLA Reseller, HPE provides a global sales channel for Microsoft’s Volume Licensing Programs and Full Package Products. Check out our Microsoft licensing comparison chart and contact us for all your Microsoft licensing needs.

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