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Category Archives: Windows Virtualization

Core Licensing for Windows and SQL

In today’s article, we will review Per Core licensing in SPLA for Windows and SQL Server.

What products are licensed by core?

Application – SQL Server 2016

Per Core (OS) – Windows Server Standard 2016;Windows Server Datacenter 2016; Core Infrastructure Datacenter 2016; and Core Infrastructure Standard 2016.

How is it licensed for SQL 2016?

Physical Core – Removed the core factor table with the release of SQL 2016.  The number of licenses required equals the number of physical cores on the Server with a minimum of 4 cores per physical processor.  For Enterprise, you can run unlimited number of instances on the physical or virtual OSE’s (In other words, unlimited virtualization rights with SQL Enterprise).   For other editions, you can run unlimited instances on the physical server (not virtual).

Individual OSE (individual VM’s)  4 cores per minimum virtual OSE.  (license the number of cores you assign to a VM with a 4 core minimum) You are allowed to run unlimited instances on the virtual OSE provided that each virtual OSE is properly licensed.

SQL is sold in packs of two cores.  Again, you cannot license 1 – 2 core pack of SQL.  You would be found out of compliant pretty easily since the licensing rules state you must report a minimum of 4 cores not 2.

How is per core license with Windows?

Licensing is very similar to the old model, just licensed by physical core instead of each physical processor (minor change).

The number of licenses required equals the number of physical cores on the host machine.  It does not matter if it’s ESX host or Hyper-V.  Unlike SQL, there is a 8 core minimum per physical processor.  As with previous editions, Datacenter will allow unlimited VM’s and Standard will allow 1.  If you have more than 7 VM’s on a host machine, Datacenter edition is more economical.  With Standard edition, you have to license each physical core but it will only allow 1 VM.  If you have a second VM on that host, you must license each physical core a second time (Stack licenses to get more VM’s).  Like SQL, it is priced/sold in packs of two cores.

Other items to remember with Windows 2016:

Containers 

Container is a technology, not a license definition.  It means an isolated place where an application can run without affecting the rest of the system.  It helps eliminate application delay and density.  Stuck watching an application icon spin for eternity because of volume?  Containers might be your answer.  There are two types of containers:

Windows Server Container – shares a kernel (not popcorn) with the container host and all containers running on the host.  It’s part of the operating system, which is why both Datacenter and Standard edition allow for unlimited Windows containers.

Hyper-V Containers –  are completely isolated virtual machines.  That’s why Datacenter is the only edition to allow unlimited Hyper-V-containers.  Each Hyper-V container has its own copy of the Windows kernel and have memory assigned directly to them.  In short, you can think of a Hyper-V container as a separate VM.

Nano Server Option –  This is not a separate license model, just a deployment option.  In volume licensing, it is a software assurance benefit.  In SPLA, it is included.

Other things to note

Hyper-Threading

This is also a technology, not a licensing term.  It splits the physical core into two separate threads of power.  When hyper-threading is turned on, it creates two hardware threads for each physical core.  From a licensing perspective, you must license one core for one thread.  Since hyper-threading is for virtual cores, no need to worry about it when licensing by the physical core option only.

Fail-Over- When an end customer uses a license mobility right (transfers a license over to a third party’s dedicated VM) they can also move their failover rights that come with software assurance.  They cannot use the datacenter provider as the failover only.  In other words, they cannot install SQL with software assurance on premise and extend the fail-over to a third-party datacenter.  The end customer would have to transfer via license mobility to the datacenter provider in order for failover rights to be applicable in an outsourcer scenario.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 

 

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How I saved a company over $100K a year in reporting

Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?  This is a story about knowing what you are reporting and the reasoning behind it. Windows 2012 was launched a couple of years ago (give or take).  At that time there were several service providers reporting Windows Enterprise.  Their customers had applications that needed the functionality of Windows Enterprise, and since it wasn’t virtualized, Windows Datacenter was not an option. The service provider continued to report/license Windows Enterprise after the launch of 2012.  There’s nothing wrong with this, in fact, the terms of the SPLA agreement state you can continue licensing 2008 use rights up until your agreement expires.  What most providers don’t know is you can do the opposite.  You can run 2008 versions but report 2012.  Why would they do that?

In this case, they had Windows Enterprise installed; but since Windows Enterprise was discontinued with the release of 2012, they could downgrade to Windows Standard edition. Sounds funny doesn’t it?  DOWNGRADE to Windows Standard from Enterprise?  Yes, I said that correct.  Enterprise is discontinued. Again, nothing was virtual, and that is very important. If it was virtual, they would continue to report Enterprise up until the agreement expired and report Windows Datacenter moving forward.   Not only did he save on their monthly usage report, I’m guessing he had added margin since he was already contracted with his customer.

Quick note – not all products discontinued have the same outcome.  In most cases (such as SQL 2012 switch to cores) their costs actually went up

Ahh…but where is this written in the SPUR?  I’ll save you time, it’s not.  That’s why you need to read “Why Timing is Everything” You are bound by the SPUR (i.e.products/versions/use rights) available at the time of signing your SPLA agreement.  Those reporting SQL by processor better pay attention.

I receive 100’s of SPLA questions from the SPLA community about licensing and the cost associated with it. From the largest of the large providers down to a guy hosting Windows Web Server out of his parents basement (which is discontinued by the way), there’s always way you can reconsider your strategy. Moral of the story?  Pay attention to how you report and don’t report out of convenience…It can cost you.

Thanks for reading,

SPLA Man

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 30, 2014 in In My Opinion, Windows Virtualization

 

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Licensing options in a virtual world

I thought I would update a post I wrote previously regarding virtualization.  In this article, I want to touch on three specific products (Windows, Core Infrastructure Suite, and the new Cloud Platform Suite).  Pay attention, this could save you money!

Windows

Windows must be reported, but oddly enough it is the most under licensed product during an audit.  (along with SQL). You have to license every processor on the host machine that will allow you to run 1 virtual instance (either Linux or Windows) for Windows Standard edition.  If you spin up another instance, you have to license every processor again!  In other words, to run two instances licensing Windows STD on a 2 processor machine would need 4 licenses!  Datacenter- you must license every processor on the host machine that will allow you to run unlimited VM’s.  Great bargain if you are highly virtualized!  Only caveat, it is going up in price in January.

Core Infrastructure Suite

CIS is a bundled SKU that includes Windows Server and System Center.  There are two editions, Standard and Datacenter.  They both come with the same technology, the only difference is virtualization.  Standard will allow 1 instance, Datacenter will allow unlimited. This SKU is licensed by physical processor and follows the same logic as Windows virtualization mentioned above.  Pay attention to the number of instances running on each host!

Cloud Platform Suite (CPS)

This is the baby of the SPLA family.  (actually hasn’t been born if your reading this prior to January, 2014).  I wrote about the basics in a earlier blog.  I think this could be a HUGE plus for service providers who report SPLA licenses and run Hyper V.  Why?  Mobility rights.  CPS is a bundled SKU of Windows and System Center.  The differences between CPS and the Core Infrastructure suite is the way you license the guests.  CPS you have to license the virtual guests, Core Infrastructure you don’t (as long as you license datacenter edition).  What will make CPS attractive is the cost.  The cost per host processor is a lot less than the cost of the Core infrastructure processor license.  Secondly, because you also license the guest (not that cheap but pretty valuable), the guest OS can move as long as you license both the guest and host.  This reduces your compliance risk tenfold.  If VM’s can migrate and you cannot track that virtual instance, this is the way to go.  Why wouldn’t you use CPS?  If you are not running Windows 2012, System Center 2012, and Hyper V (a requirement) you should stick with Windows Standard or Datacenter.  If you are heavily virtualized in Microsoft technology and running System Center, stick with Core Infrastructure Suite Datacenter.  You will need to sit down with your reseller and review  your options.  That’s why you need to work with someone who understands SPLA and has your best interest.  I always say “Make sure your compliant, but make sure you are licensing the most cost effective way.”

Good news is you have options, just make sure you pick the right one!

Thanks for reading.

SPLA Man

 

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Windows Virtualization for SPLA Partners

If you were to ask me “What’s the number one question I receive day in and day out in managing the SPLA program?” Without hesitation my answer would be “Windows virtualization.” Windows is not overwhelming complex, but it is the most reported/licensed SKU in the program. All Microsoft software runs on a Windows operating system and is required to be licensed!

With the release of Windows 2012, there are only two SKUs that allow virtualization; Windows Datacenter and the ever so popular Windows Standard. With Windows, you must license each physical processor (not core) on the host machine that will allow “x” number of virtual instances. For example,if you have a (2)processor box with (1) virtual instance licensing Windows Standard; how many processors do you need to report? The answer is (2). Another example, let’s say you are running the same server (2 processors) with (2) VMs. How many do you need to report? The answer is (4). The SPUR (Service Provider Use Rights) for Windows Standard edition states you must license each physical processor that allows (1) virtual instance. If you run a second instance, you must license each processor on the host machine again. This can add up pretty quickly!

What happens if you are licensing Windows Datacenter on a (2) processor box with (4) virtual instances? You would only need to report (2). Windows Datacenter allows unlimited virtual instances. You must license each physical processor on the host machine (regardless which virtual technology you are running. i.e. VM Ware or Hyper V) that will allow you to run unlimited virtual instances. This by far is the less complicated way to go and in a lot of ways, the most cost effective. Most service providers are virtualizing to lower hardware costs, this is one way of reducing your overall licensing spend as well.

Hope this helps and thank you for reading!

SPLA Man

 
15 Comments

Posted by on March 15, 2013 in Windows Virtualization

 

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