The Cloud Platform Suite (CPS in Microsoft language) is a new SKU coming January, 2014 and will be in the next release of the SPUR. (there’s a lot of acronyms in this post). CPS is a bit out of the norm for SPLA; the licensing is by processor and by guest instance. CPS combines Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012 in one SKU (similar to the Core Infrastructure SKU (CIS)). To add to the complexity, the core infrastructure suite is not going away. I wrote an overview recently that provides great details in licensing Windows, CIS, and CPS at “Licensing in a virtual world”
On the surface, CIS and CPS appear to be the same SKU, but there are significant differences. To reiterate, the Core Infrastructure Suite is licensed by processor on the host and will allow you to run virtual instances depending on the SKU in which you report – Datacenter= unlimited VM’s/Standard= 1 VM. CPS is licensed by processor on the host and by virtual instance. CPS will allow the VM to move to different hosts, as long as the underlying host is licensed and you report the highest number of VMs. The other caveat – you must RUN Windows 2012, System Center 2012 and HYPER V. If you are not running Hyper V, you cannot license CPS.
Why would you report one over the other? It really boils down to the number of VM’s deployed. You need to calculate the total cost of the solution (both the number of hosts and VM’s), and whether or not you decide to install 2012. If not, you cannot license CPS.
In my opinion, if you are virtualized, but not highly virtualized, CPS is your answer. If you have high number of VMs, stick with Datacenter. Remember, under CPS you have to license each guest separately. (except if it’s Linux, no “guest” fee is charged for Linux VMs running on the Cloud Platform Suite “host”). The cost is not astronomical per VM, but if you run 100’s of VMs, the cost can add up quickly.
Clear as mud? Probably. It’s Microsoft licensing. That being said, I think this is a good SKU for smaller environments and provides more options for service providers. In Microsoft eyes, this SKU will encourage their customers and partners to deploy 2012R2.
Hope this helps and thanks for reading. There will be more insight on this as we get closer to January. Stay tuned!