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Quick Guide to Licensing Windows Server 2016


Microsoft has announced that Windows Server 2016 will be generally available in October. With the latest version of Windows Server comes changes to how it’s licensed.

Previous versions of Windows Server were licensed on a per-processor basis; Windows Server 2016 is licensed per physical processor core (note that this is physical, not virtual cores). Each physical processor must be licensed with a minimum of 8 cores, and each server with a minimum of two processors (making a 16 core minimum). Core licenses will also be sold in two-core packs and CALs are still required for every user or device accessing a server.

For software asset managers, the switch to per-core licensing for Windows Server 2016 provides a standard licensing metric for on-premise and cloud-based environments; however, some changes to software compliance and inventory processes might be required. Taking count of physical cores is not necessarily possible with all discovery and inventory tools, so there is a risk that CPU cores are not properly counted for. Likewise, some software asset management solutions may not correctly reflect the core count in compliance reporting against your entitlements.



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