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Licensing briefOctober 2020Introduction to Microsoft Core licensing modelsThis brief applies to all Microsoft Licensing programs.ContentsSummary . 1Definitions . 2Introduction to Per Core Licensing . 4Per Core licensing model . 5Per Core/CAL licensing model . 5Management Servers licensing model . 6SQL Server . 7SQL Server licensing options for highly virtualized environments . 8BizTalk Server. 8Per Core license model . 9BizTalk Server licensing options for highly virtualized environments . 9Windows Server . 9Minimum core license requirements for Standard and Datacenter Editions .10Licensing Requirements of Additional OSEs for Standard Edition .11System Center .11Minimum core license requirements for Standard and Datacenter Editions .12Additional resources . 12SummaryThe purpose of this brief is to introduce the basics of the different Per Core licensing models for key Microsoftserver software products.October 20201

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsDefinitionsAssigning a license: Assigning a license means that you designate that license for one device or user. Thisdesignation avoids sharing a license across more than one device or user simultaneously. For example, after youhave assigned a software license to a server, you are permitted to run the software on that server. You can usewhatever manual or technical method that works for you to ensure that you have the correct number of licenses tocover your software use.Figure 1: Assigning a license.Data center: A building (or multiple buildings) that houses servers and ancillary equipment typically used in acorporate computing environment connected by a local area network (LAN).Hardware thread: A hardware thread is either a physical core or a hyper-thread in a physical processor.Figure 2: Physical server showing physical processors, physical cores, and hardware threads.Instance: An instance of software is the set of files that make up the software, stored in executable form, and readyto run. You create an instance of software by executing the software’s setup or install procedure, or by duplicatingan existing instance. Instances of software can run on physical or virtual hardware systems.Examples: An installed copy of the Windows Server operating system on a hard disk is an instance of Windows Server. An installed copy of Microsoft Exchange Server within a virtual hard drive (VHD) (or other image format) fileis an instance of Exchange Server. A VHD file with Exchange Server installed on top of Windows Server contains an instance of WindowsServer and an instance of Exchange Server. Copying that VHD file creates another instance of WindowsServer and another instance of Exchange Server. Deploying that VHD file to another server creates aninstance of Windows Server and an instance of Exchange Server on that server.October 20202

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsRun an Instance: You run an instance of software by loading it into memory and executing one or more of itsinstructions. Once this has occurred, an instance is considered to be running (whether or not its instructionscontinue to execute) until it is removed from memory.Figure 3: Different types of servers.Operating system environment (OSE): all or part of an operating system instance, or all or part of a virtual (orotherwise emulated) operating system instance which enables separate machine identity (primary computer nameor similar unique identifier) or separate administrative rights, and instances of applications, if any, configured to runon the operating system instance or parts identified above. There are two types of OSEs, physical and virtual. Aphysical hardware system can have one physical OSE and/or one or more virtual OSEs.Physical core: Each physical processor contains smaller processing units called physical cores. Some processorshave two cores, some four, some six or eight, and so on.Physical OSE: An OSE that is configured to run directly on a physical hardware system. The operating systeminstance used to run hardware virtualization software (for example, Microsoft Hyper-V Server or similartechnologies) or to provide hardware virtualization services (for example, Microsoft virtualization technology orsimilar technologies) is considered part of the physical OSE.Physical processor: A processor in a physical hardware system. Physical OSEs (see “Operating System Environment(OSE)”) use physical processors.Server: A server is a physical hardware system capable of running server software. A hardware partition or blade isconsidered to be a separate physical hardware system, and, therefore, a separate server.Server farm: A server farm consists of up to two data centers each physically located in the following areas: In a time zone that is within four hours of the local time zone of the other (Coordinated Universal Time[UTC] and not Daylight Saving Time [DST]), and/or Within the European Union (EU) and/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA)Each data center can be part of only one server farm. You can reassign a data center from one server farm toanother, but not on a short-term basis (that is, not within 90 days of the last assignment).Service provider: A service provider is an organization that provides services, such as software or hosting services,to other organizations.October 20203

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsVirtual core: The unit of processing power in a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system. A virtual core isthe virtual representation of one or more hardware threads. Virtual OSEs use one or more virtual cores.Figure 4: Virtual Machine (VM) using virtual cores.Virtual OSE: An OSE that is configured to run on a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system.Introduction to Per Core LicensingWith the release of Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft server licensing shifted the measure of computing powerfrom physical processors to cores. Core-based licensing provides a more precise measure of computing power anda more consistent licensing metric, regardless of whether solutions are deployed on physical servers on-premises, orin virtual or cloud environments. Core-based licensing enables multi-cloud environments, improving workloadportability and helping remove friction across different licensing models, making it easier for customers to migrateto the cloud at their own pace.Today, there are primarily three licensing models that apply Per Core licensing:1) The Per Core model used by SQL Server and BizTalk Server.2) The Per Core/CAL licensing model used by Windows Server (Standard and Datacenter edition) following therelease of Windows Server 2016.3) The Management Servers (core-based) licensing model used by System Center (Standard and Datacenteredition) following the release of System Center 2016.October 20204

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsPer Core licensing modelThere are two ways to license the Per Core licensing model: Licensing by Physical Core on a Server Licensing by Individual Virtual OSEThe number of core licenses needed depends on whether customers are licensing by Physical Core on a Server orby Individual Virtual OSE.Licensing by Physical Core on a ServerWhen running an instance of the software in a physical OSE, all physical cores on the server must be licensed.Software partitioning or custom system bios control does not reduce the number of core licenses required, exceptwhen licensing individual virtual machines (VMs). A minimum of four core licenses is required for each physicalprocessor on the server.Unlike the Server CAL licensing model, the Per Core model allows access for an unlimited number of users ordevices to connect from either inside or outside an organization’s firewall. With the Per Core model, customers donot need to purchase additional client access licenses (CALs) to access the Server software.Enterprise editions: For each server to which you have assigned the required number of licenses, you can run onthe licensed server any number of instances of the server software in a number of physical and/or virtual OSEs equalto the number of licenses assigned to that server. Thereafter, for each additional license that you assign to thelicensed server, you can run instances of the server software in an additional OSE on that licensed server.Standard and other editions: For each server to which you have assigned the required number of licenses, you canrun on the licensed server any number of instances of the server software in the physical OSE.Licensing by Individual Virtual OSESimilar to the Per Core licensing model in physical OSEs, all virtual cores (v-cores) supporting virtual OSEs that arerunning instances of SQL Server core edition software must be licensed accordingly. A virtual OSE is sometimesreferred to as a virtual machine (VM). To license individual virtual OSEs using the Per Core model, customers mustpurchase a core license for each v-core (or virtual CPU, virtual thread) allocated to the virtual OSE, subject to a fourcore license minimum per virtual OSE. For licensing purposes, a v-core maps to a hardware thread.Enterprise editions: For each server to which a customer assigns the required number of licenses, they may run anynumber of instances of the server software in a virtual OSE. The licenses are assigned to the physical server andallocated to a virtual OSE to allow running instances of the software. The licenses are not assigned to the virtualOSE.Standard and other editions: For each server to which a customer assigns the required number of licenses, theymay run any number of instances of the server software in a virtual OSE. The licenses are assigned to the physicalserver and allocated to a virtual OSE to allow running instances of the software. The licenses are not assigned to thevirtual OSE.Per Core/CAL licensing modelThe Per Core/CAL license model requires the customer to license all the physical cores on the server they run aninstance of the software on. The licensed server must be assigned a minimum of 16 core licenses subject to aminimum of eight core licenses per physical processor. The greater of these two minimum requirements wouldequal the minimum number of licenses any server running an instance of the software must have.October 20205

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsDatacenter edition: For each server to which a customer assigns the required number of licenses, they may runinstances of the software the physical OSE and any number of virtual OSEs on the licensed server.Standard edition: For each server to which a customer assigns the required number of licenses, they may runinstances of the software in up to two OSEs on the licensed server. If a customer runs the software in two virtualOSEs, they may also run the software in the physical OSE if the physical OSE is used solely to host and manage thevirtual OSEs.Windows Server Standard edition has rights to use two OSEs or two Windows Server containers with Hyper-Visolation and unlimited Windows Server containers without Hyper-V isolation when all cores on the server arelicensed (subject to license minimums. Once a server is licensed, customers may wish to license the server foradditional OSEs or Windows Servers with Hyper-V isolation. This practice is often referred to as “stacking,” and isallowed with Standard edition. If a customer needs to run the software in more than two OSEs on the licensedserver, they may assign additional Standard edition licenses to the server equal to the same minimum core licenserequirements explained above. For each additional set of required core licenses, the customer may run instances ofthe software in up to two additional OSEs on the licensed server. Alternatively, if the customer has active SoftwareAssurance on their Standard edition licenses, they may choose to purchase Step Up licenses to Datacenter edition.Access LicensesIn addition to licensing the server with core licenses, access to the server also requires a Client Access License (CAL).CALs are available as device CALs or user CALs and each device or user is required to be licensed to directly orindirectly (e.g. multiplexing) access the server.CALs are not required to access the server by another licensed server, a server running a Web Workload or HPCWorkload, or to access a physical OSE that is being used solely for hosting and managing Virtual OSEs.Management Servers licensing modelLicensing servers under the Management Server license model is similar to the Per Core/CAL model and requiresthe customer to license all the physical cores on the server in order to manage OSEs on that server. The licensedserver must be assigned a minimum of 16 core licenses subject to a minimum of eight core licenses per physicalprocessor. The greater of these two minimum requirements would equal the minimum number of licenses anyserver with managed OSEs must have.Datacenter edition: For each server to which a customer assigns the required number of licenses, they may manageany number of OSEs on the licensed server.Standard edition: For each server to which a customer assigns the required number of licenses, they may manageup to two OSEs on the licensed server. If a customer manages two virtual OSEs, they may also manage the physicalOSE if the physical OSE is used solely to host and manage the virtual OSEs.If a customer needs to manage more than two OSEs on the licensed server, they may assign additional Standardedition licenses to the server equal to the same minimum core license requirements explained above. This is oftenreferred to as “stacking” licenses. For each additional set of required core licenses, the customer may manage up totwo additional OSEs on the licensed server. Alternatively, if the customer has active Software Assurance on theirStandard edition licenses, they may choose to purchase Step Up licenses to Datacenter edition.Licensing for the management of client OSEs is subject to different terms. See the Microsoft Product Terms siteServer software products that apply Per Core licensing.October 20206

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsSQL ServerUnder the Per Core licensing model, each server running SQL Server software or any of its components (such asReporting Services or Integration Services) that are not included as Additional Software must be assigned anappropriate number of SQL Server core licenses that are the same version as the software being run or newerversions. When to use Per Core licensing model Deploying the SQL Server Enterprise Core edition (including usingthe SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse deployment option), SQL Server Standard Core edition, or SQLServer Web Core edition (available through service provider hosting only) software, and SQL Server BigData Node Core licenses. Deploying Internet or extranet workloads, systems that integrate with external-facing workloads (even ifexternal data goes through one or more other systems), or when the number of users/devices cannot becounted easily. Implementing centralized deployments that span a large number of direct and/or indirect users/devices. The total licensing costs for licensing SQL Server Core editions software are lower than those incurred usingthe Server CAL licensing model.Note: The use of hyper-threading technology does not affect the number of core licenses required whenrunning SQL Server software in a physical OSE.Licensing by Physical Core on a Server: To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed,customers must:1) Count the total number of physical cores per physical processor in the server.2) Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses required for the server. SQL Server Core licenses are soldin packs of two (each licensing SKU includes two core licenses), so customers must divide the number oflicenses required by two to determine the actual number of line items (licensing SKUs) to order.Note: Licensing individual VMs is the only licensing option available for SQL Server Standard Core editioncustomers who are running the software in a virtualized environment under the Per Core model.4-Processor Server with 4physical cores per processor4-Processor Server with 6physical cores per processor4-Processor Server with 10physical cores per processorRequired #Required #Required #Required #Required #Required #Cores Licenses2-Pack SKUsCores Licenses12-Pack SKUsCores Licenses2-Pack SKUsSQL EnterpriseCore edition16824124010SQL ServerStandard Coreedition168241240101Percore—physical cores on a server. The number of licenses required equals the number of physical cores on the server subject to aminimum requirement of four licenses per processor. The SQL Server Core Factor Table is no longer used to calculate the requirednumber of core licenses needed for SQL Server 2016 and later versions. For earlier versions of SQL Server, the number of licensesrequired equals the number of physical cores on the server multiplied by the applicable core factor located in the SQL Server CoreFactor Table (PDF, 304 KB).October 20207

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsLicensing by Individual Virtual OSE: To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed,customers must:1) Count the number of virtual cores allocated to the virtual OSE (minimum of four) an instance of thesoftware will run in.2) Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses required for the server. SQL Server Core licenses are soldin packs of two (each licensing SKU includes two core licenses), so customers must divide the number oflicenses required by two to determine the actual number of line items (licensing SKUs) to order.1 Virtual OSE: 8 virtual cores1 Virtual OSE: 10 virtual cores2 Virtual OSEs: VM 1 8 virtualcores, VM 2 12 virtual coresRequired #Required #Required #Required #Required #Required #Cores Licenses2-Pack SKUsCores Licenses2-Pack SKUsCores Licenses2-Pack SKUsSQL EnterpriseCore edition841052010SQL ServerStandard Coreedition841052010SQL Server licensing options for highly virtualized environmentsCustomer that need to deploy large numbers of virtual OSEs running instances of SQL Server on one server oracross many servers may benefit from greater flexibility provided with Software Assurance (SA). SQL ServerEnterprise Core edition with SA provides customers with Unlimited Virtualization rights on the licensed server. BothSQL Server Enterprise Core and Standard Core editions with SA also provide customers with License Mobility AcrossServer Farms.SQL Server Enterprise Core Unlimited VirtualizationCustomers that license a server with SQL Server Enterprise Core edition with active SA may run any number ofinstances of the software in the physical OSE and any number of virtual OSEs on the licensed server.License Mobility Across Server FarmsFor customers with highly virtualized environments who want to move VMs dynamically across servers to reallocateresources as needed, Microsoft permits License Mobility Across Server Farms as an exclusive SA benefit available forall SQL Server editions.BizTalk ServerEffective with the 2013 software release, BizTalk Server (BTS) is licensed under the same Per Core model as SQLServer. This model provides a precise measurement of computing power and a consistent licensing metric,regardless of whether your BTS solution is deployed across servers on-premises, virtually or physically, or cloudenvironments under License Mobility with Software Assurance. Under the Per Core licensing model, each serverrunning BTS software must be assigned an appropriate number of BTS core licenses. The number of core licensesneeded depends on whether you are licensing the physical server or individual virtual operating systemenvironments (OSEs).October 20208

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsPer Core license modelLicensing by Physical Core on a Server: To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed,customers must:1) Count the total number of physical cores per physical processor in the server.2) Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses required for the server. BTS Core licenses are sold inpacks of two (each licensing SKU includes two core licenses), so customers must divide the number oflicenses required by two to determine the actual number of line items (licensing SKUs) to order.Licensing by Individual Virtual OSE: To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed,customers must:1) Count the number of virtual cores allocated to the virtual OSE (minimum of four) an instance of thesoftware will run in.2) Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses required for the server. SQL Server Core licenses are soldin packs of two (each licensing SKU includes two core licenses), so customers must divide the number oflicenses required by two to determine the actual number of line items (licensing SKUs) to order.BizTalk Server licensing options for highly virtualized environmentsCustomer that need to deploy large numbers of virtual OSEs running instances of BizTalk Server on one server oracross many servers may benefit from greater flexibility provided with Software Assurance (SA). BizTalk ServerEnterprise Core edition with SA provides customers with Unlimited Virtualization rights on the licensed server. BothBizTalk Server Enterprise Core and Standard Core editions with SA also provide customers with License MobilityAcross Server Farms.BizTalk Server Enterprise Core Unlimited VirtualizationCustomers that license a server with BizTalk Server Enterprise Core edition with active SA may run any number ofinstances of the software in the physical OSE and any number of virtual OSEs on the licensed server.License Mobility Across Server FarmsFor customers with highly virtualized environments who want to move VMs dynamically across servers to reallocateresources as needed, Microsoft permits License Mobility Across Server Farms as an exclusive SA benefit available forall BizTalk Server editions.Windows ServerWith the launch of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition and Windows Server 2016 Standard edition, WindowsServer licensing transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based.October 20209

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsFor both Standard and Datacenter editions, Windows Server is licensed by the Per Core/CAL license model. Likeother Per Core licenses, Windows Server core licenses are sold in packs (2 core pack and 16 core pack). Each licenseSKU includes the 2 or 16 core licenses per pack.DatacenterStandardLicensing ModelPer Core/CAL1Per Core/CAL1License TypeCore LicenseCore LicenseOSEs/Hyper-V containersUnlimitedTwo2Windows Server containersUnlimitedUnlimited1Allphysical cores on the server must be licensed, subject to a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of16 core licenses per server.2WindowsServer Standard edition permits use of one running instance of the server software in the physical OSE on the licensedserver (in addition to two virtual OSEs), if the physical OSE is used solely to host and manage the virtual OSEs.Minimum core license requirements for Standard and Datacenter EditionsThe table below provides examples for various server configurations, and the minimum number of core cessor Server2-Processor Server4-Processor ServerRequired #Required #Required #CoresLicenses1Standard &DatacenterRequired #2 core - PackSKUsCoresLicenses1Required #2 core - PackSKUsCoresLicenses1Required #2 core - PackSKUs2 cores perprocessor16816832164 cores perprocessor16816832166 cores perprocessor16816832168 cores perprocessor168168321610 cores perprocessor168201040201Corelicenses are sold in 2-packs.October 202010

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsLicensing Requirements of Additional OSEs for Standard EditionThe table below provides examples of “stacking” scenarios for various server configurations, the minimum numberof licenses required, and the resulting number of OSEs or Hyper-V containers provided. As a rule, for eachadditional set of two OSEs or two Hyper-V containers the customer wishes to use, the server must be relicensed forthe same number of core licenses. Note that Datacenter edition has rights to unlimited virtualization so “stacking”therefore is not required.“Stacking”StandardOSEs orHyper-VContainers1-Proc Server with 16 cores2-Proc Server with 16 cores4-Proc Server with 32 coresRequired #Required #Required #Required #Required #Required #Cores Licenses12-Pack SKUsCores Licenses12-Pack SKUsCores Licenses12-Pack SKUs2 per server16816832164 per server3216321664326 per server4824482496488 per server643264321286410 per server80408040160801Corelicenses are sold in 2-packs.System CenterWith the launch of System Center 2016 Datacenter edition and System Center 2016 Standard edition, System CenterServer Management has transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based, in alignment with WindowsServer 2016.For both Standard and Datacenter editions,. System Center Server Management Licenses (Server MLs) are licensedunder the Management Servers license model. Like other Windows Server Per Core licenses, System Center ServerManagement core licenses are sold in packs (2 core pack and 16 core pack). Each license SKU includes the 2 or 16core licenses per pack.DatacenterStandardLicensing ModelManagement Servers1Management Servers1License TypeCore LicenseCore LicenseOSEs/Hyper-V containersUnlimitedTwo2Windows Server containersUnlimitedUnlimited1Allphysical cores on the server must be licensed, subject to a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of16 core licenses per server.2SystemCenter Standard edition permits management of the physical OSE on the licensed server (in addition to two virtual OSEs), ifthe physical OSE is used solely to host and manage virtual OSEs.October 202011

Introduction to Per Core Licensing and Basic DefinitionsMinimum core license requirements for Standard and Datacenter EditionsThe table below provides examples for various server configurations, and the minimum number of core licensesrequired.ServerLicensing1-Processor Server,2 Cores per processor2-Processor Server,6 Cores per processor4-Processor Server,10 cores per processorEdition - OSEsrequiredRequired #Required #Required #Required #Required #Required #Cores Licenses12 core - PackSKUsCores Licenses12 core - PackSKUsCores Licenses12 core - PackSKUsStandardedition – 2OSEs1681684010Standardedition – 4OSEs required16832168040Datacenteredition – 10OSEs required1681684010Additional resources For details about licensing SQL Server , refer to the SQL Server 2019 Licensing Guide. For details about licensing BizTalk Server, refer to the BizTalk Server 2020 Licensing Datasheet. For details about licensing Windows Server, refer to the Windows Server Licensing Guide and the WindowsServer 2019 licensing datasheet. For details about licensing System Center, refer to the System Center MS.com licensing page. 2020 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INTHIS DOCUMENT. This information is provided to help guide your authorized use of products you license; it is not your agreemen

With the release of Microsoft SQL Server 2012, Microsoft server licensing shifted the measure of computing power from physical processors to cores. Core-based licensing provides a more precise measure of computing power and a more consistent licensing metric, regardless of whether s