Technical Reference: Microsoft Windows Server Per-Core Licensing

In 2016, Microsoft has changed the Windows Server licensing model from server licenses (Server 2008) to processor licenses (Server 2012) to core licenses (Server 2016).  To make things a little easier, we’ve created a licensing calculator:

Microsoft Windows Server Per-Core Licensing Calculator


Datacenter edition still offers unlimited Hyper-V Virtual Machines (VMs), and Standard edition includes VMs with the base licensing of the host machine, with additional Core licenses needed for VMs over 2.

Some highlights of the changes:

  • Each physical core in the server needs to be licensed.  That means you can skip counting hyper-threaded virtual cores.
  • Each physical processor needs to be licensed with a minimum of 8 cores.  So 4 core and 6 core chips still need 8.
  • Each physical server is required to be licensed with a minimum of 16 cores.  This sets the minimum cost for Server Standard Edition.
  • Core licenses are sold in 2-packs.  So with the minimum 16 cores, you’ll buy 8 2-pack Core licenses.  Need 24 cores, you’ll buy 12 2-pack bundles.

Here’s some articles with decent explanations and examples:


This article viewed 13528 times as of 05/26/2024 --- First published on 10/15/2017 --- Last modified on 10/15/2017

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