Rodney Buike - Founder and original lazy admin. MVP: System Center Cloud and Datacenter Management

Daniel Nerenberg - Lazy admin 2.0. MVP: Windows Expert - IT Pro


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Windows Server 2012 Licensing

With Windows Server 2012 set to RTM in the next few weeks there are some changes to versions and licensing that you should be aware of.  For years Microsoft has been saying that licensing is getting easier and with WS2012 it really has with only two editions being released.

  • Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition
  • Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition

And with these two editions the features and functionality is identical.  Standard Edition has the same memory support (4TB) the same physical processor support (64 CPUs) and the same feature set including Failover Clustering.  When it comes time to load the OS on to a server you simply need to determine if the server will run a standalone workload or if it will be a virtualization host.

Standalone workload = Standard Edition

Virtualization host = Datacenter Edition


Both are licensed per physical CPU (number of cores is irrelevant) now with the base license including support for 2 CPU.  If your server has 4 CPU you will need two licenses.

For more information on licensing WS2012, downgrade rights and more please review the Windows Server 2012 Licensing and Pricing FAQ (PDF).

2 comments to Windows Server 2012 Licensing

  • “only two editions being released:

    Windows Server 2012 Standard Edition
    Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition”


    “Standalone workload = Standard Edition
    Virtualization host = Enterprise Edition”


    Is this a typo?