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Drashna Jaelre

I believe, and trust me nobody actually understands Microsoft licensing fully, that if you install a copy of server, enable the Hyper-V role and use a data center license ( which isn't exactly cheap and depends on how many processors you have in the host) the you can use the same license key to install as many copies of windows server you like as VMs.

Amen!

 

But yes, the difference between Standard and Datacenter is that Standard has downgrade rights to Essentials, and VM rights for 2 Standard Edition VMs. Datacenter has unlimited VM rights for Datacenter edition. And in fact, other than CPU licensing, there is no code difference between the two (I believe).

 

Also, Datacenter includes "AVMA". Automatic VM Automation. It's Volume License activation for VMs basically. Neat stuff, but definitely enterprise focused.

 

Essentials also has HyperV, but it's a very specific use case. You install the HyperV role, remove the Essentials role, and install Essentials in a VM. And that is the ONLY VM that is licensed for use, in this scenario.

@Drashna, @jem101, sounds like we're saying the same thing really: install DataCenter with its own licence and then install WSE, with its own licence, in DataCenter VM. Yes? No?

Yeah, but in different ways, I think.

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Hi John   I am going to put it onto a standard box, quad core 32 gb ram ect, i ve got to order the rest of my harddrives this weekend and then all is ready to go, but i think ill install the os rega

Guest techyguyni

Ok so correct me if i am wrong but your saying i can install data center as a workgroup machine, in other words no roles only hyper-v and then iam allowd to install as many hyper-v machines as i like? then what am i able to do with server 2012 r2 standard, can i insatll as many hyper-v machines as i like with that verson of server, The whole point in my installation is to give me about 4 or 5 vm's and i want the licencing to be correct, using standard or data center to do this, either way i want 4 or 5 vm's and or either standard as the dc or data center?

 

thanks for your input 

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jem101

Suppose you want to have a situation where you have six Windows Server 2012 R2 virtual machines running on a single Hyper-V host. As Chris said above, there is no difference between Standard and DataCenter 'copies' of 2012 R2 it's purely down to how much they cost and what you are legally allowed to do with it.

 

So you have two routes you could go down.

 

1) Purchase a single copy of Server 2012 R2 with a DataCenter licence, install it on the host and enable just the Hyper-V role, absolutely nothing else. It will be in workgroup mode, no data shares, no printer shares, it will just be the hypervisor platform for everything else. Then you can install six virtual machines using the same DataCenter licence key , they will all be Server 2012 R2 (remember there is no actual operating difference between Standard and DataCenter) and it is these machines that you configure to be Domain Controllers, turn into file servers or Exchange servers, add the Essentials Experience role to etc. Also you are not limited to six, the DataCenter license enables you to install as many VMs as you like using the same key - well at least until you run out of disk space and/or RAM. If you need another physical host (you want to play with VM live migrations and clustering say), then you need to purchase another DataCenter licence and repeat the exercise on the second host.

 

2) Purchase a single copy of Server 2012 R2 with a Standard licence, install this on the host and set it up exactly the same as above. This time however you are only allowed to install two VMs using the same Standard key. But if you need more VMs then you need to purchase more Standard licences, in your case to make the number of VMs up to six you would need to get four more licences, (the ability to have two VMs on the same key is a special case limited to the copy running on the physical host)

 

Obviously DataCenter is much more expensive than Standard but there is a point, depending on how many VMs you need, where it becomes more cost effective.

 

John

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Thanks Drashna & jem101; good explanations of the licencing (and that's no small feat with MS licencing ;) ).

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Drashna Jaelre

Just to clarify that last point: Each license of R2 Standard gets you rights for TWO VMs. That means that the initial key gets you the host and two VMs, then you need an additional license for ... two additional. So for 5-6 VMs, you need 3 keys. (host+2VMs, plus 2x2VMs).

 

@Ikon: yes, the licensing is confusing. It is why I suggest contacting a reseller in this situation. Or somebody that is used to do things in general. That way if something goes wrong, you can point your finger to somebody other than "the internet". 

 

 

Also, if you use Standard, then do remember you have downgrade rights for Essentials. Additionally, Standard and Datacenter support the "Essentials Experience" (which is the actual role that makes "Essentials", well "Essentials"). The difference is that in Standard and Datacenter, a) you require 25 or more user CALs, and B) you're not limited to the number of users/computers that you can use.

 

The reason I mention this, is that if you're planning on using a domain, the Essentials Experience role requires it to be the primary (first) domain controller. You can have additional DCs, but "Essentials" must be the first. And since it includes the dashboard and client management stuff, as well as the backups, it is a great tool for any size organization, IMO. (which is why the server team "absorbed" and integrated the WHS code, Long live WHS!) Especially with some of the integrations options (Exchange, Azure, Office 365, or other hosted email). 

 

 

Also, if you're going to be hosting 5-6 VMs on the system, I would definitely recommend shelling out for a good RAID card and a good RAID array (RAID6 ideally, I think) to host the VHDs, as speed and reliability are going to be critical (if this is for production use).

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Just to clarify that last point: Each license of R2 Standard gets you rights for TWO VMs.

 

..... Snip ....

 

The reason I mention this, is that if you're planning on using a domain, the Essentials Experience role requires it to be the primary (first) domain controller. You can have additional DCs, but "Essentials" must be the first. And since it includes the dashboard and client management stuff, as well as the backups, it is a great tool for any size organization, IMO. (which is why the server team "absorbed" and integrated the WHS code, Long live WHS!) Especially with some of the integrations options (Exchange, Azure, Office 365, or other hosted email). 

 

 

Also, if you're going to be hosting 5-6 VMs on the system, I would definitely recommend shelling out for a good RAID card and a good RAID array (RAID6 ideally, I think) to host the VHDs, as speed and reliability are going to be critical (if this is for production use).

Oh I stand corrected then on the licensing issue for Standard, I always assumed that the 2 VM rights only applied to the first installation and that subsequent VMs needed a purchased licence each.

 

It's not strictly true about a machine with the Essentials Experience role needing to be a DC and hold all the roles, if you have an existing domain and you add the role to a member server than that server does not need to be a domain controller at all. This gives you the ability to have the features of Essentials, PC backups, remote web access etc. without the limitations of a normal 2012 Essentials install. If you don't have an existing domain though, installing the role to a server will automatically promote it and it is exactly the same as a clean install of 2012E. I suspect this is why it is referred to as the 'Essentials Experience' role rather than just the Essentials role.

 

Couldn't agree more about the need for a good storage system. RAID 6 would be fine, 60 would be better if you can afford the bigger disk chassis and drives. In fact at this point you are looking at separating the storage away from the server itself and have them talking over a separate iSCSI connection.

 

John

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Guest techyguyni

Hi Guys

 

Sorry for the delay in replying but work calls and Ive been up to my eyes in it busy busy busy.

 

Thanks for your explanations I can now go forward with my deployments.

 

I would like to say jem101 you have been a credit for me understanding this, thanks.

 

Paul

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No problems Paul

 

Sounds like your best bet is to fork out for. DataCenter licence and create all the VMs using that.

 

What hardware are you planning in running it on?

 

John

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Guest techyguyni

Hi John

 

I am going to put it onto a standard box, quad core 32 gb ram ect, i ve got to order the rest of my harddrives this weekend and then all is ready to go, but i think ill install the os regardless and get it updated and patched.

 

Paul

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CallSignMavrick

I realize this thread is a couple of months old, but I have a question that is along the same lines of the original question.

 

Here's my situation. I'm building a new server over the next month or two, primarily for the purpose of providing remote access to files for family members around the country (using Remote Web Access). I have access to DreamSpark, and thus have copies of all editions of Server 2012 R2. I've been intending to use 2012 Essentials R2 for the server due to its ease of use and licensing. 25 users should be more than enough for my needs. The only part of this that bums me out is the lack of hyper-v. Given all the software I have access to via DreamSpark, a part of me really wants to fiddle around with stuff like Exchange and Lync server, but can't do that with Essentials. If I used Datacenter with the Essentials Experience role enabled I could do all the playing around I want, however I would then also be on the hook for RDS CAL's (flipping expensive) for all my family members using RWA.

 

My question is, if I use Datacenter Edition with hyper-v as the host, (giving me unlimited VM's with that license for my testing/toying purposes,) and install Essentials R2 as a VM, which OS's licensing am I supposed to follow? Would I get the 25 users/50 devices of Essentials R2 just as if it was its own physical box, or would I still need to get the user & RDS CAL's for Data Center?

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