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Windows Server 2022 and Licensing Rule Changes

Over the years, since the Windows operating system for servers was launched, we have been able to follow a series of updates that are not limited only to versions or editions, as well as product functionalities, but also refer to licensing rules and metrics for calculating the license requirement. Still, even with the changes that have been happening between new releases and product updates, we've been able to observe a certain pattern over the last 10 years or so.

Mudanças no Windows Server 2022

Microsoft released Windows Server 2008 and some earlier versions, for which, licensing followed a primarily “Server and CAL” based model or even a “Processor and CAL” model for Datacenter and Itanium editions. With the launch of Windows Server 2012, we started to consider the licensee by the “Processor License” metric for its two main editions, Standard and Datacenter, among others, and from then on, we are very familiar with its main characteristics, which are the rights of virtualization and the license requirement calculated by the server's physical hardware exclusively. Even when licensing was updated to the “Core License” metric with the release of Windows Server 2016, these characteristics remained.

Therefore, for a long time, it was a challenge to build server environments based on Windows technology, without ever running into situations where it would make more sense if we could license virtual servers individually.

However, organizations are digitally transforming and because of that, among other reasons, Microsoft released Windows Server 2022 to help us overcome barriers, both technological and licensing. The new Windows Server lets you run business-critical tasks and workloads from anywhere, whether in your data center or in the cloud. While some standards have remained, such as the virtualization rights feature between the two editions and the minimum license assignment requirements, this version of Windows Server is designed to increase server infrastructure flexibility and help save time. and reduce costs, therefore, the rule for calculating the requirement has changed, since the possibility of licensing virtual servers individually was included, provided that some parameters are met.

Thus, the purpose of this content is to present a summary of the main changes that took place in the licensing rules with the launch of the new Windows Server. Considering as the main source of information the manufacturer's official documents made available through the PUR (Products Use Rights).

For more details on the new technical features of the product, visit: New on Windows Server 2022.

We'll start by talking about what hasn't changed, for example, we know that the Windows Server Datacenter is recommended for highly virtualized environments, as it allows hosting an unlimited number of VMs on a physical server, while Windows Standard is recommended for standalone physical servers or minimally virtualized environments, as it allows hosting up to two VMs on a physical server, as long as the physical server is only used to manage these virtual machines. In cases of hosting more than 2 VMs on a Standard Windows Server, and doing what is known as “stacking” or stacking licenses.

The rule of minimum licensing requirement to maintain compliance was also maintained, so it is still necessary that when licensing a physical server, we must take into account the allocation of licenses following a minimum of 8 "Core License" per processor and a minimum of 16 “Core License” per licensed server. Additionally, Windows Server 2022 Standard and Windows Server 2022 Datacenter also require licenses CAL (Client Access License) for each user or device that connects to the server.

Therefore, what is new is the possibility of licensing the virtual servers individually, as long as the criteria listed below are followed.

  • This option is only available for subscription licenses or with active Software Assurance.
  • Access CALs used to access a server in this model must also follow the requirement listed above, ie, they must be subscription licenses or have active Software Assurance.
  • The virtual server may be licensed individually provided sufficient licenses are assigned as described below.
    • The number of assigned licenses must be equal to the number of virtual cores, respecting a minimum of 8 “Core License” per VM and 16 “Core License” per client.
  • Customer may reassign any of its licenses to any of its licensed servers located on the same server farm whenever necessary and it is also possible to reassign these licenses from one server farm to another, but not on short notice, i.e. not within 90 days of the last assignment.


Cases de sucesso ITAM


In view of these updates related to licensing after the release of Windows Server 2022 and considering that the possibility of assigning licenses to virtual machines individually is only available for subscription licenses or with active Software Assurance (SA), it is worth mentioning that SA is a feature that you can add to your Windows Server licenses and that offer additional benefits beyond basic licensing. The most important benefit of SA is product new version rights, which will enable you to upgrade your software version whenever it becomes available and at no additional cost.

The dynamics of computing environments and the constant changes in licensing rules make compliance management a challenge, so count on 4Matt technology, the most specialized company in IT asset management in Brazil.

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