Virtualization and Licenses   Leave a comment

After debating on several topics for my first post I decided to keep it simple but to hopefully shed some light on a very common question these days. If I run virtual machines (VMware, Hyper-V, etc) do I get any breaks on the licenses?

The answer is yes you do. Depending on whether you purchase Standard, Enterprise, or Data Center Edition you can gain more OS deployments per each single license. As far as applications they will still require the same licenses as they would if in a physical world. Below I have a very useful link to Microsoft’s Virtualization Licensing Calculators and I have permanently added it to my favorite links to the right of this page in case you ever need it again.

BEWARE! This does not mean that every scenario is support by Microsoft. You will need to review the Microsoft support policies for each OS/application to determine whether your scenario is supported in whichever virtualized platform you are running.

To find the Microsoft support policy for your application (if it’s a Microsoft app such as Exchange) see the below link:

Make sure you read the very first section where it states your virtualization Platform has to be approved through SVVP (

It starts to get a little confusing here. Just because the vendor you use for virtualization is listed there doesn’t mean you scenario is supported. Some application such as Exchange have their own support policy and you must review that carefully (or call Microsoft for clarification) to ensure you will be fully supported.

I don’t feel Microsoft has done a very good job on making it easy for you to determine whether your situation is fully supported or not. However if you do your homework and contact Microsoft for and clarification prior to deploying something in your virtualized environment then you should be in the clear. One thing to note is that even if it’s not fully supported, a lot of situations (such as Exchange 2007) they will provide “best effort” support. In most cases, guessing 90%+, best effort will fix your issue. It’s really your call on whether you want to take the chance or not.

Don’t fret though. Microsoft is diligently working towards getting everything documented and supported in virtualization environments. Remember it’s no different than putting server hardware on the HCL. The process is the same and requires a little patience on our end.

Happy virtualizing!

The posts are provided “AS-IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights.


Posted November 18, 2008 by Chris Morgan in Virtualization/Cloud

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