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  • You need to license all hosts the VMs can run on.

    A license covers 16 cores.
    A standard license covers 2 VMs.

    10 VMs on a 16 core server = 5 Standard licenses.  Multiply by 2 because you have 2 servers.  So 10 standard licenses.

    CALs cover all servers up to the level of the CAL.  Doesn't matter if you have 1 or 100 servers.

    The breakeaven point between Standard and Datacenter is 13 VMs.  If you are doing 13 or more on a host, it's cheaper to buy a Datacenter license for the host which gives you unlimited VMs on that host.  You must license all cores as usual.  If you had 13 VMs I would have suggested buying 2 Datacenter licenses (1 for each host).


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  • PatrickFarrell wrote:

    You need to license all hosts the VMs can run on.

    A license covers 16 cores.
    A standard license covers 2 VMs.

    10 VMs on a 16 core server = 5 Standard licenses.  Multiply by 2 because you have 2 servers.  So 10 standard licenses.

    CALs cover all servers up to the level of the CAL.  Doesn't matter if you have 1 or 100 servers.

    The breakeaven point between Standard and Datacenter is 13 VMs.  If you are doing 13 or more on a host, it's cheaper to buy a Datacenter license for the host which gives you unlimited VMs on that host.  You must license all cores as usual.  If you had 13 VMs I would have suggested buying 2 Datacenter licenses (1 for each host).


    Bro...thanks for your reply.

    1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ??

    2. Noted on the CALs (I literally asking so that people wanting to know can read). The term is is "multiplexing". However do note that CALs are not upgradable unless you have SA. Then downgrade rights also depending on your MSVL contractual terms.

    3. I am not going to bring in Server 2022 data center as many people who had purchased SA all the way back from server 2000, server 2003 & server 2012. They would have had the "per server" to "per processor" then "per core" conversion (between Aug 2014 to Nov 2016).
    Microsoft never allowed any "per core" upgrades or conversion between server 20xx std ro server 20xx data center. So even if you had 1000 qty of "per server" or "per processor" with SA, you will be stuck with 1000 qty of server 20xx std "16 core" licenses.

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  • Microsoft did allow step if conversion from Standard to Datacenter edition if the license was under active Software Assurance.

    Conversation terms were also favorable for servers that had more cores at the time of renewal. For example, my hosts that were licensed for two sockets became licensed for 24 cores at renewal, because that is how many cores physically present. It is like I got 8 cores for free.

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  • kevinmhsieh wrote:

    Microsoft did allow step if conversion from Standard to Datacenter edition if the license was under active Software Assurance.

    Conversation terms were also favorable for servers that had more cores at the time of renewal. For example, my hosts that were licensed for two sockets became licensed for 24 cores at renewal, because that is how many cores physically present. It is like I got 8 cores for free.

    We did and kept asking since Feb 2011 to probably Oct 2019, but MS never had this conversion under SA or EA.

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  • 1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ??


    1. doesn't matter if the host is hot (active) or cold (passive, off "most" of the time, etc), every host needs to be licensed. 

    1a. yes. adding any more hosts will require another set of licenses. 

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  • adrian_ych wrote:

    1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ?

    I believe you can transfer from one host to another, as long as you do not do this more than once every 90 days.  This may be sufficient to address DR scenarios.

    https://download.microsoft.com/download/3/D/4/3D42BDC2-6725-4B29-B75A-A5B04179958B/Licensing_brief_P...

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  • jcox11 wrote:

    1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ??

    1. doesn't matter if the host is hot (active) or cold (passive, off "most" of the time, etc), every host needs to be licensed. 

    1a. yes. adding any more hosts will require another set of licenses. 

    But what if there is no vMotion (as this ESXi is on another site) ? Then as DR, it will almost never be connected to the production network unless HQ cannot be used (event that HQ burnt down or earthquake etc).

    Coz does it mean if we use Azure or AWS as our DR site, it will literally going to cost $$$ Billions ?? We will never know how many "hosts" Azure or AWS have ??  

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  • JDDellGuy wrote:

    adrian_ych wrote:

    1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ?

    I believe you can transfer from one host to another, as long as you do not do this more than once every 90 days.  This may be sufficient to address DR scenarios.

    https://download.microsoft.com/download/3/D/4/3D42BDC2-6725-4B29-B75A-A5B04179958B/Licensing_brief_P...

    Thanks, but i do not need to transfer licenses for DR exercise right ?? Likely I will just recover the servers, ensure that some applications like DCs, file servers, ERP systems can run, then the DR site will be wiped.

    But does that also address the vMotion issue on the 2nd ESXi ??

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  • adrian_ych wrote:

    I have 1 ESXi host (128GB RAM with Intel Xeon 16 core CPU, VMware Essentials Plus) that runs 10 Svr 2019 VMs (Purchased 5x 8 qty "2 core packs" from MSVL, aka 5 svr 2022 std licenses with 200 server 2022 CALs). I have 172 users.

    For redundancy, I added another identical server to the VCSA and enabled vMotion in Mar 2022.

    Now....How many Svr 2022 std licenses  CALs do I need ?

    It depends on how you licensed this tbh. I would not speak to the ESXi as this makes things a little more complicated, but let's presume that you had a 100% Microsoft environment running Hyper-V host vs ESXi. 

    If you purchased 5x 8qty "2 core packs" for server 2022 that would give you 80 cores in licensing, but no ability to do anything. You would need at least 1 'actual license' for starters. This would give you a license for 16 cores of use of either "a single, physical machine with up to 16 cores" or "a hyper-v host running up to 2 virtual machines with a total of 16 cores each". 

    Presuming you had the latter and 200 CALs, 200 'per user' CALs would allow up to 200 users to access either or both of those VMs. 200 'per device' CALs would allow up to 200 devices to access either or both of those VMs.

    If you were to then stand up a second physical box with hyper-v, purchase another 16-core license, and enable live migration, those same 200 CALs would let you have access to those original 2 VMs regardless of their physical location. The same would apply if you licensed out 3 or 4 or 5 VMs into the same org. 

    A CAL is basically "how many users/devices can simultaneously access the enterprise simultaneously". 

    That said, I would presume that upon ESXi, it should work the same way. You should need 1 CAL per concurrent user per 'enterprise' or 1 CAL per concurrent device per 'enterprise'. 

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  • jcox11 wrote:

    1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ??

    1. doesn't matter if the host is hot (active) or cold (passive, off "most" of the time, etc), every host needs to be licensed. 

    1a. yes. adding any more hosts will require another set of licenses. 

    This is not correct.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/product-licensing/client-access-license?SilentAuth=1

    A Microsoft CAL is intended to be a license for a concurrent connection of a User or Device respectively as it connects to the "organization". This would typically be defined as your enterprise (*.contoso.local as an example). Adding additional servers would not require additional user CALs as the number of users in your organization has not increased. Adding more computers might require more Device CALs if you decided to go that route but that is a decision that you would have to make. It's important to understand the distinction. 

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  • thelanranger wrote:

    adrian_ych wrote:

    I have 1 ESXi host (128GB RAM with Intel Xeon 16 core CPU, VMware Essentials Plus) that runs 10 Svr 2019 VMs (Purchased 5x 8 qty "2 core packs" from MSVL, aka 5 svr 2022 std licenses with 200 server 2022 CALs). I have 172 users.

    For redundancy, I added another identical server to the VCSA and enabled vMotion in Mar 2022.

    Now....How many Svr 2022 std licenses  CALs do I need ?

    It depends on how you licensed this tbh. I would not speak to the ESXi as this makes things a little more complicated, but let's presume that you had a 100% Microsoft environment running Hyper-V host vs ESXi. 

    If you purchased 5x 8qty "2 core packs" for server 2022 that would give you 80 cores in licensing, but no ability to do anything. You would need at least 1 'actual license' for starters. This would give you a license for 16 cores of use of either "a single, physical machine with up to 16 cores" or "a hyper-v host running up to 2 virtual machines with a total of 16 cores each". 

    Presuming you had the latter and 200 CALs, 200 'per user' CALs would allow up to 200 users to access either or both of those VMs. 200 'per device' CALs would allow up to 200 devices to access either or both of those VMs.

    If you were to then stand up a second physical box with hyper-v, purchase another 16-core license, and enable live migration, those same 200 CALs would let you have access to those original 2 VMs regardless of their physical location. The same would apply if you licensed out 3 or 4 or 5 VMs into the same org. 

    A CAL is basically "how many users/devices can simultaneously access the enterprise simultaneously". 

    That said, I would presume that upon ESXi, it should work the same way. You should need 1 CAL per concurrent user per 'enterprise' or 1 CAL per concurrent device per 'enterprise'. 

    I think you actually made it more confusing especially by throwing in "hyper-v" ? 
    1. There is only server 2022 with hyper-v mode
    2. There is server 2012/2016/2019 (GUI or Core) with hyper-v mode OR Hyper-v server 2012/2016/19.
    3.  Hyper-v server 2012/2016/19 can be easily compared with ESXi as there are no GUI or command lines to actually manipulate (adding or removing) the hypervisor by adding "roles".

    When purchased 5x 8qty "2 core packs" for server 2022 via MSVL.....that would give me 80 cores in licensing. I would have 5 'actual license' for starters to run 10 VMs on 1 ESXi or Hyper-v server host.

    I think we actually established that Server CALs have nothing to do with the calculation of "number of server 20xx licenses" needed, as long as the CAL server version and qty covers the number of users.

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  • thelanranger wrote:

    jcox11 wrote:

    1. But what if I only needed the 2nd ESXi as redundancy ? Can i just off the vMotion until the time I need to move the VMs over, likely move back within 24 hr or 48 hrs depending on the ESXi updates or replacement of faulty parts ?

    1a. What if I further increase another 1 more ESXi at my remote office as DR site ? Would I need to increase the MS server licenses by 1 fold ??

    1. doesn't matter if the host is hot (active) or cold (passive, off "most" of the time, etc), every host needs to be licensed. 

    1a. yes. adding any more hosts will require another set of licenses. 

    This is not correct.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/product-licensing/client-access-license?SilentAuth=1

    A Microsoft CAL is intended to be a license for a concurrent connection of a User or Device respectively as it connects to the "organization". This would typically be defined as your enterprise (*.contoso.local as an example). Adding additional servers would not require additional user CALs as the number of users in your organization has not increased. Adding more computers might require more Device CALs if you decided to go that route but that is a decision that you would have to make. It's important to understand the distinction. 

    Bro....I think you are confused between Server 2019 Std License vs Server 2019 CALs. I using Server 2019 as replacement for "server 20xx".

    jcox11​ response was ESXi (or Hyper-v) hosts vs number of Server 2019 Std licenses......not server 2019 CALs.

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  • For your DR server. If your only using it in case of DR, you could not license it and be good. But you can only move your license every 90 days, so you can move your VM to it, but won't be able to move them again for 90 days. That good in DR situation, but since you got VMotion, you will most probably want to use it more often then that. You could update your host in the middle of the week by moving your VM around, or test performance issue by moving just one VM to the other host. Plenty of fun to be had.

    I would totally license the server and make use of it. Now the second DR server your talking about, I would probably not license it, since if I need to used it, it's will not happen often, if it's happens at all.

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  • DR Happens! You need to test DR every so often.

    I would License it and move on.

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  • For the server licensing in the future, HPE has a surprisingly great calculator. Check out this link: https://techlibrary.hpe.com/us/en/enterprise/servers/licensing/index.aspx

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  • bbigford wrote:

    For the server licensing in the future, HPE has a surprisingly great calculator. Check out this link: https://techlibrary.hpe.com/us/en/enterprise/servers/licensing/index.aspx

    Thats why that HP calculator actively not answer "what if you buy 2 or more servers from HP" ??

    Are you going to put all the eggs into 1 basket ? If so, then what happens if the backet have a "repairable" hole ?

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  • In order to license a Windows Server VM, you must license every core (physical cores, not hyperthreaded) in the physical host.  Additionally there is a minimum of 16 core licenses required (this only matters when licensing a CPU with fewer than 16 cores).  With Windows Server Standard, and with all physical cores licensed, you are allowed 2 Windows Server VMs (or OSE - operating system environment).  Servers are licensed by core packs - which license 2 physical CPU cores per pack.

    For each subsequent time that you license all physical cores, you can add up to 2 additional VMs.

    Licensing 10 Windows Server VMs on a host with 16 cores would require:

    16 cores licensed per 2 VMs.  OR 8 core packs per 2 VMs

    5x 8 core packs (a total of 80 core licenses) is required to license 10 virtual machines.

    You are allowed to move a license between hosts no more than once every 90 days (unless there is a hardware failure - you can re-assign as frequently as needed).

    If you configure VMware HA, and don't have any further rules, then you need to license every host for every VM.  With two hosts, you need to double your licensing (assuming the hosts have the same number of cores in the CPU) requirement.

    Windows Server User and Device CALs permit devices or users to connect to and use the services provided by the specified version of Windows Server.  Only one CAL per user or device is ever required.  There is no correlation with the Windows server/host licensing.

    This doesn't cover licensing of other products (SQL server, for instance), which can get more complicated quickly.

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  • phildrew wrote:

    In order to license a Windows Server VM, you must license every core (physical cores, not hyperthreaded) in the physical host.  Additionally there is a minimum of 16 core licenses required (this only matters when licensing a CPU with fewer than 16 cores).  With Windows Server Standard, and with all physical cores licensed, you are allowed 2 Windows Server VMs (or OSE - operating system environment).  Servers are licensed by core packs - which license 2 physical CPU cores per pack.

    5x 8 core packs (a total of 80 core licenses) is required to license 10 virtual machines.

    You are allowed to move a license between hosts no more than once every 90 days (unless there is a hardware failure - you can re-assign as frequently as needed).

    I do agree with following points....
    - Server 2022 std, 40 core packs or 80 core licenses (5 server licenses) needed for 10 VMs if only 1 host

    So if 2 host, need 80 core packs (2x 40 core packs) ??

    Then why throw in the "You are allowed to move a license between hosts no more than once every 90 days (unless there is a hardware failure - you can re-assign as frequently as needed)." 
    If my OSes are duplicated if I got 2 hosts, why MS care where the VMs are ??

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