Microsoft introduced new licensing options with the release of Windows Server 2008 to address customer business needs and to complement the technical capabilities of Microsoft server products. This is part of a broad effort to make software licensing more consistent, predictable, and flexible for our customers.
What's New in Windows Server 2008 Licensing
Licensing of Windows Server 2008 remains generally consistent with Windows Server 2003 R2, with a few changes:
Microsoft continues to make it easier to take advantage of the benefits of server virtualization technology. Organizations that virtualize computing environments can increase operational efficiency through server consolidation, application re-hosting, disaster recovery, and software test and development.
Windows Server 2008 CALs are not required if you are using Windows Server 2008 solely as a virtualization host. The only exception to this is if you are running Windows Server 2008 virtual machines, which would require Windows Server 2008 CALs. For example, if you deploy Windows Server 2003 virtual machines onto Windows Server 2008, you do not require Windows Server 2008 CALs for your virtual machine users (you will still require CALs for your appropriate WS edition, in this case for Windows Server 2003).
To continue enabling software virtualization, Microsoft is expanding use rights for Windows Server 2008 Standard. With Windows Server 2008 Standard, you may now run one instance of the server software in the physical operating system environment and one instance of the server software in a virtual operating system environment.
Windows Server 2008 offers a separate product for Itanium based platform customers. Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems is designed to be the leading alternative platform for RISC-based UNIX servers. It is intended for scale-up database workloads and custom and line-of-business applications. This workload focus is consistent with the majority of current deployments of Windows Server on Itanium. This product maintains the same licensing model as Windows Server 2008 Datacenter; per processor plus CALs. Pricing is also the same as Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.
Windows Web Server 2008 is specifically designed to be used as a single-purpose Web server. Licensing terms for Windows Web Server 2008 clarify that the server software may only be used for Internet-accessible front-end web serving of Web pages, Web sites, Web applications, Web services, and POP3 mail serving. Additionally, Windows Web Server 2008 licensing is enhanced to allow any type of database software on the server software with no limit on the number of users.
With the launch of Windows Server 2008, we require that your Client Access Licenses (CALs) and External Connectors for Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services, and Windows Server 2003 Rights Management Services be upgraded to access Windows Server 2008 Editions. We have created new CALs specific to Windows Server 2008. In other words, Windows Server 2003 CALs and External Connectors may not access Windows Server 2008 server software.
Microsoft Software Assurance Program
Software Assurance (SA) enables customers to get the most out of their software investment by combining the latest software with phone support, partner services, training, and IT tools that help customers deploy, manage, and migrate software. Windows Server 2008 is available through the SA program.
We recommend that you purchase Software Assurance for your servers and CALs in order to use the latest Windows Server release, and to take advantage of the many additional benefits of the Microsoft Software Assurance program.