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As part of the continuing Microsoft effort to make software licensing more predictable and flexible for our customers, Windows Server 2008 licensing remains consistent with Windows Server 2003 R2, with a few enhancements which will be covered below.
This FAQ answers commonly asked questions about pricing and licensing for Windows Server 2008. Click a question to view its answer. To view all the answers at one time, select the View all answers check box.
Q. How will Windows Server 2008 be licensed?
Windows Server 2008 is licensed the same way as Windows Server 2003 R2. Windows Server 2008 will be available through all the regular sales and licensing channels.
Q. Will pricing change from Windows Server 2003 R2 to Windows Server 2008?
Yes. With its enhanced features and functionality, Windows Server 2008 will increase in price by approximately one percent from Windows Server 2003 R2.
Q. Where can I get Windows Server 2008?
Windows Server 2008 will be available through all the regular sales and licensing channels.
Q. I currently have Windows Server 2003 Client Access Licenses. Will I need to purchase new Windows Server 2008 CALs?
Yes. New Windows Server 2008 CALs are required for accessing and using Windows Server 2008.
Q. If my server is covered under Software Assurance, do I have to pay for Windows Server 2008?
No. As part of Software Assurance benefits, you will receive the rights to upgrade your servers to Windows Server 2008.
Q. What happens if I already have Windows Server 2003 R2 but have not purchased Software Assurance for the server?
If you want to upgrade to Windows Server 2008, you will need to purchase a Windows Server 2008 license for each server that you will be upgrading. Unlike service packs and feature packs, Windows Server 2008 is the full operating system and requires a new server license.
Q. How will volume license customers get the software media?
Volume license customers who have servers under Software Assurance or as part of their Enterprise Agreement will automatically receive Windows Server 2008 as part of their Select media fulfillment.
Q. Do I have to upgrade to Windows Server 2008?
No. But if you are running Windows Server 2003 R2 now, you should install Windows Server 2003 R2 Service Pack 2 as soon as possible to receive all the improvements made in security, reliability, and performance.
Q. Is Windows Server 2003 R2 a prerequisite for Windows Server 2008?
No. You will be able to move to Windows Server 2008 from either Windows Server 2003 or Windows Server 2003 R2.
Q. Will all editions of Windows Server 2003 R2 have an associated Windows Server 2008 release?
Yes. The new Windows Server 2008 core products will update previous Windows Server 2003 R2 releases and, in addition, offer a new Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems edition. The Windows Server 2008 core product offerings are:
Windows Server 2008 Standard
Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems
Windows Web Server 2008
Q. Will there be 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008?
Yes. There will be x64 and 32-bit versions for the following products:
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Standard
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Enterprise
Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Datacenter
Microsoft Windows Web Server 2008
Q. I have valid Software Assurance for Windows Server. How do I get the Windows Server 2008 software to which I am entitled?
If you are a Select or Enterprise Agreement customer, you will receive the most up-to-date software in your monthly Select Kit. If you are an Open customer, contact your reseller (or Microsoft Licensing Fulfillment Center, if applicable) to order the relevant software.
Q. What is the difference between a Windows Server 2008 license and a Windows Server 2008 CAL? Why do I need both?
The Windows Server 2008 license gives the license holder the right to create copies, store, and run the server software. The Windows Server 2008 CAL grants the right for a device or user to access the server software. The two-component license provides a low entry price and a way to pay for capacity used: the more devices or users accessing the server software, the greater the license fees or price. The model therefore offers license affordability to organizations of all sizes.
Q. When do I need to acquire a Windows Server 2008 CAL?
A Windows Server 2008 CAL is required when a user or device accesses or uses the Windows Server 2008 server software. However, if access is through the Internet and is anonymous (for example, when browsing a public Web site), a Windows Server CAL is not required. Also, if that user is an external user, another option is to acquire an External Connector license. See the Windows External Connector License section below for more detail. Further information is available at the External Connector License Overview. Further to this 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).
Q. If a user is only infrequently accessing certain protocols or services of the server software (such as Network Access Protection or Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), is a Windows Server CAL still required?
Yes, a Windows Server CAL is required for any such infrequent use/access of the server software.
Q. Are there any differences between the requirements for CALs in Windows Server 2003 versus Windows Server 2008?
No. The Windows Server CAL requirements are the same.
Q. What is the difference between a Windows Server CAL and a Terminal Services (TS) CAL?
A Windows Server CAL is required when a user or device is directly or indirectly accessing a Windows server. Additionally, if the user or device is accessing or using the terminal services functionality of Windows Server, a TS CAL is also required. As an exception to these rules, up to two users or devices may access the server software only for server administration purposes, without requiring either a TS CAL or Windows Server CAL.
Q. What is the difference between a Device CAL and a User CAL?
A Windows Server Device CAL permits one device (used by any user) to access or use the server software. A Windows Server User CAL permits one user (using any device) to access or use the server software; the same holds true for TS Device CALs and TS User CALs.
Q. Can I use a Windows Device CAL and a Windows User CAL on the same server?
Yes. Windows Device and User CALs can be used on the same server. For ease of management and tracking, though, Microsoft recommends that customers choose to acquire CALs on either a device or user basis.
Q. Can I use a Terminal Services Device CAL (TS Device CAL) and a Terminal Services User CAL (TS User CAL) on the same terminal server?
Yes. TS Device and User CALs can be used on the same server. For ease of management and tracking, though, Microsoft recommends that customers choose to acquire CALs on either a device or user basis.
Q. Is there a difference in price between Device CALs and User CALs?
No. Windows Server 2008 Device CALs and Windows Server 2008 User CALs are priced the same, just as Windows Server 2008 TS Device CALs and Windows Server 2008 TS User CALs are the same price.
Q. My Windows Server 2008 software came with a set number of CALs because I acquired it through a retail store or with a new piece of hardware. How do I designate those CALs to be User or Device CALs?
When the software comes packaged with CALs, you choose whether those CALs are User or Device CALs after you make the purchase on the CAL End User License Agreement document. In other words, you choose the type of CAL once you get the product.
Q. What is the difference between "types" of CALs and "licensing modes" for CALs?
The different types of CALs are outlined above. See Device and User CALs. Different licensing modes only apply to Windows Server CALs and pertain to how to assign the Windows Server CALs.
In Per Server mode, the Windows Server CALs acquired should equal the total number of users and/or devices accessing that server's software at a given time. For example, in this mode, the maximum concurrent connections are equal to the number of Windows Server CALs acquired.
In Per Device or Per User mode, Windows Server CALs should be acquired for each device or user, in order for that device or user to access all the servers deployed in this mode. There is no limit to the number of devices or users accessing a server at a given time.
Please visit the CAL overview page for further details.
Q. What impact will User CALs have on Core CALs and Enterprise Agreements?
Customers will be able to choose either Core Device CALs or Core User CALs for their Enterprise Agreement (EA) enrollments. By standardizing at an enrollment level, Microsoft can help maintain the simplicity and ease of tracking provided by the Core CAL and EA.
Q. Can I downgrade a TS CAL for use on a Windows 2003 terminal server?
Yes. You may downgrade Windows Server 2008 TS CALs (either user or device).
Q. How do I designate Windows Server 2008 TS User or Device CALs?
During setup, Terminal Server Licensing Management (TSLM) will prompt you to choose.
Q. I have valid upgrade coverage with Software Assurance on my CALs. Can I choose either User or Device CALs? How do I do that?
Yes. You must designate your Windows CALs as Device or User when you upgrade them. If you exercise your one-time right to convert Device CALs to User CALs mid-contract, you simply record the change for your records. When Software Assurance comes up for renewal, all the new specifications (for example, number of User CALs, number of Device CALs) are documented and revised in Microsoft Volume License Services' records. For TS CALs, when you request TS CAL tokens through Terminal Server Licensing Management, you are prompted to specify User or Device.
Q. Will I be allowed to switch between Windows Device CALs and Windows User CALs? What about TS CALs?
Customers with current Software Assurance for CALs may switch their Device CALs to User CALs and User CAL to Device CALs upon renewal of their Software Assurance coverage for those CALs.
Q. When do I need a Windows External Connector (EC) license?
An EC license is not mandatory. It is a licensing option available to address a specific customer scenario. When you need to allow your business partners or customers to access your network, you have two choices:
You can acquire Windows Server 2008 CALs for each of your external users, or
You can acquire External Connector licenses for each Windows Server that those external users will access.
Q. For which Windows servers do I acquire EC licenses?
External Connector licenses should be acquired for each Windows server that the external user is accessing (not just for the server to which they are authenticating).
Q. Who qualifies as an External User?
An external user is a person who is not an employee, or similar personnel of the company or its affiliates, and is not someone to whom you provide hosted services using the server software.
Q. If a student accesses a school's network, is the student considered an External User?
Yes, and thus the student can be covered under an External Connector license.
Q. Can I acquire a Windows Server 2008 EC and downgrade it to use on a Windows 2003 server?
Yes. This is permitted, and its use on a Windows 2003 server maintains the rights of the External Connector license.
Q. Can I acquire a Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services External Connector (TSEC) and downgrade it to use on a Windows 2003 terminal server?
Yes. This is permitted.
Q. Can I license Windows Server 2008 without the Microsoft Windows Server Hyper-V hypervisor technology?
Yes. Although the new Hyper-V hypervisor technology is a key feature of the Windows Server 2008 core operating system, Microsoft will still provide customers the choice of deploying Windows Server 2008 without this technology. Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, and Datacenter licenses without Hyper-V will be available at a slightly reduced estimated retail price from their regular license counterparts.
Q. If I have one license for Windows Server 2008 Standard and want to run it in a virtual operating system environment, can I continue running it in the physical operating system environment?
Yes, with Windows Server 2008 Standard, you may run one instance in the physical operating system environment and one instance in the virtual operating system environment; however, the instance running in the physical operating system environment may be used only to run hardware virtualization software, provide hardware virtualization services, or to run software to manage and service operating system environments on the licensed server.
Q. Can I run Windows Server 2008 Standard in place of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise in the physical operating system environment?
Yes. The use terms specify that the right to run Windows Server 2008 Standard in place of Windows Server 2008 Enterprise is allowed within any operating system environment.
Q. Can I run Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2003 R2 as one of the four virtual instances granted in Windows Server 2008 Enterprise?
Yes. You may run earlier versions of the Windows Server operating system, but not later versions, by exercising your downgrade rights in the software license terms. You will need to use your existing media to run Windows NT Server 4.0, Windows 2000 Server, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2003 R2.
Q. Have the virtualization licensing rights for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise changed?
No, virtualization licensing rights remain the same as Windows Server 2003 R2. You will still be licensed to run, at any one time, one instance of the server software in a physical operating system environment and up to four instances of the server software in virtual operating system environments.
Q. If I am licensed for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, I am allowed to run four simultaneous instances in virtual operating system environments (on the licensed server). However, I am running workloads in only two of those four instances on the licensed server. Under what circumstances can I run the remaining two instances on another server?
The rights to run the four instances are assigned to the licensed server, and all the instances can run only on the licensed server. You may not move your rights to run an additional two instances to another server. However, if you have another server that is licensed for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise or Datacenter, you may move the two workloads to that server and run them on that server provided that by running the additional instances you do not exceed the licensed capacity of the new server (one with Windows Server Standard, four with Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, and unlimited with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter).
Q. Say I have a Windows Server 2008 Enterprise license assigned to my server. What if I want to add a fifth instance of the server software in a virtual operating system environment?
With a license for Windows Server 2008 Enterprise, you may run up to four instances of the software in virtual operating system environments. If you want to run a fifth instance in a virtual operating system environment, you must acquire and assign an additional license to that server. It may be more economical to license the server with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter or “step up” your Enterprise license to Windows Server 2008 Datacenter.
Q. Will I still be able to run an unlimited number of virtual instances with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter edition?
Yes, Windows Server 2008 Datacenter will continue to allow for running an unlimited number of virtual instances of the server software in virtual operating system environments.
Q. Do the virtualization licensing rights of Windows Server 2008 apply when used with non-Microsoft software virtualization technologies?
Yes. The use rights apply regardless of the virtualization product being used. However, any non-Microsoft software virtualization technologies are not supported by Microsoft. For more information about support policies, please refer to the following Microsoft Knowledge Base (KB) articles:
Article 897613: Microsoft Virtual Server support policy
Article 897614: Windows Server System software not supported within a Microsoft Virtual Server environment
Article 897615: Support policy for Microsoft software running in non-Microsoft hardware virtualization software
Q. What is the difference between Terminal Services and Terminal Server?
Terminal Services, as found in Windows Server 2008, lets you remotely execute applications on a Windows-based server from a wide range of devices over virtually any type of network connection. When a server is configured in the Terminal Server role (formerly called Terminal Services Application Server mode), it can be referred to as a Terminal Server.
Q. How do I license a Terminal Server?
The Terminal Services functionality is included with the acquisition of a Windows Server license. However, when a user or device accesses a terminal server, that user or device is required to have a TS CAL (in addition to a Windows CAL) in order to be compliant with the licensing terms of the product.
Q. Will TS CALs need to be added to the Terminal Server Licensing Management (TSLM) for distribution to desktop systems?
Yes. TS CAL tokens will be managed by the Windows Server 2008 TSLM. The process for receiving TS CALs for Windows Server 2008 is the same as with Windows Server 2003.
Q. I have different versions of the operating system running on my terminal server(s) and my Terminal Server Licensing Management. Which operating system governs my license rights?
The license rights applicable to your terminal server(s) govern.
Q. I have valid upgrade rights (Enterprise Agreement or Software Assurance) for my TS CALs. How do I exercise my upgrade rights?
You simply input the information when prompted when requesting Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services CALs using the Terminal Server Licensing tool. The information is validated and TS CAL tokens are issued.
Q. How do I obtain Windows Web Server 2008?
Windows Web Server 2008 can be obtained by Microsoft customers through retail channels, the Volume Licensing programs, through Microsoft original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and system builders (SBs), and through service providers with a services provider licensing agreement (SPLA). Windows Web Server 2008 is also available through a limited number of resellers.
Q. How do I find the pricing and licensing terms for Web Hosters and Service Providers?
The Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) enables service providers to license Microsoft products on a monthly basis to provide services and hosted applications to their end customers. Please visit Microsoft Services Provider Licensing Agreement Web site for more information.
Q. Can I use Windows Web Server 2008 as a file server or a terminal server?
No. Windows Web Server 2008 can be used solely to deploy Internet-accessible front-end Web pages, Web sites, Web applications, Web services, and POP3 mail serving. For more information, see the Licensing Windows Web Server 2008 page.
Q. Do I need to acquire Windows CALs to access servers running Windows Web Server 2008?
No. Windows CALs are not applicable to Windows Web Server 2008. However, Windows Web Server 2008 can be used as the scale-out front end for applications such as Windows SharePoint Services. In these scale-out configurations, Windows CALs will be required since servers running Windows Web Server 2008 are connecting to back-end applications running on Windows Server 2008 Standard and above.
Q. What applications are restricted from running on Windows Web Server 2008?
Windows Web Server 2008 is designed specifically for dedicated Web serving needs, and its functionality has certain limitations as follows:
Organizations cannot use Windows Web Server 2008 to deploy enterprise Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) services.
Although computers running Windows Web Server 2008 can be members of an Active Directory service domain, Windows Web Server 2008 cannot be a domain controller. Consequently, organizations cannot use Windows Web Server 2008 alone to apply certain management features, including Group Policy, Software Restriction Policies, Remote Installation Services, Microsoft Metadirectory Services, DHCP, DNS, WINS, Internet Authentication Service, and others.
All versions of Outlook Web Access (OWA) and Microsoft Exchange Server will not install on Windows Server 2003 Web Edition.
Q. Is there any additional functionality included in Windows Web Server 2008 that is not included in the other editions of Windows Server 2008?
No. Windows Web Server 2008 is a limited, scaled-down version of the other editions of Windows Server 2008. It does not offer any additional functionality. There are, in fact, functionality limitations as noted in the question above.
Q. How do I obtain Windows Server 2008 Datacenter?
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter can be purchased through Volume Licensing and through original equipment manufacturers (OEMs).
Q. How do I license Windows Server 2008 Datacenter?
The Server/Client Access Licensing (CAL) model applies to Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. However, the server license component differs for Datacenter, in comparison to Standard or Enterprise, in that the cost of the server license varies with the number of physical processors installed on the Datacenter server. For further detail, see Licensing Windows Server 2008 Datacenter Edition.
Q. Do I need to acquire Windows CALs to access servers running Windows Server 2008 Datacenter?
Yes. If the Datacenter server is being accessed or used, a CAL is required for every user or device, unless the access is anonymous and gained through the Internet.
Q. How is Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems licensed and priced?
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems is licensed and priced the same as Windows Server 2008 Datacenter; Processor plus CAL licensing model applies, and the same price applies as Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. For more information, see the Licensing Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems page.
Q. What are the specific workloads intended for Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems?
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems is enabled for mission-critical solutions for databases, line-of-business, and customer applications.
Q. Do I have virtualization rights with Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems?
Yes, with Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, you have the same virtualization rights as Windows Server 2008 Datacenter. Although the virtualization role is not part of this edition, you can use Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems with a third-party hypervisor to perform virtualization.
Q. Where can I acquire licenses of Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems?
Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems can be purchased through Volume Licensing directly from Microsoft or from OEMs preinstalled on servers. The Datacenter High Availability Program is only available through OEMs.
Q. What is volume licensing?
Microsoft and its partners offer discounts from their retail product prices if you acquire your licenses in certain quantities, or volumes. There are several volume licensing programs that offer companies of all sizes economical ways to buy and manage multiple software licenses for as few as five desktops.
Q. What is Software Assurance (SA)?
Software Assurance (SA) is a way for volume licensing customers to keep current with the latest, most innovative Microsoft products. Under the SA program, customers acquire the right to install any new release of a product covered in the agreement during the term of the coverage. Software Assurance also includes more benefits for the same price, including problem resolution support during business hours for covered server products, access to Managed Newsgroups and Online Concierge Chat, and Microsoft's self-paced training courses.
Q. Do I get downgrade rights if I receive my server license with the purchase of new hardware through an OEM or if I acquire my software through a retail store?
Yes. Downgrade rights are applicable regardless of which channel you used to acquire your license.
Q. I understand that I get downgrade rights, but where do I go to get the other media and product key?
If you purchased licenses via Volume Licensing, Software Assurance, or if you purchased the full retail product in question, contact Microsoft fulfillment services in your region. They may be able to assist you, though media may not be available for all previous product versions. If you obtained your server with software preinstalled from a partner or OEM, they may be able to assist you. You may also use your own previous edition media, if available.
Q. I understand that if I have Windows Server x64 edition my license permits me to use the 32-bit edition instead. How can I obtain that media and product key?
If you purchased via Volume Licensing, Software Assurance, or if you purchased the full retail x64 edition of Windows Server 2008, contact Microsoft fulfillment services in your region. If you obtained your server with Windows Server 2008x64 edition preinstalled from a partner or OEM, they may be able to assist you. Contact them to determine their media fulfillment policies. You may also use your own 32-bit edition media, if available.
Q. Which editions of Windows Server 2008 have 64-bit versions?
Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, Enterprise, Standard and Windows Web Server 2008 are all available in 64-bit versions.
Q. What are the pricing and licensing terms for the 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2008?
The 32-bit and 64-bit versions of the software are the same price. The license grants the customer the option of using either the 32-bit version or the 64-bit version of the software. CALs are still required to access or use the server software.
Q. I am partitioning my server so I can run multiple virtual instances of the operating system on one server. How many server licenses do I need to acquire?
By licensing each physical processor with Windows Server 2008 Datacenter, this permits unlimited running of instances in virtual OS environments so licensing is dramatically simplified.
Q. If I acquire my licenses through Volume License how would I receive my Windows Server 2008 x64 and 32-bit OS versions?
Customers who purchase through Volume License will be able to receive their media in their traditional kits, just like the other versions of Windows Server.
Q. I read about additional system components of Windows Server 2008 that are not in the current product but are available separately. What are the licensing implications of those additional features?
Please see Licensing New and Updated Features and Technologies for licensing requirements and feature availability information.
Q. Except for Windows Server 2008 Datacenter and Windows Server 2008 for Itanium-Based Systems, why are Windows Server 2008 Standard, Enterprise, and Windows Web Server 2008 not licensed on a per processor basis like some of the other server application products?
We assessed this option but decided that a per processor model did not fit with the way in which the product is used. Because Windows Server can be used and configured in so many different ways (for example, file and print server, authentication server, Web server, or applications platform), it was deemed to be more appropriate to base its license rights and price on a more scalable model so cost increase parallels increased usage. The server/client access license (CAL) model is a flexible model that allows more cost-effective options to organizations of all sizes.
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