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System Center 2012 R2 Licensing

Microsoft System Center 2012 R2 offers solutions for managing datacenter resources, private clouds, and client devices. It delivers unified management across on-premises, service provider, and Microsoft Azure environments, thereby enabling the Microsoft cloud operating system. Learn more:

  • Buyer’s Guide for an interactive experience on licensing-related information about use rights, upgrades, and migration paths.
  • Licensing editions to find out more about the System Center 2012 R2 licensing model.
  • How to buy for an overview of pricing and licensing options.
  • FAQs for the most frequently asked questions about System Center 2012 R2 licensing.

Licensing editions

Compare server and client management license offerings, and learn how you can plan for deployment.

Compare features in all editions to determine the ideal solution for your virtualization and cloud computing needs.

System Center 2012 R2 server management licensing maximizes your private cloud value while simplifying purchasing. All server management licenses (SMLs) include the same components and the ability to manage any workload. System Center 2012 R2 SMLs will be released in two editions differentiated by virtualization rights only.

Licensing overview

System Center 2012 R2 licensing summary:

  • License required only for endpoints being managed. No additional licenses are needed for management servers or SQL Server technology.

  • Consistent licensing model across editions. Processor-based license, covering up to two processors, for server management. User-based or operating system environment (OSE)–based license for client management.

Server management license edition comparison

The following table compares the two server management license (ML) editions



Number of physical processors per license



Number of managed OSEs per license



Includes all System Center server management components


Right to run management server software and supporting SQL Server Runtime (SQL Server Standard Edition)


Manage any type of supported workload


Open No Level (NL) License and Software Assurance (L&SA) 2-year price



Components included in the server MLs are not available separately.

Licensing managed clients

Client MLs are required for managed devices that run non-server OSEs. The following table compares the three System Center 2012 R2 client ML offerings:

Configuration Manager Client ML

Endpoint Protection Subscription

Client Management Suite Client ML

Components included

Configuration Manager

Virtual Machine Manager

Endpoint Protection

Service Manager

Operations Manager

Data Protection Manager


Included in Core CAL Suite


Included in Enterprise CAL Suite


Open NL L&SA 2-year price




Client MLs are available on a per OSE or per user basis. Components included in the client MLs are not available separately.

Transitioning to the new client licensing model

If you have Software Assurance coverage on your current System Center licenses at the time of System Center 2012 R2 General Availability, you will receive the System Center 2012 R2 client ML grants listed in the following table.

Current License

New License

System Center 2012 Client Management Suite Client ML

System Center 2012 R2 Client Management Suite Client ML

System Center 2012 Configuration Manager Client ML

System Center 2012 R2 Configuration Manager Client ML

System Center 2012 Endpoint Protection subscription

System Center 2012 R2 Endpoint Protection subscription

Note: There are no step-up paths for client MLs.

Planning for System Center 2012 R2

If you are planning to deploy System Center 2012 R2, either through upgrades or new licenses, remember the following:

  • Renewing Software Assurance is the best way to protect investments and provide access to new versions, Deployment Planning Services, and technical assistance.
  • Select your edition of System Center 2012 R2 based on virtualization rights:
    • Datacenter edition for highly virtualized private clouds
    • Standard edition for lightly or non-virtualized private clouds
  • Core Client Access License (CAL) and Enterprise CAL Suites will continue to be the most cost-effective way to purchase client management products.
For more information, download the System Center 2012 R2 licensing guide (PDF, 411 KB).


Find answers to questions about licensing, purchasing, and determining the right edition for your server management needs.

Find answers to questions about features, licensing models, and determining which edition is right for you.
For answers to additional frequently asked questions, download the System Center 2012 R2 datasheet (PDF, 442 KB).

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