System Center 2016

System Center 2016 delivers a simplified datacenter management experience to keep you in control of your IT—whether on-premises, in the cloud, or across platforms. It builds on the experience and depth of the previous versions, and you can take your management capabilities even farther with Microsoft Operations Management Suite, giving you visibility and control of data and applications that live across multiple systems from a single solution. The following information provides an overview of the editions and licensing options.

System Center 2016
Licensing editionsHow to buyBuyer's GuideFAQ

Licensing editions

System Center 2016 server management licensing maximizes your private cloud value while simplifying purchasing. All server management licenses (server MLs) include the same components and the ability to manage any workload. System Center 2016 server MLs are available in two editions, Standard and Datacenter, which are differentiated by virtualization rights only.

Server management editions

EditionIdeal for…Licensing model

Datacenter

Managing highly virtualized serversManagement servers*
(Core-based)

Standard

Managing lightly virtualized or non-virtualized and serversManagement servers*
(Core-based)

*All physical cores on the server must be licensed, subject to a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor and a minimum of 16 core licenses per server.

Server management features

Server management licenses (server MLs) are required for managing server operating system environments (OSEs), including virtual machines (VMs), Hyper-V containers, and Windows Server containers. The following table compares the two System Center 2016 server ML editions:

DatacenterStandard

Number of managed OSEs/Hyper-V containers

Unlimited2*

Number of managed Windows Server containers

UnlimitedUnlimited

Management of Nano Server**

Configuration Manager***

Data Protection Manager

Endpoint Protection

Operations Manager

Service Manager

Virtual Machine Manager

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

Manage any type of supported workload

Note: Components included in the server MLs are not available separately.

*Standard edition permits management of the physical OSE on the licensed server (in addition to two virtual OSEs), if the physical OSE is used solely to host and manage virtual OSEs.

**Software Assurance on server MLs is required to manage Nano Server in production.

***Customers with active Software Assurance on System Center Configuration Manager licenses, or with equivalent subscription rights, may install and use the Current Branch option. (Current Branch is a product release model that involves a higher cadence of releases.)

Client management licenses and features

Client management licenses (client MLs) are required for managing devices that run non-server operating system environments (OSEs). The following table compares the three System Center 2016 client ML offerings:

Configuration ManagerEndpoint ProtectionClient Management Suite

Components included

Configuration Manager

Virtual Machine Manager
Endpoint ProtectionService Manager

Operations Manager

Data Protection Manager

Orchestrator

License requirements

Client ML*
(per user/OSE)
Subscription*
(per user/device)
Client ML*
(per user/OSE)

Included in Core CAL Suite

Included in Enterprise CAL Suite

Note: Components included in the client MLs are not available separately.

*Client MLs are required for management of non-server OSEs.

How to buy

System Center 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions are differentiated by virtualization rights only. Licenses are required only for the endpoints being managed. No additional licenses are needed for the management server or SQL Server runtime.

Datacenter edition is ideal for customers managing highly virtualized servers. Server management licensing for Datacenter edition has transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based. When all physical cores on a server are licensed, Datacenter edition provides rights to manage unlimited operating system environments (OSEs) or Hyper-V containers and unlimited Windows Server containers.

Standard edition is ideal for customers managing lightly virtualized or non-virtualized servers. Server management licensing for Standard edition has transitioned from being processor-based to being core-based, the same as Datacenter edition. When all physical cores on a server are licensed, Standard edition provides rights to manage two OSEs or Hyper-V containers and unlimited Windows Server containers.

For more information, download the System Center 2016 datasheet (PDF, 360 KB).

You can purchase System Center 2016 licenses through multiple licensing programs, such as Volume Licensing, Server and Cloud Enrollment, and Core Infrastructure Server Suites, providing you with optimum flexibility and choice to acquire the software. Learn more about licensing programs below and determine the option that best meets your needs.

Volume Licensing

Microsoft offers volume licensing programs to help reduce administrative overhead and software-management costs for your organization, while enabling product licensing on an ongoing basis at considerable discounts. The various licensing options enable you to choose the program that works best for your management and operational needs.

Server and Cloud Enrollment

The Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) is an enrollment under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that enables highly committed customers to standardize broadly on one or more of the four Server and Cloud technologies from Microsoft. In exchange for making an installed-base–wide commitment to an SCE component, Server and Cloud Enrollment customers receive a range of benefits, including new cloud-optimized licensing options, simplified license management, and the best pricing and terms. Learn more about Server and Cloud Enrollment on the Enterprise Agreement page.

Core Infrastructure Server Suites

The Core Infrastructure Server Suites (CIS Suites) are the simplest and most cost-effective way to acquire the software for Microsoft’s private cloud solutions. The CIS Suites include Windows Server 2016 and Microsoft System Center 2016 and are offered in two editions: CIS Suite Standard and CIS Suite Datacenter. Licensing the CIS 2016 Suites is core-based.

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Planning for System Center 2016

When planning to deploy System Center 2016, 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.
  • Core Client Access License (CAL) and Enterprise CAL Suites continue to be the most cost-effective way to purchase client management products.
  • Select your edition of System Center 2016 based on virtualization rights:
    • Datacenter edition for managing highly virtualized servers
    • Standard edition for managing non-virtualized and lightly virtualized servers

For more information, download the System Center 2016 datasheet (PDF, 360 KB).

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