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Hyper-V management and licensing costs

Be sure you know how to manage Hyper-V and all about your customer's environment before recommending Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise or Datacenter editions and licensing.

When considering an upgrade to Microsoft Hyper-V R2, your customers will be looking to you for information on Hyper-V management and licensing costs. Many customers are tempted to purchase the Windows Server 2008 R2 edition that has the lowest cost. But that edition might not be the most beneficial for them in the long term. Solutions providers have a great opportunity to offer their expertise and explain the differences in editions and licensing. Microsoft Hyper-V R2 expert Greg Shields of Concentrated Technology offers advice to solutions providers in this interview on Hyper-V management and licensing costs.

More resources on Hyper-V R2 features and benefits:

Hyper-V Live Migration benefits examined

Key Hyper-V R2 features: Live Migration, Cluster Shared Volumes

Using Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager and Hyper-V R2

Microsoft Hyper-V R2 64-bit processor support will gain validity with solutions providers

Hyper-V tools vs. VMware vSphere and Citrix XenServer tools

SearchSystemsChannel.com's Pat Ouellette: Microsoft Hyper-V R2 is available at no cost, but what do solutions providers need to know about Hyper-V management and Windows Server 2008 R2 licensing costs?

Greg Shields: If you have licenses for Windows Server 2008 R2, you're automatically going to have licensing for running Microsoft Hyper-V R2. Hyper-V is a role that installs on top of an existing instance of Windows Server. When offering Hyper-V management services, I think most of us today recognize Microsoft's changes in licensing that occurred in 2008 -- that is, you buy Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition, you get four free virtual licenses. You buy Windows Server 2008 R2 Datacenter edition, you get unlimited free licenses. Because of that, many people look at the idea of having unlimited virtual licenses with the Datacenter [edition] and immediately want to move to Datacenter because they perceive it to be a lower cost.

But, you have to be careful with that because of the way licensing is done between Enterprise and Datacenter. Remember that an Enterprise license is done essentially per machine, while a Datacenter license is per physical processor. As you scale up the size of those machines, your customer's Datacenter license gets more and more expensive. There's got to be a point where you decide when customers should make the jump between Enterprise and Datacenter, and it may not necessarily be based on the number of virtual machines you need to host. It may be based on the size of the computer you intend to install Windows Server to.

About the expert
Greg Shields is an independent author, instructor, Microsoft MVP and IT consultant based in Denver. He is a co-founder of Concentrated Technology and has nearly 15 years of experience in IT architecture and enterprise administration. Shields specializes in Microsoft administration, systems management and monitoring, and virtualization. He is the author of several books, including Windows Server 2008: What's New/What's Changed, available from Sapien Press.

This was last published in April 2010

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