Knocking Down Barriers to Virtualisation – Changes to Server Application Licensing and Support for Hyper-V


What’s happening?

We’re giving our customers greater flexibility by removing the need to wait 90 days to reassign a server application licence.

This means you can move server applications between servers in a server farm* as often as you want without paying any extra licensing fees.

We will also be offering extended support, including for third party virtualisation solutions, across 31 of our server application products.


This comes into effect on September 1st 2008.


We’ve been listening to our customers and partners, who’ve been asking for this change. We are evolving our licensing rules in response to their feedback and to keep pace with rapid innovation in (and adoption of) virtualisation technologies. Waiving the 90 day reassignment rule means customers can set up far more dynamic, agile IT infrastructures that make the most of the flexibility that virtualisation offers.

On top of this, our customers will now get the same level of support in a virtualised environment that they are used to in a non-virtualised environment.

And of course, changing the rules in this way helps us to drive adoption of our virtualisation solutions.


Which products are covered?

This change only applies to licences bought through a Volume Licensing agreement.

However, customers don’t need to have Software Assurance to take advantage of the new rules.

Most Server Application Products licensed in the Server and CAL Mode

All Enterprise editions of Products licensed in the Per Processor Mode

Please note that Windows Server 2008 is not in the scope of these changes.


Download the Volume Licensing brief

Read the press announcement



* Microsoft’s definition of a server farm:
A server farm consists of up to two data centres each physically located:
• in a time zone that is within 4 hours of the local time zone of the other (Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and not DST),
• within the European Union (EU) and/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA)
Each data centre may be part of only one server farm. You can reassign a data centre from one server farm to another but not on a short term basis (ie not within 90 days of the last assignment).


  1. Emma, we use SQL Server 2005 standard as our standard.
    Reading the brief Microsoft Volume Licensing Application Server License Mobility (August 2008) the only version of SQL Server that seems to be covered in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise.
    Is that correct ?
    NB:  I put this comment also against your Blog entry about SAM (04/08/08) in error (didn\’t know how to use the blog) – can you delete it ? 

  2. Hi
    Can you tell me why this does not cover previous versions? I\’m sure there are a large number of people who would like this flexibility but are unlikely to upgrade to latest versions for quite a while.
    Also, are there any changes being made to the reassignment of the Windows operating system licence? It is all very well allowing the server application to be reassigned to another server, but surely the reality is that most people will want to move the entirely operating system rather than some of the components running on it.

  3. Hi
    This change will come into effect for the new Products listed on the Sept 2008 Product List only, there is no way for us to legally go back through Product Lists and PURs to make changes to historical products, any changes we bring into effect will always be to the current products
    The Windows OS has extended virtualisation rights granted at the license level, if you want to move around between servers in server farms then Windows DC will be the best and probably the most cost effective version of the OS

  4. Hi,

    Please help me out on this one.

    If one has several windows servers licenses in physical environment.
    Now he wants to consolidate them and do it in a virtual environment.

    would he be requiring extra licenses and how can he do so????


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