System Center 2012 Licensing Overview

I thought I would cover a little bit of info on the recent System Center licensing changes, as you all know, simplifying and demystifying licensing is a big part of our changes so expect to see more connection between the product changes and product licensing as we move towards easier ways for customers to buy and get cloud ready 🙂

System Center have continued licensing simplification with the reduction of their multi SKU line-up, providing 2 clear editions aligned to hybrid cloud management.  Let’s look at some key product and licensing changes with the availability of SC 2012.

What are the key SC 2012 Server Management licensing changes?

  • Reduced SKU line-Up to 2 editions, DC and STD 2012
  • Both editions contain the same capabilities/workloads, only difference is the number of Operating System Environments (OSEs) that you can manage per license.
  • Licenses are only required for managed “endpoints”, no additional licenses are needed for management server software or the ‘SQL Server Technology’
  • Licensing model is Processor-based, where each license covers up to 2 Processors
  • Standalone Components are available as part of the integrated DC and STD licenses and are not available to be sold separately*

*See caveat under SC SKU Availability

How many Server MLs will you need to buy?

  • Server MLs are required for managed devices that run server OSEs.
  • Licenses are processor-based, with each license covering up to two physical processors.

For Datacenter Edition: The number of Server MLs required for each managed server is determined by the number of physical processors in the server.

For Standard Edition: The number of Server MLs required is either number of physical processors in the server or number of OSEs being managed (whichever is greater).

Examples:                                                                       DC Server MLs Req STD Server MLs Req
One 1-processor, non-virtualized server



One 4-processor, non-virtualized server



One 2-processor server with 3 virtual OSEs



One 4-processor server with 8 virtual OSEs



**An exception to this rule is when the physical OSE on your server is being used solely to run hardware virtualization software, provide hardware virtualization services, and run software to manage and service OSEs on that device.

In that case, you only count the number of virtual OSEs you will manage on the server, divide that number by two, and round up to the nearest whole number.

What is the SC SKU availability in Volume Licensing?

On Feb 1st 2012 L&SA offerings for existing pre 2012 versions of individual Server MLs and individual product management Server licenses were removed from the volume licensing pricelist.

After SC 2012 General Availability customers can still purchase licenses for previous versions of System Center Products, only as shown in the table below

















What are the SC SA Migration Paths?

Customers with SC and active SA at time of general availability, will be entitled to the migration paths below, all extended detail can be found outlined in the April Product List, couple of things to point out as I have had a few conversations with folks to bring some extra clarity…..see takeaways below

* System Center 2012 Datacenter covers up to 2 processors per license whereas SMSD only covers 1 processor per license.


  • SA is built into the SC 2012 MLs, L&SA Only
  • SC 2012 has 2 offerings, separated by virtualization rights only, STDand DC
  • SC 2012 Datacenter covers up to 2 processors per license whereas SMSD only covered 1 processor per license.
  • Server MLs may not be split across multiple 1-Proc servers
  • SQL Server Technology is no longer a separate offering, a runtime version is in both SC 2012 STDand DC editions
  • License stacking is permitted for SC 2012 STD Edition to increase number of OSEs being managed, be aware of breakeven, its approx. 2.5 Virtual OSEs per processor.
  • Step-Up from SC 2012 STD to SC 2012 DC is permitted
  • Server MLs can manage applications running on a public cloud infrastructure through License Mobility for SA

System Center 2012 licensing for client management has been updated as well.

For more information on both server and client management licensing changes, there is a great Licensing FAQ posted HERE for Partner and HERE for Customers


Windows Server 2008 R2 Download Availability and VLKs


Windows 2008 R2 Software Download availability on VLSC, eOpen and MVLS


All languages will be available for purchase on the September Price List and download from VLSC beginning September 1

Product media and download availability coincide with products appearing on the September pricelist; however eligible customers may download this product earlier from VLSC:


  • Windows Server 2008 R2, English, will be available for download to eligible customers starting August 17 with more languages available daily thereafter.


1.      Eligible Enterprise, Select, Select Plus, CASA, and Open Value customers will be able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 via the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) by visiting: and clicking on the “Find Downloads” link.


2.      Eligible Open customers will be able to download Windows Server 2008 R2 via the eOpen website by visiting and by clicking on the “Product Downloads” link.



Note: To be eligible to download the Server Media you need to have active SA on Windows Server

Note:  Product keys are assigned to and intended for the sole use of your organization. You will be held responsible for unauthorized use of product keys issued under your agreement. Take measures to keep your keys secure. Do not disclose your product keys to any unauthorized parties.

The product keys listed on Product Licensing Web can currently only be used with Volume Licensing products and cannot be used with retail software or software that is preinstalled on a new PC [Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) products].



Volume License Product Keys


Product keys enable organizations to use the software and products they have licensed. 

All product keys are issued to a customer under a specific license agreement. 

To obtain your product keys, go to the Microsoft Volume License Services and/or eOpen web sites.

You may also call the Activation Call Center for the UK this is 0800 0188 354.

Please note that specific product keys cannot be obtained on the web portals.


To review a list of Volume Licensing products that require product keys, as well as additional information refer to:


Not all Volume Licensing products require a product key.  Products that are not listed at this site have a key built into the product, also referred to as a pre-populating the Product ID (PID), SQL Server is an example of a Pre-PID product


Note: All Windows Server R2 VLKs will be populated on VLSC on or before 1st September

Windows Essential Business Server 2008 – Depth Licensing Overview


With the launch of EBS 2008 at the beginning of Nov I thought it may be a good idea to cover off the licensing rules as this is a new offering for us in the channel

I have covered off the transition path from SBS right up to EBS, so this is simply the EBS licensing rules and Key points to note!

Lets look at what’s on offer

2 flavours – EBS Standard and EBS Premium

The Premium offering also contains these 2 extra components

  • Windows Server 2008 Standard
  • Microsoft SQL Server 2008 Standard technologies

Note: EBS is available in Open, Open Value, OEM and SPLA

EBS is licensed on a Server and CAL basis

Server Requirements!

Windows Essential Business Server 2008 license gives the right to install and use the server software. Purchase of a EBS 2008 comes with five CALs (except in VL channel) , which give the right to five devices or users to access the server software

CAL Requirements!

To allow for the most flexibility for customers, two CAL Suites for EBS 2008 are being introduced:

  • EBS 2008 CAL Suite: For users or devices accessing EBS 2008 Standard
  • EBS 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices : For only those users or devices accessing the premium functionality of EBS 2008 Premium Edition

In addition to offering two CAL Suites, various CAL quantities to suit customer’s specific needs is also being introduced:

  • EBS 2008 CAL Suite: Available in 1, 5, 20 and 50 pack quantities for either User or Device
  • EBS 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices: Available in 1, 5, 20 and 50 pack quantities for either User or Device

EBS Extended CAL Rights!

  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 CAL Suite or Windows Essential Business Server 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices can be used instead of Windows Server 2008 CAL to access instances of Windows Server 2008 in the EBS 2008 domain
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 CAL Suite or Windows Essential Business Server 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices can be used instead of Exchange Server 2007 CALs to access instances of Exchange Server 2007 Standard or Enterprise Edition in EBS 2008 domain
  • Windows Essential Business Server 2008 CAL Suite for Premium Users or Devices can be used instead of SQL Server 2008 CALs to access instances of SQL Server 2008 Standard or Enterprise Edition or SQL Server 2008 Workgroup Edition in the EBS 2008 domain

Choosing CAL Type

Customers can choose the CAL type based on how the server needs to be accessed on a regular basis. Both editions of EBS 2008 offer two types of CALs to choose from: device-based (Device CALs) or user-based (User CALs) options:

  • Device CAL: is needed for every device—such as laptops, desktop computers, and Microsoft Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs and Smartphones—that needs access to the server. With this option, any user can access the server on the licensed device. Device CALs might make the most economic and administrative sense for an organization that has multiple users for one device, such as shift workers. If device CAL is chosen, then each device that accesses the EBS 2008 server will consume a CAL; device CAL can be reallocated if device is retired
  • User CAL: is needed for individuals who are given named access to the server. Licensed users can access the server from any device. User CALs might make the most sense for an organization that has many roaming employees who need access to the corporate network from mobile devices or employees who use multiple devices to access the network. User CAL can be reallocated if the reassignment is permanent, and can also be temporarily reassigned under specific criteria

EBS Virtualisation and System Center FAQ

Q: Does EBS 2008 licensing allow for virtualization?  E.g. Windows Server 2008 Standard includes Hyper-V with a license to run one server operating system in Hyper-V.

A: For EBS 2008 Standard Edition: you can run one instance of each of the management server software, the security server software and the messaging server software in one physical or one virtual operating system environment (OSE) on up to 3 servers at any one time.

For EBS 2008 Premium Edition: you can run one instance of each of the management server software, the security server software, the messaging server software and ‘premium server’ software in one physical or one virtual OSE on up to 5 servers at any one time.

For the premium server software,

  • you can run an instance of Windows Server 2008 Standard on one physical and one virtual operating system environment ;
  • AND if you run both of these instances, the instance on the physical OSE may be used only to run hardware virtualization software, or provide hardware virtualization services, or run software to manage and service OSEs on the licensed server
  • you can run any number of instances of SQL in one physical or one virtual operating system environment and that operating system environment it must be joined to the EBS domain


Q: How does the licensing work with respect to the System Center Essentials component of EBS? Does the EBS 2008 CAL cover the licensing requirement?

A: The Systems Center Essentials 2007 component of the EBS 2008 solution has two categories of management licenses – server and client.

For the server management, the EBS 2008 CAL does not cover the management licensing requirement.

However, the EBS 2008 Standard Edition license includes twelve Server Management Licenses (SMLs) – ten for the customer’s use and one for each of the messaging and the security servers.

The EBS 2008 Premium Edition license includes fourteen or fifteen SMLs, depending on the customer’s use of the premium software – ten SMLs for the customer’s use, one for each of the messaging and the security servers, one or two SMLs for the fourth copy of Windows Server 2008 Standard, depending on whether this copy is being run on a physical or virtual machine, and one for SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition.

For the client management, the EBS 2008 CAL does cover the management licensing requirement. Note that there may be scenarios where a device may not access the server (therefore does not require an EBS 2008 CAL) but need to be managed and therefore a client management license (CML) would be required (i.e. purchased separately) in order to be in compliance.


Note: EBS 2008 Standard Edition can be run on up to three hardware servers and Premium Edition can be run on up to five hardware servers

Note: EBS 2008 is designed for the medium business, both editions have a 300-user limit, this is TECNICALLY enforced!

Note: CAL Compliance, When completing the CAL license document, you can specify whether you would like a per-user or a per-device CAL for the initial 5 CALs shipped with the server, For CAL add-in packs, separate versions are available for per-user and per-device, For license compliance, it is recommended that you maintain records of your purchase and CAL assignments

More info on SBS 2008 Keys HERE

MOSS FIS or MOSS CALs for External Users – What is the CAL Break even point?


I thought I would finish off my piece on MOSS as I am getting a lot of questions regarding MOSS FIS or CALs for external non-employee connections, which is it???

I want to be clear that the choice is down to the end customer, I can give you guidance on this based on cost of CAL against MOSS FIS, you do not have to choose MOSS FIS, you can certainly cover your external users with MOSS CALs if this is more cost effective for you to do

Below is the flow chart we use internally to advise on MOSS FIS v MOSS CALs

To determine whether to use CAL’s or MOSS FIS for external users, first determine whether MOSS Enterprise is needed.

Then determine the number of servers and divide the price of MOSS FIS by either the price of the MOSS CAL or the MOSS Standard CAL plus the MOSS Enterprise CAL.

– Break-even for MOSS Standard: Approx = 455 users per server

– Break-even for MOSS Standard plus Enterprise: Approx = 242 users per server


*Pricing quoted is a guide you should contact your reseller for applicable pricing to you and your region*

Hope this helps………………next post on Virtual Earth Licensing as I am getting increased requests for this info

MOSS – Microsoft Office SharePoint Server – Common Licensing Scenarios


When I meet people and tell them I do a licensing job they normally reply with "licensing material doesn’t cover real life", I think what they mean is the PUR or the Briefs don’t actually represent the mixed bag of scenarios that the technology associated with these products permits, and "plugging in" the licensing can prove to be a minefield for many people

I have decided to cover off some "real life" scenarios or pain points 🙂 if there are more specific scenarios required, send to me, and I will post

I will start with the one of the most popular products of the moment – MOSS 2007

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Scenario 1 – Intranet, MOSS Std or Ent Functionality <if you need help on deciding which, check out this previous blog>

Intranet Portal for your internal employees, contractors, anyone in your internal network or on your site working for you

Not for NON-employees or anyone you provide a service


1000 Users access the MOSS portal, 50 additional Users access the MOSS Portal acting as Content Authors, 10 additional Users access MOSS Portal for development purposes

Only the 1000 Users who have access to the Ent Functionality will also require the MOSS Ent CAL on top of there MOSS Std CAL

All users should be covered with CALs, the developers will also require VS or MSDN licenses



Scenario 2 – Intranet and Extranet, so a mixed environment of your internal employees and some business partners who work with you on collaboration/projects etc

I know it looks a little harrowing, but its not that difficult, let me cover this off


Intranet usage is as above, no change

Extranet is covered off with MOSS For Internet Sites <MOSS FIS> licenses, buy a MOSS FIS license, assign it to the server, this permits any and all NON-Employees access to this server, it also provides both Standard AND Enterprise MOSS Functionality

Dont forget that these external Users will also need Windows CALs, as an alternative you can buy the Windows Server External Connector, it can only be used, like MOSS FIS to cover external NON-employees, and not for any type of service or hosted environment



And finally, Scenario 3, When you simply want to provide MOSS to external non-employees in an Internet capacity

Once again MOSS FIS and Windows External Connectors <EC> will cover access to the MOSS/Win servers by unlimited non-employees, business partners, alumni etc, basically anyone that you don’t employ, who isn’t affiliated to you or to whom you provide a service


MOSS FIS for each server, note the Dev Server will be covered with MSDN or VS

Windows EC will ONLY be required if the users are NOT anonymous or individually identified by your servers, pure anonymous Internet users = NO Win CALs or EC, only the Windows Server  and MOSS FIS licenses need to be purchased in this example

If you set up AD or login/password authentication then Win EC would be required also


* Did you know: SQL per Processor licenses will cover all Internal AND External access to the SQL Server

* Did you know: The choice between MOSS FIS and MOSS CALs for EXTERNAL users is a financial one, usually 450+ External Users = MOSS FIS


Some pointers:

  • CALs must be same (or prior) version of server
  • Enterprise CALs are an additon to the Standard CAL, you need Standard CAL before you can buy Enterprise CAL
  • No CALs required to view content that is publicly available (MOSSFIS)
  • In a multi-tier environment in same farm, all servers must be of same edition (Standard / Enterprise)
  • MOSS FIS licenses provide external users Enterprise CAL functionality
  • No Windows CALs required if all content, information and applications are accessible through the Internet to non-employees
  • To simplify deployment, MOSS and MOSS FIS licenses may be assigned to the same server and use the same running instance of the software simultaneously under both licenses
  • Staging servers must run MOSS FIS

SQL Multiplexing – How does it affect Microsoft Licensing?


You may deploy network architectures that use hardware or software to reduce the number of devices or users that directly access the software on a server. This is referred to as multiplexing or pooling. This does not reduce the number of CALs required to access or use the server software. A CAL is required for each device or user that is connected to the multiplexing or pooling software or hardware front end.


An exception to this includes the manual transfer of data from employee to employee. For example, if an employee sends an Excel version of a report to another employee, the receiving employee does not require a CAL (as long as the report does not access a SQL Server in some way).

An additional exception is communication exclusively between SQL servers, so SQL Server to SQL Server = no CAL required


An External Connector (EC) license is an alternative to CALs for each server that external users will access. External users are users who are not employees or onsite contractors. An EC license assigned to a server permits access by any number of external users, as long as that access is for the benefit of the licensee and not the external user. Each physical server that external users access requires only one EC license regardless of the number of instances running. The right to run instances of the server software is licensed separately; the EC, like the CAL, simply permits access. EC licenses, like CALs, are version and functionality specific. They must be the same version or later than the server software being accessed. The decision on whether to acquire CALs or an EC is primarily a financial one.

Bear in mind that EC will cover for example, WINDOWS SERVER for external non-employees

For SQL Server the choice is per PROCESSOR to cover internal AND external access, without having to count connections made directly or indirectly to the server, there is no SQL EC………..

SQL Server Unique Licensing features – Part 2


Free Passive Support

SQL Server is the only Product that has an extended fail-over rights actually provided in the PUR, as below, this means you can set up a separate server in passive mode to take the duties of the active SQL server if it should fail, this support is provided on a temporary basis, for a max of 30days

SQL Server 2005 offers 3 types of fail-over support:

Database mirroring is a new SQL Server 2005 technology for increasing database availability. Database mirroring transfers transaction log records directly from one server to another and can quickly fail-over to the standby server.

Fail-over clustering. Fail-over clustering is a process in which the operating system and SQL Server 2005 work together to provide availability in the event of an application failure, hardware failure, or operating-system error. Fail-over clustering provides hardware redundancy through a configuration in which mission-critical resources are transferred from a failing machine to an equally configured server automatically.

Back-up Log-Shipping. Log-shipping increases a SQL Server database’s availability by automatically copying and restoring the database’s transaction logs to another database on a standby server. Because the standby database receives all changes to the original database, it’s an exact duplicate of the original database—out of date only by the delay in the copy-and-load process. You then have the ability to make the standby server a new primary server if the original primary server becomes unavailable. When the original primary server becomes available again, you can make it a new standby server—effectively reversing the servers’ roles.

The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails.

Database Mirroring and Fail-Over Clustering will be available for Standard and Enterprise Editions.

Back-Up Log Shipping will be available in Workgroup, Standard and Enterprise Editions.

Figure 3. Passive Servers. The passive server does not require a license given that no queries are being executed against it.

Figure 4. Passive Servers. The passive server requires a license, given that queries are being run against snapshot reporting.


SQL permits Multi-Instancing

Were multiple copies of an application run concurrently on a single copy of an OS.

Multi-instancing for SQL Server 2005 can take place both in a virtual environment or in a physical environment.

While multi-instancing offers a relatively high degree of isolation between copies of SQL2005, this isolation takes place at the application level (instead of at the OS level).

When SQL Server 2005 runs inside a virtual operating environment, it requires at least one license per virtual operating environment.

Several copies or instances of SQL Server 2005 can run inside a virtual operating environment.

These must be licensed as follows:

When licensed Server / CAL

Workgroup, Standard and Enterprise Editions now allow for unlimited instances within each virtual or physical operating environment. Previously, only the Enterprise Edition of the Server license allowed multi-instancing. Each virtual of physical operating environment containing a running instance of SQL requires a Server license.

When licensed Per Processor

Workgroup, Standard and Enterprise Editions allow for unlimited instances in each virtual or physical operating environment. Each virtual operating environment running SQL Server 2005 must have a processor license for each processor that the virtual machine accesses. If a copy of SQL is running on a physical operating environment, then processor licenses are required for all of the processors on that physical server.


SQL and Multi-Core Processors

Multicore processors, which consist of multiple processing execution units or “cores” on one chip, are seen as a promising way to boost computing power. Microsoft has been driving thought leadership in this area by charging the same amount per processor, regardless of how many cores are in the processor. In contrast, Oracle views each “core” as three-quarters of a processor and “rounds up” to the closes whole number for each processor. IBM has a dual policy where customers with x86 platforms are charged per processor and customers on IBM’s POWER5-based systems are charged per core.


Multicore. In each of these scenarios, a single processor license is required for SQL Server

Next time – Multiplexing………………..