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Top Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V Virtualization Features

Windows Server 2012 R2 brings with it a host of new virtualization features, as well as improvements to existing features and capabilities. 

 

1. Hybrid Cloud

Windows Azure Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) is built on the same hypervisor as Windows Server. This means that there is complete virtual machine compatibility between the private cloud, partner public clouds, and the Microsoft-owned public cloud. Customers now have to ask themselves: “Where do I want my service to run today?”

2. Compressed Live Migration

A compression engine is built into Live Migration in Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. The processor in hosts is often underused, so this engine makes use of this spare resource to compress the memory of virtual machines that are being moved before the memory pages are copied across the Live Migration network. Hyper-V will monitor the utilization of CPU resources on the host and throttle compression to prioritize guest services. Enabling Live Migration compression on networks with 10 Gbps or less without Remote Direct Memory Access (RDMA/SMB Direct) support will greatly reduce the time it takes to move virtual machines (not including storage migration).

3. SMB Direct Live Migration

Live Migration can be configured to leverage SMB Direct (Remote Direct Memory Access, orRDMA) on hosts that that NICs with support for this feature. This feature will provide hardware offloaded accelerated copy of memory pages using SMB 3.0 NICs. This can take advantage of SMB Multichannel to span multiple networks. SMB Direct Live Migration provides the fastest way to live migrate virtual machines (not including storage) from one host to another.
A crazy fact: Memory speed will be the bottleneck on a host with PCI3 support and three RDMA NICs for Live Migration!

This feature allows very interesting new architectures, especially where organizations have decided to deploy SMB 3.0 storage with support for SMB Direct. Investments in RDMA can be leveraged to move virtual machines very rapidly over these physical networks (with QoS applied for SLA). For example, Cluster Aware Updating (CAU) will be performed much more rapidly.

4. Live Resizing of VHDX

Virtual hard disks of the VHDX format that are attached to the SCSI controllers of virtual machines can be resized without shutting down the virtual machine. VHDX files can be up- and down-sized. Downsizing can only occur if there is unpartitioned space within the VHDX. This feature supports both Windows and Linux guests.

Live Resizing of VHDX files will be of huge value to those running mission critical workloads. It will also offer a new self-service elasticity feature for clouds.

5. Storage Quality of Service (QoS)

New storage metrics for IOPS have been added to WS2012 R2. With these metrics, you can determine the IOPS requirements of virtual machines and put caps on storage activity. This will limit how much physical disk activity that virtual machines can create, and therefore limit the damage that activity spikes can cause to other virtual machines and their guest services.

One of the concerns with shared storage is the possibility of a race for storage throughput. Enabling Storage QoS will limit the damage that any virtual machine or tenant can do in a cloud.

6. Live Virtual Machine Cloning

WS2012 R2 Hyper-V allows you to clone a running virtual machine. This will create an exact copy of the virtual machine that is stored in a saved state. This feature supports GenerationID. That means you can use Live Virtual Machine Cloning to create Active Directory supported clones of a virtual domain controller that is not the PDC Emulator.

This feature will be useful for situations where you need to debug a production system or you want to perform tests, such as guest OS upgrades.

7. Virtual Machine Export Improvements

You can export a virtual machine with a checkpoint (formerly known as a snapshot) and you can export a checkpoint of a virtual machine.

8. Linux Guest OS Support Enhancements

Dynamic Memory will be supported in Linux Guest OS’s on Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V. This will give much better memory optimization for Linux virtual machines, and it’ll allow for much greater densities. Linux distributions with this built-in Linux Integration Services for Hyper-V HyH support are already available.

There will be support for online backup of Linux guest OSs. This is not Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for Linux, and it does not give an application consistent backup. Instead, a file system consistent backup is created by freezing the file system. This feature does require an upgrade of any already deploy Linux Integration Services.

9. Shared VHDX

You can configure up to 64 virtual machines to share a single VHDX file on some shared storage (such as CSV or SMB 3.0). The VM sees the shared VHDX as a shared SAS disk with SCSI-3 persistent reservations. This is for data volumes to create guest clusters, and not for shared boot volumes. It works with down-level guest OSs, such as W2008 R2 with the WS2012 R2 Hyper-V Integration Components installed. This feature is supported by Service Templates in VMM 2012 R2.
This will drastically simplify guest clustering, where virtual machines are used to create a highly available service at the application layer. This could eliminate the need for guest attachment to physical LUNs and will be accommodating to self-service deployment within a cloud.

10. Hyper-V Replica Improvements

The default period for asynchronous replication of the Hyper-V Replica Log is every 5 minutes, but this can be changed to every 30 seconds or every 15 minutes. This allows companies to choose the allowed recovery point objective (RPO) – the maximum allowed amount of data loss in time.

Hyper-V Replica can now be extended to a third site. This is an A-B-C extension, and not an A-B/A-C extension. For example, a company might replicate virtual machines from the primary site to a local secondary site. This might be configured to hdappen every 30 seconds. Replica virtual machines in the secondary site might be replicated to a distant third site (such as a hosting company) maybe every 15 minutes. In the event of an unplanned failover, this would give an RPO of 30 seconds in the secondary site and an RPO of 15 minutes and 30 seconds in the third site.

The performance and scalability of Hyper-V Replica has been improved. Maintaining historical copies of virtual machines in the secondary site is costly (IOPS). This has been reduced, so maintaining historical copies of your replica VMs will not punish your storage in the secondary site.

11. VM Connect

The crippled virtual machine connection of the past is being replaced by a Remote Desktop experience that is built into the virtualization stack. This has no dependency on the virtual machine’s networking. By default, this feature is disabled in WS2012 R2 Hyper-V and enabled in Windows 8.1 Client Hyper-V.
Things that Remove Desktop VM Connect allow you to do include:
· Copy & paste text/images.

· Copy files to/from the client desktop.

· Do session-based USB redirection. This means you might use a USB stick to copy files. It is not a USB dongle solution.

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Windows Server 2012 – 10 key features

Windows Server 2012

1. New Server Manager – Create and manage server groups

One of the benefits of the new Server Manager interface is the capability to create server groups, which are collections of servers that already exist on your network and can be managed through the new user experience. Creating new server groups lets you manage tasks among each server with common attributes – a server group containing all machines running IIS, for example, a group of all database servers, and so on – and provide specific information on any of them as you wish. This is a big boon for organisations without dedicated monitoring software in place.

2. Better edition and SKU Selection

Kudos to Microsoft for cleaning up what was a muddy value proposition. The core OS is now the same, and the edition you buy – Standard or Datacenter – depends on whether you want to run up to two virtual machines as guests or if you’d like unlimited guest virtualisation. There’s no Enterprise edition gumming up the works. This is a big win for everyone.

3. A command-line first, GUI second mentality

The emphasis for Windows Server has changed from a GUI-first philosophy to a GUI-optional mindset. Indeed, when you first install the OS, youre asked to choose between a core and a full installation. Core is the preferred, and encouraged, option. Once you install a core version of Windows Server 2012, you can flip on a GUI simply by installing the GUI role, and you can then opt to take it off without a full reinstall.

This is a great feature when you first deploy a server. You can use the GUI to take care of all of the mundane configuration tasks, but when the machine is ready for production, you can flip the GUI off and deploy. This offers a number of benefits, including reducing the attack surface, resource load and energy requirements.

4. Hyper-V replication

The Hyper-V Replica feature allows you to replicate a virtual machine from one location to another with Hyper-V and a network connection – and without any shared storage required. This is a big deal in the Microsoft world for disaster recovery, high availability and more. VMware does this, too, but the vendor charges new licensees extra for the capability.

This makes standing up instances of services all around the world just a one- or two-click affair (assuming network connectivity exists). The new Hyper-V Replica interfaces within Hyper-V Manager include a much simpler interface for setting up a replication sequence and better monitoring of the process and the overall health of replication systems and partners.

5. Expanded PowerShell capabilities

There are hundreds more cmdlets in the latest version of Windows Server. This will make your life easier, since PowerShell is essentially the preferred method of managing all of the workloads you can run on the operating system.

6. Storage Spaces – Flipping complexity on its head

Storage Spaces is an innovative features that basically takes commodity storage hardware – inexpensive drives and their controllers, like a JBOD (informal parlance for Just a Bunch of Disks – and turns it into a pool of storage that is divided into spaces that are in turn used just like regular disks.

Each of these pools can contain hot standby disks, and each of the Spaces in the pool can have availability policies such as mirroring and RAID-style redundancy. You can even perform thin provisioning, which is specifying a volume that’s bigger than you actually have space for. That way, when you do need the additional room, just pop in a few more drives; no reconfiguration is required. It takes the complexity and expense of network-attached storage and SANs and basically flips it on its head. You can just get a bunch of disks together and get really flexible in carving them up where you need additional space.

7. DirectAccess – A VPN without the pain of a VPN

DirectAccess allows VPN-like secure tunneling from any endpoint back to the corporate network without the overhead and performance hit of a true VPN. There is also no management agent on the client. When the technology is configured correctly, it just works – users have seamless connectivity to file shares, on-premises equipment and other resources just as if they were on the corporate campus. In addition, group policy objects get applied and administrators can manage machines wherever they are, not just when they come to headquarters or when they connect up to the VPN. This technology had previously been difficult to set up, but in Windows Server 2012, it very much just works.

8. Dynamic Access Control – New way of thinking

Dynamic Access Control (DAC) is a suite of facilities that really enhances the way you can control access to information. It’s no longer about taking files or folders and making decisions about “Yes, these people can” and “No, these people can’t.”

Instead, it’s about abstracting away the individual data and making larger assignments about the types of data that live on your system, as well as the types of users that should and should not have access to it. It’s a new way of thinking that very much complements the strong abilities of the file system to secure data. There are minimal schema additions to make to Active Directory, and you can begin using the lion’s share of the feature set of DAC with just a Windows Server 2012 file server and a domain controller.

9. Resilient File System – An evolution of NTFS

The Resilient File System (ReFS) was designed as an evolution of the New Technology File System (NTFS) with a focus on availability and integrity. ReFS writes to different locations on disk in an atomic fashion, which improves data resiliency in the event of a power failure during a write, and includes the new “integrity streams” feature that uses checksums and real-time allocations to protect the sequencing and access of both system and user data.

Problems identified by Windows Server 2012 on volumes protected with these features can be automatically repaired without bringing the disk or volume offline in most cases – and in many cases without any administrative intervention either. ReFS is also built to scale further than NTFS as well, which is an important point in the age of Big Data and private cloud operations.

10. Out-of-the-box IP address management

In the box with Windows Server 2012, youll find a complete IPAM suite. This is something many medium-sized businesses simply don’t have access to. With the IPAM suite, you can allocate, group, issue, lease and renew IP addresses in an organized fashion, as well as integrate with the in-box DHCP and DNS servers to discover and manage devices already on your network. If youve not played with IPAM services from Nortel and others, this is a very interesting and worthwhile inclusion to the product–and, as it’s free with the OS licence, it’s well worth the price


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SharePoint 2013 Top 10 New Features ..

Here are some Top Very Important  Features of SharePoint 2013 that will start to sell your business on investigating the Preview. All of these features are documented in Tech Net.

  1. Support the tools designers use: Flexibility in Branding – How great will it be that your designers can use Dreamweaver or other popular design products. More information on TechNet Branding Features

    “Whether that is Adobe Dreamweaver, Microsoft Expression Web, or some other HTML editor. To brand a SharePoint site, designers just create a site design as they typically would, by implementing HTML, CSS, and JavaScript”

  2. Offline and Sync of My Site (and other libraries) – “In SharePoint Server 2013 Preview, My Sites include several improvements to saving, synchronization, sharing, and moving of content. Users have the option to synchronize their My Site document library content with a local drive to enable offline access to documents.” Saving and Syncing Content (I really love the new Follow people, documents, sites, and tags to customize their feed!!)
  3. Search Engine Optimization & Analytics is in Search – Search is TONS better. Much of this is due to Analytics moving into search. This will make Analytics Processing Component in SharePoint Server 2013 Preview runs different analytics jobs to analyze content in the search index and user actions that were performed on a site to identify items that users perceive as more relevant than others. TechNet Analytics Recommendations
  4. Content Search WebPart – This webpart is cool, but it may take a demo to understand the power. In many ways this is the next generation of Content Query Web Part. “Content Search Web Part that displays content that was crawled and added to the search index. You can use category pages when you want to aggregate content that meets certain criteria or parameters. For example, in an intranet scenario, all company events are maintained in a list that is shared as a catalog. A query is issued from the Content Search Web Part to return all items from the search index that are specified in the query.” Content Search Web Part
  5. Optimized mobile browser experience – For some companies this may be the reason to upgrade alone. Mobile is definitely something I have been looking for. “For smartphone mobile devices SharePoint Server 2013 Preview provides a lightweight, contemporary view browsing experience for users to navigate and access document libraries, lists, wikis, and Web Parts. Contemporary view.  This view offers an optimized mobile browser experience to users and renders in HTML5. This view is available to Mobile Internet Explorer version 9.0 or later versions for Windows Phone 7.5, Safari version 4.0 or later versions for iPhone 4.0, and the Android browser for Android 4.0. Classic view   This view renders in HTML format, or similar markup languages (CHTML, WML, and so on), and provides backward compatibility for mobile browsers that cannot render in the new contemporary view” Mobile browser experience
    Device specific Master Pages – You can target your branding to the device! Targeting different devices such as smartphones, tablets. “Allow a single publishing site to be rendered in multiple ways by using different designs that target different devices.” TechNet Device Specific Branding Feature
  6. Rich Workflows – If workflows were a sore point, they’ve gotten a lot better and seem much more able to handle more complex activities including looping and working with webservices (anyone thinking orchestration?). “A new action that enables no-code web service calls from within a workflow, New actions for creating a task and starting a task process and New workflow building blocks such as Stage, Loop, and App Step” With Azure Workflows you can even do “REST and Service Bus Messaging” Workflow in SharePoint 2013
    Machine Translation – Looking forward to really seeing what our business can do with this translation service. Automated translation into various languages!
  7. Development gets more familiar – Developers who are not SharePoint developers will find SharePoint 2013 preview a lot easier to work with. Leverage your existing “ASP.NET, Apache, C#, Java, and PHP. The new cloud app model gives you the freedom of choice.” Familiar development environments
  8. New App Model – This new app model will take you into the New Online World – “The new app model embraces web standards: You can develop the user experience with HTML and JavaScript, and leverage SharePoint and other REST services right from the client using JavaScript and JSON. You can even create your own REST services and provide a web hosting platform of your choice to handle complex logic and integration of data and services. The new cloud app model also takes advantage of OAuth to allow for secure communication between SharePoint and remote hosted apps and services.” Familiar tools – App Model
  9. Shredded Storage – This is one of my favorite new features. I can’t wait to see what it does to our farm. Shredded storage will remove file duplicates and reduce the amount of content sent across the wire. You can find more on this in the IT pro decks.
  10. Social Features: Activity feeds – I really like the idea that I can get real notifications of what’s happening on a site including following documents, following sites, and following people… and automatically following team members (if you want). Communities – I think Microsoft’s new site template communities will be interesting with integrated microblogging. I’m definitely anxious to see how our internal communities use them. What’s new in social computing


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What’s New in Windows Server 2012????

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  • What’s New in AD CS and PKI?
    Active Directory Certificate Services (AD CS) in Windows Server 2012 provides multiple new features and capabilities over previous versions. This document describes new deployment, manageability, and capabilities added to AD CS in Windows Server 2012.
  • What’s New in Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS)
    Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) in Windows Server 2012 includes new features that make it simpler and faster to deploy domain controllers (both on-premises and in the cloud), more flexible and easier to both audit and authorize access to files with Dynamic Access Control, and easier to perform administrative tasks at scale, either locally or remotely, through consistent graphical and scripted management experiences.
  • What’s New in Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS)?
    Active Directory Rights Management Services (AD RMS) is the server role that provides you with management and development tools that work with industry security technologies—including encryption, certificates, and authentication—to help organizations create reliable information protection solutions.
  • What’s New in BitLocker for Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012
    BitLocker encrypts the hard drives on your computer to provide enhanced protection against data theft or exposure on computers and removable drives that are lost or stolen.
  • What’s New in BranchCache
    BranchCache in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 provides substantial performance, manageability, scalability, and availability improvements.
  • What’s New in DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication in Windows Server 2012
    DFS Namespaces and DFS Replication in Windows Server 2012 provide new management functionality as well as interoperability with DirectAccess and Data Deduplication.
  • What’s New in DHCP in Windows Server 2012
    Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is an Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standard designed to reduce the administration burden and complexity of configuring hosts on a TCP/IP-based network, such as a private intranet.
  • What’s New in DNS
    Domain Name System (DNS) services in Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 are used in TCP/IP networks for naming computers and network services. DNS naming locates computers and services through user-friendly names.
  • New and changed functionality in File and Storage Services
    File and Storage Services provides a number of new management, scalability, and functionality improvements in Windows Server 2012.
  • What’s New in Failover Clustering
    Failover clusters provide high availability and scalability to many server workloads. These include file share storage for server applications such as Hyper-V and Microsoft SQL Server, and server applications that run on physical servers or virtual machines.
  • What’s New in File Server Resource Manager
    File Server Resource Manager provides a set of features that allow you to manage and classify data that is stored on file servers.
  • What’s New in Group Policy in Windows Server 2012
    Group Policy is an infrastructure that enables you to specify managed configurations for users and computers through Group Policy settings and Group Policy Preferences
  • What’s New in Hyper-V
    The Hyper-V role enables you to create and manage a virtualized computing environment by using virtualization technology that is built in to Windows Server 2012. Hyper-V virtualizes hardware to provide an environment in which you can run multiple operating systems at the same time on one physical computer, by running each operating system in its own virtual machine.
  • What’s New in IPAM in Windows Server 2012
    IP Address Management (IPAM) is an entirely new feature in Windows Server 2012 that provides highly customizable administrative and monitoring capabilities for the IP address infrastructure on a corporate network.
  • What’s New in Kerberos Authentication
    The Microsoft Windows Server operating systems implement the Kerberos version 5 authentication protocol and extensions for public key and password-based authentication. The Kerberos authentication client is implemented as a security support provider (SSP) and can be accessed through the Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI).
  • What’s New for Managed Service Accounts
    Standalone Managed Service Accounts, which were introduced in Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7, are managed domain accounts that provide automatic password management and simplified SPN management, including delegation of management to other administrators.
  • What’s New in Networking in Windows Server 2012
    Discover new networking technologies and new features for existing technologies in Windows Server 2012. Technologies covered include BranchCache, Data Center Bridging, NIC Teaming, and more.
  • What’s New in Remote Desktop Services in Windows Server 2012
    The Remote Desktop Services server role in Windows Server 2012 provides technologies that enable users to connect to virtual desktops, RemoteApp programs, and session-based desktops. With Remote Desktop Services, users can access remote connections from within a corporate network or from the Internet.
  • What’s new in Security Auditing
    Security auditing is one of the most powerful tools to help maintain the security of an enterprise. One of the key goals of security audits is to verify regulatory compliance.
  • What’s new in Server Manager
    In this blog post, senior Server Manager program manager Wale Martins describes the innovations and value of the new Server Manager. Server Manager in Windows Server 2012 lets administrators manage multiple, remote servers that are running Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2008, or Windows Server 2003.
  • What’s New in Smart Cards
    Smart cards and their associated personal identification numbers (PINs) are an increasingly popular, reliable, and cost-effective form of two-factor authentication. With the right controls in place, a user must have the smart card and know the PIN to gain access to network resources.
  • What’s New in TLS/SSL (Schannel SSP)
    Schannel is a Security Support Provider (SSP) that implements the Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and Transport Layer Security (TLS) Internet standard authentication protocols. The Security Support Provider Interface (SSPI) is an API used by Windows systems to perform security-related functions including authentication.
  • What’s New for Windows Deployment Services for Windows Server 2012
    Windows Deployment Services is a server role that enables you to remotely deploy Windows operating systems. You can use it to set up new computers by using a network-based installation.
  • What’s new in Windows PowerShell 3.0
    Windows PowerShell 3.0 includes many new features and improvements in the scripting and automation experience, such as Windows PowerShell Workflow, multiple new features in Windows PowerShell ISE to help make scripting and debugging faster and easier, updatable Help, Windows PowerShell Web Access, and over 2,200 new cmdlets and functions.


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Windows Server 2012 Licensing – Prizing -FAQ

Datacenter and Standard editions

Q1. What is new in Windows Server 2012?

Windows Server 2012 brings our company’s experience building and operating public clouds to the server platform for private clouds. The new licensing and packaging makes it easier to manage workloads in highly virtualized public and private cloud environments. Windows Server 2012 will move to a consistent licensing model and will have common features enabling the reduction of editions. These include

  • Two editions, Standard and Datacenter.
  • Single licenses that cover up to two physical processors.
  • Editions differentiated by virtualization rights only (two for Standard; unlimited for Datacenter).
Q2. What is the difference between Windows Server 2012 Standard edition and Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition?

Both Standard and Datacenter editions provide the same set of features; the only thing that differentiates the editions is the number of Virtual Machines (VMs). A Standard edition license will entitle you to run up to two VMs on up to two processors (subject to the VM use rights outlined in the ProductUse Rightsdocument). A Datacenter edition license will entitle you to run an unlimited number of VMs on up to two processors.

Q3. Will Windows Server 2012 Standard edition have all of the same features as Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition?

Yes. All features that are available in the Datacenter edition are also available in the Standard edition, including high availability features like failover clustering. The only difference between the two editions will be virtualization rights.

Q4. Is Windows Server 2012 aligning to the System Center 2012

And Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) model?

Yes. As part of the alignment with the Microsoft private cloud licensing model, Windows Server 2012 and System Center 2012, as well as Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI), will have the same licensing and packaging structure. These include

  • Two editions, Standard and Datacenter.
  • Single licenses that cover up to two physical processors.
  • Editions differentiated by virtualization rights only (two for Standard; unlimited for Datacenter).

Client Access Licenses (CALs) will continue to be required for access to Windows Server 2012 servers.

Q5. What are some of the features now available in Windows Server 2012 Standard that were previously only available in Windows Server

2008 R2 Enterprise and Datacenter editions?

There are a variety of new features in Windows Server 2012 Standard edition. Here are just a few  examples of what was previously only available in the premium editions:

  • Windows Server Failover Clustering
  • BranchCache Hosted Cache Server
  • Active Directory Federated Services
  • Additional Active Directory Certificate Services capabilities
  • Distributed File Services (support for more than 1 DFS root)
  • DFS-R Cross-File Replication

Q6. How do I determine which Windows Server 2012 edition   is right for me?

Since there is feature parity between Windows Server 2012 Standard and Datacenter editions, your  decision will be based solely on your virtualization strategy as virtualization rights become the only  differentiator between editions. If your strategy calls for a highly virtualized environment, Datacenter edition will provide you with optimum flexibility since it allows for unlimited virtualization. If you do not plan on a highly virtualized environment at this time, Standard edition is the right product for your needs. If you purchase Standard edition today but find that you need more capacity in the future you will have two options to expand the virtualization capacity of your licensed server:

  1. Purchase additional Standard edition licenses and assign them to the same physical server giving  you the rights to run additional instances of Windows Server, or
  2. If you have Software Assurance on your Standard license you can purchase a Software Assurance Step-Up and migrate to a Datacenter edition license on that server

If you are running a highly virtualized environment, management may also be a need for you. You should consider purchasing System Center 2012 with Windows Server 2012 together in the Core Infrastructure Suite, which is available inside or outside of an Enrollment for Core Infrastructure (ECI) agreement.

Q7. If I have a Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license, how can I increase my virtualization rights?

With the Windows Server 2012 Standard edition licensing model, you can grow your virtualization environment by either stepping up your license to Datacenter edition if you have Software Assurance, or by simply buying additional Standard edition licenses and assigning them to the same physical server. For example, if you have a 2-processor server and want to run a total of 4 VMs, you can purchase two Standard edition licenses and assign them to the same server.

Q8. Why is Windows Server 2012 licensing moving to a processor model?

By making this change, Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012 and the Core Infrastructure Server (CIS) will all have consistent licensing model creating alignment across Microsoft infrastructure products. Having a single-licensing model will make it easier for you to buy the right product for your needs and to compare the cost of alternatives (such as individual products, the CIS SKU outside of ECI, ECI and so on). Additionally, the new licensing model provides a single, familiar, and easy-to-track metric for all infrastructure products further reducing management overhead.

Q9. How do I calculate the number of licenses I need for a server?

The number of licenses you will need depends on the number of physical processors on the server and the number of server instances that you will be running. (This only applies for Standard edition because Datacenter edition allows for unlimited VMs.) The larger of these two numbers determines the number of total licenses required.

Determining the number of physical processor licenses

Each license covers up to two physical processors, so to determine the number of licenses needed to fully license a physical server, simply count the number of physical processors in the server, divide that number by two and that tells you the number of licenses that will be needed.

Here are some examples:

  • You have a 2-processor server. 2 physical processors / 2 (number of processors covered by a license) equals 1. You will need one license to cover a 2-processor server.
  • You have a 4-processor server. 4 physical processors / 2 (number of processors covered by a license) equals 2. You will need two licenses to cover a 4-processor server.
  • You have an 8-processor server. 8 physical processors / 2 (number of processors covered by a license) equals 4. You will need four licenses to cover an 8-processor server.

Determining the number of virtual instances running

If you want to run additional VMs but do not require the highly virtualized environment that Datacenter provides (which is unlimited VMs), then you can simply purchase additional Standard edition licenses and assign them to a single physical server to increase your VM entitlements on that server. Each Standard edition license provides you with the rights to run up to two VMs, so to determine the number of Windows Server Standard edition licenses you need, count the total number of total VMs that you will run on the server; divide that number by two, and round up to the nearest whole number.

For example, if you assign 2 Standard edition licenses to a single server, you will be able to run a total of 4 VMs on that server. If you add additional Standard edition licenses to that server the number of allowed VMs on that particular server will increase by two for a total of six VMs on that server.

Once the number of licenses needed to cover a physical processor and/or additional VMs is determined, the higher of those two numbers represents the total number of licenses required.

For example, if you are running 4 virtual machines on a 2-processor server, you will require 1 license to cover the 2 processors; but you will need an additional license to run 4 virtual machines, which means you will need a total of 2 licenses.

Q10. Can I use one Standard license to cover a 1-processor server?

Yes. The Standard edition license will allow you to license up to two physical processors on a single server; however it does not require that the server has two physical processors.

Q11. Can I split my Windows Server 2012 license across multiple servers?

No. Each license can only be assigned to a single physical server.

Q12. Can I assign a Windows Server 2012 license to a virtual machine?

No. A license is assigned to the physical server. Each license will cover up to two physical processors.

Q13. Can I mix Datacenter and Standard licenses on the same server?

No. All of the processors on a given server must be licensed with the same version and edition. You can run different editions or older versions of Windows Server software as guests within VMs, but you are not allowed to assign multiple licenses of different versions or editions to the same physical server to license the processors on the server.

Q14. Can I attach another license of a different version or edition of Windows Server to increase my virtualization rights?

Yes, you can assign additional Windows Server licenses to a server to increase your virtualization rights. However the newly assigned licenses will need to adhere to their associated licensing rules.  For example, if you have a Windows Server Enterprise edition license on a four processor server and want to attach Windows Server 2012 Standard edition licenses to increase your virtualization rights, you will need to ensure that all processors on that server are licensed with Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license as well, which will require a total of two Windows Server 2012 Standard licenses (as each license covers up to two processors).

Q15. If I want to use the bits from an earlier version or edition, what are my options?

If you have Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition you will have the right to downgrade your bits to any prior version or lower edition. If you have Windows Server 2012 Standard edition, you will have the right to downgrade your bits to any prior version of Enterprise, Standard or Essentials editions.

The ability to run downgrade bits does not change the licensing or support terms in which you can use the product; the purchased product (Windows Server 2012) rights apply. This means that the license will continue to cover two physical processors and the virtualization rights do not change. In addition, the Client Access License (CAL) corresponding to the purchased version will apply, as an exception, if you are running a previous version of one of the eligible downgrades you can use the corresponding CAL version if one exists.

Q16. Is Enterprise edition going away as part of Windows Server 2012 and why?

Yes. Enterprise edition will be retired as part of the Windows Server 2012 release. Windows Server 2012 Standard edition will include all the premium features previously included in Enterprise edition in the past and the price to purchase the rights to 4 instances of Windows Server 2012 will actually be less expensive than the price of Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition today. Due to these changes, we have been able to simplify the product lineup while reducing the price per instance of Windows Server for these customers.

Q17. Is Web Server going away as part of Windows Server 2012 and why?

Yes. The Web Server product was designed primarily for end customers and service providers that wanted to host web sites. However, consistent feedback from these customers and partners has been that they prefer to use an edition of Windows Server that does not restrict usage to running web workloads.

Despite the removal of Web Server edition, web workloads running on a Windows Server 2012 edition will continue to receive the “CAL waiver” that is in effect for these workloads today. Windows Server CALs will not be required to access the licensed server if it is only being used to run web workloads. See Product Use Rightsfor details.

Q18. Are the HPC products going away as part of Windows Server 2012 and why?

While the HPC edition is being retired, Microsoft will be delivering the HPC Pack 2012 as a free download that can be used with any Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter license. As a result, customers who want to run HPC workloads will be able to do so on any of their Windows Server 2012 licensed servers (Click herefor a free download.).

HPC workloads running on Windows Server 2012 Standard or Datacenter editions will continue to receive the “CAL waiver” that is currently in effect for these workloads. Windows Server CALs will not be required to access instances of Windows Server in the Windows Server 2012 licensing model if these instances are simply running HPC workloads. SeeProduct Use Rightsfor details.

Q19. If I have Software Assurance in place at the time that Windows Server 2012 is generally available, when will my grant be reflected in my licensing records?

While you will immediately be able to use the new product and will own the perpetual rights to the edition of Windows Server 2012 that you are transitioning to, your grant will not be reflected in the license position database until you renew your agreement and purchase Software Assurance on the granted licenses. If you do not renew your Software Assurance, your license position will not be reflected in the license position database; however the fact that you had Software Assurance in place at the time of Windows Server 2012 General Availability will establish your proof of license for the new product.

Q20. If I have Datacenter edition with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Datacenter edition, you will be entitled to Windows Server 2012

Datacenter edition. Today, a Datacenter license covers up to 1 processor. A Windows Server 2012 Datacenter license will cover up to 2 processors. So for every two current Datacenter licenses with Software Assurance, you will receive one Windows Server 2012 Datacenter edition license.

Q21. If I have Enterprise edition with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Enterprise edition, you will be entitled to receive two Standard edition licenses for each Enterprise edition license you have.

If you are considering moving to a more highly virtualized or private cloud environment, you should consider taking advantage of the Software Assurance Step-Up* benefit to upgrade to Datacenter edition prior to the Windows Server 2012 general availability since the Step-Ups from Enterprise edition to Datacenter edition will be removed from the price lists at that time.

Q22. If I have Standard edition with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Standard edition today, you will be entitled to receive Standard edition at the general availability of Windows Server 2012. You will receive one Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license for each Standard edition license you have.

Q23. If the normal Software Assurance transition grant will not cover all of the processors in my server do I need to purchasing additional licenses?

No. If you have Software Assurance on Enterprise, Standard or Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC editions when Windows Server 2012 is released and the normal Software Assurance transition grant does not cover all of the processors on your physical server, you can qualify for additional licenses by documenting your environment to show where you have Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard edition or Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC editions running on 4-processor servers and/or Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition running on an 8-processor server. You will then be entitled to the additional licenses needed to cover these processors.

It is recommended that you complete your self-assessment using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit or another inventory tool that can accurately archive a time/date-stamped inventory of your hardware with Windows Server installations.

Upon contract expiration, you can renew Software Assurance on all licenses granted as a result of transitioning to the Windows Server 2012 licensing model.

Q24. If I have Web Server edition with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Web Server edition, you will receive an additional Windows Server

2012 Standard edition license that you can use while also maintaining your rights to run your current

Web Server license. For every two Windows 2008 R2 Web Server edition licenses, you will receive one Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license. If you have an odd number of Windows 2008 R2 Web Server edition licenses, your grant will be based on rounding up to the next whole even number.

You will continue to have the ability to host web content on your new Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license without needing a Windows Server CAL to access the server, but any other workloads that you decide to run on your new server will follow the standard Windows CAL licensing requirements.

Q25. If I have an HPC edition with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite, you will receive a license grant for Windows Server 2012 Standard edition. For each Windows HPC Server 2008 R2 Suite (which includes both a Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC edition license and Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2 Enterprise software) you will receive one Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license.

If you have Software Assurance on Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC edition or Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2

Enterprise, you will receive an additional Windows Server 2012 Standard edition that you can use while

also maintaining your rights to run your current HPC licenses. You will receive one Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license for every two Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC edition license or Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2 Enterprise licenses you have. If you have an odd number of Windows Server 2008 R2 HPC edition or Microsoft HPC Pack 2008 R2 Enterprise licenses, your grant will be based on rounding up to the next whole number.

You will continue to have the ability to run HPC workloads on your new Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license without needing a Windows Server CAL to access the server, but any other workloads that you decide to run on your new server will follow the standard Windows CAL licensing requirements.

Q26. What are my Software Assurance migration rights by Microsoft purchase program?

Each Microsoft purchase program has different rules for your Software Assurance migration entitlement at the end of your enrollment. See the chart below.

Program Software Assurance at time of release
Enterprise Agreement You will receive perpetual rights to the current  (Windows Server 2012) edition.
Enterprise Agreement Subscription You will be able to use the Windows Server 2012 edition of your license during your enrollment. At the end of your enrollment you will be able to choose to buy out the original Windows Server 2008 R2 product that was on your agreement at the original CPS price, buy out the new Windows Server 2012 product at the buy-out price on the published price list at the time your enrollment expires, or renew your enrollment at the new Windows Server 2012 annual subscription price.
Enrollment for Education

Solutions – School Enrollment

You will be able to use the Windows Server 2012 edition of your license during your enrollment. At the end of your enrollment you will be able to choose to buy out the original Windows Server 2008 R2 product or buy out the new Windows Server 2012 product at the buy-out price on the published price list at the time your enrollment expires, or renew your enrollment at the new Windows Server 2012 annual subscription price.
Open Value You will receive perpetual rights to the current  (Windows Server 2012) edition.
Open Value Subscription You will be able to use the Windows Server 2012 edition of your license during your enrollment. At the end of your enrollment you will be able to choose to buy out the original Windows Server 2008 R2 product that was on your agreement at the original CPS price, buy out the new Windows Server 2012 product at the buy-out price on the published price list at the time your enrollment expires, or renew your enrollment at the new Windows Server 2012 annual subscription price.

Open Value Subscription –                You will be able to use the Windows Server 2012 edition of your license

Education Solutions                           during your enrollment. At the end of your enrollment you will be able to choose to buy out the original Windows Server 2008 R2 product or buy out the new Windows Server 2012 product at the buy-out price on the published

Select/Open                                         You will receive perpetual rights to the current

(Windows Server 2012) edition.

Q27. How much will Windows Server 2012 Standard and Datacenter editions cost?

For your specific pricing, contact your Microsoft reseller. Actual prices may vary. Microsoft does not determine pricing or payment terms for licenses acquired through resellers.

Q28. Can I use my Windows Server 2008 CAL to access Windows Server 2012?

No. The CAL accessing the instance of Windows Server must be equivalent or higher in version than the server being accessed. You will need a Windows Server 2012 CAL to access a Windows Server 2012 instance.

Q29. Do I still need a separate CAL to access Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Active Directory Rights Management Service (ADRMS)?

Yes. The licensing requirements for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) and Active Directory Rights Management Service (ADRMS) have not changed with Windows Server 2012. Customers are still required to purchase an ADRMS or RDS CAL in addition to a Windows Server CAL to access ADRMS or RDS functionality. The CAL accessing the instance of Windows Server must be equivalent or higher in version than the server being accessed.

Q30. What is the price of running Windows Server 2012 on Windows Azure under “preview” and “general availability”?

Windows Server 2012 and Windows Server 2008 R2 will continue to be available on Azure at the same price.

Q31. Can I move Windows Server 2012 licenses and images between Hyper-V and Azure?

Windows Server 2012 licenses just like Windows Server 2008 R2 are not eligible for the license mobility benefits under Software Assurance.  You can continue to take advantage of the license mobility rights for other server applications, however Windows Server will continue to be purchased separately from the service provider or Azure.

Q32. What are the System Center license requirements for managing Windows Server 2012 instances running on Azure?

You can use the License Mobility benefits under Software Assurance to assign your System Center 2012 license to a Windows Server instance running on Azure.

Q33. How do I license Windows Server 2012 on ECI to run some instances on Azure?

You are not able to run your ECI Windows Server license in Azure because Windows Server does not offer mobility right as a standalone license or as a component product within the Core Infrastructure Suite product purchased under an ECI enrollment or outside of ECI.

Q34. What are my licensing options for a Disaster Recovery server?

If you are storing virtual machines for future use in a Disaster Recovery situation you will not need additional licensing for that server. Only when you run an instance on that server will a license be required (see the definition of running an instance below). You should be mindful that any of your replicated virtual instances, when running, need to be running on a server appropriately licensed to support that running instance.

Running Instance means an Instance of software that is loaded into memory and for which one or more instructions have been executed.  (You “Run an Instance” of software by loading it into memory and executing one or more of its instructions.)  Once running, an Instance is considered to be running (whether or not its instructions continue to execute) until it is removed from memory.

There are two ways in which you can license a server for Disaster Recovery, by purchasing a Windows

Server license or by using the Cold Back-up for Disaster Recovery Software Assurance benefit.  Cold

Back-up for Disaster Recovery allows you to keep a backup server ready for use in case your primary

(production) server fails due to earthquakes, floods or any kind of disaster. If a disaster strikes you can immediately switch over to the Cold Disaster Recovery server.  In order to utilize this benefit you must comply with the follow terms:

  • The software in the Disaster Recovery server should comply with the use rights associated with the software.
  • The server cannot be in the same cluster as the production server.
  • The server cannot be turned on except for updates to the software (patching) or testing. The server may of course be turned on in the event of a disaster for Disaster Recovery.
  • The Disaster Recovery server and the production instances may run concurrently while recovering from a disaster. At all other times the Disaster Recovery server should be switched off except as above

Remember that in order to utilize this Software Assurance benefit, all licenses in use must have active Software Assurance coverage. This includes any CALs required to access the Disaster Recovery server. This benefit ends when Software Assurance coverage on your licenses ends.  You can find more information about the use rights for this benefit in the Product Use Rightsdocument.

Q35. When will the Windows Server 2012 Licensing changes take place?

Licensing changes will become effective at the general availability of Windows Server 2012, which is expected to be in September 2012.

Essentials and Foundation editions

Q37. What is Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is the latest version of Windows Small Business Server Essentials. It is a cloud enabled first server with an intuitive user interface. It can run on physical servers with up to two processors and has been designed for small businesses with up to 25 users.

Q38. What are some of the features that are now available in  Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

Windows Server 2012 Essentials incorporates best-of-breed 64-bit product technologies to deliver a server environment well-suited for the vast majority of small businesses. The product technologies include:

  • Windows Server 2012 operating system
  • Data protection
  • “Anywhere” access
  • Health monitoring
  • Workload flexibility
  • Extensibility
  • Add-ons for many small business solutions, including a connector to Office 365

Customers can use Windows Server 2012 Essentials as a platform to run critical line-of-business applications and other on-premises workloads. It can also provide an integrated management experience when running cloud-based applications and services, such as email, collaboration, online backup, and more.

Q39. What are the different editions available with Windows Server 2012 Essentials?

There is only one edition—Windows Server 2012 Essentials. It is a flexible offering that provides a platform for running on-premises or cloud-based workloads.

Q40. Will there be a next version of Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard?

No. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard, which includes Exchange Server and Windows server component products, will be the final such Windows Server offering. This change is in response to small business market trends and behavior. The small business computing trends are moving in the direction of cloud computing for applications and services such as email, online back-up and line-ofbusiness tools.

Q41. Will there be a next version of Windows Small Business 2011 Premium Add-on?

No. Windows Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on, which includes SQL Server and Windows Server as component products, will be the final such Windows Server offering.

Q42. If I have Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, you will receive one Windows Server 2012 Essentials license.

This grant will be reflected upon your agreement renewal; however you are entitled to use the granted product upon availability.

Q43. If I have Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard edition with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Small Business Server 2011 Standard edition, you will receive two Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license and one Exchange Server Standard 2010 license.

This grant will be reflected upon your agreement renewal; however you are entitled to use the granted product upon availability.

Q44. If I have Windows Small Business Server 2011 Standard CAL with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, what will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Small Business Server 2011 Standard CAL, you will receive one Windows Server 2012 CAL license and one Exchange Server CAL license.

This grant will be reflected upon your agreement renewal; however you are entitled to use the granted product upon availability.

Q45. If I have Windows Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released,  which edition will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on edition, you will receive one Windows Server 2012 Standard edition license and one SQL Server 2012 Standard edition license.

This grant will be reflected upon your agreement renewal; however you are entitled to use the granted product upon its availability.

Q46. If I have Windows Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on CAL with Software Assurance when Windows Server 2012 is released, what will I be entitled to receive?

If you have Software Assurance on Small Business Server 2011 Premium Add-on CAL, you will receive one SQL Server 2012 CAL license and one Windows Server 2012 CAL license.

This grant will be reflected upon your agreement renewal; however you are entitled to use the granted product upon its availability.

Q47. How much will Windows Server Essentials cost?

For your specific pricing, contact your Microsoft reseller. Actual prices may vary. Microsoft does not determine pricing or payment terms for licenses acquired through resellers.

Q48. Are there any licensing changes happening to the Foundation edition as part of Windows Server 2012?

There are no changes to the Foundation edition licensing or pricing model. To see the full list of features and licensing, go to the Foundation Server 2012 website.


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Windows Server 2012 Licensing – A Quick Reminder

This came up recently for a customer and while it’s not new news, I thought a quick reminder would be useful. There are a few key points to remember about licensing of Windows Server 2012 in server virtualization projects, these rules apply to XenServer, VMware, Hyper-V, Oracle VM, etc.:

  • Licenses are applied to physical servers, never to virtual machines. If you are thinking about how you need a license for the VM you are about to build, you’re probably doing something wrong
  • There is feature parity between Standard and Datacenter editions, Enterprise Ed has been dropped
    • The only difference between these 2 major editions is in the number of virtual OSE’s (operating system environments, aka a virtual machine) granted with the license
    • A license covers 2 processor sockets within 1 server, 1 license cannot be purchased to cover 2 servers each containing 1 populated processor
    • The license allows for one bare-metal install of the operating system, but doesn’t require it – as would be the case if your hypervisor is anything other than Hyper-V
    • Virtual OSE grants by edition:
      • Standard: 2 virtual OSE’s per license
      • Datacenter: unlimited OSE’s per license
  • More than 1 license of the same edition may be applied to a given physical server to cover additional CPU sockets or additional virtual machines
    • 2 Standard Edition licenses would cover 4 processor sockets and/or up to 4 VM’s
    • 2 Datacenter Edition licenses would cover 4 processor sockets and two * unlimited for the number of VM’s ..that’s like beyond infinity, but 4 CPU sockets.
  • The license cannot be transferred more than once every 90 days – yeah, you read that right. This rule is to prevent a license from jumping from one host to another to follow live migration activities
    • This is where most people pause and say “oh..”. That tells me they were purchasing 1 license per VM and just thinking the license moves around with the VM
    • You need to cover the high water mark of virtual OSE’s for a given host
  • Licensing math:
    • Standard Ed. list pricing is $882
    • Datacenter Ed. list pricing is $4809
    • The break-even point for Datacenter is at 5.45 Standard licenses; in effect, for a density of more than 10 VM’s (5 std licenses each granting 2 OSE’s), you should use a Datacenter Edition license
  • A real world example: New virtualization customer deploying 3 VMware hosts
    • We generally size the environment for N+1, meaning we’re planning that 1 of the servers is a “spare” from the perspective of workload sizing – so all the workload can run on just 2 servers; we’re planning for this and so should you in your licensing.
    • If you plan to run more than 20 total VM’s in this environment, you need 3 Datacenter Edition licenses
      • 20 VM’s running on 2 servers = 10 VM’s/server
      • 10 VM’s requires 5 Standard Edition licenses to have enough OSE grants
      • More than 10 per server, and it’s now cheaper to have just bought a single Datacenter Edition license
        • 6 * $882 = $5292, which is greater than $4809 for datacenter
      • Since you don’t know which host (think of a rolling patching cycle) is going to carry the increase load, all the hosts in the environment should be licensed uniformly to this high water mark
    • Depending on the licensing model, an upgrade from 5 * Standard Edition licenses to a single Datacenter Edition license may not be possible – plan ahead!
    • If you have OEM licenses that came with your old physical server environment, these are likely not transferrable – they don’t follow the P2V action
  • With this understanding, while you might have some work to do upfront (or scrambling to get back into compliance now) the long term savings are very real for dense virtualization projects that can leverage the Datacenter Edition license. On a modern 2 socket server with 16 cores/32 threads, 10 VM or greater density is easily achievableImage

General licensing FAQ:
http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/D/B/4DB352D1-C610-466A-9AAF-EEF4F4CFFF27/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_FAQ.pdf

Licensing brief for virtualized environments:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/3/D/4/3D42BDC2-6725-4B29-B75A-A5B04179958B/WindowsServer2012VirtualTech_VLBrief.pdf