System Center 2012 licensing

System Center 2012 is moving to a model with two editions of the Server Management License (Server ML), which is the license assigned to managed servers:

  • System Center 2012 Datacenter edition is optimized for high-density virtualized servers and provides for unlimited virtual operating system environment (OSE) management.
  • System Center 2012 Standard edition is optimized for low density, or non-virtualized, servers and provides for the management of two virtual OSEs.

Here are four licensing examples for server management.

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Example 1: Two physical servers, each having one physical processor, and these are non-virtualized servers. Each server device will need its own Server ML. The concept illustrated here is that even though a single Server ML covers up to two physical processors, an individual license may not be spread across multiple devices. In this example, these two servers could each be licensed with Standard edition or Datacenter edition. But because these are nonvirtualized servers, it will be more economical to license these with Standard edition.

Example 2: A single server device that is a four-processor server and that is not virtualized, and thus running one OSE. In this case the server will require two Server MLs. The concept illustrated here is that all of the physical processors on a managed server must be licensed. As each Server ML covers two physical processors , this server will require two Server MLs. In this case because the server is not virtualized, the more economical choice will be Standard edition.

Example 3: A single physical server that has two processors and is running three virtual OSEs. In this case, to license with Standard edition you need to assign two Server MLs to this server in order to manage the third OSE. Each Standard edition Server ML covers up to two virtual OSEs, and you can stack two Standard edition licenses on the same server to gain the right to manage that third virtual machine. This is the most economical choice in this example. If you increase your virtual machine density in the future, you may elect to license the server with just a single Datacenter edition license, which would be sufficient for the two-processor server in the example. The Datacenter edition license will cover the two processors and allow for an unlimited number of virtual OSEs.

Example 4: A single physical server that has two processors, with eight virtual OSEs. You could stack four Standard edition licenses, but it would be more expensive than licensing the Datacenter edition. You would need only one Datacenter Server ML, then you could manage an unlimited number of OSEs. This will allow you to grow the number of virtual machines in your environment without incurring additional costs.

Important points to note:

  • While each Server ML covers up to two physical processors, an individual license cannot be spread across multiple devices.
  • All the physical processors in a server device need to be licensed.
  • Customers may stack multiple System Center 2012 Standard Server MLs to increase the number of virtual OSEs (that is, virtual machines) they may manage.
  • System Center 2012 Datacenter is the best choice for high-density virtualized servers because it includes unlimited virtual OSE management.
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