I love the launch of a new Windows Server! The innovation it brings, the opportunities for growth and change, the new version of Hyper-V, the new storage options, Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. It’s just refreshing.
With the introduction of Windows Server 2012 Microsoft has revamped the licensing model and the SKU offerings (Shocker, I know.) In these changes they have intentionally, or unintentionally, paved the way for the introduction of Windows Server 2012 Datacenter Edition into the small business network. Review the Windows Server 2012 Licensing Datasheet here. There are 3 things I noticed right away.
1. The licensing for Standard Edition server is now based on Processor + CAL. (Same As Datacenter Edition)
2. The Virtualization rights for Standard edition are limited to 2 virtual instances per Standard License. (Datacenter Edition gives you unlimited virtual instances per license.)
3. Standard Edition License are listed at $882 and Datacenter Licenses are listed at $4809.
At this point I pulled out my trusty calculator and started doing the math. I realize I am limited to the cost of licensing only and in your network you will have to measure the additional costs of processors and CALS. With that said it seems pretty clear that the following is true.
For each 2 instances of Windows Server I want to run I will need a single Standard Edition license priced at $882
If I have 10 instances of Window Server running in VM’s I will need
5 Standard Licenses x $882 = $4410
10 Virtual machines qualifies as small in my book. When we choose to add VM #11 to this network we will need an additional Standard Server License at $882 putting our license costs at $5292. At this juncture we have to ask ourselves if we would not have been better off just buying a Datacenter edition license in the first place? From a purely license cost perspective the answer seems to be a resounding Yes!
There are some hidden gotchas in here. For example the server class machine necessary to simultaneously host our 12 + virtual machines is likely to be quite different than the hardware set necessary to run 2 virtual instances, and probably costs more too. Its something to consider.
If you really think about this, deep down, it makes sense to start considering Public/ Private Cloud principles in the network design of not only large networks but of small networks too. Defraying hardware and software acquisition costs by using hosted hardware and software services just seems to make good sense. In fact the small networks might actually get a bigger benefit from Public/Private Cloud design than the big guys do. Windows Server 2012 fits squarely into the Private Cloud space and fills the need for local server and storage options, called resource pools, as well as the support for scaling up and down necessary Virtual Machines to service the Private side of the business and the Datacenter edition provides the most in terms of scalability options with limited cost licensing. .
The overhead associated with IT in a small shop is a much larger percentage of the total operating budget than in a larger organization. Cost savings really count! Minimizing licensing costs is important and may just lead even small businesses to the conclusion that its cheaper in the long run to just buy the Datacenter Edition of Windows Server 2012.