Per server licensing

by Volker Weber

Andrew has a good question regarding per server licensing:

What if I run one really fast 4 processor machine configured with Linux as the host system and VMWARE hosting 10 virtual windows 2003 servers? Is that one, four, ten, or forty licenses?

Make those processors dual core and you can add eight and eighty to the question. I haven't seen any good answers yet.


There are no GOOD answers. It is like asking what a house or car or other large item is "worth". It is worth what someone will pay for it. For our products, we would charge for 10 server licenses, and if our customers were willing to pay for ten server licenses, then we would have a good answer.

I honestly feel that people make too much of this sort of question. To compare it with something many people are more familiar with, take hourly wages. Let us assume that someone makes 20 euros an hour. He or she makes the same 20 euros for the hour when hell and high water are overcome to meet a deadline and for the hour when nothing but chatting by the water cooler takes place. Similarly, some servers serve 10000 people and others serve 100. So what? If the person who needs the server license needs it, the price is fair. If they didn't really need it that badly, the software company is likely to have to adjust. Some people buy our Midas product and get incredible value out of it, and some can barely justify it. So what? They both bought it. What the market will bear, and all that.

Ben Langhinrichs, 2005-10-14

Assuming that they are using the VMware Workstation version, that would be 10 win 2003 server licenses (single processor)

If they are using the ESX version of VMWare and emulating multiple processors then it would increase. When I spoke to Microsoft about this, they said they treat the VMware/Virtual PC as a real PC and the licensing reflects that.

Carl Tyler, 2005-10-14

MS has published a paper about multi-core CPUs: "licensed on a per-processor, and not on a per-core, model".

Jörg-Stefan Sell, 2005-10-14

Hmm, what to license per seat and all is over ;-) ?!

Henrik Heigl, 2005-10-14

And here you can find a MS document about "Licensing Microsoft Windows Server and Other Microsoft Server Software in a Virtual Machine Environment".

Jörg-Stefan Sell, 2005-10-14

I think the answers here show that it may be a good question -- but an easily answered one. Just ask the vendor in question. Whether or not you like their answer may be more of an issue.

Dave Armstrong, 2005-10-14

I don't know why Hartmut sent me this by mail instead of posting it here, but I recommend reading this article as well.

Volker Weber, 2005-10-14

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