Windows Server 2016 Licensing

Windows Server 2016 Licensing 1920 480 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

With the advent of Windows Server 2016 in mid-October comes Microsoft’s transition to core licensing. For those familiar with SQL Standard and Enterprise licensing the core licensing model for Windows Server is much the same albeit with different minimum requirements. What it means is that Microsoft has deprecated the processor (socket) licenses and now Windows Server and Datacenter can only be licensed under the new core model.

What you need to know:

  • Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter licensed per physical CPU cores.
  • Core licensing is sold in 2-core packs with all physical cores (not sockets) required to be licensed.
  • Minimum core licensing requirement is for 8 physical cores or 4x 2-core packs.
  • If all physical cores are licensed with Standard cores the entitlement is 2x virtual OSEs under OEM/VL and 1x virtual OSE under SPLA. Under SPLA each subsequent virtual OSE requires the re-licensing of all physical cores.
  • If all physical cores are licensed with Datacenter cores the entitlement is unlimited virtual OSEs under OEM, VL or SPLA.
  • Core licensing model applies retrospectively to all Windows Server operating systems once a Windows Server 2016 instance is deployed or your licensing agreement is renewed.

When this new model applies to your business will depend on your licensing arrangement with Microsoft and the agreement type it falls under.

If you are reporting license consumption via an MSP under SPLA then the transition will occur either as soon as Windows Server 2016 is in use anywhere or when the license provider’s agreement is renewed whichever occurs first.

If you have your own volume licensing as either OVL or OVS then the licensing model and pricing changes will not apply until the end of the agreement term. If you have bought perpetual licenses, then the core licensing model will not apply to you unless at some point you decide to renew Software Assurance.

Microsoft is notorious for being unclear and ambiguous on the details of their products especially when it comes to license compliancy, for that reason we have compiled a few example scenarios of how to license various environments correctly.

Window Server 2016 Licensing model

In the previous licensing model only the number of processors (sockets) and the number of operating system environments (OSEs) determined the licensing requirements. When applying the new licensing model to the same environment the 3 Windows Server OSEs now need to be licensed individually with the amount of Standard 2-core license packs equal to the number of physical cores on all sockets. Since there are 20 physical cores in the host, 10x Standard 2-core license packs are required for each two OSEs under OEM or Volume Licensing and the same amount for every one OSE under SPLA. So under an OEM/VL licensing model the environment requires 20x Standard 2-core packs for an entitlement of up to 4x virtual OSEs which covers the current 3 virtual servers. As under SPLA the entitlement is only one virtual OSE per fully licensed physical cores, 30x Standard 2-core packs are required. 10x for each virtual server.


In this scenario the environment has been upgraded with two new physical servers both running Server 2016 workloads. The virtual host has a total of 16 physical CPU cores. 4 virtual OSEs need to each be licensed with core licensing under SPLA (8x 2-core packs per OSE) or every 2 OSEs needs to be core licensed under OEM or Volume Licensing (8x 2-core packs per 2 OSEs). The bare metal server also needs to be licensed under core licensing with 4x 2-core packs for the single physical OSE. Even though it only has 4 physical cores, Microsoft licensing minimums dictate that at least 8 physical cores must be licensed regardless. Since only one OSE needs to be licensed the requirement is the same under both OEM/VL and SPLA.

Accessing Windows Applications from your Mac or iPad, and other devices

Accessing Windows Applications from your Mac or iPad, and other devices 1000 450 Greenlight Managed IT Support Services | Sydney | Melbourne

Many people love the ease and elegance of Apple products, but did you know that with a bit of clever engineering, it is possible to access your Windows only Application from other devices? We do this for many of our clients through Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Service.

Apple ships a basic RDP client with the Mac, but this has limitations if you intend to use an RD Gateway like we do for additional security. However all is not lost. There are other applications out there, and here’s a brief summary of our experience:

The best Mac/iDevice app to use that supports RD Gateways is called Microsoft Remote Desktop (MRD) and is available via the App store at no cost. This app currently requires OSX 10.7 or iOS 7.0 or later. This requirement usually changes when new OSs are released so be careful to check this before you install.
Recently we have seen this app have major problems with iOS 8.0 in that it will not work with the RD Gateway properly as well as causing session crashes due to some of the passed through touchscreen gestures. We do not know at this time if either problem is fixed in iOS 8.3.

For people that do have these problems the other two choices are apps called 2X and CoRD. Both are free and have similar OS requirements as MRD. However neither supports the use of the RD Gateway.

Our Customers have reported 2X is actually a lot more fluid and adjust the display settings better than MRD when connecting to the server, and it does not suffer from the session crashing issue either with the touchscreen gestures.

We no longer recommend CoRD. It appears to no longer being updated or may even now be removed from the app store. It’s ability to forward printing devices from OSX was also deprecated some time ago with official word from the developer that they essentially have no intention to ever fix it.
if you do try an OSX update keep in mind that you may be running other software that will not work with the new OSX version without also being upgraded (usually at a cost). One very good example of this is Parallels. We’ve not yet seen a version of Parallels that will run on multiple OSX versions. You will have to also upgrade their Parallels version or abandon their Windows VM.

Also note that upgrading OSX is only free of charge for users upgrading from 10.6.8 or later to 10.10.3 (Yosemite). Mavericks is no longer available on the Mac App store and if you do not wish to upgrade to 10.10.3 you will have to purchase the intermediary versions e.g. 10.7, 10.8 etc. as these are not provided free.
If connecting from an Android phone or tablet then Microsoft Remote Desktop is also available from the Play Store as is 2X. The required Android version varies between devices so best method is just to test it.