Server 2003 EULA

I manage four client's low volume servers. I've recently came up with the idea to put their servers in a hosted datacenter. I want to rent one server there, install ESX and host six to ten Windows 2003 servers (they all have DC, Exchange servers. Some have one/two Terminal servers).

I ran this by Microsoft and they told me that it would violate their EULA to have more than one company's server on one physical machine. They went on to say I could have up to four VMs running on one physical machine for one client (only if I purchased Enterprise) but as soon as I bring another client into the mix I have to have a entirely different physical server. This totally defeats my point of consolidating the servers and saving my clients money (I only service non-profits, and they are strapped for cash, I work for far less than you would think)

I will not go ahead with this plan without covering all of my bases, as the last thing my clients need is to get shut down by Microsoft for EULA violation. I know this is unlikely, but I like to do things by the book.

Can anyone give me some references or advice on my situation?



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2 Replies


If you're running four virtual windows machines, then you would of course need 4 os licenses for these os installations.

Microsoft is however aware of virtualization[/url] and if you buy 1 enterprise license (costs ~ double price of standard) you might have 4 virtual windows machines. If you buy 2 enterprise licenses you can have 8 instances, etc.

In addition, if you buy a Datacenter[/url] license you can have unlimited windows VMs on that host: "With VMWare GSX Server or SWsoft Virtuozzo, this means you can run one physical instance plus unlimited virtual instances. With VMWare ESX Server, it means you can run unlimited virtual instances because there is no need for a physical instance."

There's also alot of info in the following document:


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Lars what you are saying is correct but only so far.

I the only why Brian could posibably stay legal would be to investigate the SPLA licensing model, this EULA was designed for hosted environments. He as the license owner would then be authorised to rent out usage of the machines, this would satisfy MS of the single ownership environment. I am not sure of the virtualisation rights under SPLA aggremments though.

Tom Howarth VCP / VCAP / vExpert
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