I've searched the Vmware and Redhat forums and cannot find an answer to this question:
In my University we are starting to install ESX servers to virtualize a mix of Windows and Redhat servers, particularly to deploy servers from templates. I just want to clarify what the licensing requirements are for the guest machines.
Up until now, for each physical server we have purchased blocks of licenses for the Windows servers and we register each of the Redhat AS4 servers with the Redhat Network.
In a virtual environment I believe the licensing requirements are the same for each guest machine. Is this correct?
With Windows 2003 standard this is true, but if you use Enterprise you can run 4 virtual machines from the single licence.
If you use the Datacenter version of windows you can have unlimited vm's on this box.
It does get complicated though, I'm not sure how the licence model handles vmotion.
To be honest, continuing the 1 licence 1 server model is a safe bet.
Hi Mr-T ,
Thanks for the answer. I should clarify that we use a mix of Windows 2003 server versions:
Standard 32/64-bit , Enterprise 32/64-bit.
We do not have any Datacenter or web editions of Windows server 2003.
Since October 1, 2006, Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition has been available with unlimited virtualization rights through Volume Licensing and OEMs. This means customers can license the processors in any server with Datacenter Edition, then run an unlimited number of virtualized instances of Windows Server Standard[/b], Enterprise[/b] and/or Datacenter Editons on any virtualization platform, including VMware's ESX.
If the customer is running more than 4 VMs per processor (socket, not core) then they will save money and you'll increase revenue per server.
For VMotion, the target server has to have enough unused licenses for the VMs you are moving. The Microsoft licenses are tied to the physical servers, not the VMs. If you license with Datacenter Editon, you'll always have enough (unlimited) Windows Server licenses.
I believe from the Red Hat side the licensing is per virtual machine, treating each as if they are a physical. At least that is how all our licensing with Red Hat has been although we do not have AS4 so I don't know if anything has changed recently