Windows Server

Windows Server 2016
Standard and Datacenter Editions Licensing Datasheet

Product Overview

Bringing cloud-inspired capabilities to your datacenter, Windows Server 2016 gives you the platform you need to drive competitive value. Advances in compute, networking, storage, and security give you added flexibility to meet changing business requirements. Modern application platform features, including Windows Server Containers, increase speed and agility. Make innovation easier with Windows Server 2016.

Datacenter and Standard Editions Overview



Datacenter Edition for highly virtualized private and hybrid cloud environments.
Standard Edition for non-virtualized or lightly virtualized environments.

Note: Other editions will also be available with more information coming in 2016.
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OSE: Operating System Environment
*Standard Edition permits use of up to 2 OSEs or 2 Hyper-V containers. Datacenter permits unlimited OSEs and Hyper-V containers on a server.
Actual customer prices may vary.
+ Azure-inspired features for advanced software-defined scenarios.


Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter Editions Licensing Models

The licensing of Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions will shift to be based on physical cores from the prior licensing model based on processors. Core based licensing provides a more consistent licensing metric regardless of where the solution is deployed on-premises or in a cloud. The Windows Server 2016 licensing model for Standard and Datacenter will be.

Cores + CAL

To license a physical server, all physical cores must be licensed in the server. A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor in the server and a minimum of 16 cores is required to be licensed for servers with one processor.

  • The price of 16-core licenses of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard Edition will be same price as the 2 proc license of the corresponding editions of the Windows Server 2012 R2 version.
  • Standard Edition provides rights for up to 2 OSEs or Hyper-V containers when all physical cores in the server are licensed. Multiple licenses can be assigned to the same cores for additional OSEs or Hyper-V containers.
  • Each user and/or device accessing a licensed Windows Server Standard or Datacenter edition requires a Windows Server CAL. Each Window Server CAL allows access to multiple licenses Windows Servers.
  • A Windows Server CAL gives a user or device the right to access any edition of Windows Server of the same or earlier version.
  • Some additional or advanced functionality such as Remote Desktop Services or Active Directory Rights Management Services will continue to require the purchase of an additive CAL.


How to license the physical cores for Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter Editions

  • License all the physical cores in the server
  • Minimum of 8 core licenses required for each proc
  • Minimum of 16 core licenses required for each server
  • Core licenses will be sold in packs of two*.

seerver 2016_licensing
*8 two-core packs will be the minimum required to license each physical server. The two-core pack for each edition is 1/8th the price of a two proc license for corresponding 2012 R2 editions.

Move to Core-based Licensing

  • Customers with processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) can upgrade to Windows Server 2016 at no additional cost. At end of the SA term, processor licenses will be exchanged for core licenses and customers can renew their SA on core licenses.
  • Windows Server Datacenter and Standard Edition 2-proc licenses with SA will be exchanged for a minimum of 8 two-core pack licenses (16 core licenses) or the actual number of physical cores in use.
  • At the end of agreement term, customers should do a self-inventory to document the number of physical cores in each processor in use that are licensed with Windows Server processor licenses with SA. This will enable customers to receive the appropriate number of core licenses to continue deployments.
  • Standard Edition licenses with SA assigned to 4-proc servers running more than 2 OSEs will receive license grants to cover the additional OSEs. If no inventory is done, grants of 16 core licenses (8 two-core packs) will be provided for each 2-proc license with SA.
  • Customers in an existing licensing agreements with Microsoft, such as an Enterprise Agreement or Server and Cloud Enrollment, will be able to continue to purchase processor licenses through the end of the term of their agreement.
  • Customers can do self-inventory using the Microsoft Assessment Planning Toolkit, the Microsoft Software Inventory Logging Aggregator (new tool) or other inventory tools and processes to achieve a time/date stamped inventory of hardware on which Windows Server is installed.