Microsoft Windows 2016 Licensing Calculation

Windows 2016 is announced and there are many great features included especially containers support.  One of the major improvement is reducing the number of management console as well which is greatly appreciated.

There is also some changes to the licenses. Remember the licensing cost in Windows 2012R2 Datacenter edition was increase comparing to Windows 2012?  Windows 2016 has also some changes not in price but in the way it license stated here.  Refer to Question 7 of the FAQ.

Below is the table to see the pricing since Windows 2012 to Windows 2016.

Windows 2012
Windows 2012 R2
Windows 2016

Taking Datacenter Edition, it seems that from Window 2012 to Windows 2012R2 was the only price increased and Microsoft has kept the cost the same for Windows 2016.  However there are some changes not known unless you read the pricing document.

Do note of the caveats.  For Windows 2016 Standard, it allows two OS Instances running on two CPUs.  For Windows 2016 Datacenter, it allows unlimited OS Instances running on two CPUs.

Source: extracted from FAQ doc above.

As from the FAQ document, it has explained. Referring to the diagram above you might get a little confused like I do the first time.

First, look at the left it tells you how many physical CPU your server has.  If it has 2, then refer to the top row on number of physical cores per CPU.  If it has 10 cores per CPU and you have 2 CPU, you will need more than one Windows 2016 Datacenter edition license.  That is also why it is highlighted in grey.  Doesn't sound right does it?  Yes if you are still using Windows 2012R2, it does not matter how many cores you have as long its 2 CPUs, you are covered with just one license of Datacenter edition.

The new licensing in Windows 2016 has included a core factor which lightly cost more especially in today's context of server CPU which comes with at least 10 cores and above.  Logically no one is going to just use one CPU server so price is going to be different as you will definitely use more than 1 license which also means higher cost.  Unless you try to save licenses by having one CPU servers then your cost of server will increased.

From Question 7 from the FAQ, you will minimum need a 8 cores license for each physical CPU (comprises of 4 x two cores pack).  With each two cores pack can only be used to top up with a CPU has more than 8 cores.  Each server must be licensed with at least 16 cores  (comprises of 2 x eight cores pack).

What this means to me, one physical server including those with one CPU will minimum need to be licensed with a 16 cores license (One Windows 2016 Datacenter edition license).  Additional cores that is in the server need to be licensed in increments of 2 cores pack (1/8 of a 16 cores license = $769).  If an additional CPU has less than 8 cores, it will be licensed with 8 cores license pack (minimum = rip off).

To start how do you proceed?  You will ask yourself the below:
1) How many CPU does one server has?
  • 1 CPU =  one Windows 2016 Datacenter edition license
  • 2 CPUs, less or equal to 8 cores per CPU = one Windows 2016 Datacenter edition license
  • 2 CPUs, more than 8 cores per CPU = one Windows 2016 Datacenter edition license + increment of 1/8 (2 cores pack) of one Windows 2016 Datacenter edition license

Example of some scenarios with Windows 2016 in comparison to Windows 2012R2
1 CPU with 6 or 8 or 10 cores up to 16 cores the price of the licensing will be
1 x $6,155 = $6,155
On Windows 2012R2: $6,155 - SAME

2 CPUs with each 6 cores the price of the licensing will be
1 x $6,155 = $6,155
On Windows 2012R2: $6,155 - SAME

2 CPUs with each 10 cores the price of the licensing will be
1 x $6,155 + 2/8 * $6,155 = $7,693.75
On Windows 2012R2: $6,155 - 25% Increased

2 CPUs with each 16 cores the price of the licensing will be
2 x $6,155 = $12,210
On Windows 2012R2: $6,155 - 200% increased

The more cores you have per processor beyond 8 cores per CPU on a 2 CPUs server, the more expensive it will be comparing to Windows 2012R2.  Very frightening indeed.

If such licensing on cores, will companies adopt Windows 2016 or stay on Windows 2012R2.

Feel free to comment if I missed out or got anything wrong.

If such new licensing releasing for Microsoft wonder if VMware will change any more in licensing since the last one on vMemory was not successful.
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