Note: If you have read this article earlier, please read this revised version of it as after getting multiple comments from different readers I have noticed that although the over all statement of the article was correct the calculation example was not fully accurate so I have gone through the Microsoft Licensing and the comments all over again and accommodated for this in my revised version.
In this post, I will show you a secret that you need to know if you are already using VMware vSphere or if you are planning to buy VMware vSphere. One call to Microsoft to recalculate your Windows/SQL licenses can give you a licenses cut on Microsoft licenses that will pay for VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and still save you tons of money a side. That means you don’t show management that you got vSphere Enterprise Plus for no Extra cost, but as well saved them a huge amount on Microsoft Licenses renewal. I was going to name this post:
How to get VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus for Free!!
Though I was worried of being misunderstood. OK, I have written a post more than a year back: Be Smart & Save huge on Microsoft Licensing with Virtualization. I believe its a must read if you are planning any kind of virtualization and Microsoft is your OS vendor. Below is the Summary of that Article.
* You can run up to Four Windows 2008(Any version including R2) virtual machines using one Windows 2008 Enterprise license as long they run on the same physical host. You can mix the four VMs where some of them run Standard Edition and some other run Enterprise Edition as required.
* You can run unlimited number of Windows 2008 (Any version including R2) virtual machines using one Windows 2008 Datacenter license as long they run on the same physical host. You can mix the four VMs where some of them run Standard Edition, some other run Enterprise Edition, and some other run Datacenter Edition as required.
Note: Microsoft Article that explain Windows Licensing in a Virtual Environment can be found at: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2008/en/us/licensing-R2.aspx
* You can run four instances of MS SQL virtual machines for a single SQL Enterprise License as long they run on the same physical host. You can mix and match your VMs to run MS SQL Standard or Enterprise as required.
* You can run unlimited number of MS SQL virtual machines for a single SQL Datacenter license as long they run on the same Physical host. You can mix and match your VMs to run MS SQL Standard, Enterprise, or Datacenter as required.
Note: Microsoft Article that Explain SQL Licensing in a Virtual Environment can be downloaded at: SQL Server 2008 R2 Licensing Quick Reference Guide
The above saving licensing schema work for any Hypervisor and not just Hyper-V.
These license saving schema definitely apply when running on VMware vSphere . Please check the article link I have pointed to above as that include link directly to Microsoft website providing the same message I am delivering here. Unfortunately Microsoft Team at least locally have been unfair at many customers and only told them this message if they run on Hyper-V and try to implicitly imply that it does not apply to other hypervisors which is totally misleading. Though the true is this licensing schema does apply to you if you are running other Hypervisors in particular VMware vSphere.
Lets take an example calculation for a small customer with 80 windows VMs (Larger environments will even see higher saving), and assume a 20:1 consolidation ratio which has became quite normal ratio in vSphere environment today. So that will give us a requirement for 4 ESX servers for this customer. Let’s assume 6 of these VMs utilize MS Sql standard & other 6 utilizes MS SQL Enterprise (Remember the more SQL servers that run on the environment and the higher the edition utilized the higher the saving go. Here I am just getting a fairly ratio for a similar type of environment). Further, lets assume each of these machines are running 2 CPUs and will run the same in a virtual environment.
Windows + Sql Licenses cost before Virtulization:
Windows 2008 R2 Standard ($1,029) * 80 Server = $82,320
6 SQL Standard Servers (2 CPU each) = 12 CPU of SQL Standard Edition
6 SQL Enterprise Edition (2 CPU each) = 12 CPU of SQL Enterprise Edition
SQL standard Processor License ($7,171) * 12 CPU + SQL Enterprise Processor Licnese ($27,495.00) * 12 CPU= $415,992
Total Microsoft Costs for SQL & Windows before Virtualizing: $82,320 + $415,992 = $498,312
Windows + Sql Licenses after Virtulization (Hopefully with VMware vSphere):
Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter Per Processor License ($2,999) * 8 CPUs (As DataCenter Edition is licensed per CPU) = $23,992 <== One Windows 2008 R2 Datacenter per Physical host for unlimited VMs (VMs can run Windows Datacenter/Enterprise/Standard), though its important to note that the minimum number of CPUs you can purchase for Datacenter Edition is 2 CPUs and its licensed per CPU, which was accommodated for in this calculation.
SQL Enterprise Per Processor License ($27,495.00) * 8 CPUs = $219,960 <== This should allow me to run up to 16 SQL VM with a choice of Std/Ent edition as long they run among my four ESX servers, which is two VMs more than I even require. You can keep them as a free spare gift of virtualization to your boss.
Total Microsoft Costs for SQL & Windows licenses after Virtualizing: = $23,992 + $219,960 = $243,952
The difference in Windows & SQL licensing before & after virtualization = $498,312 – $243,952 = $254,360
Wow that is $254,360 in Microsoft licensing saving cost just by virtualizing it. If the customer were to buy VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus with vCenter and 1 year support for the above enviornment he could obtain the VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus Acceleration Kit for 8 Processors including 1 year production support list price online is around $35,000 which leave the customer with a saving = $254,360 – $35,000 = $219,360. This should WoW your decision maker out. You are getting the most expensive version of vSphere and best platform of virtualization out there, but still saving the company over $219K in software licensing. Won’t you be the next Hero for your IT Department!! To be honest I knew you could save on Microsoft Licensing by virtualizing, but I was surprised by how big the numbers are even in a smaller environment.
Below are few important points to note about this calculation:
- This license saving is valid for any virtualization platform & not just Hyper-V, though the better density per server the higher saving you get which make VMware vSphere the perfect platform for this saving game.
- In the calculation above I assumed the company is only utilizing Windows standard Edition and if a higher version were utilized the saving will grow exponentially, but I just wanted to show the worst & the minimum saving you can achieve to ensure you will always get a better result than I have shown not the opposite.
- I have assumed the company have 6 SQL standard and 6 SQL Enterprise VMs on the setup but if the ratio of the enterprise were higher more saving would have been achieved. Further, I could have used the VMs to Host-Affinity rule, and forced the SQL VMs to only run on 2 ESX servers and would only have to pay the licensing for two hosts. SQL saving and calculation is a bit more tricky the Windows and you will always need to do your numbers and check the best configuration for your environment and to see if SQL DataCenter make a better sense or Enterprise in your environment which you should probably still do for your Windows as well. In this particular environment Enterprise Edition for SQL was a better choice, where DataCenter for Windows yield a better saving. Here I just meant to teach you the tricks and how it calculated in this example and will leave your innovation help you on the saving.
- This saving mechanism is applicable to you if you have already virtualized your environment or going to do it. So if you are already having your environment running on VMware vSphere and have not done that call to Microsoft to recalculate their licenses renewal based on your new virtualized environment then its the time to raise that phone and make this call!!.
VMware vSphere Customers What are you waiting for? Catch the phone & call Microsoft now & ask them to recalculate your volume licensing according to the virtualized schema and save tons of money.
As normal if you require any help or more info on this just drop me a comment below or drop me an e-mail. Happy Saving!!
* Pricing for both SQL & Windows was obtained from Microsoft Online Price list found at: