Every business is different. Find out which edition is best for your environment.
The following comparison is based on the newest version of Windows Server, 2022.
Recommended for businesses that require minimal virtualization & scalabilityShop Standard
Recommended for businesses that have highly virtualized environmentsShop Datacenter
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Windows Server 2022 Datacenter and Standard utilize a core-based licensing model, meaning the number of core licenses needed depends on whether licensing is based on on-premise or cloud/hybrid environments.
Licensing is based on physical cores for on-premise environments. The number of core licenses required is equivalent to the number of physical cores on the server, with a minimum of 8 core licenses per physical processor and 16 core licenses per server.
Licensing for cloud/hybrid environments is based on virtual machines. The number of core licenses needed is equivalent to the number of virtual cores in the virtual machine, with a minimum of 8 core licenses per virtual machine. Subscription licenses or active Software Assurance are necessary for licensing by virtual machine on the cloud/hybrid environments.
Want a more detailed comparison?
View our Windows Server licensing comparison matrix and compare all the latest versions.
In order to access your server environment, you will need CALs (Client Access Licenses). Determine the best way to gain access based on your business needs.
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Frequently Asked Questions
If the minimum requirement is 16 cores, why is there a 2 core SKU available?
The 2 core SKU is intended as an additional SKU for cloud or hybrid environment licenses, which must total to meet the minimum requirements.
I only have a 4 core machine. Is it really necessary for me to purchase a 16 core license?
Yes, according to licensing guidelines for on-premise environments, a minimum 16 core license must be purchased.
Why is an OVL Datacenter license required for my ESXi environment?
Retail Licensing uses AVMA licenses to spin up your unlimited virtual machines which would need to be done through Hyper-V so that they can communicate with the host machine in order to activate. with ESXi, each container is ultimately independent of each other and there would be no way to ultimately communicate with the "Host". This would be why ESXi customers who are deploying their instances on separate containers would require the Open Value variation as it provides MAK or Mass Activation Key(s) which do not require communication with each other to activate. It simply requires an internet connection to ping to the Microsoft Servers.
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