Licensing changes in Windows Server 2012

by ron on September 28, 2012

Here’s the summary of licensing changes in Windows Server 2012.


Licensing in Win2012 is now per dual processor, for both Standard and Datacenter.

Enterprise edition is now gone in Win 2012.

All software features will be available in both Standard and Datacenter editions.

You can’t mix and match Standard and Datacenter editions on the same server.


In contrast, in Win2008, Standard and Enterprise were per server, and Datacenter was per single processor (but they forced you to license a minimum of 2 processors).

In Win 2008, Standard edition covered you for 1 VM, Enterprise covered you for 4 VMs, and Datacenter covered unlimited VMs.


Aside from the “per dual proc” licensing model, Win 2012 Standard now covers 2 VMs (rather than just one), and Win 2012 Datacenter covers unlimited VMs (as it did in the prior edition).


Win 2012 Standard and Datacenter also require the purchase of Win 2012 CALs.

You can’t use Win 2008 CALs in order to access a Windows Server 2012 system.


Retail prices of Win 2008 R2:

  • Standard: $726 (per server)
  • Enterprise: $2358 (per server)
  • Datacenter: $4809 (per 2 processors)


Retail prices of Win 2012:

  • Standard: $882 (per 2 processors)
  • Datacenter: $4809 (per 2 processors)


Windows 2008 licensing comparison:


Windows 2012 licensing links:


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