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Foreword:please note that these reports have been productized with FlexNet Manager 2022R1 and the the new "per VM" metric for Windows Server Standard (updated on Jan 28th 2023 in this document) has been added as an enhancement to the existing report in 2022R2.
Goal of the document and audience
This document gives the details for two Microsoft Optimization reports, that allow to analyze the optimal licenses for virtualized environments (ESX servers and virtual machines) for Windows and SQL Server.
Indeed, Windows Server and SQL Server have complex licensing rules such environments. Depending on the infrastructure (particularly, the number of virtual machines per host), the use of an edition or another will be financially optimal.
This document is intended to SAM Managers that will use these optimization reports for their true ups for instance and FlexNet Manager admins that will be able to implement the code for the reports.
Business need and approach
Licensing Windows Server and SQL Server on ever changing virtualized infrastructures is a challenge.
Microsoft give a poisonous choice to license Windows Server:
Pay more and cover the ESX servers for an unlimited number of VMs with Windows Server Data Center Edition
Or cover the ESX with Windows Server Standard with a complicated licensing rule, proportional with the number of hosted VMs and a “mobility” rule that stipulates: “A license cannot be reused for 90 days on another host”. Note that in October 2022, a new "per VM" licensing has been offered to customers that have Software Assurance as an option. The Windows Server report also support this option.
This rule is very hard to apply, the calculations are complex… customers chose the safe but expensive (in USD millions) way of licensing all ESX server with Windows Server DataCenter!
A second complexity for Windows Server is that a bundle license (Microsoft Core Infrastructure Server (DataCenter or Standard Edition)) allows to license Windows Server (DataCenter or Standard Edition) and SCCM (all System Center agents).
For SQL Server, like for Windows server, there is a great temptation to cover virtualized environments with SQL Server Enterprise that can cover an unlimited number of VMs installed with SQL Server in any edition, while each VM must be licensed with Standard Edition. Contrarily to Windows Server, If SQL is covered by Software Assurance, you can license the “snapshot” position. No mobility rule exists for SQL server.
When they do not license all ESX servers’ cores with Enterprise Edition (Highly expensive approach), SAM Managers can spend hours in Excel for basic optimization (one complexity being the mix of SQL server Standard and Enterprise on the same hosts) before Microsoft true ups…
The two reports provided below will compute optimal license to choose on each ESX server and evaluate the saving FNMS allows, taking the assumption that without the report, SAM Managers would license all ESX servers with SQL Server Enterprise or Windows Server Data Center edition.
An extension of the reports is to use an allocation script (a sample is provided for Windows Server), that will allocate the hosts and the VMs to the optimal license, every morning, as a step in the custom Inventory
Microsoft - Windows Server Consumption and Optimization (NR)
Microsoft - SQL Server Consumption and Optimization (NR)