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[Cringe] Windows Dedi's. How do YOU do it legally?
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[Cringe] Windows Dedi's. How do YOU do it legally?

How many Low End Providers provide completely legal windows hosts?

What company do you use for licensing?

How do you obtain install media legally?

Do you take measures to prevent people from abusing the 180 day "trials" and your tech's time by reinstalling twice a year?

I've flat out turned orders away when someone wanted me to download "their windows image" from bit torrent before. WTF no get out of here.

Then again if they ordered KVMoIP there's no stopping them from pirating windows themselves and uploading it via iso mount. But I think at least that way we have deniability and are sufficiently distanced from the piracy so as not to be liable. Probably...

On one hand I'm not particularly interested in playing license police. On the other, I don't want to subject us to legal risk. So I wildly prefer any Libre/Free OS over anything not.

But how do you other providers offer Windows Dedi's legally?

Comments

  • K4Y5K4Y5 Member

    Tagging @Francisco & @seriesn who seem to be doing this right :tongue:

  • FranciscoFrancisco Top Provider

    @K4Y5 said: Tagging @Francisco & @seriesn who seem to be doing this right

    Dedi's are different than a VPS since a VPS node you can use bigger licenses to group things better.

    There's a good reason a lot of places don't offer Windows since it can be annoying. Microsoft has changed their way of licensing a few times now. They've flip flopped between licensing per socket or per core multiple times depending on how CPU trends are.

    Francisco

    BuyVM - Free DirectAdmin, Softaculous, & Blesta! / Anycast Support! / Windows 2008, 2012, & 2016! / Unmetered Bandwidth!
    BuyShared - Shared & Reseller Hosting / cPanel + Softaculous + CloudLinux / Pure SSD! / Free Dedicated IP Address
  • MikeAMikeA Member, Provider
    edited August 2

    I don't think people offering free Windows licenses for VPS will share how they do it or who they go through, some may be using licenses via different methods. Dedicated seems simple, just expensive.

    I have considered it in the past and always though it was ridiculous. I will never touch Windows licensing for servers, especially since I don't use Windows Server myself.

    ExtraVM - AMD Ryzen VPS starting @ $3.50
    USA (TX, VA, FL), CA, FR, UK, SGP, AU

  • UnixfyUnixfy Member

    Considering Windows is made by Microsoft, you could probably get a great answer if you contact Microsoft.

    Thanked by 1TimboJones

    Visit my website || Add me on Discord: Unixfy#3061

  • @Unixfy said:
    Considering Windows is made by Microsoft, you could probably get a great answer if you contact Microsoft.

    You wish.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers
  • jackbjackb Member, Provider
    edited August 2

    @SCAM_DONT_BUY said:

    @Unixfy said:
    Considering Windows is made by Microsoft, you could probably get a great answer if you contact Microsoft.

    You wish.

    I heard you can call up about licencing three times and get three completely different answers.

    Afterburst - Awesome OpenVZ&KVM VPS in US+EU

  • jhjh Member

    @Unixfy said:
    Considering Windows is made by Microsoft, you could probably get a great answer if you contact Microsoft.

    Actually, no. Microsoft's model is channel sales so you need to go through a distributor. Half of the battle is finding a good distributor who offers reliable information and doesn't try to rip you off.

    For low volume, it's easier to use retail licences. Your can sometimes find sealed retail licences on eBay for not too much money.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers
  • @UnrealServers said: Do you take measures to prevent people from abusing the 180 day "trials" and your tech's time by reinstalling twice a year?

    Why?
    That's none of your business.
    It's either you offer custom ISO support or you don't.
    You might as well check your clients websites just in case they use nulled software, plugins and/or themes.

    Thanked by 2K4Y5 Cdoe
  • dustincdustinc Member, Provider

    If you plan on offering Windows on your dedicated server product line, you should consider becoming a SPLA partner. If you're looking for a recommendation, softchoice.com is awesome to work with.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers

    RackNerd LLC - Introducing Infrastructure Stability
    Dedicated Servers, Private Cloud, DRaaS, Colocation, VPS, DDoS Mitigation, Shared & Reseller Hosting

  • Shouldn't you have to have a Provider tag to post here? This guy seems to be leeching business tips from actually experienced hosters every day.

    Then again if they ordered KVMoIP there's no stopping them from pirating windows themselves and uploading it via iso mount. But I think at least that way we have deniability and are sufficiently distanced from the piracy so as not to be liable. Probably...

    Oh, geez. You better find out what your liability is or isn't, ignorance isn't a legal defense. Not sure how you think you're distanced by ignoring it. What you call "deniability" could easily be argued by a lawyer as intentional enablement!

  • jarjar Provider
    edited August 2

    @lokuzard said: That's none of your business.

    That's not really how this issue works. A host generally wants to keep a good relationship with software vendors that have the power to cut them off or make them pay fines to stay in their programs. Just because MS hasn't been able to keep up this last decade doesn't mean they can't or won't.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/learn-more/compliance-verification-faq

    Microsoft license compliance verification (commonly known as “audit”) is a formal, mandatory compliance review of a company's use of Microsoft products and services, and it is part of the Microsoft license and contract compliance program. Microsoft conducts industry-standard compliance reviews with its business customers through an independent auditor pursuant to the terms of their agreement. This review is an effort to help customers achieve and maintain license compliance, and to protect Microsoft intellectual property rights. Therefore, be assured that unless Microsoft invokes its contractual right to verify compliance via a third-party accounting firm (as fully documented in your Volume Licensing Agreement), you are not involved in a license compliance verification.

    Microsoft absolutely does consider it their business if unlicensed copies are running on the network of a company that is part of their volume license agreement, something easily known by scanning public facing systems (when you know how many licenses the provider has). If there is no agreement with that company, they may have the right to file a lawsuit if they see fit. What you do on a provider's network can absolutely be their business.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers
  • qpsqps Member, Provider

    @jh said: For low volume, it's easier to use retail licences. Your can sometimes find sealed retail licences on eBay for not too much money.

    This is not alllowed with retail license types. If you are offering hosted services, you have to go through the SPLA.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers
  • qpsqps Member, Provider

    @UnrealServers We use Insight for our SPLA licenses. Once a month, you have to report to Insight how many licenses you used in the prior month. The license pricing is per-core based. It isn't legal to use retail licenses or trial licenses - you must license through the SPLA for proper license compliance.

  • hzrhzr Member, Moderator

    @lokuzard said: That's none of your business. It's either you offer custom ISO support or you don't. You might as well check your clients websites just in case they use nulled software, plugins and/or themes.

    Yes, you absolutely should be proactively doing this and also checking your network for unlicenced Windows.

    Thanked by 2jar UnrealServers
  • jsgjsg Member

    I'm appalled to see how Microsoft seems to turn a whole market segment (dedi and VPS hosting) into a legal nightmare and a "police state" where providers are all but forced to spy on their clients.
    And I better understand now why many providers don't make it exactly easy to mount and install one's own ISOs - Unix, well noted, not MS or the poisoned apple.

    Thanks no.

  • jarjar Provider

    @jsg said:
    I'm appalled to see how Microsoft seems to turn a whole market segment (dedi and VPS hosting) into a legal nightmare and a "police state" where providers are all but forced to spy on their clients.
    And I better understand now why many providers don't make it exactly easy to mount and install one's own ISOs - Unix, well noted, not MS or the poisoned apple.

    The technical gap is likely more responsible for that. Uploading ISOs client side just isn’t really a part of licensed control panel software.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers
  • hzrhzr Member, Moderator

    @jsg said: I'm appalled to see how Microsoft seems to turn a whole market segment (dedi and VPS hosting) into a legal nightmare and a "police state" where providers are all but forced to spy on their clients.

    I'm appalled to see people openly stealing and using nulled software, especially from smaller businesses that can't afford to take the hit

  • jsgjsg Member

    @hzr said:
    I'm appalled to see people openly stealing and using nulled software, especially from smaller businesses that can't afford to take the hit

    Agreed, that is appalling too.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers

    Thanks no.

  • @TimboJones said:
    Shouldn't you have to have a Provider tag to post here? This guy seems to be leeching business tips from actually experienced hosters every day.

    Well, no. You mistook provider with offer.

    Also what's the harm in someone want to learn / leeching some information / business tips. That's literally how forum works.

    People ask stuff here. If provider doesn't want to get leeched then simply don't answer.

  • raindog308raindog308 Moderator

    @jsg said: And I better understand now why many providers don't make it exactly easy to mount and install one's own ISOs - Unix, well noted, not MS or the poisoned apple.

    It should be technically possible to reject mounting a Windows ISO. All you have to do is scan it to see what files it contains and eject it automatically if it has Microsoft setup.

    Yes, people could then obfuscate, etc. so it could be a bit of an arms race.

    There's probably also a way to check what's being booted every time a VM boots. You have to tread lightly but it shouldn't be hard to identify an NTFS filesystem versus Linux and shut down the VM.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers

    For LET support, please visit the support desk.

  • SpryServers_TabSpryServers_Tab Member, Provider
    edited August 3

    If you want to "Legally" offer Windows servers, you MUST have SPLA contract. We use SoftwareOne. They're a decent company to deal with. The only shitty part is you have to pay by wire transfer or paper check. You can set up credit card payments, but they charge additional for them, and you have to request they enable it for your account.

    *One important thing to note about SPLA. YOU MUST handle the install and activation of the Windows OS. You may not disclose your licensing keys to the end-user.

    Thanked by 1UnrealServers

    Tab Fitts | Founder/CEO - Spry Servers
    SSD Shared Hosting || VPS || Dedicated Servers || Network Status || PHX1 LG || DAL1 LG ||1-844-799-HOST (4678)

  • @yokowasis said:

    @TimboJones said:
    Shouldn't you have to have a Provider tag to post here? This guy seems to be leeching business tips from actually experienced hosters every day.

    Well, no. You mistook provider with offer.

    Also what's the harm in someone want to learn / leeching some information / business tips. That's literally how forum works.

    People ask stuff here. If provider doesn't want to get leeched then simply don't answer.

    Fair enough, I've made that argument many times here, myself.

    Thanked by 2UnrealServers netomx
  • UnrealServersUnrealServers Member
    edited August 5

    Thanks! I just joined here to have discussions about low end hosting with other hosters who want to have discussions about low end hosting, and listen to where the industry is going and what clients want.

    I frankly wish windows would disappear off this Earth. It's where I started, but these days, it's laughable in comparison to real server operating systems. I'm not putting mice out on the datacenter floor anymore. Even colo customers with windows boxes need to bring their own.

    If one more damn crash cart mouse cord wastes my time when I meant to plug in instead of the keyboard, I'm gonna cut it off! "convert it to wireless".... Windows seems to generate way more headaches than Libre operating systems and that's the last thing I need.

    Thanks everyone who had SPLA's to recommend! That was very helpful!
    https://www.softwareone.com/en-us/ cc payments difficult/expensive
    https://www.softchoice.com/
    https://www.insight.com/en_US/home.html

    Do SPLA's count virtual cores, or for instance, could I get some crazy fast box to put all windows vms on, and write a script to shut off cores until it's at 90% capacity. Maybe dynamicaly scale the number of physical cores in use to accommodate the best price efficiency.

    Thanked by 1vimalware
  • raindog308raindog308 Moderator
    edited August 5

    @UnrealServers said: I'm not putting mice out on the datacenter floor anymore. Even colo customers with windows boxes need to bring their own.

    If one more damn crash cart mouse cord wastes my time when I meant to plug in instead of the keyboard, I'm gonna cut it off! "convert it to wireless".

    Windows Server has offered a no-GUI, entirely CLI option since 2008.

    For LET support, please visit the support desk.

  • hzrhzr Member, Moderator

    @UnrealServers said: Do SPLA's count virtual cores, or for instance, could I get some crazy fast box to put all windows vms on, and write a script to shut off cores until it's at 90% capacity. Maybe dynamicaly scale the number of physical cores in use to accommodate the best price efficiency.

    I believe you pay for DC edition based on physical then run infinite windows VMs?

  • @raindog308 said:

    @UnrealServers said: I'm not putting mice out on the datacenter floor anymore. Even colo customers with windows boxes need to bring their own.

    If one more damn crash cart mouse cord wastes my time when I meant to plug in instead of the keyboard, I'm gonna cut it off! "convert it to wireless".

    Windows Server has offered a no-GUI, entirely CLI option since 2008.

    Oh, he's all red flags to me. I'm curious what OS he recommends to replace all the active directory boxes at the big enterprises. ClearOS?

    Thanked by 1raindog308
  • rcxbrcxb Member
    edited August 6

    @TimboJones said:
    I'm curious what OS he recommends to replace all the active directory boxes at the big enterprises.

    Active Directory was just Microsoft adopting kerberos+ldap, which Unix systems had for years before Microsoft jumped on-board. Many options for kerberos+ldap (different UI options) on Linux, and just need to setup some extra fields for compatibility with Windows clients. You don't even need dedicated servers, it's very lightweight.

    Companies only seem to bother with Microsoft servers because "I can point-and-click my way through and get something working" Windows System Admins are cheaper and more numerous than Linux Admins.

    Thanked by 1AlwaysSkint
  • SpryServers_TabSpryServers_Tab Member, Provider
    edited August 6

    @UnrealServers said:
    Thanks! I just joined here to have discussions about low end hosting with other hosters who want to have discussions about low end hosting, and listen to where the industry is going and what clients want.

    I frankly wish windows would disappear off this Earth. It's where I started, but these days, it's laughable in comparison to real server operating systems. I'm not putting mice out on the datacenter floor anymore. Even colo customers with windows boxes need to bring their own.

    If one more damn crash cart mouse cord wastes my time when I meant to plug in instead of the keyboard, I'm gonna cut it off! "convert it to wireless".... Windows seems to generate way more headaches than Libre operating systems and that's the last thing I need.

    Thanks everyone who had SPLA's to recommend! That was very helpful!
    https://www.softwareone.com/en-us/ cc payments difficult/expensive
    https://www.softchoice.com/
    https://www.insight.com/en_US/home.html

    Do SPLA's count virtual cores, or for instance, could I get some crazy fast box to put all windows vms on, and write a script to shut off cores until it's at 90% capacity. Maybe dynamicaly scale the number of physical cores in use to accommodate the best price efficiency.

    Nope, doesn't work that way. It is charged per physical core of the actual server. It requires a minimum physical core count of 16 per license. They are sold in 2-packs.

    If you have a 4 core server, you still have to purchase: 8x2-core packs. If you have a 32 core, you buy 16x2 core packs. If you want to do virtualization, use datacenter edition. Otherwise, you have to license each VPS and each one has to be licensed for the same size as the physical host - regardless of how many cores you assign to the VPS.

    *Also, Microsoft requires a minimum commit of $100/mo in licenses

    Tab Fitts | Founder/CEO - Spry Servers
    SSD Shared Hosting || VPS || Dedicated Servers || Network Status || PHX1 LG || DAL1 LG ||1-844-799-HOST (4678)

  • @rcxb said:

    @TimboJones said:
    I'm curious what OS he recommends to replace all the active directory boxes at the big enterprises.

    Active Directory was just Microsoft adopting kerberos+ldap, which Unix systems had for years before Microsoft jumped on-board. Many options for kerberos+ldap (different UI options) on Linux, and just need to setup some extra fields for compatibility with Windows clients. You don't even need dedicated servers, it's very lightweight.

    Companies only seem to bother with Microsoft servers because "I can point-and-click my way through and get something working" Windows System Admins are cheaper and more numerous than Linux Admins.

    My point was what works and what's in use. For years, I looked at replacing Microsoft shit with various Linux based groupware solutions, and it was just a shitload more effort and issues (lacked features) unless you had admins to throw at it. Of course, someone who went the SoGo way and committed to it probably got over it, but if you had a business to run, not every one could roll their own.

    Microsoft and active directory owns enterprise market. I don't know what the IBM/Apple solution is.

  • rcxbrcxb Member

    @TimboJones said:
    I looked at replacing Microsoft shit with various Linux based groupware solutions, and it was just a shitload more effort and issues (lacked features) unless you had admins to throw at it. Of course, someone who went the SoGo way and committed to it probably got over it, but if you had a business to run, not every one could roll their own.

    With Microsoft it's always easy to get something up and working quickly... And then you keep having issues, and downtime, that nobody can track down and fix properly, and keeps requiring man-hours to babysit and work-around. While the Linux solution takes more time up-front, then when you get it the way you want, it runs trouble-free for years.

    You don't even have to roll your own, and haven't for well over a decade. Tons of pre-rolled drop-in replacement products out there, most run on Linux.

  • raindog308raindog308 Moderator

    @TimboJones said: Microsoft and active directory owns enterprise market. I don't know what the IBM/Apple solution is.

    IBM has had about 10 different solutions over the years and they were all trash. Tivoli is one good example. It's actually funny how many horrible directory and groupware products IBM has flopped about with. IBM's crap is always built on a teetering stack of Websphere and requires a fleet of servers to present a GUI that looks like a 1990s medical billing form. And then it doesn't work anyway.

    Apple doesn't care about the enterprise.

    Anyway, you're completely right - every major enterprise I've ever been a part of uses Active Directory. I suppose maybe Apple doesn't and probably RedHat doesn't (ha! now they have to use some shitty IBM product! Serves them right.)

    @rcxb said: With Microsoft it's always easy to get something up and working quickly... And then you keep having issues, and downtime, that nobody can track down and fix properly, and keeps requiring man-hours to babysit and work-around. While the Linux solution takes more time up-front, then when you get it the way you want, it runs trouble-free for years.

    You're over-generalizing.

    In my not-so-humble opinion, there are only three Microsoft products that are worth a damn: Office, SQL Server, and Active Directory, and I'm willing to accept arguments against Office. But AD is one of those just-works things. I don't know who has downtime and issues with AD but it's really a dead-simple product.

    Thanked by 1TimboJones

    For LET support, please visit the support desk.

  • @jar said:

    @lokuzard said: That's none of your business.

    That's not really how this issue works. A host generally wants to keep a good relationship with software vendors that have the power to cut them off or make them pay fines to stay in their programs. Just because MS hasn't been able to keep up this last decade doesn't mean they can't or won't.

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/learn-more/compliance-verification-faq

    Microsoft license compliance verification (commonly known as “audit”) is a formal, mandatory compliance review of a company's use of Microsoft products and services, and it is part of the Microsoft license and contract compliance program. Microsoft conducts industry-standard compliance reviews with its business customers through an independent auditor pursuant to the terms of their agreement. This review is an effort to help customers achieve and maintain license compliance, and to protect Microsoft intellectual property rights. Therefore, be assured that unless Microsoft invokes its contractual right to verify compliance via a third-party accounting firm (as fully documented in your Volume Licensing Agreement), you are not involved in a license compliance verification.

    Microsoft absolutely does consider it their business if unlicensed copies are running on the network of a company that is part of their volume license agreement, something easily known by scanning public facing systems (when you know how many licenses the provider has). If there is no agreement with that company, they may have the right to file a lawsuit if they see fit. What you do on a provider's network can absolutely be their business.

    Okay I get that, but ...

    @hzr said:

    @lokuzard said: That's none of your business. It's either you offer custom ISO support or you don't. You might as well check your clients websites just in case they use nulled software, plugins and/or themes.

    Yes, you absolutely should be proactively doing this and also checking your network for unlicenced Windows.

    I feel like a host isn't obligated to do so unless there is an abuse report.
    I mean, isn't this how it always worked?
    Sure, a host can monitor their network for obvious violations, but I believe it's not their job to check for licenses, be it an operating system or even a PHP software.
    All the providers that offer custom ISO that I've used (DO, Vultr and LunaNode for example) had no issues of you running whatever OS you want, including Windows, while they also offer Windows licenses.
    Some even have tutorials on how to do it.
    Even the big providers will sometimes simply just tell you it's unsupported and run at your own risk.

  • jarjar Provider

    @lokuzard said: but I believe it's not their job to check for licenses

    I agree, but Microsoft doesn't. If a host wants to maintain a positive relationship with Microsoft as a license vendor, they might consider that factor when deciding how they approach it.

    Thanked by 1lokuzard
  • @rcxb said:

    @TimboJones said:
    I looked at replacing Microsoft shit with various Linux based groupware solutions, and it was just a shitload more effort and issues (lacked features) unless you had admins to throw at it. Of course, someone who went the SoGo way and committed to it probably got over it, but if you had a business to run, not every one could roll their own.

    With Microsoft it's always easy to get something up and working quickly... And then you keep having issues, and downtime, that nobody can track down and fix properly, and keeps requiring man-hours to babysit and work-around. While the Linux solution takes more time up-front, then when you get it the way you want, it runs trouble-free for years.

    That hasn't been my experience. Upgrading or migrating Windows is cake. But an EOL 3-5 year Linux distro is fucking hell. Now that distros are going 5/10 years, this will be less of a problem, but your experience hasn't been my experience. I can go back and do win98 and XP shit that doesn't need encryption much, much better.

  • @raindog308 said:
    IBM's crap is always built on a teetering stack of Websphere and requires a fleet of servers to present a GUI that looks like a 1990s medical billing form. And then it doesn't work anyway.

    I, absolutely, love, that description. SPOT ON!

    @raindog308 said:>
    Apple doesn't care about the enterprise.

    Yup, they lean on 3rd party crap for enterprise. Never works right.

    My last 'enterprise' was 100-150 employees, and it worked well with mac endpoint PCs and using openldap for directory, but the desktop/laptops weren't tied into the directory. They were all assigned to personal use with local root access to the employee.

    We used ldap for the various web applications that ran within the business. I actually used it as the backend for door access control as well. that was delightful!

    phpldapadmin for any manual tweaking of the directory, and cli scriptlets I wrote for the common stuff (hiring, firing, group maintenance) and a php page I found and modified to handle user initiated password changes/resets.

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