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How does licensing work on Windows VMs?
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How does licensing work on Windows VMs?

Are you required to have a floating licenses you can use for VMs if you run them hourly on the cloud and even move them from provider to provider?

Do you have to pay the charges directly to the provider on a monthly or hourly basis?

Do you pay Microsoft a one off for a license so long as it is used only on one instance at a time, regardless of where you run it?

I know Windows licensing can get annoying which is why I prefer to run Linux on the cloud but I need to run Windows every now and then. It can be cheaper than getting a new laptop for Windows as Linux serves most of needs.

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Comments

  • I think it can be one of all of the above, if you can't use a evaluation version and re-arm it to make up a year evaluation, which you can do 5 times on server evaluations, you would have to buy a license which would last the lifetime of the VM.

    Or the hosting company may have a license server so it's licensed.

    Thanked by 1rchurch
  • hzrhzr Member, Moderator

    Strictly legally, no, you do not get to BYOL, no you can't shift it around, and you have to comply with x cores/x physical CPU licencing + pay provider's hourly or monthly cost for SPLA, no you do not get to abuse evaluation versions.

    Thanked by 1rchurch
  • I missed that point, you can't take your license with you, if you use a license on the vm, it's used, you cannot revoke it.

  • NewToTheGameNewToTheGame Member
    edited November 16

    But you can legally extend a trial license, if it's part of the command set of converting a trial/evaluation to a full license, it's not abuse, it's a feature

    As long as your VM is not for commercial use.

    Thanked by 1rchurch
  • @NewToTheGame said:
    I think it can be one of all of the above, if you can't use a evaluation version and re-arm it to make up a year evaluation, which you can do 5 times on server evaluations, you would have to buy a license which would last the lifetime of the VM.

    Or the hosting company may have a license server so it's licensed.

    Given your first two words, mentioning extended evaluations to a licensing specific question, and you're not an experienced provider in any way, I don't know why you're replying as such and dirtying up the thread.

  • hzrhzr Member, Moderator

    FYI, you probably won't get audited for this, but evaluations are for evaluating Windows (compatibility, etc). If you run a personal application for yourself to use that you actually use, that is not testing, that is considered production use, because of intent

  • NewToTheGameNewToTheGame Member
    edited November 17

    @hzr said:
    FYI, you probably won't get audited for this, but evaluations are for evaluating Windows (compatibility, etc). If you run a personal application for yourself to use that you actually use, that is not testing, that is considered production use, because of intent

    I was talking from personal experience of having to license a evaluation copy using a retail key, which I did. But I use a vps as a desktop terminal.

  • @NewToTheGame said:

    @hzr said:
    FYI, you probably won't get audited for this, but evaluations are for evaluating Windows (compatibility, etc). If you run a personal application for yourself to use that you actually use, that is not testing, that is considered production use, because of intent

    I was talking from personal experience of having to license a evaluation copy using a retail key, which I did. But I use a vps as a desktop terminal.

    Yeah, just because you can do something without it preventing you, doesn't mean you're following the license terms.

    Thanked by 1NewToTheGame
  • Microsoft is a company that wants to make money like all companies. There are rules for small providers like those in this forum but for those bigger ones, everything is negotiable. You deal with an MS account manager and you work out a deal.
    e.g. Amazon allows bring your own license.
    https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/a-new-simplified-bring-your-own-license-experience-for-microsoft-windows-server/

    My company that I work for spends millions a year with MS, everything is negotiable especially close the the financial quarter !! (This is like BF deals except you have it every quarter). I got great deals on MS server license for my own use.
    Unlike Iphones, where it is something physical needs to be made, for MS, it is just on paper, selling a million more license has no additional cost to them.

    Amazon can do deals that nobody can. If I am MS, I look at the best way that can make the most money. The above AWS option probably brings in a few million $. Why not? Every windows server has a limited lifespan, getting as much money as soon as you can makes sense.

    For VPS provider too, every piece of hardware coming out is better than the old one, customers will always want to to be on the latest Ryzen. So squeeze as much as you can from existing hardware before you need to replace them.

    In the meantime, I am testing out my applications on linux and will eventually wean away from MS. MS knows this. My company has trialed google docs, sheets etc, replacing MS office. We will end MS office by mid next year and saves 500K. MS reduced the price from$1.2 mil 2 years ago.

  • @reddevil said:
    Microsoft is a company that wants to make money like all companies. There are rules for small providers like those in this forum but for those bigger ones, everything is negotiable. You deal with an MS account manager and you work out a deal.
    e.g. Amazon allows bring your own license.
    https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/a-new-simplified-bring-your-own-license-experience-for-microsoft-windows-server/

    My company that I work for spends millions a year with MS, everything is negotiable especially close the the financial quarter !! (This is like BF deals except you have it every quarter). I got great deals on MS server license for my own use.
    Unlike Iphones, where it is something physical needs to be made, for MS, it is just on paper, selling a million more license has no additional cost to them.

    Amazon can do deals that nobody can. If I am MS, I look at the best way that can make the most money. The above AWS option probably brings in a few million $. Why not? Every windows server has a limited lifespan, getting as much money as soon as you can makes sense.

    For VPS provider too, every piece of hardware coming out is better than the old one, customers will always want to to be on the latest Ryzen. So squeeze as much as you can from existing hardware before you need to replace them.

    In the meantime, I am testing out my applications on linux and will eventually wean away from MS. MS knows this. My company has trialed google docs, sheets etc, replacing MS office. We will end MS office by mid next year and saves 500K. MS reduced the price from$1.2 mil 2 years ago.

    Cool story, bro.

  • TheLinuxBugTheLinuxBug Member
    edited November 20

    @NewToTheGame said:
    But you can legally extend a trial license, if it's part of the command set of converting a trial/evaluation to a full license, it's not abuse, it's a feature

    As long as your VM is not for commercial use.

    This is only true if you are running the VM on a local machine you own personally at home. If you are attempting this in a remote datacenter, auditing doesn't work this way. The provider is up front required to have an SPLA license on the server just to run any Microsoft operating system on ANY of the cores of the machine. If they do an audit and an Microsoft OS is running there, they can fine the DC / Provider for this and require them to license it, regardless of the license of the actual OS your running. They don't see licensing in the cloud as BYOL as mentioned above, the server it's self must be licensed under SPLA in that type of environment or it is against the TOS for the operating system. Similarly, this is why you can't / are not supposed to run workstations OS's (Windows 7, Windows 10, etc) on VMs also, as the licensing for those OSes doesn't even extend to virtualization at all unless under very specific licensing conditions, such as license packs for Enterprise based OS which provide for a virtual license as well.

    While you can probably get away with installing Windows Server on a VM without SPLA licensing on a VM, if you do get caught it is no fun to deal with Microsoft and the provider may suspend you / terminate you for such use if they do get fined and document that they do not support such operating systems in their TOS / AUP.

    my 2 cents.

    Cheers!

    Thanked by 1NewToTheGame

    Have an Allwinner H3 device? Check out H3Droid! | Lichee Pi Zero - The 6$ SBC | #SYSarm - Get It! | Armbian | Atomic Pi Mirror
    22+ Years IT Experience in Linux/Windows Hosting, Administration and Development Services

  • This is what happen in the real (corporate) world. Every contract (MS, Oracle etc) has clause about penalty for breaches etc and allows them to come in to audit and check.
    In realty, once the contract is signed and filed away, a company with a few hundred IT persons would not know the in and outs of it.
    MS account manager usually pay a regular visit, his purpose is to try to get us to spend more. So will MS hire more sales staff or hire more staff to audit and figure out if you breech your agreement?
    After an audit and finds that you need to pay extra 1K of license?? Unless it is in the 6 figures, the MS staff alone cost heaps more not counting the bad taste created by the audit.

    I am sure our internal IT staff would have install all sorts of MS or Oracle software in numerous servers. For every one Production servers, there will be a few Test/Non Prod servers. If MS comes to audit, they will find we probably need to pay an extra $$ per year. But one word from the CEO, we will be off MS totally within 18months.In reality what happens is the account manager wine and dine us and wants us to keep using MS products. They know that we have alternative now. Chromebooks to replace windows, Google docs/Libre to replace Office. Linux to replace windows and MYSQL to replace SQLserver.
    The last thing that MS want to do is to antagonize the customers. They keep bringing down their price so that for us to use an alternative is not worth the hassle.

    Digital Ocean/Linode got big by concentrating on their core business - providing computing resources, not selling Windows license. Vultr display their windows license cost and next to it says you can upload your own iso (hint, hint). Their focus too is selling VPS/servers and will ditch spla if MS plays hardball. These are providers below AWS and way bigger than those in LET !!

    Thanked by 1NewToTheGame
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