Microsoft ups price on Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter by 28 percent

Microsoft ups price on Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter by 28 percent

Summary: Microsoft's highest end Windows Server SKU is going to get a lot more expensive with the coming Windows Server 2012 R2 release.


Microsoft quietly published new pricing and licensing sheets for its coming Windows Server 2012 R2 product.

The bad news: Those who want the Datacenter version are going to have to shell out 28 percent more for the R2 version than the current Windows Server 2012 Datacenter release. The Windows Server 2012 Datacenter SKU costs $4,809 (plus additional client-access licenses, priced separately). The Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter SKU costs $6,155, plus client-access license fees. (These are prices for the Open NL version, which is the highest priced volume-license version.)

Pricing for the other three Windows Server 2012 R2 SKUs remain the same as they are for Windows Server 2012.

Here are the new prices for the four Server 2012 R2 SKUs (Datacenter, Standard, Essentials, Foundation):


Users who are Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) licensees and who already have Windows Server 2012 won't pay anything additional to move to the R2 version of the product, according to the datasheet. Windows Server 2012 users (whether or not they have Software Assurance) don't need to upgrade their CALs; they can use the same CALs on both Server 2012 and Server 2012 R2.

"Anyone who did not purchase Software Assurance on their previous server licensing (Windows Server) will need to purchase their server licenses all over again if they want to upgrade," said Aidan Finn, a Microsoft Valuable Professional (MVP) with an expertise in Virtual Machine who works for MicroWarehouse Ltd, an Irish Value Added Distributor, as a Technical Sales Lead. That's why business users may want to consider purchasing SA if you are virtualizing Windows Server, no matter which  hypervisor you run because of the host/VM licensing system for Windows Server, Finn added.

The Datacenter edition does offer users unlimited installations of Windows Server on licensed hosts, which can be cheaper than licensing lots of VMs via the Windows Server 2012 and R2 Standard editions.

In fact, that's what Microsoft officials are saying when asked about the reason for the price increase in the Datacenter edition with R2. I asked a spokesperson what is behind the 28 percent price hike and got this statement:

"Microsoft is making these changes based on market conditions and based on the overall increased product value and choice. For example, with Windows Server Standard Edition and Datacenter Edition customers can determine the option that works best for them, based on their virtualization needs. The Datacenter Edition licensing is optimized for highly virtualized environments, with unlimited virtualization rights and the flexibility to add or move virtual machines across licensed servers without tracking the VM count on a server. And, the Standard Edition is ideal for servers that won’t be highly virtualized, providing two instances per license. Customers can also choose to assign multiple Standard Editions licenses to a single server, in order to increase VM density on that server."

Finn noted that enterprises who are willing to license all of their Windows Servers under SCE (Server & Cloud Enrollment) get access to "an easy-to-budget-for bundle covering the private (Windows Server, System Center, and more) and public cloud (Azure only)."

"Businesses that are interested in the Essentials edition will be glad to see that they can virtualize it under the new version of the license," Finn added.

The four Windows Server 2012 SKUs are Foundation (available to OEMs only); Essentials; Standard and Datacenter. The Essentials SKU is for small/mid-size businesses and is limited to 25 users. The Standard and Datacenter SKUs round out the line-up. 

Topics: Virtualization, Cloud, Microsoft, Windows Server


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • If you need it you likely can pay for it

    That's the way I look at, if you need a NOS that can provide unlimited virtual OSE, then you are in a business that is likely requiring that type of demand which likely means you are charging your own customers for that service, which means you are getting a return on investment which means you can pay for it.
    • Still too complicated

      I can P2V workloads all day long with Xen and VMware. I'm still not 100 percent clear on what's going on with Hyper-V.
    • Rethink

      Don't get ridiculous: In Standard ONE V-OS costs 441, right? So how many do you have to fire up on Datacenter to get the breakeven point? Over 14. Only a dumba$$ would do this on a 2-socket hardware. Clear sign MS wants us all in the cloud, the problem there is: nothing works! Believe me, I am already there and - compared - I have never had so much downtime on our on-premises services!
  • Microsoft ups price on Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter by 28 percent

    Something has to pay for the $900,000,000.00 LOSS on Surface RT.
    Over and Out
    • Errr

      It's a markdown, not a loss. Check the definitions or ask a business anaslyst.
  • Microsoft is making these changes based on market conditions

    Alternate translation: Microsoft isn't afraid of losing Windows Server customers to Linux. All their big corporate customers have evaluated the Linux option and made their decision. Some switched, but most stayed with Windows. They're committed now, and Microsoft can start milking them for all they're worth.
    • or, they are losing customers

      and milking the stubborn dumazzez.
    • @ johndoe445566

      Actually not.

      This means an increase in cost that comes from increased demand for same supply.

      This is excellent news for the Server and Tools division since they can now software features at higher margins. They have also been very busy at churning out a lot of high and higher-end data center feature set including deduplication and faster VM migration.

      More important is the SQL Server product which can now do more and more BI features.

      A lot of the enterprises I know are evaluating SQL Server 2012's cluster failover and HA features with the Enterprise edition. Also included in evaluation are SSAS, SSIS and SSRS. Though the costs of Windows Server and SQL Server Enterprise editions may increase, there is value in here for enterprises moving away from IBM or HP's even higher cost hardware and software licenses.

      If you compare Ab Initio's or HP-UX's license cost to SQL Server's or Windows Server's, then you will find MSFT solutions are actually cheaper by some notch. The only other vendor to consider will be IBM or Oracle either of whose solutions cost more.

      Of course, Red Hat corp can step up a bit and try to make similar solutions and make similar cost products. But except for RHEL AS server, they do not yet have a competing database server or BI server or cluster server yet in the Linux OSS world. But I think they are working on this.
  • And any undecided...

    now have a reason to NOT choose MS.

    A sinking ship... Big it might be, but even the Titanic sank.
    • Too bad....

      Nobody takes you seriously.
  • compensation

    m$ is losing revenues on many fronts as windows desktop and office sales fall, measured in units. The advantage of having an already large user base is that they can charge the remaining users more and make up for it. They have been doing that for a couple of years now.
  • Calling Lovedog Rabidson!

    When you divide the price by 24, to reflect the number of drive letters you get, it doesn't sound so bad.
  • luis river

    Those that believe that Microsoft will collapse as Titanic, are that "Crack" smokes, the prices make sense, the big ones data centers they have hardware machines that are worth a lot more.
    luis river
    • History repeats

      I'm sure there was a time that IBM felt exactly the same way about their mainframe business.
      • IBM's Legacy

        IBM now owns 99% of the analytics market.
        So they actually did make a good call regarding their "Main Frames".
  • it's so funny

    when trolls start commenting on such news. Now we can see, how clueless they really are.
  • My decision: I will not buy!

    I am not interested in buying any licenses for the company that I am working.
    There is no business sens to buy because we still use W2008 R1 Hyper-V. It works for the last 4 years. I will not be happy to have on Server Info Screen "Something ... R2".
    So why should I recommend that for Board of Management?

    Windows 2012 Datacenter should cost 1000 Euro, CAL for everything license 10Euro, Windows Client 20 Euro.
  • Just waitin' for the squeals when ...

    ... MSFT and ADBE increase their Office 365 and Creative Cloud subscription rates!
  • No comparisons with Enterprise Linux or *BSD

    A very large Not-for-Profit and an International products distributor just recently implemented FreeBSD based enterprise solutions with 'unlimited' VMs, magnificent scalability, great security and reliability - very similar in overall performance to the Netflix world-wide FreeBSD Appliance project - streaming millions of movies each day, and at a total overall costs of about that of Microsoft's "Standard" Windows 2012R2 pricing - approximately $800.00, not the astronomical $6000 plus offering.

    No weekly reboots, no putting out fires from constant malware intrusions, or support services costs that equate to purchasing the London Bridge.
  • A price increase?

    Woopie. Unless you are working for a huge company, nobody will be really affected by the increase. I work at a company with a few thousand employees. No data center edition.