One of the most noticeable changes will be a move from per-processor licensing to per-core licensing for Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter Editions. That's according to a new pricing and licensing PDF I found via a link tweeted by Wes Miller of Directions on Microsoft.
Microsoft officials are attributing the change from processors to physical cores to a desire to align the licensing of its public and private cloud offerings to be both per-core-based and thus simplifying licensing across multi-cloud environments, the PDF said. The change also will align Windows Server licensing with the per-core licensing already offered for Azure, SQL Server and BizTalk.
The change won't likely have much of an impact for most customers, said Miller. There will be some exceptions: Customers using :core-dense servers at the very top of the market (not the majority), and older servers with lots of processors and a low core count each," could pay more, Miller said.
The change "really just reemphasizes the fact that Datacenter is what you want to be using for high density virtualization," Miller added.
Here are some of the early Windows Server 2016 pricing specifics from the PDF:
"Licenses for servers with 8 cores or less per proc will be same price as the 2012 R2 two-proc license price. Core licenses will be sold in packs of 2 for incremental licenses needed above the required 8 cores per proc. The Standard Edition of Windows Server and System Center will license up to 2 VMs when all of the physical cores on the server are licensed."
The Windows Server 2016 licensing shifts also align with some of the other server licensing moves Microsoft telegraphed earlier this year. In October, Microsoft officials said customers with Windows Server licenses with Software Assurance would be eligible to upload their Windows Server images to Azure in a non-Windows VM via a new Bring Your Own License plan. Microsoft execs also said at that time that users would be able to run Windows 10 on Azure, but didn't share specifics as to how, licensing-wise, this will work.