Gartner Research

Changes to Microsoft Windows Server 2016 Licensing Will Increase Your Costs for Higher-Powered Servers

Published: 24 June 2016

ID: G00302498

Analyst(s): Ben Jepson , Dolores Ianni


When Microsoft releases Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, the license metric will change from per processor to per core. Technology procurement leaders must effectively plan and collaborate with the server team to minimize the license cost implications and compliance risks.

Table Of Contents
  • Impacts


  • Introduction

Impacts and Recommendations

  • For servers with more than eight cores per processor, clients' Software Assurance (SA) costs will increase by at least 25%; in addition, those servers will require additional licenses to remain compliant under the 2016 license model
    • For higher-powered servers, there is a significant impact on license cost from delaying the procurement decision
    • Use early renewal or early commitment to buy time
  • SA customers that fail to correctly inventory and document core counts at renewal after the 2016 release date will not receive the excess core grants, and may be found noncompliant if they exceed the 16-core default per server, resulting in costly remediation
    • High availability is the worst-case failover scenario and increases the risk of noncompliance
  • Clients' failure to leverage the ability to True-up or Step-up under per-processor options could now lead to increased costs down the line, because these options will be available only per core for clients renewing their Enterprise Agreements after the release of 2016

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