Licensing Q&A: How do I determine which Windows Server edition is more economical?

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If you have a hard time trying to figure out whether to go for the Standard or Datacenter edition of Windows Server, and you wanna know which one is more economical?

It all comes down to the number of cores on your server and the number of Operating System Environments (OSEs) or Windows Server Containers with Hyper-V isolation that you’re planning to run. If you’re planning to run 13 or more OSEs or Hyper-V containers, the Datacenter edition is the way to go.

With Datacenter, you’ll need a core license each physical core on your server, but you’ll get unlimited OSEs and Windows Server Containers with Hyper-V isolation. The core licenses come in packs of 2 or 16, but they’re priced the same, so you can choose the pack size that works best for you.

If you’re running fewer than 13 OSEs or Hyper-V containers, then the Standard edition is probably a better fit. With Standard, you’ll still need a core license for each physical core on your server, but you’ll only get 2 OSEs or Windows Server Containers with Hyper-V isolation included. If you want to run more, you’ll need to buy additional core licenses.

All in all, it’s all about the number of OSEs or Hyper-V containers you’re running, so figure that out and you’ll know which edition to choose.

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