Microsoft is changing its licensing model for customers who virtualize their software on enterprise servers.
Customers opting for the new licensing scheme, which goes into effect Dec. 1, will be able to run up to four virtual instances of Microsoft Server 2003 R2 on one physical server at no additional cost, the company said today.
Instead of paying for a license for each instance created on a server, customers will be able to run four for the price of one.
The license has also been modified for the upcoming data center version of Windows Server, still code named Longhorn, so that customers can create an unlimited number of instances on one physical server.
The license for Windows Server System products that are charged per-processor has been changed as well. For example, customers that used BizTalk Server on a four-processor server, but only used two for virtual processing, would have to pay for a four-processor licensing. Under the new model, they will only need to pay for the two processors used.
Customers will be able to create and store as many instances as they want and only pay for the maximum number of virtual servers that are actually running. This, Microsoft said, lets customers create backup and recovery instances without having to pay a fee for its creation.
The new licensing model also allows customers to migrate active server instances from one machine to the other without limits under the new licensing model.
Microsoft officials wanted to move to a more cost-effective, flexible and simplified licensing model as part of its Dynamic Systems Initiative to get companies on board its virtualization efforts.