Windows Server Licensing for Virtual Environments

I prefer Linux to Windows for a handful of reasons. One of the obvious benefits is licensing, and with all of the virtualizing I do in production and testing, its nice to never have to think about licensing.  Meanwhile, back in the real world, most of my clients use Windows based servers for their day to day tasks. The Windows OS license is generally licensed per install/server; the notable exception being Data Center Edition which is licensed per CPU.

With consolidation ratios ever increasing, we are always on the lookout for bottlenecks in systems. What about licensing? If you are running numerous Windows guests, are there ways to make smarter licensing moves? In a nutshell, yes.

Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel, I will steer you to a well written and very informative article detailing some of things you can do. This is well worth the read.


XEN vs. VMware ESXi

I use server Virtualization to make money. With the new licensing model that VMware has announced with vSphere 5 it appears that a typical setup will now cost more. Times are tough! What is a sysadmin to do?
vSphere 4 will clearly remain viable for at least the near future. I have not taken the time to fully understand what v5 will offer that is better. Our current environment is two ESXi 4.1 hosts managed by vCenter. Each host has 32GB RAM and the guest RAM is probably over subscribed, but not by much.
In the next week I plan to load the VMware tool that will provide indications as to what the new licensing will look like for the current environment. Should be interesting…
All that as it is, I think it is time to seriously look at XEN Virtualization. Loaded it up on descent hardware today (right before the power went out!) So more later on the testing.
Question: anyone using DTC-XEN for ‘managing’ XEN guests?


09.26.2011 Update: loaded VMware ESXi 5.0.0 over the weekend. Installation is as straight forwarded as expected. Quickly installed two MS Windows Server 2008 Enterprise 64-bit servers and a MS Windows 7 Enterprise 64-bit desktop. Will be digging into new license model limitations this week. So far, for a single host, I can’t find a reason to load 5.0.

I did get XEN loaded on Debian Squeeze, then wrecked the install. I will be rebuilding shortly for a comparison.

VMware Workstation 8 has been release a few weeks ago. One nice feature is a much easier migration path from Workstation to vCenter and vSphere. VMware is claiming over 50 new features with this release.