Here are the some key points from recently published licensing guides (may be updated in future with some changes):
Windows Server 2016 Pricing and Licensing FAQ (December, 2015)
Windows Server 2016 Licensing Datasheet (December, 2015)
- WS 2016 Datacenter Edition for highly virtualized private and hybrid cloud environments.
- WS 2016 Standard Edition for non-virtualized or lightly virtualized environments.
- Other editions will also be available with more information coming in 2016.
- The licensing of Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter editions will shift to be based on physical cores from the prior licensing model based on processors. So licensing model for Standard and Datacenter will be Cores + CAL
- Standard and Datacenter editions don’t have the same list of features as we have in Windows Server 2012/2012R2 (except AVMA ). Storage Replica , Storage Spaces Direct , Shielded VMs and New Networking stack are available only in Datacenter
- [VOTE] Storage Replica and Storage Spaces Direct Were Killed By Licensing
Cores + CAL licensing model
To license a physical server, all physical cores must be licensed in the server. A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor in the server and a minimum of 16 cores is required to be licensed for servers with one processor.
- The price of 16-core licenses of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard Edition will be same price as the 2 proc license of the corresponding editions of the Windows Server 2012 R2 version.
- Standard Edition provides rights for up to 2 OSEs or Hyper-V containers when all physical cores in the server are licensed.
- Multiple licenses can be assigned to the same cores for additional OSEs or Hyper-V containers.
- Each user and/or device accessing a licensed Windows Server Standard or Datacenter edition requires a Windows Server CAL.
- Each Window Server CAL allows access to multiple licenses Windows Servers.
- A Windows Server CAL gives a user or device the right to access any edition of Windows Server of the same or earlier version.
- Some additional or advanced functionality such as Remote Desktop Services or Active Directory Rights Management Services will continue to require the purchase of an additive CAL.
How to license:
- License all the physical cores in the server
- Minimum of 8 core licenses required for each proc
- Minimum of 16 core licenses required for each server
- Core licenses will be sold in packs of two*
*8 two-core packs will be the minimum required to license each physical server. The two-core pack for each edition is 1/8th the price of a two proc license for corresponding 2012 R2 editions
How should I think about hyper-threading in the core based licensing?
Windows Server and System Center 2016 are licensed by physical cores, not virtual cores. Therefore, customers only need to inventory and license the physical cores on their processors.
If processors (and therefore cores) are disabled from Windows use, do I still need to license the cores?
If the processor is disabled for use by Windows, the cores on that processor do not need to be licensed. For example, if 2 processors in a 4 processor server (with 8 cores per processor) were disabled and not available for Windows Server use, only 16 cores would need to be licensed. However, disabling hyper threading or disabling cores for specific programs does not relieve the need for a Windows Server license on the physical cores.
Where is the information about other editions of Windows Server, Windows Storage Server, Azure Stack and other products coming next year?
More information is coming in Q1CY16 about Azure Stack, Windows Server Essentials and the rest of the Windows Server editions and other related products.