Microsoft Windows Server

Buying and Licensing Guide

What is Windows Server?

Microsoft Windows Server is a series of powerful operating systems designed to develop, deliver, and manage rich user experiences and applications, provide a highly secure network infrastructure, and increase technological efficiency and value within your organization.

Windows Server is intended for business use and includes an array of enterprise software such as Active Directory, DHCP, file and storage, and print services.

Depending on the size, virtualization and datacenter requirements of your organization, you can determine which Windows Server edition and license is the best fit for your business.

Which Edition to Get?

Windows Server is available in three primary editions: Standard, Datacenter, and Essentials.  

Standard Edition – The standard edition is ideal for small to medium size organizations who have physically or minimally virtualized environments. This edition allows the ability to run two virtual machines and requires Core/CAL based licensing. 

DataCenter Edition – The DataCenter Edition is ideal for larger organizations who have highly virtualized data centers or cloud environments. This edition allows one server to run an unlimited number of Windows Server Instances and also requires a Core/CAL based licensing model.  

Essentials Edition – The essentials edition is ideal for small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. This edition allows only one instance of server software and is licensed under the Specialty Servers license model. (It does not require Windows Server Cores/CALs to access the server).


How to License Windows Server

Edition Licensing Requirements

Windows Server Standard and Datacenter editions are Core based licensing models and require a Windows Server user or device CAL for each user or device accessing or using the server software. This means that you will need Core licenses determined by the number of servers and processors you have, as well as CALs to cover each user and/or device accessing the server. The Windows Server Essential edition is licensed under the Specialty Server licensing model and does not require Cores or user/device CALs, but the maximum number of users and devices can not be exceeded.  

Standard EditionStandard edition is licensed under the Per Core license model and requires Windows Server User or Device CAL for access to the server.

DataCenter EditionDatacenter edition is licensed under the Per Core license model and requires a Windows Server User or Device CAL for access to the server. 

Essentials Edition – The Essentials Edition uses its own specialty license and does not require additional licenses per core, user or device to access the server. However, the maximum of 25 users and 50 devices can not be exceeded.

Licensing Types

Core Licensing – The Core licensing model means a license is required for each physical core on the server. Each server requires a minimum of 16 cores and each processor requires a minimum of 8 cores.

User/Device CALs – Editions that are Core based also require that each user or device is covered by a license called a CAL. licensing model requires a specific license for each user or device accessing the server, called a CAL.

External Connector License – Organizations can also use a Windows Server external connector license (ECL) for a large number of authenticated external Internet users to access the server. 


Shop Windows Server

Windows Server 2019 Standard – OEM 64 bit DVD – 16 Cores

Windows Server 2019 Standard – License Only – 2 Core Pack – Open Business
Microsoft Windows Server 2019 Standard – License – 5 clients, 16 cores

As Microsoft frequently audits Windows Server customers, please feel free to give us a call or reach out via chat to make sure you are registered and licensed for the correct version or if you have any Windows Server questions! 




The SoftwareMedia Team