The Ultimate Guide to Windows Server 2019 Licensing

I hope you are as excited as I am that Windows Server 2019 OEM licenses are now available from HPE to pair with new HPE ProLiant Gen10 Servers for a complete server solution. With this announcement, you may be curious about the different types of OEM Windows Server licensing products sold by HPE.

Windows Server OEM Licensing

Before we dive into the types of licenses, it is important to understand the licensing models for each edition of Windows Server 2019 and how they work. This is important to understand when you are calculating how many and what kind of licenses are needed.

Windows Server 2019 Essentials follows a processor-based licensing model. This means that licensing is based on the number of server processors.

Windows Server 2019 Standard and Windows Server 2019 Datacenter alternatively both follow core-based licensing models, where licensing requirements are determined based on the number of server cores instead of the number of processors. The transition from processor based to core based licensing was first introduced with Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter to provide a more consistent licensing experience across multi-cloud environments.

There are a few core-based licensing rules that you should know:

1) Each server requires a minimum of a single Base License, which covers 16 cores.
    - HPE offers OEM Windows Server Base Licenses for Windows Server 2019 Standard and Datacenter.
    - HPE OEM Windows Server 2019 Standard and Datacenter Base Licenses may only be purchased with initial server

2) All physical cores of the server must be licensed. Keep in mind, Windows Server Additional Licenses may be required in addition to Base Licenses to cover cores on systems with more than 16 cores in total.
    - HPE offers OEM Windows Server Standard and HPE OEM Windows Server Datacenter Additional Licenses in
       increments of 2, 4, and 16 cores.
    - HPE OEM Windows Server 2019 Standard Additional Licenses may be purchased with initial server purchase OR
       after initial server purchase (known as APOS or “After Point of Sale”)
    - HPE OEM Windows Server 2019 Datacenter Additional Licenses may only be purchased with initial server purchase
       (there are no Additional APOS license options available for Datacenter).

3) Additional Licenses are also required for customers who wish to license more than the 2 Virtual Machines (VMs) included for Windows Server 2019 Standard.
    - For every additional 2 VMs added, all of the cores in the server must be licensed again. However, Windows Server
       2019 Datacenter permits unlimited VMs and Hyper-V containers when all physical cores in the server are licensed,
       so no Additional Licenses are required for VMs for Windows Server 2019 Datacenter.

4) For Windows Server 2019 Standard and Windows Server 2019 Datacenter, Client Access Licenses (CALs) are required for every user or device which connects to the server. Note: CALs are not required for Windows Server 2019 Essentials.
    - HPE offers User CALs and Device CALs in packs of 1, 5, 10, or 50. CAL packs cannot be split up between user and
       device type.
    - A Remote Desktop Service (RDS) CAL is also required for users or devices that need to access programs or the full
       desktop remotely using Remote Desktop Services (RDSs). Both a Windows Server CAL (user or device) and a RDS
       CAL (user or device) are required for remote desktop access. RDS CALs contain a product key for activation. As an
       exception to these rules, up to two users or devices may access the server software, only for server administration
       purposes, without requiring either a RDS CAL or a Windows Server CAL.


Windows server 2019 licensing explained: Frequently Asked Questions

Let's take a minute and recap by looking at some of the most frequently asked questions we've gotten regarding Windows Server 2019. (See how many you now know the answer to-  please feel free to share this video with others who may have questions about Windows Server 2019 licensing!)

1) What licensing model does Windows Server 2019 follow?
    - Windows Server 2019 Standard and Windows Server 2019 Datacenter follow the core-based licensing model, with a
       minimum of 8 cores per processor and 16 cores per server.
    - Windows Server 2019 Essentials utilizes a processor based model

2) Do the minimum licensing requirements apply to all servers?
    - Yes- for servers running Windows Server 2019 Standard or Windows Server 2019 Datacenter (which are subject to
       the core-based licensing model) minimums apply to all servers, regardless of the number of processors or cores.

3) Are Client Access Licenses (CALs) required for access to Windows Server 2019?
    - For Windows Server 2019 Standard and Windows Server 2019 Datacenter, yes, each user or device must have a
       Client Access License (CAL). In addition, Remote Desktop Service (RDS) CALs may also be required for advanced

4) What are virtualization rights for Windows Server 2019 Standard and Windows Server 2019 Datacenter?
    - Windows Server 2019 Standard includes rights to 2 VMs—also called Operating System Environments (or OSEs for
       short)—or Hyper-V Containers, and unlimited Windows Server Containers.
    - Windows Server 2019 Datacenter includes rights to unlimited OSEs and containers.

HPE Windows Server 2019


HPE delivers OEM Windows Server licenses in a few different ways:
Windows-Server-2019.jpg    - Factory-preinstalled configurations (“FIO” licenses) can be purchased from HPE’s online stores, via channel partners,  and through direct sales teams
    - Non-preinstalled factory OEM licenses (“FIO Npi” licenses or “drop-in-box” licenses) are available from HPE online  stores and via channel partners for customers choosing do-it-yourself installations.
    - Reseller Option Kit (ROK) licenses can be purchased by HPE authorized resellers from HPE authorized distributors.  Resellers can then offer ROK licenses in combination with new HPE servers to customers, giving their customers the  value of an HPE OEM license + any additional services and/or products the reseller may offer.


Set businesses up for success, pair HPE ProLiant Gen10 Servers with Windows Server 2019 OEM Licensing from HPE!


Willa Anderson
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

About the Author


Willa manages the HPE | Microsoft Coffee Coaching program. Follow along to learn more about the latest HPE OEM Microsoft product releases and how the HPE Microsoft partnership can benefit partners and customers.