Windows Server 2016 Base Licenses vs. Additional Licenses from HPE

Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers OEM licensing for a variety of Windows Server products. If you are trying to determine the best type of license for your customer, it is important to understand the difference between Windows Server Base Licenses and Additional Licenses and when each is needed!

The Base License and Additional License licensing structure was introduced with Windows Server 2012, allowing customers to buy just the amount of product they needed to license their server solution. Here's how it works for Windows Server 2016: every server requires a minimum of a single Windows Server Base License. The Base License includes the Certificate of Authenticity, or COA, (which gets affixed to the server,) the product key, the product software, and the Microsoft Software License Terms (previously known as the End User License Agreement or EULA). Windows Server 2016 Base Licenses from HPE cover 16 cores, which is the minimum cores required per server (if you need a core licensing refresher, check out our blog, “Windows Server 2016 Core Based Licensing Explained”).

If your customer's server has more than 16 cores, Windows Server Additional Licenses can be used to license the additional cores (remember, all physical cores on the server must be licensed). Additional Licenses are also required if a customer wants to license more than 2 VMs for Windows Server 2016 Standard edition. Additional Licenses are delivered as paper license cards with the COA sticker permanently affixed to the license card or packaging. It is important to note: Additional Licenses for Windows Server Datacenter must be purchased at the same time as the Base License and HPE Server. However, Additional Licenses for Windows Server Standard can be sold After Point of Sale (APOS) and can be reassigned to another server which already has a Windows Server 2016 Standard Base License. 

Starting with the Windows Server 2016 core-licensing model, each Additional License grants the rights for the additional cores listed on the card. HPE currently offers Additional Licenses for 2, 4, and 16 cores for both Standard and Datacenter editions. The Base License and any Additional Licenses must be for the same edition and generation of the product.

OEM Licensing structure 2.JPG

HPE delivers Windows Server OEM licenses in a variety of ways.
- Hewlett Packard Enterprise offers factory preinstalled configurations from their online stores, via their channel partners, and through their direct sales team.
- Non-preinstalled factory OEM licenses (also referred to as “drop-in-box licenses) are available with new HPE servers for customers choosing do-it-yourself installations. The licenses are offered online and via HPE channel partners.
- HPE Reseller Option Kit (ROK) licenses are available only to resellers from HPE authorized distributors. Resellers then offer Windows Server ROK licenses in combination with HPE server systems to their customers- providing the value of an HPE OEM license along with any additional services and/or products they offer to customers.

Have questions about HPE OEM Microsoft products/solutions, Windows Server 2016, or HPE Servers? Join the Coffee Coaching community to keep up with the latest HPE OEM Microsoft news and interact with HPE and Microsoft experts.

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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.