Windows Server 2019 Core-based licensing for HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers

The core-based licensing model was first introduced by Microsoft in Windows Server® 2016 and continues with Windows Server 2019 Standard and Datacenter. The core-based licensing model was designed to help organizations align costs with server performance, so they pay only for what they use. It’s also a better fit for today’s multicloud environments, reflecting the need to enable portability of apps and data across environments by creating a “common currency” for computing resources whether they are located on-premises or in the cloud.

Core-base licensing requirements

The requirements for Windows Server 2019 core-based licensing on HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers are fairly straightforward:

  • All physical cores in the server must be licensed
  • A minimum of eight core licenses are required per physical processor
  • A minimum of 16 core licenses are required per physical server


Which licenses do I need?

Let’s look at a few examples of how this works in practice:

  • For servers with up to 16 cores, you need a Base License. That means that if you have an HPE ProLiant Gen10 server with two eight-core processors, you’d need to license a total of 16 cores (two processors multiplied by eight cores each). That can be covered by a single Base License because Windows Server 2019 Base Licenses—such as the HPE Reseller Option Kit (ROK) or Non-Profit License (NPL)—cover up to 16 cores per server.
  • For servers with more than 16 cores, you need a Base License plus Additional Licenses. The Base License covers the first 16 cores, then you add Additional Licenses for all the cores over 16. Additional Licenses are sold in increments of 2, 4, or 16 cores. So, for a 32-core server, you’d need one Base License and one 16-core Additional License.


What about virtualization?

Businesses of all sizes routinely take advantage of virtualization—via virtual machines (VMs) and, more recently, containers—to help them run more workloads with fewer resources. However, VMs and containers enter into the licensing equation as well. These licensing requirements are different depending on whether you have the Standard or Datacenter version.


  • Windows Server Standard: A server with all cores properly licensed with Windows Server 2019 Standard provides the rights for two Windows Server VMs or two Hyper-V® containers, and unlimited Windows Server containers. If you want to run more Windows Server VMs, you need to purchase Additional Licenses to cover the total number of cores in the server again. So, if you have a 16-core Base License, a 16-core Additional License will provide the rights for two additional VMs.
  • Windows Server 2019 Datacenter. A server with all cores properly licensed with Windows Server Datacenter provides rights for unlimited Windows Server VMs and Hyper-V containers.


How do you decide between the two? Typically, if the customer intends to license more than 12 VMs on any server or cluster it’s more cost-effective to go with Windows Server 2019 Datacenter with unlimited VMs.


If you have questions about a specific setup, you can use the HPE Windows Server Core Licensing Calculator to help your customer figure out their licensing needs.

Massimiliano Galeazzi
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About the Author


Digital Marketing Lead at HPE Alliances. Managing Coffee Coaching, the HPE-Microsoft reseller community with all the news about SMB.