Windows Server licencing
For Academic licences, you have a choice between Select Plus and Enrollment for Education Solutions (EES). Select Plus is suitable when you want licences for particular machines in small quantities. It is only available from Education Large Account Resellers. EES is a cost-effective site-wide licence model and is available from Precedence. For more information on EES, please read this page.
Products and virtualisation
Some answers based on Microsoft Server 2012 Licensing FAQ
Headline message: There are only 2 editions of WIndows Server 2012R2: Standard and Datacenter. They have identical features, the only difference is your rights for virtualisation
Q. What is the difference between Windows Server 2012R2 Standard edition and Windows Server 2012R2 Datacenter edition?
A. Both Standard and Datacenter editions provide the same set of features; the only thing that differentiates the editions is the number of Virtual Machines (VMs). A Standard edition license will entitle you to run up to two VMs on up to two processors (subject to the VM use rights outlined in the Product Use Rights document). A Datacenter edition license will entitle you to run an unlimited number of VMs on up to two processors.
Q. If I have a Windows Server 2012R2 Standard edition license, how can I increase my virtualization rights?
A. With the Windows Server 2012R2 Standard edition licensing model, you can grow your virtualization environment by either stepping up your license to Datacenter edition or by simply buying additional Standard edition licenses and assigning them to the same physical server. For example, if you have a 2-processor server and want to run a total of 4 VMs, you can purchase two Standard edition licenses and assign them to the same server
Q. What is the process of assigning a Window Server 2012R2 licence to a physical server?
A. From a technical point of view, there is no assignment; you don't have to enter a product key or such like. However, you should maintain a record of what licences you are assigning to each physical server. Licences cannot be 'left floating' and this must be borne in mind when using a virtualisation system that supports moving VMs between hosts.
Q. I can motion my VMs between physical servers, how do I licence this?
A. If you have Datacenter edition licences for each physical server, then as you are covered for unlimited VMs on each, you are fully licenced. If you have assigned Standard edition licences to your physical servers, you can run up to 2 VMs for each licence you have assigned. You must assign enough Standard edition licences to each server to cover the maximum amount of VMs that could be moved onto that server. For example, if you have 6 freely-movable VMs and 3 physical servers, you will need 3 Standard edition licences for each physical server (i.e. 9 in total). On the other hand, if you have 2 freely-movable VMs and then 1 unmovable VM on each host, then the maximum number of VMs that could be run on any host is 3 and thus you would need 2 Standard edition licences for each physical server (i.e. 6 in total).
Q. Can I split my Windows Server 2012R2 license across multiple servers?
No. Each license can only be assigned to a single physical server.
Q. Can I assign a Windows Server 2012R2 license to a virtual machine?
No. A license is assigned to the physical server. Each license will cover up to two physical processors (N.B. a multi-core CPU is counted as one physical processor).
Q. If I want to use an earlier version or edition of Windows Server, what are my options?
A. If you have Windows Server 2012R2 Datacenter edition you will have the right to downgrade to any prior version or lower edition. If you have Windows Server 2012R2 Standard edition, you will have the right to downgrade to any prior version of Enterprise, Standard or Essentials editions, i.e. Windows Server 2012R2 Standard allows you to run Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise in your VMs
Q. Do the virtualization licensing rights of Windows Server 2012R2 apply when used with non-Microsoft software virtualization technologies?
A. Yes. The use rights apply regardless of the virtualization product being used. However, any non-Microsoft software virtualization technologies are not supported by Microsoft.