Windows Server 2016 is the cloud-ready operating system that supports your current workloads while introducing new technologies that make it easy to transition to cloud computing when you are ready. It delivers powerful new layers of security along with Azure-inspired innovation for the applications and infrastructure that power your business. There are some new terms in licensing Windows Server 2016.


  • Windows Server 2016 Datacenter: For highly virtualized datacentre and cloud environments.
  • Windows Server 2016 Standard: For physical or minimally virtualized environments.

*Software Assurance is required to deploy and operate Nano Server in production.

In this table we can see both Windows Server 2016 Standard and Windows Server 2016 Datacentre, from this table you can understand the main differences and choose between them, chose the right fit for your situation.

  • Windows Server 2016 Essentials: For small businesses with up to 25 users and 50 devices. Essentials is a good option for customers using the Foundation edition, which is not available for Windows Server 2016.
  • Windows Server 2016 MultiPoint Premium Server: Enables multiple users to access one computer; available only for academic licensing.
  • Windows Storage Server 2016: For dedicated OEM storage solutions. Available in Standard and Workgroup editions through the OEM channel.
  • Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2016: Free hypervisor download.


  1. All physical cores in the server must be licensed. Servers are licensed based on the number of processor cores in the physical server, not like in Windows Server 2012 based on number of processors.
  2. A minimum of 16 core licenses is required for each server.
  3. A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor.
  4. Windows Server 2016 Core licenses will be sold in packs of two. Eight 2-core packs will be the minimum required to license each physical server. For example, if customer have a server with two processors and for each processor there are six physical cores, customer needs to purchase eight 2-core packs, because it is minimum.
  5. The 2-core pack for each edition is one-eighth the price of a 2-processor license for corresponding Windows Server 2012 R2 editions.
  6. The price of 16-core licenses of Windows Server 2016 Datacenter and Standard edition will be the same price as the 2-processor license of the corresponding editions of the Windows Server 2012 R2 version.
  7. Existing customers’ servers under Software Assurance will receive core grants as required, with documentation.

Microsoft has confirmed information which will affect Windows Server 2016 virtualization.

  1. Standard Edition provides rights for up to two OSEs or Hyper-V containers when all physical cores in the server are licensed. For every two additional VMs, all the cores in the server have to be licensed again.

This information will affect only Windows Server 2016 Standard, Windows Server 2016 Datacenter will have unlimited numbers of OSEs or Hyper-V containers.


Customer have one server with two processors for each processor there are twelve physical cores and two virtual machines, so if this customer wants to have Microsoft Windows Server 2016, then this customer will need to purchase twelve licenses (one license will cover two physical cores) if they want to have two more virtual machines then the customer will have to buy twelve more licenses, a total of 24 licenses which would cover 48 physical cores.