Licensing for SharePoint Server 2016 installed on virtual servers

Copper Contributor

Hello All, 


Are there any specificities for SharePoint Server licensing when installed on virtual servers ? More precisely, do we need additional licenses compared to the "classical"  Server/CAL model ?

3 Replies

SharePoint 2016 licensing model is the same no matter if you are making a physical or a virtual installation

Thank you for your quick answer. It does confirm what I know (1 SP licence by server, whether physical or virtual), but I've been told lately there might be additional licences for the ESX...

Each physical server running instances of the product requires at least one server license. That means if SharePoint Server is running in a virtual machine, every physical server where that virtual machine might ever run needs a license. In many VMware ESX clusters, virtual machines can move freely between physical servers, so you might need a SharePoint Server server license for every physical server in the cluster.
However, if your SharePoint Server server licenses have active Software Assurance (SA), you may move those licenses freely among servers. Essentially, the licenses can "follow" virtual machines running SharePoint Server around the cluster. This can reduce the number of licenses you need -- you only need enough to cover the maximum number of physical servers that are hosting SharePoint virtual machines at any one time.
Whatever you do, be sure to document it carefully. This is something that will be reviewed in a license audit.