Nano Server licensing

Copper Contributor

When I first heard about Nano Server I got the impression that anyone with a Windows Server 2016 license with Software Assurance could deploy any number of instances of Nano Server. I can't find again the articles that gave me this impression, but it stuck to me.


Now that I looked into it better it seems pretty clear that Nano Server is instead simply an installation option of Windows Server, and thus you need at least a distinct Windows Server Standard license with Software Assurance for each Nano Server installation.


Can you confirm me that it is that actually so?


The "free" interpretation seemed credible to me because it is a system with widely reduced functionality and with an experimental flavor.

I actually find hard to believe that it cost the same as a full Windows Server.

I hope licensing questions are acceptable on this forum, I actually have already asked this to my company's habitual Microsoft reseller, but he wasn't up-to-date with Nano Server and he's been looking into it for several days now; if he ever finds out I don't think I can rely much on what he tells me.

4 Replies
best response confirmed by gbfv (Copper Contributor)



Nano Server is a feature, so you need Standard or Datacenter license to use it for every server. If for example you run Nano Server with Hyper-V and lots of VM's you still need a Datacenter license, the number of licenses depends on the number of cores.





Apologies for the late reply.

Thank you.
Are you a Microsoft employee? Can I consider yours an official Microsoft response?

By the way my idea was quite the opposite: to deploy more distinct physical machines, using each for a single purpose, so as to increase security.
The modest requirements of Nano Server would allow me to use cheap (even single-board) computers for that.
If I have to buy an whole (16-cores) Windows Server license for each it is a lot less viable, though.

This distinction between physical and virtual machines is quite frustrating, anyhow. They might at least offer cheap licenses for resource-constrained computers (few cores and little ram)...



I am not a Microsoft employee, just a Microsoft Partner.





Ok, thanks.