Extended Security Updates are critical if you want to continue safely running Windows Server workloads on versions that are out of support. They’re free for customers running Windows Server in Azure and available to purchase through an EA for on-premises workloads.
Servers in Azure receive ESUs by default, and there’s an excellent article here (https://bit.ly/3LTxdrS) on how it works for on-premises servers where it’s not automatic and you need to register your servers.
If you’re running Azure Stack HCI then ESUs are free but you need to turn on Azure Benefits – and this article (https://bit.ly/3M4gX7s) is useful for explaining that process. If you’re new to Extended Security Updates, then this article is a good place to start: https://bit.ly/3NFed1C.
Microsoft announce the General Availability of Windows Server 2022 from 1 September, 2021 and confirm that only Long-Term Servicing Channel releases will be available.
Find the announcement article with an overview of new features here: https://bit.ly/3gOj82c, and details on servicing models with end of support dates for existing Semi-Annual Channel releases here: https://bit.ly/3geb76r.
Extended Security Updates are critical if you want to continue safely running Windows Server and SQL Server workloads on versions that are out of support.
Extended Security Updates have been available for SQL Server/Windows Server 2008/2008 R2 since support ended, but will themselves end on July 9, 2022 and January 14, 2023 respectively. If you’re running these older products in Azure then you get 3 years of free Extended Security Updates, and Microsoft have just announced that one more year of Extended Security Updates will be available only on Azure.
It’s also time to think about support ending for SQL Server 2012 on July 12, 2022, and for Windows Server 2012/2012 R2 on October 23, 2023. 3 years of Extended Security Updates will once again be available and, again, they will be free for customers running these versions in Azure. Customers will also be able to purchase ESUs through an Enterprise Agreement for on-premises workloads if they have active Software Assurance on their licences. They will just need to buy licences for the servers they need to cover, and costs will be 75% of the licence cost for the first year, 100% of the licence cost for the second year, and 125% of the licence cost for the third year.
You can find the announcement here: https://bit.ly/3zg0KWL, find a datasheet here: https://bit.ly/3hMnNm6, and access a Customer FAQ here: https://bit.ly/3iskboG.
Microsoft announce that Windows Server 2022 is now in preview. It will be the next release in the Long Term Servicing Channel (LTSC) and will be generally available later this year. Organisations wanting to try out the new Windows Server 2022 preview can either download it, or try it out on Azure.
Find the announcement, with download links, here: http://bit.ly/3rsbo9q.
There’s an updated (August 2020) Microsoft Licensing Brief to detail the licensing of Windows Server for use with virtualisation technologies.
There are just small updates made, but this is a useful document if you’re pondering how containers are licensed, how Windows Server licensing changes with VMware or Virtuozzo, or how you license Windows Server for use on Microsoft Azure.
Find this document here: https://bit.ly/3jOPnwN.
There’s an updated (April 2020) Licensing Brief detailing how to license the desktop applications with RDS. The main change is to include the October 2019 changes to the licensing terms for Outsourcing Software Management which affect customers choosing to host Office applications on a dedicated server.
Find this updated Licensing Brief here: https://bit.ly/RDSVLBrApr2020
The August 2019
Product Terms details some changes to the Azure Hybrid Benefit to include
licensing options for the recently announced Azure Dedicated Host, so here’s a
summary of the rules for both Windows Server and SQL Server.
- Standard licences may now be used on-premises OR for virtual machines running
in Azure OR for virtual machines running in an Azure Dedicated Host. The licensing
for both Azure and Azure Dedicated Host follow the “groups of 8” rules. Licenses
may now be assigned to both on-premises servers and Azure for a period of 180
days for migration purposes – this is an increase from the previous 31-day
- Datacenter licences may now be used on-premises AND for virtual machines
running in Azure (no change) OR for virtual machines running in an Azure
Dedicated Host. Customers can choose to license individual virtual machines
running in Azure Dedicated Host following the “groups of 8” rules, or can
license all the physical cores of the Azure Dedicated Host and run an unlimited
number of virtual machines. Customers moving from on-premises to Azure
Dedicated Host have the same 180-day migration window as Standard licences
- Standard licences may now be used on-premises OR for virtual machines
running in Azure OR for Azure SQL Database Services OR for virtual machines
running in an Azure Dedicated Host. The licensing rules for Azure Dedicated
Host are the same as for virtual machines running in Azure. There is no change
to the 180-day migration period allowed when moving from an on-premises to an
- Enterprise licences may be used in the same scenarios as the Standard
licences above. However, there is an additional licensing option for Azure
Dedicated Host which allows customers to license all the physical cores of the
Azure Dedicated Host to run SQL Server in an unlimited number of virtual
You can find the
August 2019 Product Terms here: http://bit.ly/MSproductterms and there’s an Azure Hybrid Benefit FAQ
Microsoft announce that Windows Virtual Desktop is now in public preview.
This new Azure service will allow customers to run Windows 7, Windows 10 or Windows Server desktops and provide free Extended Security Updates for customers choosing Windows 7.
Customers will already be licensed for the client desktops if they have Microsoft 365 F1/E3/E5, Windows 10 E3/E5 or Windows VDA licences, and for Windows Server desktops if they’ve got RDS CALs. Reserved Instances may also be used to optimise costs for the infrastructure.
This site (http://bit.ly/2HPbqo2) has all the information as well as a video that gives an excellent overview of the service.
Microsoft announce that Windows Server 2019 is available for download from VLSC: http://bit.ly/2IzPATQ.
There’s also a Licensing Datasheet available where you’ll see that the basic licensing model is unchanged: servers are licensed per core with packs of 2 or 16 Core licences available, and a minimum of 8 Core licences assigned to a processor, and 16 to a server. CALs are required for users or devices accessing the services of the server.
The datasheet also confirms that there’s a 10% price increase for Windows Server 2019 Standard Core licences, and gives a nice overview of the Servicing Channels.
Find the datasheet here: http://bit.ly/MSLicensingGuides.
Microsoft announce that there will be a Windows Server 2019 Essentials edition, released later this year along with the Standard and Datacenter editions of Windows Server 2019. There are no changes to the licensing (it’s a single Server licence that includes access for up to 25 users/50 devices) and it will be supported as a Long Term Servicing Channel release. In addition, Microsoft state the strong possibility that this could be the last version of Windows Server Essentials. Find the announcement here: http://bit.ly/2wWprZO.