Microsoft has loosened the usage rights (SPUR) around Windows Web Server 2008 R2. This is the low cost server license available from Microsoft. In the past you were limited on what could run on this server to only include web servers (HTTP) no database servers, no DNS services, nothing. This meant you needed to opt for the more expensive licenses and many customers would opt against splitting these services out to independant servers for this reason.
The new SPUR for January 2010 went live on the Microsoft site recently and has loosened the use rights as follows (sorry I don’t have a link but you can find it pretty easily):
—-Begin Microsoft Legalese—-
For Windows Web Server 2008 R2:
The total number of software licenses required for a server equals the sum of the software licenses required under (i) and (ii) below.
i. To run one instance of the server software at any one time in either one physical operating system environment or one virtual operating system environment on a server, you need a software license for each physical processor on that server.
ii. To run each additional instance of the server software at any one time in either one physical operating system environment or one virtual operating system environment, you need a software license for each physical processor on that server.
Limitations on Use.
You may use the software for the development and deployment of the Internet Web Solutions. “Internet Web solutions” are publicly accessible and consist solely of the following:
- · Web pages
- · Web sites
- · Web applications
- · Web services
- · POP3 mail serving
You may use the software to run:
- · Web server software (for example, Microsoft Internet Information Services), and management or security agents (for example, the System Center Operations Manager agent);
- · Database engine software (for example, Microsoft SQL Server) solely to support Internet Web solutions;
- · The Domain Name System (DNS) service to provide resolution of Internet names to IP addresses as long as that is not the sole function of the instance of the software.
Any other usage of the software is not permitted.
—-End Microsoft Legalese—-
At the end of the day what’s this all mean? It means you can use a $15/month license to run your mail server, your SQL server, DNS server, provided they are solely used to support Internet Web based sites.
This is great as it will reduce your licensing costs to deploy services on Windows. The Web Server edition does have it’s limitations compared to Standard and Enterprise (typically based on memory and number of CPU cores) but overall it’s a pretty good OS for these services.
There is the bigger question that will come up will be well are these “outsourced” or “non-outsourced” licenses but that’s a question you need to take up with your hoster and/or your Microsoft hosting rep.