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Datacenter Licensing Tweaked

The Windows Server 2003 version of Datacenter Server will have a couple of licensing changes.

For one thing, it will be offered in a new 128-processor SKU, Microsoft Web site documents show. But to make sure nobody infers that 128-way scalability is being supported in the high-end operating system, Microsoft cautions that users who buy the huge SKU are still limited to individual operating system instances of 64 processors.

Hewlett-Packard has announced plans to begin offering the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, on its 64-processor Superdome machines this year. That is the largest system that will be available in any company's immediate roadmaps, although a few vendors including Unisys and Fujitsu hope to sell 128-processor Itanium-based systems in the next few years.

In any case, Microsoft has committed to supporting 64-processor SMP in single instances of the 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition. No more, no less.

The other licensing change involves downgrade rights for customers who buy Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, when it becomes available in April. Users who bought a licenses for Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, had the right to install Windows NT Server 4.0, Enterprise Edition, or Windows 2000 Advanced Server on the system, as well.

Downgrade rights for Windows Server 2003 will only allow for other versions of Datacenter. So, for example, a user who buys a Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition, license for an entire 32-processor machine can run any combination of Windows Datacenter Server 2000 and 32-bit or 64-bit Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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