Postings in the same series:
Part I – Teaser
Part II – Let’s meet Contoso!
Part III – Know What You Have
Part IV – Time To Do Some Math
In the last posting of this series I’ll do some Q&A containing some interesting stuff. At least, IMO it’s interesting. While cooking up this series I bumped into some interesting questions and scenario’s as well. Also I got some interesting questions from some readers of my blog which I’ll answer as well using this Q&A approach. Let’s start.
- When do I have to license the monitoring of network devices?
Q01: With OM12 I am able to monitor network devices out of the box. Do I need SC 2012 licenses for it as well, from the moment I start to monitor network devices or is it free up to a certain layer of the OSI model?
A01: Monitoring network devices with OM12 is free up to the third layer of the OSI model, which basically means routers, bridges and switches. From OSI model layer 4 and higher one has to purchase SC 2012 licenses, Standard edition. For example, a firewall requires a SC license since such a device can be looked upon as a physical server with an OS.
- Can I use both SC 2012 license editions for network devices as well?
Q02: Is there any way to use the Data Center edition of the SC 2012 licenses for monitoring network devices as well?
A02: No, there isn’t. Per monitored network device starting from layer 4 of the OSI model or higher, you must purchase a Standard edition of the SC 2012 licenses.
- Does the type of hypervisor influence the SC 2012 licenses?
Q03: My company doesn’t use Microsoft Hyper-V but Citrix Xen Server/VMware instead. Does this have any consequences for the SC 2012 licenses?
A03: The SC 2012 licensing methodology is hypervisor agnostic, i.e., it doesn’t matter which hypervisor is being used (XenServer, vSphere, KVM, Hyper-v etc.). The only thing that is relevant is the number of CPUs that the virtualization host contains.
- What about SC 2012 Management Servers becoming end-points for other SC 2012 components?
Q04: I know I don’t need a license for any SC 2012 Management Server role since I only need to license the ‘end-points’ for SC 2012. But how about this: I have two OM12 Management Servers in place and Orchestrator as well. Now I use Orchestrator to manage some Alerts in OM12. So for Orchestrator these OM12 Management Servers become end-points as well. Do I need to license these OM12 Management Servers as well now?
A04: Indeed, when anything touched – whether directly or indirectly - by SC2012 is an end-point, it needs proper SC 2012 licenses as well. In this case you have two OM12 Management Servers in place. On itself, these OM12 Management Servers don’t need SC 2012 licenses. But with Orchestrator in place which connects to the OM12 Management Group in order to run activities against them, ALL OM12 Management Servers become end-points for Orchestrator. So in this case, both OM12 Management Servers require SC 2012 licenses.
- What about Console connections. Do they need licenses as well?
Q05: I hear different things about SC 2012 licenses for SC 2012 Management Servers. From some sources I have been told I need to license the SC 2012 Management Servers as well since I use it for Console connections as well. Is this true? I have checked all Microsoft online resources about SC 2012 licensing but I can’t find anything about that.
A05: The answer is simple: No, you don’t need any SC 2012 license for a Console connection to any SC 2012 Management Server. The only situation where you need SC 2012 licenses for your SC 2012 Management Servers is when they become and end-point themselves for any SC 2012 component, like described in Q/A04.
- How about SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition? For SC 2012 it is free, when using Enterprise edition do I get a discount?
Q06: For any SC 2012 component, SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition is free, as long as it’s solely used for hosting SC 2012 database/reporting functionality. However, for running Audit Collection Services (ACS) we need the Enterprise edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1. Is there any discount on it? Like: Enterprise edition – Standard edition = the price we have to pay?
A06: SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition is free indeed. But when you want to run another edition, you’ll have to pay for it, with no discounts. The price you pay is based on the contracts and agreements your company has in place.
- Do I need SC 2012 licenses for the SQL Servers solely used for SC 2012 as well?
Q07: I have a bunch of SQL Servers, based on the Standard edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1, dedicated to SC 2012 in place. Since I don’t need SC 2012 licenses for SC 2012 Management Servers, are the SQL Servers in the same position as well?
A07: No, the SQL Servers used for SC 2012, no matter what edition, require proper SC 2012 licenses. At least when you want to manage those SQL Servers by any SC 2012 component that is. When you have OM12 in place I’ll bet you want to monitor those SQL Servers as well. So they become end-points for a SC 2012 component, thus requiring SC 2012 licenses.
- Are the Server OS licenses for SC 2012 servers and SQL Servers for SC 2012, free as well?
Q08: Since I don’t need SC 2012 licenses for SC 2012 Management Servers (as long as they aren’t end-points for any other SC 2012 products) and don’t SQL Server licenses for SQL Servers hosting SQL databases and Reporting functionality solely for SC 2012 components, how about the licenses for the Server Operating System of those servers? Are they free as well?
A08: You still need to license the Operating System of those servers, whether they are SC 2012 Management Servers or SQL Servers for SC 2012 components. No matter whether those SC 2012 Management Servers are SC 2012 end-point or not or what version of SQL Server those servers run.
- We use SQL HA clusters for our SC 2012 products, based on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition. How about the licenses?
Q09: Since we like the High Availability out-of-the-box feature of OM12, we have decided to make OM12 high available as well. Therefore we will run the OM12 database on a dedicated two node SQL Server cluster, based on SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition (Yes, SQL Server Standard edition allows HA Clustering, on a maximum of two nodes). The same goes for the OM12 Data Warehouse database which will be hosted on a dedicated two node SQL HA Cluster as well. SQL Server Reporting Services will be hosted on a dedicated SQL Server instance. So in total we need 5 SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard editions. We will use them for OM12 functionality only. Do we have to buy SQL Server licenses or not? If so, how many?
A09: Microsoft is generous here. When SQL Server 2008 R2 SP1 Standard edition is solely used for hosting SC 2012 functionality, those SQL Server instances don’t need SQL Server licenses. In this case you run 5 SQL Server instances (four of them clustered in two SQL HA Clusters with two nodes each) and a single SQL Server instance for SQL Server Reporting Services, all dedicated to OM12. So all these five SQL Server instances don’t need SQL Server licenses. Please be reminded that in order to create SQL Server HA Clusters, the servers themselves require at least the Enterprise edition of Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 to be installed on those nodes which require proper licenses as well.
- We’re all in. I mean, we run apps in the cloud (Azure/Amazon). Those servers are managed by SC 2012. How about the licenses?
Q10: We have multiple apps running in the cloud (Azure/Amazon). We manage those apps with SC 2012 as well. How do I cover those apps with proper SC 2012 licenses? I mean, Azure/Amazon is a PaaS cloud service offering, so I have no idea nor the means to license the servers hosting those VMs which run the apps. So I need to cover the apps (VMs) themselves, that’s how far we can go.
A10: When you have Software Assurance (SA) in place, there is a component called ‘License Mobility’. With this you can assign SC 2012 licenses to applications running in the public cloud. With the Standard edition you can manage 2 virtual Operating System Environments (OSEs) in a public cloud, with the Data Center edition you can manage up to 8 OSEs in the public cloud. Check this website for more information.
Hopefully this series of blog postings made the new SC 2012 licensing model a bit clearer. I know, licensing can be daunting and overwhelming. From my own experience I know that even LARs/VARs can give confusing answers. So always check and double check. Use multiple sources and don’t hesitate to contact the local Microsoft office. On top of it, try to understand the new licensing model yourself. That way you stay in control and get the best prices without being in breach of contract.
A website which is really helpful with SC 2012 licensing is: http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/systemcenter2012.aspx. This website is a great start in the SC 2012 licensing world.
This series of posting couldn’t have been written by me alone. Of course, I did the writing and cooked up the imaginary company Contoso with the SC 2012 licensing scenario, but the research and more important, the CORRECT answers and the checking of the articles before they were actually posted, is done by Microsoft Netherlands. I owe Martin Sih and Stefan Stranger a couple of beers since these two guys spent their valuable time in order to get my postings just right.
And last but not least, a word of gratitude to Cameron Fuller and Marcus Oh, both fellow MVPs. While having a conversation with them about SC 2012 licensing the idea of writing this series of postings was born. And not just that, they helped me with the first steps in this process.
So thank you guys for helping me out. That’s the true spirit of the community!