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Datacenter and Virtual Machines

Last updated on May 31st, 2019

How do they work?

Windows Server Datacenter is seen as the ultimate powerhouse for high level computing, with its wide array of features and functionality that make handling high levels easier. One of the headlining features of Windows Server Datacenter 2016 is the ability to host UNLIMITED Virtual Machines. Yes, you read that right, unlimited.

So you have Datacenter currently set up on your machine, but you are running into issues with adding VMs and getting those VMs licensed? There are a few caveats on how to set up those VMs to take full advantage of Datacenter’s capabilities that we believe you should know. Let’s take a look below:

Rule 1 – The Datacenter OS has to be the host machine.

Setting the foundation for your virtual machines is important in order to adhere to the licensing policy. As far as the host, there are a few different ways to set Datacenter as the primary instance, whether it be on a physical server, VMware cluster, or a Citrix XenServer. You can use any of the aforementioned methods to get your host up and running.

Rule 2 – The Virtual Machines must be rooted in Datacenter via Hyper-V.

To get these VM’s up and running, you will need to complete activation through AVMA (Automatic Virtual Machine Activation) – a service built into Datacenter 2012 and all later editions. A virtual machine is automatically activated using an AVMA license, as long as the virtual machine is rooted in a licensed copy of Datacenter through Hyper-V.

Now that we have the rules out of the way, let’s take a look at the advantages you will be able to take advantage of:

  • You can activate your VMs without managing product keys!
    “You mean no random excel spreadsheet with a bunch of keys?” Yep! You just have to know whether the VM is rooted in Datacenter, and if that is the case then it will automatically be activated with AVMA.
  • Activate without an internet connection
    Running an offline environment? Any VM you spin up in this way will be automatically activated. Seriously, it’s really easy folks.
  • Reporting – Virtual Machine usage and licensing tracker in the host
    The host machine will track the VM OS information (edition and service packs), IP Addresses, RDP Addresses, etc.

That about covers it for Datacenter virtualization & AVMA. Make sure to check out our licensing guide for additional info on features & licensing requirements. As always, reach out by phone, email, or chat and we will help you determine the most cost effective solution for you & your business!

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