Microsoft: Virtual Core License added to Windows Server

Definitely, the biggest change is the option of a virtual core license for Windows Server. As opposed to paying for the OS based on the physical processor cores in host machines.

Windows Server

  • Microsoft will introduce per core licensing for virtual servers. Nowadays licensing is only per physical core and you may run virtual servers on top of licensed physical servers.
  • Introduction is per 01-10-2022.
  • These are expected to be separate licenses, so you probably cannot use the existing licenses. Perhaps there will be some grandfathering license grant.
  • These new licenses can be used for local virtual servers and with outsourcers, but not with Alibaba, AWS, Google and Microsoft.
  • For Microsoft Azure you can of course still use the Azure Hybrid Benefit, which in fact translates physical core licenses to virtual core licenses. So Microsoft will still have an advantage on Alibaba, AWS and Google.

Windows 10 and 11

  • Users with a Microsoft 365 F3, E3, or E5 license will be able to virtualize Windows 10 or Windows 11 on their own servers or on outsourcers’ servers, regardless of whether the user’s primary device has a Qualifying Operating System — e.g., Windows 11 Pro — and without the need for any additional licenses (VDA add-on).
  • Introduction is per 01-10-2022.
  • These rights do not apply to Listed Providers (Alibaba, AWS, Google and Microsoft)
  • For Microsoft Azure you can of course still use Azure Virtual Desktops (AVD) or Microsoft 365. Or Citrix and VMware desktop-as-a-service on Azure.


  • Microsoft will remove the ability to outsource SPLA licenses on Listed Provider datacenters.
  • Introduction is per 01-10-2022.
  • Impacted SPLA partners will have until 30-09-2025 to transition workloads from Listed Providers Datacenters or to license directly from the Listed Provider.

These changes make licensing easier for everybody, except Alibaba, AWS and Google.


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