Do You Buy/Sell Hyper-V and/or System Center?

If you’re a service provider (engineering/consulting/etc) and you’re involved in Hyper-V and/or System Center, or if you’re a customer that is currently buying those technologies, then pay attention.  2011/2012 is a time of interesting change and there are opportunities for customers and for service providers.

System Center

Everything in the System Center circle (a graphic used by MSFT in just about every System Center presentation) is going through an upgrade during the next 12 months:

If you’re doing a deployment of any of these products in the coming months then you really want to make sure that you or your customer will have the rights to do an upgrade next year.  Do you wait until the RTM of the new products?  Probably not; the reason you’re installing now is that there are technical or business issues that need solutions.  For the business’s sake, you solve that issue now, and upgrade later. 

Each of these new versions includes a bunch of new features or improves functionality.  That means there are more gains for the customer, and more service opportunities for the consultant.

Note that some licensing actually includes upgrade rights, e.g. OVS or OV, and System Center Management Suite.  Don’t forget that the SQL database on the back of these servers may also need an upgrade to 2008 R2 or even “Denali”, so protect them too.  And don’t forget the management licenses or CALs.


If you are licensing Windows Server VMs on any virtualisation (Hyper-V, VMware, Xen) correctly then you are licensing the hosts with Enterprise or Datacenter edition, and availing of the free license benefits for VMs on those licensed hosts.  That alone can save you a fortune.  Bundle in Software Assurance for those host OSs and the saving growth is exponential.  Why would you want to do this?  Windows 8 of course!!!

Yes, you will find yourself needing/wanting to deploy Windows 8 Server virtual machines next year after the RTM.  You’ll need to license your hosts with Windows 8 to do that.  Software Assurance or upgrade rights (OVS) on your existing hosts will cover you for that.

We already know of 2 Hyper-V features that will bring technology and business benefits to the business:

  • More vCPUs: We’re getting support for at least 16 virtual CPUs per virtual machine.  That’s 16 threads of execution, meaning more powerful scale-up VMs, meaning more of the server farm can be virtualised.
  • Hyper-V Replica: Small-Medium Businesses (SMBs) struggle with implementing disaster recovery (DR) or business continuity.  This is an example of where technology and budget have an impact on business.  Get it right, and the business gains – I’m told insurance costs can go down.  Get it wrong, and the business … well … you may need to update your CV/résumé.  For a service provider, there is likely going to be a fantastic service opportunity to implement scheduled, asynchronous DR for customers in the SMB space, with modest bandwidth, and without expensive third party software or crazy costing storage solutions.

We’ll probably learn much more about Windows 8 Server at/after the Build conference in September (13-16).

Don’t forget the CALs either!  Something like the Core CAL Suite under OVS covers the end machine/user for a lot of products with Software Assurance.


My recommendations are:

  • Don’t “wait for 8”
  • Look at what Windows 8 and System Center can bring to you business next year, and figure out if you want that to solve your or your customers’ technology or business issues.  If so, make sure your licensing sales/purchases include rights to upgrade.

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