Core Infrastructure Suite (CIS) License for Windows Server & System Center

I’ve just been told that Microsoft are launching a new license bundle that includes Windows Server and System Center, with built-in Software Assurance.  You can think of it as a replacement for ECI which was limited to large purchases of at least 25 licenses (25 * 2 CPU hosts) through Large Account Reseller (LAR) and SPLA license agreements.

This new simple bundle, is the perfect way to license Windows in virtualisation (Hyper-V of course, and even VMware/XenServer) and System Center.

There are 2 SKUs for CIS:

SKU Licensed Physical CPUs Licensed
VMs (OSEs)
System Center Included Windows Server Included
Standard 2 2 Standard Standard or Enterprise
Datacenter 2 Unlimited Datacenter Datacenter

Each CIS covers 2 CPUs in the physical machine. The SKU licenses the host and all the VMs on the licensed host for Windows Server and System Center.  And don’t forget that:

  • Hyper-V is free, with no charge for a vTax
  • Endpoint Protection antivirus is included in System Center so why pay an avTax too?

Licensing purchase/counting is simple.  Got a pair of dual CPU hosts with 20 VMs each?  Buy 2 CIS Datacenter licenses.   Putting in a quad socket host?  Buy 2 CIS Datacenter licenses.

The bundle will also be cheaper than buying Windows and System Center separately.  Expect to see pricing and availability in the near future.  This is a heck of a bargain: Windows Server, monitoring, asset management, automation, security, and much more, all in one bundle.

Oh, this SKU does include upgrade rights.  So if you buy it this Summer and Windows Server 8 comes along, you’ll have rights to “upgrade” your hosts to the new license.

9 thoughts on “Core Infrastructure Suite (CIS) License for Windows Server & System Center”

    1. Nothing published by MSFT yet. Give it a few weeks, I reckon. I was told about it this morning, and I saw another distributor had already blogged about it.

  1. Thanks, I’ll ping our MSFT LAR in couple days. If they really removed the 25*2 licensing requirement, it might be a nice deal for SMB … depending on the price apparently.

  2. Anything happen with this? I got a weird call in July from an MS rep about us possibly qualifying for ECI (not likely – very small organization)

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