My colleague Cameron Fuller recently attended a meeting with Microsoft to discuss the change in licensing for the System Center 2012 suite of products.  Here’s what he was able to publicly share today on that topic….

Note: I’ve included the System Center 2012 Licensing Datasheet PDF at the END of this post – thanks to Chris Ross for that!

UPDATE: I’ve also included a System Center 2012 Licensing FAQ PDF at the END of this post


  • · Maximize private cloud value while simplifying the purchase experience.
  • · Provide unlimited virtualization.
  • · Consistent, easier to manage

System Center 2012 DataCenter – highly virtualized environments

System Center 2012 Standard – lightly or non-virtualized environments

  • Up to two OSE’s with Standard edition, unlimited OSE’s with Datacenter edition.
  • Each license includes ALL of the System Center 2012 components
  • No more Standard edition License for basic workloads, and Enterprise for advanced workloads. Doing away with this workload differentiation. Both editions of System Center 2012 licensing will support all workloads.
  • No additional license required for management consoles, SQL Server runtime included. No need to license the management consoles.
  • Processor based license – each Server Management license will cover up to two-processors (not cores). A four processor server would require two licenses.
  • System Center 2012 is a NEW product, the collection of standalone products that were previously sold individually are being set to end of life. These licensing changes do not impact the previous standalone product versions.

– Q: License for one central SQL server instead of the runtime version?

– A: The runtime edition is standard (not enterprise). A central SQL server enterprise would need to be separately licensed.

– Q: Network devices.

– A: Not changing. If OSI Layer 3 and below you can manage this without a management license. OSI Layer 4 and higher does require a management license (Server Management License for these types of devices)

– Q: [Is a license required for] Network devices:

– A: Not required for discovery, only after it is monitored is a license required.

– Q: [What requires a license?]

– A: If the item is in the CMDB and the item as an Operating System Environment (OSE) it requires a license. (Not the toaster in the CMDB because it does not have an OSE). If in the CMDB and has an OSE it requires a license.

– Q: [Linux/Unix devices?]

– A: Customer to use Orchestrator for Linux/UNIX devices – Unix and Linux applies as an OSE. If managed they need to be licensed with one of the two server management licenses.

– Q: Physical server running vSphere:

– A: Same from a management server, if we are managing it and it has an OSE it requires a license.

– Q: Server Management License required for ConfigMgr, ServiceMgr, etc:

– A: No license to the server where you are running the management software. As long as they are NOT being managed. Licensing is for those that are BEING managed. If you are managing them, you need an SML license.

– Q: Managing VMware via proxy. Is a management license required for the proxy system, the system being managed or both?

– A: Directly managing these devices require a management license. Not managing them directly does not require a management license.

– Q: OpsMgr Gateway: Does the OM Gateway require a license.

– A: Only things being managed. The right to run the management server software and components just comes with the management license. 100 servers managed within OM – those servers require an ML. Separate server running software on it.

Key point – only required to license the things BEING managed.

Pricing: Moving to the two editions going forward, a wide range of license combinations. Some prices go up, some go down.

Server Managed license – still exists. If managing 100 servers still need a Server license.


What is System Center? – What components are integrated? (8 components)


ECI Licensing: Includes Windows server and the System Center products. Moves to a two edition model (Datacenter edition, Standard).


Editions, license type, capabilities, Virtualization rights.


License transition:


SA Migration summary:


Client Management Licensing: (Core CAL, ECAL)


Download the System Center 2012 Licensing Datasheet PDF!

Download the System Center 2012 Licensing FAQ PDF!