A Tale of Licensing – Part 1

I am working on a project proposal to implement System Center Configuration Manager 2012 (SCCM 2012) at work (we already have Operations Manager – SCOM 2012). I was trying to finish up my presentation and make sure I had accurate numbers on my quote so I followed up on the numbers with our account rep. What followed next was me becoming very frustrated and confused. When we asked for a quote for SCCM with 225 server clients the original quote I got back was for $3500. After doing some digging and talking with our account rep numerous times, we found out the following:

When licensing System Center you get all 8 products (yes that includes SCOM and SCCM). There are two different licensing models:

Standard and Datacenter

Standard is much cheaper and either covers one physical server or two VMs on a host per license.

Datacenter can be applied to one host and provide unlimited VM coverage (assuming your host doesn’t have more than 2 physical processors). Now assume this scenario – you have 10 hosts in vCenter with numerous VMs spread across them – lets say 100. It is probably best to get 10 datacenter licenses to cover each host because you probably don’t know how many VMs will be running on any host at any given time (assuming you are using DRS).

In another scenario maybe you only have 3 hosts and 10 VMs. You might be able to get away with only buying a couple standard licenses per host since your environment is so small – but again, Datacenter licenses keep it simple.

*Don’t forget, in either scenario you will still have to purchase one standard license per physical server!

Windows Server OS licensing is done very similarly

Our setup:

Our desktop team here already has LANDesk (a competing product of SCCM) but I want to get SCCM for our team to use with Windows Servers. Currently, we don’t use LANDesk nor do we want to. We are about 80% virtualized and have roughly 160 Windows server VMs spread across 28 hosts. The reason we have so many hosts is we have a LARGE Linux presence here. So when we started pricing out System Center we were going to have to license ALL 28 hosts because we don’t know how many Windows VMs could be running on any host at any given time. We have a very fluid environment…

Now at this point you might be asking “What about SCOM? You said you had SCOM already and the licensing is the same”. Well, after doing some digging I found out that we were licensing SCOM incorrectly! We had purchased one standard license for every server that was being managed by SCOM (regardless if they were physical or virtual). To date, we are only managing production servers in SCOM so that equated to about 140 standard licenses!


Take a breath – grab a drink – and pick up with Part 2.


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