Windows Server 2008 under SPLA


With the release of Windows Server 2008 and the increase of people providing hosted services I thought it might be useful to give you some information on the associated licensing.

But first, a quick overview of the SPLA.

The Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA) enables services providers and independent software vendors (ISVs) to license Microsoft® licensed products on a monthly basis, over a three-year agreement term, and use these products to provide software services and hosted applications to your customers. While other Microsoft Volume Licensing programs, such as Enterprise Agreement, Select License, and Open License do not allow commercial hosting of Microsoft licensed products, the Services Provider License Agreement does give you the right to license Microsoft products for commercial hosting.

Types of SPLA Licenses

There are two types of SPLA licenses. Choose the one that's right for you based on how you offer Microsoft licensed products to your customers.

Per Subscriber: A Subscriber Access License (SAL) is required for each unique individual user or device that is authorized to access or otherwise use the licensed products. With the SAL option, you don't need a separate Server License.

Per Processor: Each Processor License allows an unlimited number of users to access the software that is installed on that processor for products licensed through a per processor model.

Now for the Windows piece.

Offering hosted Services with Windows Server 2008 running virtual instances:

If you offer hosted Services from Windows Server 2008 to multiple customers and run virtual instances you will need to license Windows Server under SPLA. Please note that SPLA is the only licensing model that allows hosting/ renting / leasing Microsoft Software to multiple 3rd parties / customers.

Running virtual instances of Windows Servers – license count:

Windows is always licensed per physical processors, regardless whether you run Windows in physical or Virtual OSE’s. With Windows Server Enterprise you get 4 virtual instances for the number of licenses equal to the total number of physical processors.


                1 proc Server                     1 license                               4 virtual instances

                1 proc Server                     2 licenses                             5-8 virtual instances

                1 proc Server                     3 licenses                             9-12 virtual instances

                2 proc Server                     2 license                               4 virtual instances

                2 proc Server                     4 licenses                             5-8 virtual instances

                2 proc Server                     6 licenses                             9-12 virtual instances


Testing, maintenance, and administration access:

For each instance running in an operating system environment, you may also permit up to two (2) other users to use or access the server software to directly or indirectly host a graphical user interface (using the Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services functionality or other technology). This use is for the sole purpose of testing, maintenance, and administration of the licensed products. These users do not need Windows Server 2008 Terminal Services SALs.

Data Storage Technology:

The server software may include data storage technology called Windows Internal Database. Components of the server software use this technology to store data. You may not otherwise use or access this technology under this agreement.

Windows Server Updates Services for Windows Server:

You may download the software from a designated Microsoft web site for use with a Windows Server product. You may install and use the numbers of copies of the software equal to the numbers of software licenses you have obtained for the Windows Server product. You may only use the software to update the Windows Server product

There are numerous products that are available under the SPLA such as:

Microsoft Dynamics™ business software
Microsoft Exchange Hosted Services
Microsoft Exchange Server 2007
Microsoft Forefront™ client security
Microsoft Office System
Microsoft SharePoint® Server
Microsoft SQL Server
Microsoft System Center
Windows Server® 2008 operating system

If you have any specific queries around this program please feel fre eto drop me a line at

Speak to you soon.