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I understand that a single Windows Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition license includes 4 free guest virtual machines using Hyper-V. Suppose I do that, and have 4 VMs running, but then want to expand.

If I separately purchase additional Windows licenses, or I consolidate a machine with an existing license, can I spin up a 5th, 6th virtual machine (presuming there are enough CPU/RAM resources on the host)? Or does the host OS limit the number of virtual machines allowed?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

There is no technical limitation on the number of Virtual Machines you can host.

However, I believe that the licence permits 4 Virtual copies per physical copy installed not per licence.

...On top of this, surely, you would still be entitled to install as many copies as you like if you purchased a Windows Server licence for each extra instance. That being said, You may want to take a look at Datacenter edition - which entitles you to use as many instances of Windows as you want.

I do not think Microsoft would punish or try to sue you if you tried and had paid for a copy, however, I think it is breaking the terms.

IANAL

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Thanks for the answer and additional information - very helpful! – James Holland Apr 30 '10 at 15:09

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