I'm a Unix guy and confused on some of the Windows 2008 licenses (irony).

What are the differences between: Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter, &c? Same codebase and kernel? What materially is different?

Also, they appear to be sometimes licensed by CPU? Is that socket or core licensing?


Here is a decent to-the-point comparison I found for you:


As you work up through the version, each one can support more ram, cpus, virtual sessions, cluster services, hyper-v, and features like hot swap cpu's.

To my knowledge, they are not licences by cpu's. Each version however supports a certain amount of cpu cores and supports a certain amount of "virtual" stations. The license you buy is for the type of server you are running it on. Beyond that, it all CAL (user/device based licensing).

  • OK, not licensed by CPU, just CPU limited based upon what version apparently. – Jé Queue Nov 21 '09 at 0:33
  • That is correct. – Troggy Nov 21 '09 at 1:45
  • your link is rot – Tim Schmelter Oct 7 '15 at 7:39

With regard to your first question, it's not a terrific page but this does have a breakdown of features by Windows Server 2008 "flavour":


  • By "not terrific" I'm referring to the readability. It does have a fairly thorough technical breakdown. – JMD Nov 20 '09 at 22:31

In regards to the CPU licensing, that's not for Windows Server. You license the clients with Client Access Licenses (CAL's) and you can have as many x-core CPU's as the Edition will allow - Web, Standard, Enterprise, Datacenter..

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