While the previous version of Windows Server Standard edition and Datacenter edition used a processor-based model, Windows Server 2016 now utilizes a core-based licensing model.
With core-based licensing, there are 3 licensing rules that MUST be followed:
1) All physical cores in the server must be licensed
2) A minimum of 8 core licenses is required for each physical processor
3) A minimum of 16 core licenses is required for each server
Virtual Machine rights with Windows Server 2016 Standard and Datacenter
Windows Server 2016 Standard edition provides rights for up to 2 Operating System Environments (OSEs) or Hyper-V containers when all of the physical cores in the server are licensed. Multiple licenses can be assigned to the same cores for additional OSEs or Hyper-V containers.
For example, to obtain 2 additional virtual machines (VMs) for Standard edition, simply re-license all of the physical cores on the server.
Windows Server 2016 Datacenter edition provides the rights for unlimited OSEs or Hyper-V containers.
Client Access Licenses (CALs)
The Windows Server 2016 licensing model includes both Cores + Client Access Licenses (CALs). Each user and/or device accessing a licensed Windows Server Standard or Datacenter edition requires a Windows Server CAL or – when using Remote Desktop sessions on the server - Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services (RDS) CAL. A Windows Server CAL and/or RDS CAL gives a user or device the right to access any edition of Windows Server of the same or earlier generation.
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