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Operating systems for your servers - the right licences for different needs

In addition to technical specifications, the number of users and the software to be used are key considerations when choosing a server. Different generations of equipment support different operating systems and software solutions, depending on the hardware installed.

Both Linux-based solutions and a variety of Microsoft Windows Server editions can be used as operating systems. It should be noted that servers often only support certain versions depending on the generation:

It is therefore important to check the operating system's hardware requirements and compatibility information in the device manufacturer's technical documentation. It should also be noted that operating systems such as Microsoft Windows Server often only support a limited number of cores, depending on the licence level. This can lead to increased licensing costs if a higher licence level needs to be purchased after a hardware upgrade.

Available editions of Microsoft Windows Server 2022

As a server operating system for businesses of all industries and sizes, Microsoft Windows Server is a reliable platform for running mission-critical applications and services. Depending on the edition, the operating system offers a wide range of features to meet a variety of needs. Based on the size of your business and the features you need, you can choose the edition that best fits your needs and budget to provide a high performing, reliable and secure infrastructure. Windows Server 2022 is available in several editions:

  • Essentials Edition

The Essentials Edition is a simplified version of Windows Server 2022, providing basic services to meet the essential needs of less complex infrastructures. Designed for use in small businesses, it includes access licences for 25 users and 50 devices and supports a single processor with up to 10 cores.

  • Standard Edition

The Standard Edition of Windows Server 2022 is designed to meet the needs of businesses with more advanced requirements. Up to two virtual machines (VMs) can be used to create virtualised environments and the number of cores supported varies depending on the licensing package selected. Additional cores can be licensed with optional expansion licences. User and device access licences are not included and must be purchased separately.

  • DataCenter Edition

The DataCenter Edition of Windows Server 2022 is designed for complex, high-demand environments with an unlimited number of virtual machines. Licence packages available for this edition also vary in the number of processor cores supported, and user and device access licences are sold separately.

Access licences for Windows Server operating systems

In addition to the operating system itself, Windows Server 2022 requires Client Access Licences (CALs). These allow users and devices to access the services and features of Windows Server. CALs are required for all editions of Windows Server 2022 except the Essentials edition, which comes with 25 user licences and 50 device licences. When companies deploy Windows Server 2022, an access licence must be purchased for each user or device that accesses the server. Businesses can purchase a combination of different licence types, depending on their needs.

  • Device CAL

A Device CAL is assigned to a specific device, regardless of who is using it. The licensed client computer is given access to the server's services and uses its own user interface for display.

  • User CAL

A User CAL is assigned to a specific user who accesses the server by logging in with their user account from different client devices.


Another way for users to access a server is through Remote Desktop Service (RDS). Here the server provides the user with a graphical user interface and employees can access the server remotely, regardless of their location. RDS CALs are required for use, which are also available as different licence types for devices or users.

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