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Shared vs Dedicated Hardware on Hosting and its Licensing

The most fundamental difference in the service provider context is between shared and dedicated hardware. The shared, multi-tenant is the hardware that hosts workloads for multiple end customers.

When hardware only runs workloads for one end customer, that hardware is dedicated to that end customer.

The critical thing you need to understand is that we're talking about shared hardware. The dedication of virtual machines to a single client doesn't matter. What matters is whether a particular host serves workloads for one end user or multiple end users. We call it shared, multi-tenant hardware if it serves multiple end customers.

Different SPLA licensing rules apply to dedicated and multi-tenant hardware. Most of the material in this training will intentionally highlight the differences between these two kinds of service provider infrastructure.

The terms "Co-location" and "Private Cloud" usually refer to dedicated infrastructure. Shared or multi-tenant infrastructure is often called "Public Cloud".

An end client may own or rent dedicated hardware. From the Microsoft licensing standpoint, it doesn't matter who owns a server. If it serves one end customer, it is dedicated to that end customer, and all the relevant terms apply.

If you have any questions on Cloud Infrastructure Service Provider licensing of Microsoft software, feel free to message us using this form.