Windows OS

Difference Between Datacenter and Standard Windows Editions

Perhaps you’re an IT professional trying to determine the differences between the “Datacenter” and “Standard” editions of Windows to analyze which better suits your business. Or, maybe you’re looking to upgrade your existing systems or set up a new server. The main difference is that the “Datacenter” edition provides the most comprehensive set of Windows Server virtualization rights and allows unlimited virtual instances. On the other hand, the “Standard” edition includes two virtual models with each being licensed, thereby making it more economical for smaller workloads.

This guide covers the following aspects:

“Windows Server Datacenter” Edition

Windows Server Datacenter” edition is basically an OS designed for servers. It helps the administrators to handle files, print & web servers, and domain controllers. It is exceptionally suitable to be used in heavily virtualized server environments. With the “Datacenter” edition, a host of features are included, and security is constantly enhanced.

“Windows Server Standard” Edition

Windows Server Standard” edition is defined as the operating system designed for servers with a small to medium work range. It also assists the administrators to handle files, print & web servers, and domain controllers. It works efficiently for businesses with a light virtualization environment and smaller networks.

Difference Between “Datacenter” and “Standard” Windows Editions

Both editions of Windows have some common features, but there are a few features only available in the “Datacenter” edition. Let’s discuss how the “Datacenter” and “Standard” versions of Microsoft Windows differ from each other:

“Licensing” and “Usage Rights”

Regarding the licensing and usage rights, the following differences between the “Datacenter” and the “Standard” edition of Windows can be considered:

Datacenter Standard
Provides unlimited virtual instances Provides two virtual instances
One Hyper-V for each host’s license One Hyper-V for each host’s license
Supports Shielded Virtual Machines No support for Shielded Virtual Machines

“Virtualization Rights” and “Hyper-V”

If you’re looking for a powerful, secure operating system for your IT environment, both “Windows Standard” and “Windows Datacenter” editions offer plenty of features. One key difference between them lies in the virtualization rights each offer.

In the “Datacenter” edition, you get one license per physical processor that allows you to run unlimited VMs. While in the “Standard” edition, one license is provided per physical processor for up to two virtual machines (VMs) per device.

“Clustering” and “High Availability”

Let’s start with the “Clustering” feature that enables pooling together several different physical machines to work together like one giant supercomputer. In this way, you can get more work done faster without purchasing more hardware or worrying about outages due to system failure. “Clustering” is supported in the “Datacenter” edition, while the “Standard” edition lacks it.

High Availability” is when a system can respond to requests even when one of its components fails. “Windows Datacenter” edition offers a feature that provides better reliability and uptime and automatically redirects your requests to another node if an existing node fails. It helps in preventing data corruption, reduces downtime, and ensures that your system is always running smoothly. “High Availability” is supported in the “Datacenter” edition but not in the “Standard” edition.

“Storage Spaces Direct” and “Storage Replica”

The “Datacenter” edition of Windows has the “Storage Spaces Direct” feature for added system performance and scalability. It also adds the bonus of being hyper-converged—meaning that you can use this for storage, networking, and even to host virtual machines. It’s incredibly efficient and resilient: it redundantly stores data replicas in other nodes so that nothing is lost if something fails. This feature could be helpful in disasters such as a system being crashed or compromised.

Storage Replica”, on the other hand, is designed specifically for data replication between the servers. It is a fantastic tool when you need to transfer large amounts of data quickly—like virtual machines—and keep the data synchronized across multiple servers at a swift pace.

These features are included in “Datacenter” editions but not in the “Standard” ones.

“Shielded VMs”

The “Shielded VMs” provide additional security through the means of a “Virtual TPM”. The “Shielded VMs” are encrypted upon shutting down, so nobody can access the data—even if they have physical access to the hardware. The Host Guardian Service authenticates these VMs, thereby ensuring that only trusted and approved sources can access the loaded modules.


Multiple features are common among the “Datacenter” and “Standard” Windows editions. Still, there are a few features that are only included in the “Datacenter” edition – these features include “Clustering and High Availability”, “Storage Spaces Direct and Storage Replica”, and “Shielded VMs”. Head to this official forum for a detailed view of features available in both editions. This guide differentiated between the “Datacenter” and “Standard” Windows editions.

About the author

Talha Saif Malik

Talha is a contributor at Linux Hint with a vision to bring value and do useful things for the world. He loves to read, write and speak about Linux, Data, Computers and Technology.