One of the new features introduced in Hyper-V 2012 R2 is Automatic Virtual Machine Activation (AVMA) which acts as a proof-of-purchase mechanism, helping to ensure that Windows products are used in accordance with the Product Use Rights and Microsoft Software License Terms. AVMA lets you install virtual machines on a properly activated Windows server without having to manage product keys for each individual virtual machine, even in disconnected environments. AVMA binds the virtual machine activation to the licensed virtualization server and activates the virtual machine when it starts up. AVMA also provides real-time reporting on usage and historical data on the license state of the virtual machine. Reporting and tracking data is available on the virtualization server.
On virtualization servers that are activated using Volume Licensing or OEM licensing, AVMA offers several benefits. Server datacenter managers can use AVMA to do the following:
- Activate virtual machines in remote locations
- Activate virtual machines with or without an internet connection
- Track virtual machine usage and licenses from the virtualization server, without requiring any access rights on the virtualized systems
AVMA provides significant advantages to Service Providers and disconnected environments who struggle to manage license activation. Being able to securely activate the Guest OS’s, against a legitimately activated host, ensures that VMs themselves don’t need to be necessarily exposed to the corporate network for activation, and at the same time, customers don’t need to manually activate each VM they deploy. This not only ensures legal compliance from a licensing standpoint, but also simplifies licensing management. There are no product keys to manage and no stickers on the servers to read. The virtual machine is activated and continues to work even when it is migrated across an array of virtualization servers. Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) partners and other hosting providers do not have to share product keys with tenants or access a tenant’s virtual machine to activate it. Virtual machine activation is transparent to the tenant when AVMA is used. Hosting providers can use the server logs to verify license compliance and to track client usage history.
The registry (KVP) on the virtualization server provides real-time tracking data for the guest operating systems. Because the registry key moves with the virtual machine, you can get license information as well. By default the KVP returns information about the virtual machine, including the following:
- Fully qualified domain name
- Operating system and service packs installed
- Processor architecture
- IPv4 an IPv6 network addresses
- RDP addresses
To take advantage of AVMA you will require the following:
- Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter with Hyper-V Host.
- The guest virtual machine operating system must be Windows Server 2012 R2 Datacenter, Windows Server 2012 R2 Standard, or Windows Server 2012 R2 Essentials