In today’s digital age, having a robust disaster recovery plan is non-negotiable for businesses relying on software and technology. Microsoft, as a leading software provider, offers specific disaster recovery rights to its customers under the Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA).

Understanding Disaster Recovery Rights in Microsoft SPLA

Disaster recovery rights in Microsoft SPLA pertain to the use of backup instances of eligible server software under specific licensing models. These include Per Processor, Per Core (Applications), Per Core (OS), and Per Core (Management). The rights allow businesses to run a backup instance in a physical or virtual operating environment on a dedicated server for disaster recovery purposes.

Permitted Periods of Use

Microsoft outlines three specific scenarios under which the disaster recovery server can be operational:

  1. Disaster Recovery Testing: Businesses can conduct tests for a week every 90 days to ensure the readiness of their disaster recovery setup.
  2. During an Actual Disaster: The backup instance can be run while the primary production server is down, facilitating continuity of operations.
  3. Transition Periods: The disaster recovery server can be used briefly during the transition between the primary production server and the disaster recovery server.

Conditions on Use

To utilize the disaster recovery rights, businesses must adhere to the following conditions:

  1. The disaster recovery server should only be operational during the specified periods.
  2. It must not be part of the same cluster as the production server.
  3. Software use on the disaster recovery server must comply with all license terms.
  4. Post-recovery, the disaster recovery server should only be operational during the allowed times.

Special Considerations for Windows Server

In the context of Windows Server, licenses are not required for the disaster recovery server if it’s used exclusively for specified purposes. These include running hardware virtualization software, managing hardware virtualization software, serving as a destination for replication, and running disaster recovery workloads as outlined earlier.


Microsoft’s disaster recovery rights under the SPLA offer a safety net for businesses, ensuring they have the necessary provisions to maintain operations during unforeseen disruptions. By understanding and adhering to the specified use conditions and periods, businesses can effectively leverage these rights to enhance their resilience and ensure continuity in the face of disaster.