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SoftwareMedia Blog | May 5, 2016

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New Licensing Model for Microsoft SQL Server 2012

New Licensing Model for Microsoft SQL Server 2012
Kyle Fordrung

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is a cloud ready information platform. With SQL Server 2012, Microsoft continues to offer a variety of licensing options aligned with how customers typically purchase specific workloads. The Server+CAL (client access license) licensing model provides the option to license users or devices and then have low cost access to incremental SQL Server deployments.

In the new licensing model for SQL Server 2012, the measure of computing power is shifting from physical processors to cores. Core based licensing gives customers a more precise measure of computing power and a more consistent licensing metric, regardless of whether the solutions are deployed on physical servers on-premise, or in virtual environments.

Core Based Licensing

Under the new Per Core licensing model, each server running SQL Server 2012 software or any of its components (Reporting Services, Integration Services etc) must be assigned an appropriate number of SQL Server 2012 core licenses. The number of core licenses needed depends on whether customers are licensing the physical server or individual virtual operating system environments (OSEs)


Licensing SQL Server 2012 Using the Per Core Licensing Model

When running SQL Server in a physical OSE, all physical cores on the server must be licensed. To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed, customers should count the total number of physical cores for each server. They have to multiply the number of cores by the appropriate core factor to determine the total number of licenses required for the server and then purchase the appropriate number of core licenses required for the server. As Core licenses are sold in packs of two, customers must divide the number of licenses required by two to determine the actual number of line items (licensing SKUs) to order.

The Per Core licensing model is appropriate when deploying the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition or deploying Internet or extranet workloads.


Server + CAL Licensing

When licensing SQL Server software under the Server+CAL model, customers purchase a server license for each server and a client access license (CAL) for each device (Device CAL) or user (User CAL) accessing SQL Server or any of its components. A CAL is not software. It is a license granting users and devices access to the SQL Server software.


Licensing SQL Server 2012 Using the Server+CAL Licensing Model

Under the Server+CAL licensing model, each operating system environment (OSE) running SQL Server 2012 software or any of its components must have a SQL Server 2012 server license assigned to the physical server hosting the OSE. Each server license allows customers to run any number of SQL Server instances in an OSE.

To access a licensed SQL Server, each user or device must have a SQL Server CAL that is the same version or newer than the SQL Server software version being accessed. For example, to access a server running SQL Server 2012 software, a user needs a SQL Server 2012 CAL.

The Server+CAL licensing model is appropriate when deploying the SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition. It is also appropriate when deploying SQL Server Standard Edition in scenarios where customers can easily count users/devices.


Licensing SQL Server 2012 in a Virtualized Environment

SQL Server 2012 offers expanded virtualization rights and benefits to provide greater flexibility for customers deploying in virtual environments. When deploying SQL Server 2012 software in virtualized environments, customers have the choice to license either individual virtual machines as needed, or to license for maximum virtualization in highly virtualized, private cloud or dynamic environments.


Licensing Individual Virtual Machines

To license individual VMs using the Per Core model, customers must purchase a core license for each v-core (or virtual processor, virtual CPU, virtual thread) allocated to the VM, subject to a four core license minimum per VM. Additional licenses are required when a single hardware thread is supporting multiple virtual cores (a core license is required for each v-core) or when multiple hardware threads are supporting a single virtual core.

To license individual VMs using the Server+CAL model (SQL Server 2012 Standard and Business Intelligence editions only) customers simply purchase one server license for each VM running SQL Server software, regardless of the number of virtual processors allocated to the VM.


Licensing for Maximum Virtualization

With the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition, customers that have licensed all physical cores on the server can run an unlimited number of instances of the software in a number of OSEs (physical or virtual) equal to the number of core licenses assigned to the server. For example, a four processor server with four cores per processor—fully licensed with sixteen core licenses—can run SQL Server software in up to sixteen VMs, regardless of the number of virtual cores allocated to each VM.

Licensing for maximum virtualization can be an ideal solution when deploying SQL Server private cloud scenarios with high VM density, when hyper-threading is being used or when using dynamic provisioning and de-provisioning of VM resources.


For more great information about the Microsoft Open License Program, check out our Microsoft Licensing Guide.


Article Contributor: Satish Kumar

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