SQL Server 2012 Licensing VMs without SA

I ran across a blog talking about Microsoft licensing, and found it very interesting. I learned a few things, and it’s a bookmark I’ll keep in mind.

A subtle change, one that caught my eye. In SQL Server 2012, if you don’t have Software Assurance, you have this limitation for Enterprise Edition:

“SQL Without Active Software Assurance (SA) VM density is limited to one VM per physical Core. VM Density can never rise above the hardware footprint. “

Mmmm, that’s interesting. I know a lot of people were foregoing SA with after the delays with SQL Server 2005, and the idea they would not upgrade so frequently. However if you are looking to remove some old hardware, and migrate some of the older machines that might run fine in 2×2 or 4×4 environments to their own VM on a dense environment, you might be out of luck.

Apparently that’s similar licensing to SQL Server 2008 R2. If you were upgrading from SQL Server 2008 and had SA, you had unlimited VM rights grandfathered in with R2.

Licensing is strange and complex, especially with regards to virtualization. If  you have specific questions about something you are doing, especially if you are moving to a high volume VM environment, check with MS licensing first. It’s easy to get out of compliance, and while you won’t have to pay more yourself, you will get blamed if your company pays more.

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One Response to SQL Server 2012 Licensing VMs without SA

  1. sev17 says:

    Agreed, this is why understanding the details of S/W licensing is important. Software licensing is like taxes, you need to honest, but you also don’t want to over pay and miss entitled deductions.

    I would add–be careful about accepting your sales folks interpretation of licensing at face value– Depending on their role, technical background and length of time with the company their level of knowledge varies, but do confer and reach an understanding with them. At times I found I needed to educate S/W sales folks on their own S/W licensing terms. For large enterprises you’ll have a centralized contract management department with expertise in S/W licensing. There are also consulting companies which specialize in helping organizations with S/W licensing.

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