About Licensing

SQL Server 2012

SQL Server 2012 is a significant product release, providing Mission Critical Confidence with greater uptime, blazing-fast performance and enhanced security features for mission critical workloads; Breakthrough Insight with managed self-service data exploration and stunning interactive data visualization capabilities; and Cloud On Your Terms by enabling the creation and extension of solutions across on-premises and public cloud. SQL Server 2012 is a Cloud Ready Information Platform.

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What's New In SQL Server 2012 Licensing

The SQL Server 2012 release will simplify customer options with three main editions that are closely aligned with how customers use SQL Server across workloads. SQL Server 2012 will also deliver licensing which enables customers to more easily take advantage of the benefits of public and private cloud through virtualization and license mobility. Our new model will provide:

Simplified Licensing

SQL Server 2012 will offer two licensing options – one that is based on computing power, and one that is based on users or devices (see table below for the mapping of the new licensing options per edition).

SQL 2012 Editions

Flexibility and Innovation

Cloud-optimized licensing with the ability to license a single Virtual Machine (VM) or license a server for maximum virtualization as well as the flexibility to move your VMs from server to server, to hosters or the cloud.

Industry-leading TCO

We continue to provide outstanding value at any scale among all major vendors. SQL Server 2012 will offer compelling product features and capabilities within three main editions with no costly add-ons required to run your Mission Critical and Business Intelligence applications.

How to Buy SQL Server 2012

SQL Server will be available in three main Editions, which are aligned with how customers deploy database solutions.

Enterprise Edition

Enterprise Edition is built for Mission Critical Applications, Data Warehousing and Enterprise Business Intelligence Solutions. Enterprise Edition is available through Core Based Licensing (see below for more details)

Business Intelligence Edition

The new Business Intelligence Edition is designed for premium self service and corporate business intelligence. This edition will be licensed in the Server + CAL model so customers can quickly scale out BI solutions across servers as they grow.

Standard Edition

Standard Edition continues to offer basic database, reporting and analytics capabilities. Standard Edition can be licensed in either the core based licensing model or the Server + CAL licensing model.

Licensing by computing power - Core-Based Licensing

With the release of SQL Server 2012, the licensing for computing power will be core-based.

  • Enterprise and Standard will be available under core-based licensing. Cored-based licenses will be sold in two-core packs. The Standard Edition will also be available as a Server+ CAL licensing option.

  • To license a physical server, you must license all the cores in the server, with a minimum of 4 core licenses required for each physical processor in the server.

Licensing by users - Server + CAL Licensing

The Business Intelligence and Standard Editions will be available under the Server + Client Access License (CAL) model.

  • This licensing model can be used anytime the number of users can be readily counted (e.g., internal database applications).

  • To access a licensed SQL Server in the server + CAL model, each user must have a SQL Server CAL that is the same version or newer (for example, to access a SQL Server 2008 server, a user would need a SQL Server 2008 or a SQL Server 2012 CAL).

  • Each SQL Server 2012 CAL can provide access to multiple licensed SQL Servers, including the new SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Server as well as prior versions of the Enterprise Edition Servers.

Database Virtualization - Cloud Optimized Licensing

With databases that use just a fraction of the compute power of a physical server, you can save by licensing individual database Virtual Machines (VMs).

  • To license a VM with core-based licenses, simply pay for the virtual cores allocated within the virtual machine (minimum of 4 core licenses per VM).

  • To license a VM under the Server + CAL model (for the Business Intelligence and Standard Editions of SQL Server 2012), you can buy the server license and buy associated SQL Server CALs for each user.

  • Each licensed VM that is covered with Software Assurance can be moved frequently within your server farm, or to a third party hoster or cloud services provider.

  • Servers fully licensed with Enterprise Edition Core licenses with Software Assurance allow you to deploy an unlimited number of database VMs on the server (or server farm) in a heavily consolidated virtualized deployment to achieve further savings.

Please Contact your local Reseller for more information and for assistance with purchasing.

Frequently Asked Questions About SQL 2012 Licensing

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SQL Server 2012 will provide Mission Critical Confidence with greater uptime, blazing-fast performance and enhanced security features for mission critical workloads; Breakthrough Insight with managed self-service data exploration and stunning interactive data visualization capabilities; Cloud On Your Terms by enabling the creation and extension of solutions across on-premises and public cloud.

Three main editions, namely Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard, will be available:

  • Enterprise for mission critical applications and data warehousing

  • Business Intelligence (new) for premium corporate and self-service Business Intelligence capabilities

  • Standard for basic database capabilities, reporting and analytics

The Business Intelligence edition will include all of the Standard Edition’s capabilities, and Enterprise will include all of the Business Intelligence Edition’s capabilities.

With the release of SQL Server 2012, the following three editions will be retired:

  • Datacenter – its features will now be available in Enterprise Edition

  • Workgroup – Standard will become our edition for basic database needs

  • Standard for Small Business – Standard becomes our sole edition for basic database needs

Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard will be our main editions. The Web Edition will be offered only to hosters via the Services Provider License Agreement (SLPA). Developer, Express and Compact Editions will also continue to be distributed without licensing or pricing changes. We also offer a range of appliances including Parallel Data Warehouse, a BI appliance, and a database consolidation appliance.

With SQL Server 2012, we will offer the following licensing options:

  • Core-based Licensing for Enterprise Edition

  • Server + CAL licensing for Business Intelligence Edition

  • Choice of core-based licensing or Server + CAL licensing for Standard Edition

Licensing changes will come into effect at the general availability of SQL Server 2012. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is expected to release in the first half of calendar year 2012. Customers with licenses for prior versions with active Software Assurance should also refer to the Product List for additional information.

SQL Server 2012 will provide a variety of virtualization and cloud benefits that will help customers save money on database licensing and retain flexibility in their database deployments. Customers can:

  • License individual Virtual Machines (VM), and when licensing per core, buy core licenses only for the virtual cores assigned to the VM.

  • License for high VM density by buying EE core licenses and Software Assurance (SA) for all the physical cores on the server (or server farm) and deploying an unlimited number of VMs on the licensed hardware. Without SA, VM density is limited to one VM per EE core license.

  • License for VM mobility across private and public clouds. VM license mobility is an SA benefit. Without SA, licenses can be moved from one server to another only once every 90 days.

The changes to SQL Server licensing reflect the evolution of the database industry along with new hardware deployment practices. Internal customer research with hundreds of customers has shown us that database customers are comfortable with core-based licensing and consider licensing by core simple and predictable. There is also great enthusiasm for our virtualization and cloud-friendly licensing to help customers save money as their deployment practices evolve. With these changes, we will continue to offer industry leading TCO.

We have put in place licensing models that are appropriate for the products based on industry and customer needs. The changes to SQL Server licensing are based on trends in the database industry and were developed with just the database business in mind.

With SQL Server 2012, we are delivering a more powerful Enterprise Edition and a new Business Intelligence Edition with innovative features. SQL Server customers who benefit from the new capabilities and who deploy mission critical databases may pay more, though we will continue to be the industry TCO leader.

At the same time, we are offering licensing benefits and flexibility to help customers save money and control costs with virtualization and consolidation. The net price impact to individual customers will vary based on how they deploy SQL Server 2012, their current capacity and their future needs.

We have been actively engaged in conversations directly with our customers and partners to ensure that they know how these changes may impact them.

Enterprise Edition includes the full capabilities of SQL Server 2012, so a customer who wants to license a BI Server on a per core basis can do so by buying Enterprise Edition. Enterprise Edition will be the preferred way to license advanced SQL Server BI capabilities when users are uncountable (e.g., external facing workloads) or when there is a very large number of users.

With SQL Server 2012, there is a single CAL for SQL Server 2012 for access to all the server editions.

No. All licenses under SA will be able to upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost.

EA and EAP remain the best ways for customers to license SQL Server. EA and EAP offer extended transitions to help you plan for the new licensing model. Furthermore, EAP offers significant discounts to help you take advantage of the lowest TCO.

Licenses purchased with Software Assurance (SA) will upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost. EA/EAP customers can continue buying processor licenses until their next renewal (after GA of SQL Server 2012). At that time, processor licenses will be exchanged for core-based licenses sufficient to cover the cores in use by processor-licensed databases (minimum of 4 core licenses per processor for Standard and Enterprise, and minimum of 8 EE core licenses per processor for Datacenter). Please refer to the Product List for further migration path details.

You can perform a “self-inventory” of your environment at the end of the Software Assurance (SA) term that will provide the basis for the core licenses you will own and for which you are eligible to renew SA. We will provide access to the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit as one way to help track and document deployments. This tool can help you plan the transition from processor-based licenses to core-based licenses by counting both processors and cores across your deployments. If you are not able to document your SQL Server deployments, we will exchange processors based on a standard conversion ratio. We encourage you to work with your Microsoft or Partner representative to determine an optimal transition plan.

Enterprise Edition will no longer be offered in the Server + CAL model for SQL Server 2012, however to help with the transition to the new licensing model, the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition will be available under the Server + CAL model through June 30, 2012.

All existing licenses of the Enterprise Edition in the Server + CAL licensing model with Software Assurance (SA) can be upgraded to SQL Server 2012, and SA can be maintained to provide access to future software updates. These licenses will continue under the Server + CAL licensing model.

Existing Enterprise Edition licenses in the Server + CAL licensing model that are upgraded to SQL Server 2012 and beyond will be limited to server deployments with 20 cores or less. This 20 core limit only applies to SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition Server licenses in the Server + CAL model and will still require the appropriate number/versions of SQL Server CALs for access.

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