Licensing editions FAQ


SQL Server 2017 brings the performance and security of SQL Server to the Linux platform. Customers will have the option to deploy on Windows or Linux platforms through a single license construct. The SQL Server 2017 license provides flexibility to deploy across these platforms, and as your needs change over time you will have the licensing to enable changes in deployment patterns.

There are two main editions: Enterprise and Standard.
  • Enterprise for mission-critical applications and data warehousing
  • Standard for core database capabilities, reporting, and analytics

Enterprise and Standard are the two main editions. The Web Edition is offered only to hosters through the Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA). Developer and Express editions continue to be distributed without changes in licensing or pricing. We also offer the Analytics Platform System appliance, which includes SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse software as a component.

SQL Server provides a variety of virtualization and cloud benefits that help you save money on database licensing and retain flexibility in your database deployments. With SQL Server, you 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 Enterprise Edition core licenses and Software Assurance for all the physical cores on the server (or server farm) and deploying an unlimited number of VMs on the licensed hardware. Without Software Assurance, VM density is limited to one VM per Enterprise Edition core license.
  • License for VM mobility across private and public clouds. VM license mobility is a Software Assurance benefit. Without Software Assurance, licenses can be moved from one server to another only once every 90 days.
  • Benefit from fail-over rights extended to your cloud deployments if you use License Mobility through Software Assurance.
  • Apply your license to the Azure Hybrid Benefit for SQL Server. For more details, see the Azure Hybrid Benefit page.

No. Enterprise Edition is no longer available in the Server + CAL licensing model for SQL Server.

Yes. All existing licenses of the Enterprise Edition in the Server + CAL licensing model with Software Assurance can be upgraded to the latest version of SQL Server, and Software Assurance 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 the current version of SQL Server and beyond are limited to server deployments with 20 or fewer cores. This 20-core limit applies only to SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition Server licenses in the Server + CAL model and still requires the appropriate number/versions of SQL Server CALs for access.

Related resources

SQL Server 2019 product page

SQL Server 2017 licensing guide

(PDF, 1.48 MB)
Download detailed information about licensing SQL Server 2017.
SQL Server 2017 product page
Get details on how to evaluate, purchase, and deploy SQL Server 2017.
SQL Server 2017 licensing datasheet
(PDF, 1.35 MB)
Read an overview of licensing information for SQL Server 2017.
Introduction to per core licensing and basic definitions
(PDF, 790 KB)
Download definitions of key terms related to server licensing and learn the basics of the per core licensing model.
Licensing Microsoft server products for use in virtual environments
(PDF, 2.14 MB)
Download information about licensing models for using Microsoft server products with virtualization technologies.