With SQL Server 2012, Microsoft has changed its licensing model along with “consolidating” the different types of editions. Gone is the workgroup edition. The three mainstream editions Microsoft now offers are Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard . 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. Well Express edition is free. However the Developer, express and compact editions are not published in the Microsoft website.
Microsoft has also strategically changed from the previous processor based licensing model to a core based licensing model. So what does this mean, previously if you have a 2 processor server irrespective of the number of cores you have or use, you can buy licenses for 2 processor. But now if you have a quad core processor and have 2 processors on a server, you have to buy 8 (2 x 4 core) core SQL Server license. Now this move would make sense if you are in a VM environment where you might have 6-8 processor on the server and you might have assigned only 2 or 4 cores to a SQL Server. But if you are on a dedicated SQL Server it might increase your upgrade cost. How ? Lets say I have a 2 quad core processor(8 cores in total) on a server, previously I had to buy 2 processor license. If I decide to replace the 2 quad core processor with a 2 octa-core processor (16 cores in total) I didn’t have to buy any new sql server license under the old licensing model). But now under the new licensing model, I have to buy another 8 core worth of license. So my cost of an upgrade have gone up. Microsoft , please explain how this is going to help me reach my ROI quickly ?
If you are in a VM environment, there are multiple options depending on the route you want to go. If you are in a sql server standard edition then either:
1. You can license each VM based on the actual number of virtual cores you are using. However you need to buy a minimum of 4 core license for each SQL Server VM. In other words even if you use 2 virtual core for the sql server, you need a 4 core license (go figure !).
2. You can buy a server license for each VM plus CAL license for each user.
But if you are in an enterprise edition then you can license the server by total amount of physical cores and then create unlimited amount of VMs.
For a failover, if the secondary server is a passive node and is not being used at all then it doesn’t have to licensed, but if any workload is run against it then must be fully licensed. Also if there is a third passive node, then the third node irrespective of whether its being used or not should be fully licensed.
The cost of the license has also gone up around 20-27%. I hope they don’t say the hike in gas price caused the license to cost more !
Here is an ebook for Introduction to SQL Server 2012
Please let me know how people are coping with these changes and any comments.