Data Management

SQL Server 2008 R2 licensing changes requires planning

There are material changes to SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition licensing for certain per-processor options. Rick Vanover outlines these changes.

Licensing is no fun, and, unfortunately, SQL Server licensing is about to get more complicated in the next version (SQL Server 2008 R2 is currently in the CTP phase).

With the base release of SQL Server 2008 when licensed per processor with the Enterprise Edition, customers can enjoy unlimited instance rights. This means that any quantity and combination of SQL instances, versions, client connections, and editions can be installed and run on that processor. This is frequently used in virtualization installations where many operating systems as virtual machines with their own SQL installations would be running on the same processor(s). This can be used in combination with Windows Server datacenter licensing, which includes unlimited virtualization rights with the datacenter licensing.

SQL Server 2008 introduces the R2 Datacenter Edition and Parallel Data Warehouse Edition. Going forward, the Datacenter Edition will allow the unlimited instance rights, and the Enterprise Edition will relinquish that privilege upon the R2 release.

This can mean big changes for infrastructure administrators who planned on unlimited instance rights for database server installations. I recommend that you reach out to your Microsoft team to receive the right guidance for your account. For most commercial accounts, the Microsoft team is willing to work with you to explain the new changes and identify the options for your needs.

Does this cause a big issue with your licensing planning process? Share your comments.

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About

Rick Vanover is a software strategy specialist for Veeam Software, based in Columbus, Ohio. Rick has years of IT experience and focuses on virtualization, Windows-based server administration, and system hardware.

11 comments
josh
josh

Are you sure you understand the new licensing and editions? You actually said unlimited INSTANCES, which is not correct. Enterprise is limited to 25 instances. Enterprise allows for unlimited VIRTUALIZATION once all of the physical processors are licensed. I have seen nothing from Microsoft that states that this is changing. I have seen that the new Datacenter edition will allow more than 8 physical processors (sockets) and 256 logical processors, and the OS maximum for memory. So from what I can see, they basically added Datacenter edition to allow for the new hardware configurations that are possible under Windows Server 2008 R2 that would not have been supported with SQL Enterprise edition, specifically more than 8 phyiscal and 64 logical processors. Everything I see says you are still limited to 25 instances and only have to license the physical sockets for Enterprise edition. Datacenter also supports unlimited virtualization, but also supports more than 25 instances. I think you have simply confused virtualization rights with the number of instances supported. http://blogs.msdn.com/psappplat/archive/2009/11/24/announcing-two-new-editions-with-sql-server-2008-r2.aspx

bwiese
bwiese

Looks like DB2 is going to get more customers

chris
chris

Again - Microsoft shoots themselves in the foot.

jillswint
jillswint

It looks like Enterprise will allow you UP to 25 instances and the datacenter is for licensing over 25 instances. I don't know how much it will really affect those currently using SQL in a virtualized state, since I believe that you will run out of resources (CPU/MEM) before you run out of available instances. It does appear that MS is positioning themselves for the monster-box scenario, which certainly isn't too far away. Of course I am sure there are those out there who will disagree. JJ

markma
markma

i beleive this change is to match up with the other server offerings from MS. i beleive the enterprise edition will allow up to 4 instances (same as WS Ent) and the datacenter unlimited (same as WS Dtcr). i think the 25 figure has to do with OLTP and multi server management. As far as the monster box scenario goes i agree too. there will be yet another new edition called the parallel data warehouse edition. i havent even began to look into what makes this different from the other 5 editions. i would ultimatly like to think this is a good change. people with active SA on their SQL ent per proc licenses will likely get some sort of transition path to datacenter, and future customers will have more options based on their deployment arch, and feature needs.

joel.pessoa
joel.pessoa

Hi, I just want to know exactly one thing: Wht its the version of SQL 2008 Standard Edition where I dont need to buy CALS and can install in 2 or more servers... I am going to install a website and it will use the sql database to give info for the customers and it will be a lot of connections at the same time.

b4real
b4real

Hey Jill - nice to see you here :)

markma
markma

all (not free) versions of SQL can be purchased in two license models. server + CAL, and per proc. Per proc licensing is designed to be used in a scenario where end users/devices cannot be quantified - and therefore CALs cannot be accuratly used. SQL also has a license right called fail over use rights - this allows one to install a secondary instance of SQL Server in a passive mode for fail over. It DOES NOT allow you to install 2 SQL Servers and use them simultaneously. It is simply used for DR. Check out the below links for more info. SQL License Models - http://download.microsoft.com/download/1/e/6/1e68f92c-f334-4517-b610-e4dee946ef91/2008%20SQL%20Licensing%20Overview%20final.docx Fail Over Use Rights (page 36) - http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/F/8/6F84A9FE-1E5C-44CC-87BB-C236BFCBA4DF/SQLServer2008_LicensingGuide.pdf also buy the license via the volume license purchase method rather than a retail box. its less expensive and easier to manage your volume licenses vs retail boxes. a single proc license for SQL qualifies for a VL purchase - you dont need to buy 5.

b4real
b4real

You taught me everything I know about licensing!