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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