SQL Server Licensing – Core Based Licensing

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Microsoft SQL Server will no longer be licensed by the CPU socket and will instead be licensed by the CORE CPU’s.

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Does SQL Server 2012 cost more ?

Do I need to spend more cost to higher number of CPU’s with compare to previous versions ?

YES, In some case definitely yes, SQL Server 2012 will cost you more money. Let me summaries this in a quick cost based example where figures as assumed. Contact Microsoft for exact pricing.

One server (physical), with 1 CPU (2 cores)

SQL Server 2008R2: 1 Enterprise license = $30,000

SQL Server 2012: 4 Enterprise core licenses = $30,000

One server (physical), with 1 CPU (4 cores)


SQL Server 2008R2: 1 Enterprise license = $30,000

SQL Server 2012: 4 Enterprise core licenses = $30,000

One server (physical), with 1 CPU (6 cores)

SQL Server 2008R2: 1 Enterprise license = $30,000

SQL Server 2012: 6 Enterprise core licenses = $45,000

One server (physical), with 2 CPU (2×4 = 8 cores)

SQL Server 2008R2: 2 CPU Enterprise license = $60,000 (No Change)

SQL Server 2012: 8 Enterprise core licenses = $60,000 (No Change)

So Now we need to pay license fee based on per core instead of physical socket.

If you think of CAL licenses, then Microsoft has already declared that CAL licenses price goes up by almost 25%

Note – So it doesn’t make any sense to use less than 4 core processor CPU.

What are the options available for SQL Server 2012?

  • Enterprise edition will be available only per core license model
  • Standard Edition will have core-based and server+CAL license model
  • Business Intelligence edition, only server+CAL license model will be available.

Note - Minimum 4 core licenses is required for each physical processor in the server.

Why this licensing model is changed per CPU socket was a better option?

As per the Microsoft “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.”

How much a SQL Server 2012 License will cost ?

SQL Server licensing cost varies with editions,

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Do check my previous post for prices for SQL Server 2008 R2.

What are the difference with various editions of SQL Server?

Edition limits the feature of products. Here is quick Compare Sheet for SQL Server 2012. Do check my previous post for SQL Server 2008.

For More Details, check Microsoft Online. you can also read more on Danny article on Licensing.

EOF - SQL Server Licensing – Core Based Licensing, SQL Server 2012 , 2008 R2 , 2008 , 2005 , 2000

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