Microsoft / SQL server

SQL Server 2022 Licensing – A Comprehensive Guide

SQL Server 2022 licensing works as follows:

  • Two Primary Models: Server+CAL (Client Access License) and Per Core.
  • Server+CAL Model: License for each server plus CALs for each user or device.
  • Per Core Model: Ideal for demanding databases, it requires licensing for each core in the server.
  • Editions: Includes Enterprise and Standard editions, each catering to different business needs.
  • Virtualization and Containers: Offers flexible licensing options for virtualized environments and containerized applications.

SQL Server 2022 Licensing – The Basics

SQL Server 2022 Licensing - The Basics

Microsoft SQL Server 2022 offers a variety of licensing options to cater to different business needs. The two primary licensing models are the Server+CAL and Per Core models.

The Server+CAL model allows you to license users and/or devices and then have low-cost access to additional SQL Server deployments.

On the other hand, the per-core model is ideal for those who require premium database capabilities and can’t easily count users.

SQL Server 2022 Editions

SQL Server 2022 Editions

SQL Server 2022, Microsoft’s latest enterprise database management system, continues its tradition of offering multiple editions to cater to the diverse needs of various organizations.

Each edition is tailored to specific use cases, from small businesses to large enterprises, ensuring users have the right features and capabilities based on their requirements.

Here’s a breakdown of the main editions available in SQL Server 2022:

1. SQL Server 2022 Enterprise Edition

  • Targeted Users: Large enterprises and organizations with complex data needs.
  • Key Features: Offers the full range of SQL Server capabilities, including advanced data integration, data warehousing, business intelligence, and comprehensive security features.
  • Performance: Optimized for high performance, offering unlimited virtualization and high-end scalability.

2. SQL Server 2022 Standard Edition

  • Intended For: Small to medium-sized businesses.
  • Functionality: Provides core database management and BI capabilities suitable for common data management needs.
  • Limitations: There are some restrictions in scalability, performance, and certain advanced features compared to the Enterprise Edition.

3. SQL Server 2022 Developer Edition

  • Use Case: For development and testing.
  • Features: Offers the same full feature set as the Enterprise Edition but is limited to non-production environments.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Ideal for developers to build, test, and demonstrate applications cost-effectively.

4. SQL Server 2022 Express Edition

  • Designed For: Lightweight, small-scale applications.
  • Features: A free edition of SQL Server, offering enough features for basic database, reporting, and analytics needs.
  • Limitations: Comes with database size, computing capacity, and feature limitations.

5. SQL Server 2022 Web Edition

  • Specifically For: Web hosting.
  • Functionality: Tailored for web properties, offering the essential features required for web hosting.

Choosing the Right Edition

Selecting the appropriate edition of SQL Server 2022 depends on factors like organizational size, data processing needs, performance requirements, and budget constraints.

The Enterprise Edition is best for large-scale, complex operations, while the Standard Edition caters to businesses with moderate data needs.

The Developer Edition is ideal for development and testing, whereas the Express Edition suits small-scale applications with limited requirements.

The Web Edition, on the other hand, is tailored for web hosting scenarios.

Each edition is designed to offer the right balance of features, performance, and cost, ensuring businesses can choose an option that aligns best with their specific database management needs.

SQL Server 2022 Software Assurance

SQL Server 2022 Software Assurance

Software Assurance (SA) is a program offered by Microsoft that helps you get the most out of their software products and boost your IT productivity.

If you’re using SQL Server, SA can help you manage and deploy the software more efficiently and improve productivity.

Key Aspects of Software Assurance for SQL Server 2022:

  • Deployment Planning Services: SA provides access to expert planning services, helping organizations prepare for new deployments or upgrades. This includes tailored planning sessions led by Microsoft-certified consultants who offer insights on best practices and strategies to optimize SQL Server 2022 implementations.
  • Training and Skill Development: Enhancing the skill set of IT staff is critical for maintaining an efficient SQL Server environment. Software Assurance offers training vouchers for courses and workshops, ensuring teams are up-to-date with the latest features, functionalities, and best practices related to SQL Server 2022.
  • License Mobility: In an era where cloud computing and hybrid environments are becoming the norm, Software Assurance facilitates license mobility. This feature allows businesses to deploy existing SQL Server licenses to cloud services, such as Microsoft Azure, without incurring additional licensing fees, providing flexibility in how and where SQL Server is utilized.
  • Disaster Recovery Rights: Ensuring business continuity is a paramount concern for organizations. Software Assurance enhances SQL Server 2022’s value by offering disaster recovery rights, allowing for the deployment of additional passive instances in a separate operating environment for failover scenarios, thereby improving resilience without extra costs.
  • Version Upgrade Rights: One of the cornerstone benefits of Software Assurance is access to new versions of SQL Server as they are released. This ensures that organizations can upgrade to SQL Server 2022 and beyond, keeping their database technology current with the latest improvements, security patches, and features at no additional licensing cost.

Deep Dive into SQL Server 2022 Licensing Models

sql server licensing models

Licensing Per Core

Under the Per Core model, you’ll need to assign a certain number of core licenses to each Server running SQL Server or any of its components.

This model gives you a more precise measure of computing power and a consistent licensing metric, whether you’re using physical servers on-premises, virtual servers, or servers in the cloud.

Licensing on Server + CAL

  • Server and User/Device Licensing: Requires a server license and CALs for each user (User CAL) or device (Device CAL).
  • Suitability: This model is more apt for smaller organizations with a clear count of users and devices.

Licensing Per Core

  • Per Core Model Advantages:
    • Direct Licensing to Server Cores: This involves assigning a specific number of core licenses to each server running SQL Server and its components like Reporting Services or Integration Services.
    • Unlimited User Access: Offers unrestricted access for internal and external users, negating the need for extra Client Access Licenses (CALs).
  • Implementation Approach: We assessed each server’s total physical core count, purchasing core licenses in pairs as required.
  • Ideal for Large-Scale Workloads: The model aligns well with SQL Server Enterprise Edition and is tailored for extensive, internet, or extranet workloads.
  • Cost-Efficiency: This option is particularly advantageous if it lowers total licensing costs than the Server+CAL model, especially for SQL Server Standard Edition.

Licensing on Server + CAL

For a smaller client, such as a local non-profit organization, licensing SQL Server Standard Edition, the Server+CAL (Client Access License) model was more suitable.

This approach involves:

  • Purchasing a Server License: One server license per server, allowing multiple SQL Server instances on a single Operating System Environment (OSE).
  • Client Access Licenses (CALs): A CAL is required for each device (Device CAL) or user (User CAL) accessing SQL Server.
  • Separate CAL Purchase: CALs for internal and external users are bought separately, and Device CALs and User CALs cannot be interchanged.

This model is generally more cost-effective for smaller organizations with limited users or devices.

SQL Server 2022 Licensing – Components Licensing

SQL Server software includes various components like Database Engine, Master Data Services, and more.

Key points to remember:

  • License Integration: Components under a single SQL Server license must stay together; they can’t be separated across multiple servers.
  • Comprehensive Licensing: A complete server license is required to utilize any component.
  • Flexibility for Additional Software: Client connectivity tools and SDKs can be used on numerous devices if they accompany a licensed SQL Server instance.

SQL Server 2022 Components Licensing

SQL Server 2022 Licensing - Components Licensing

SQL Server software comes with a variety of licensed server components, like the SQL Server Database Engine (DB), Master Data Services (MDS), Analysis Services (AS), Integration Services (IS), Reporting Services (RS), and Data Quality Services (DQS).

  1. SQL Server Database Engine (DB)
    • Licensing: Core-based or Server+CAL.
    • Usage: Ideal for data storage, retrieval, and processing. Core-based licensing is typically more suited for large-scale or virtualized environments.
  2. Master Data Services (MDS)
    • Licensing: Included with SQL Server.
    • Functionality: Helps maintain consistent, accurate, and authoritative master data.
  3. Analysis Services (AS)
    • Licensing: Core-based or Server+CAL.
    • Application: Provides tools for data analysis and business intelligence.
  4. Integration Services (IS)
    • Licensing: Core-based.
    • Role: Facilitates data integration and workflow applications.
  5. Reporting Services (RS)
    • Licensing: Core-based or Server+CAL.
    • Use: Enables the creation of reports from various data sources.
  6. Data Quality Services (DQS)
    • Licensing: Part of SQL Server.
    • Purpose: Ensures data quality by providing cleansing and matching capabilities.
  7. SQL Server Machine Learning Services
    • Licensing: Core-based.
    • Benefits: Allows running Python and R scripts with relational data.
  8. SQL Server Big Data Clusters
    • Licensing: Core-based.
    • Advantage: Integrates SQL Server with Hadoop and Spark for big data analytics.

Key Points to Remember

  • Core-based Licensing: Generally the more scalable option for businesses with significant data processing needs.
  • Server+CAL Model: More suited for smaller organizations or specific use cases.
  • Compliance: It’s crucial to ensure the correct number of cores or CALs are licensed to remain compliant.

Licensing SQL Server 2022 in Virtualized Environments

sql server licensing virtual

SQL Server is often used in virtualized environments, which let you run multiple instances of SQL Server concurrently in different virtual operating system environments (OSEs) or virtual machines (VMs).

Microsoft offers virtualization rights, options, and benefits to give you flexibility when deploying SQL Server in virtual environments.

Licensing Individual VMs

If you’re running an SQL Server instance on a virtual machine (VM) and it’s not using all the computing power of the physical server it’s on, you can save money by licensing individual VMs.

There are two ways to do this: the Per Core and Server+CAL models.

Per Core Model

  • With the Per Core model, you need to buy a core subscription license or license with Software Assurance for each virtual core (v-core) or virtual processor/CPU/thread supporting the VM running SQL Server.
    • Each v-core corresponds to a hardware thread, with a minimum of four licenses per VM.
    • You’ll need additional licenses if a single hardware thread supports multiple v-cores or multiple hardware threads support a single v-core.
    • Standard Edition customers can only license individual VMs using the Per Core model.
    • With a license with Software Assurance, you can move the licenses to another server within the same Server Farm.

Server + CAL Model

  • With the Server+CAL model, you must buy one server license for each VM running SQL Server, regardless of the number of virtual processors.
    • For example, you’d need six server licenses to run Standard Edition on six VMs with four v-cores each.
    • Each user or device accessing SQL Server on the VM needs a CAL, too.
    • You don’t need a subscription license or license with Software Assurance to use SQL Server in a VM with the Server+CAL model. However, with a subscription license or license with Software Assurance, you can move the licenses to another server in the same Server Farm.

Licensing SQL Server 2022 for Maximum Virtualization

Licensing SQL Server 2022 for Maximum Virtualization
  • If you have SQL Server Enterprise Edition and you’ve licensed all the physical cores on your server, you can run an unlimited number of instances of the software on as many VMs as you want, as long as you have a core license for each VM.
    • For example, if you have a four-processor server with four cores per processor and 16 core licenses, you can run SQL Server on up to 16 VMs.
    • If you want to run it on more VMs, you have to get and assign more core licenses to the server.
  • With a SQL Server Enterprise subscription license or license with Software Assurance, you can run as many instances of the software as you want in any number of physical or virtual environments.
    • This is a good option if you have a private cloud with many VMs, are using hyper-threading, or need to dynamically provision and de-provision VM resources.
    • Ensure you keep your subscription licenses or Software Assurance coverage up to date!

Licensing in SQL Server 2022 in Containers

licensing sql server containers

SQL Server can be used on Linux and Docker platforms, which means you can run it in containers using Docker.

A container or virtual machine is considered an operating system environment (OSE), so containers and virtual machines are treated the same from a licensing perspective.

Licensing Individual Containers

  • If you’re using the Per Core licensing model and want to run SQL Server in containers, you must purchase a core license for each virtual core (v-core) or virtual processor/CPU/thread supporting the container.
    • There’s a minimum requirement of four licenses per container.
    • A v-core corresponds to a hardware thread.
  • If you have multiple containers and need to move them around to reallocate resources, Microsoft offers the Flexible Virtualization Benefit, which provides flexible reassignment rules.
  • If you’re using the Server+CAL model, you must buy one server license for each container running SQL Server, regardless of the number of virtual processors.
    • For example, you’ll need six server licenses to run Standard Edition on six containers with four v-cores each.
    • Don’t forget that each user or device accessing SQL Server on the container will also need a CAL.

Licensing Containers for Maximum Density

  • If you have SQL Server Enterprise Edition and have licensed all the physical cores on your server, you can run as many containers as you have core licenses.
    • For instance, if you have a four-processor server with four cores per processor and 16 core licenses, you can run SQL Server on up to 16 containers.
    • If you want to run it on more containers, you just have to get and assign more core licenses to the server.
  • You can run unlimited containers on the server with Software Assurance coverage or a subscription license on all your Enterprise Edition core licenses.
    • This is a good option if you have a private cloud with many containers, are using hyper-threading, or need to provision and de-provision container resources dynamically.
    • Just make sure you keep your Software Assurance coverage up to date!
  • Suppose you have SQL Server Standard or Enterprise Edition and Software Assurance coverage or subscription licenses. In that case, you can run any number of containers in a virtual operating system environment (virtual OSE) as long as you’ve licensed all the virtual cores in that OSE.
    • For example, if you have a 16 vCore OSE (including hyperthreaded cores), you can run SQL Server on any number of containers in that OSE, regardless of the number of virtual cores per container.

FAQs on SQL Server 2022 Licensing

What is SQL Server Licensing?

SQL Server Licensing refers to the various models and terms that Microsoft has established for customers to use and pay for its SQL Server product. The licensing models include the Server+CAL model and the Per Core model.

What are the different editions of SQL Server 2022?

Microsoft SQL Server 2022 has several editions designed to meet different business needs. The two leading commercial editions are Enterprise and Standard. The Enterprise edition is ideal for mission-critical applications requiring top-notch in-memory performance, security, and high availability. The Standard edition is excellent for mid-tier apps and data marts.

What is SQL Server 2022 Software Assurance?

Software Assurance (SA) is a program offered by Microsoft that helps you get the most out of their software products and boost your IT productivity. If you’re using SQL Server, SA can help you manage and deploy the software more efficiently and improve productivity.

How does licensing work for SQL Server in virtualized environments?

SQL Server is often used in virtualized environments, which let you run multiple instances of SQL Server concurrently in different virtual operating system environments (OSEs) or virtual machines (VMs). Microsoft offers virtualization rights, options, and benefits to give you flexibility when deploying SQL Server in virtual environments.

How does licensing work for SQL Server in containers?

SQL Server can be used on Linux and Docker platforms, which means you can run it in containers using Docker. A container or virtual machine is considered an operating system environment (OSE), so containers and virtual machines are treated the same from a licensing perspective.

What is the Per Core licensing model?

Under the Per Core model, you’ll need to assign a certain number of core licenses to each server running SQL Server or its components. This model gives you a more precise measure of computing power and a consistent licensing metric, whether you’re using physical servers on-premises, virtual servers, or servers in the cloud.

What is the Server+CAL licensing model?

The Server+CAL model requires you to buy a server license for each server and a CAL for each device (Device CAL) and/or user (User CAL) accessing SQL Server or any of its components. This model is a good fit for smaller organizations that can easily count the number of users and devices accessing it.

What are the SQL Server 2022 Components that need licensing?

SQL Server software comes with a variety of licensed server components, like the SQL Server Database Engine (DB), Master Data Services (MDS), Analysis Services (AS), Integration Services (IS), Reporting Services (RS), and Data Quality Services (DQS).

What is the difference between the Enterprise and Standard editions of SQL Server 2022?

The Enterprise edition is ideal for mission-critical applications requiring top-notch in-memory performance, security, and high availability. The Standard edition is excellent for mid-tier apps and data marts. The main difference lies in the level of performance, safety, and availability each edition offers.

Need Expert Help with SQL Server Licensing?

Navigating SQL Server licensing can be complex, especially with the various editions and requirements of SQL Server 2022. If you’re seeking expert guidance to ensure compliance and cost-effectiveness, Redress Compliance is here to help.

With specialized expertise in SQL Server licensing, Redress Compliance can assist you in making informed decisions that align with your business needs.

Reach out for personalized advice and solutions tailored to your organization’s unique requirements.

Author

  • Fredrik Filipsson

    Fredrik Filipsson brings two decades of Oracle license management experience, including a nine-year tenure at Oracle and 11 years in Oracle license consulting. His expertise extends across leading IT corporations like IBM, enriching his profile with a broad spectrum of software and cloud projects. Filipsson's proficiency encompasses IBM, SAP, Microsoft, and Salesforce platforms, alongside significant involvement in Microsoft Copilot and AI initiatives, enhancing organizational efficiency.