In this article we will cover SQL Server 2022 Licensing Basics. In database management, Microsoft SQL Server is a leading choice for businesses of all sizes.
Its versatility, robustness, and scalability make it a preferred choice for managing and analyzing data.
However, understanding its licensing can be a challenge. This article aims to demystify SQL Server licensing, comprehensively understanding the various licensing models, editions, and components.
- SQL Server 2022 Editions
- SQL Server 2022 Software Assurance
- Deep Dive into SQL Server 2022 Licensing Models
- Licensing Per Core
- Licensing on Server + CAL
- Licensing Per Core
- Licensing on Server + CAL
- SQL Server 2022 Licensing – Components Licensing
- SQL Server 2022 Components Licensing
- Licensing SQL Server 2022 in Virtualized Environments
- Licensing Individual VMs
- Licensing SQL Server 2022 for Maximum Virtualization
- Licensing in SQL Server 2022 in Containers
- FAQs on SQL Server 22 Licensing
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
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.
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.
Deep Dive into SQL Server 2022 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
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.
Licensing Per Core
One of our clients, a large e-commerce company, was looking to deploy SQL Server across their extensive network. Given their size and the nature of their work, we recommended the Per Core licensing model.
This model requires assigning a specific number of core licenses to each server running SQL Server or any of its components, such as Reporting Services or Integration Services. The beauty of this model is that it provides unlimited access for both internal and external users, eliminating the need for additional Client Access Licenses (CALs).
To implement this, we counted the total number of physical cores in each server and purchased the corresponding number of core licenses, which are sold in packs of two.
This model was ideal for them as they were deploying SQL Server Enterprise Edition, which is suited for large-scale, internet, or extranet workloads. It’s also a great choice if the total licensing costs for SQL Server Standard Edition would be lower than those for the Server+CAL model.
Licensing on Server + CAL
On the other hand, we had a smaller client, a local non-profit organization, who needed to license SQL Server Standard Edition. For them, the Server+CAL model was a better fit. This model requires purchasing 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.
In this model, each server license allows running any number of SQL Server instances on a single Operating System Environment (OSE). However, the required CALs for internal and external users must be purchased separately, and Device CALs and User CALs are not interchangeable.
SQL Server 2022 Licensing – Components Licensing
SQL Server software comes with a variety of licensed server components, such as the SQL Server Database Engine (DB), Master Data Services (MDS), Analysis Services (AS), Integration Services (IS), Reporting Services (RS), and Data Quality Services (DQS).
One thing to remember, as we advised another client who wanted to run different SQL Server components on separate servers, is that the software components of a single SQL Server license cannot be separated. If you want to use any of the licensed components, you’ll need a license for the entire server.
Additional software like product documentation, client connectivity tools, add-ins, and Software Development Kits (SDKs) can generally be distributed and run on any number of devices as long as they’re being used with a licensed instance of SQL Server software.
Remember, these are just the basics of SQL Server licensing. There are many more details and terms to consider, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a licensing specialist if you have any questions. For more information, you can refer to the Introduction to per core Licensing Volume Licensing Brief and the Introduction to Server+CAL Licensing Volume Licensing Brief.
SQL Server 2022 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).
Licensing SQL Server 2022 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.
Licensing Individual VMs
If you’re running a 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 model and the Server+CAL model.
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, if you want to run Standard Edition on six VMs with four v-cores each, you’d need six server licenses.
- 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
- 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.
- Make sure you keep your subscription licenses or Software Assurance coverage up to date!
Licensing in SQL Server 2022 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 from a licensing perspective, containers and virtual machines are treated the same.
Licensing Individual Containers
- If you’re using the Per Core licensing model and want to run SQL Server in containers, you need to 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, if you want to run Standard Edition on six containers with four v-cores each, you’ll need six server licenses.
- 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.
- 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.
- With Software Assurance coverage or a subscription license on all your Enterprise Edition core licenses, you can run unlimited containers on the server.
- This is a good option if you have a private cloud with many containers, are using hyper-threading, or need to dynamically provision and de-provision container resources.
- Just make sure you keep your Software Assurance coverage up to date!
- If you have SQL Server Standard or Enterprise Edition and Software Assurance coverage or subscription licenses, 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 22 Licensing
- About the Author
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Fredrik Filipsson possesses 20 years of experience in Oracle license management. Having worked at Oracle for 9 years, he gained an additional 11 years of expertise in Oracle license consulting projects. Fredrik has provided assistance to over 150 organizations worldwide, ranging in size and tackling various Oracle licensing challenges, including Licensing Assessments, Oracle audits, Oracle ULAs, and more.