SQL Server 2012 Licensing – How does it compare

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With the release of SQL Server 2012 sometime within the first 6 months of 2012, Microsoft released recently a data pack on the new licensing model – SQL Server 2012 Licensing. So I thought I would have a closer look at the details of the new model and put together a comparison to licensing SQL Server 2008 R2.

Under the SQL Server 2008 R2 licensing model there are more editions available for you ranging in price and being sold as 2 options:

  • Per Processor
  • Server/Client Access License (CAL)

The Per Processor license model is based on the licensing of each physical socket in the server you are installing the components of Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2. This gets a little more complicated when looking at physical Vs Virtual environments and this blog is not about diving into the intricacies of the licensing. So for example if you had 4 quad Core processors in your server you would need to purchase 4 licenses.

Under the new licensing model for Microsoft SQL Server 2012’s core based licensing provides a more precise measure of your computing power by changing the licenses from the physical sockets to the cores that reside in the physical socket.  With the reduction of editions in the model it makes it a little difficult to get a direct relationship between the licensing models in SQL Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012. The Datacenter edition available in SQL Server 2008 R2 has been retired, but all of the capabilities it provided have been included into the Enterprise Edition in SQL Server 2012. So this could be a good comparison of cost differences:

  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition – US$57,498 per processor (Socket)
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition – US$28,749 per processor (Socket)
  • SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard Edition – US$7,499 per processor (Socket)
  • SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition – US$6,874 per core
  • SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition – US$1,793 per core
  • SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Edition – US$8,592 per server

With the above prices taking into the account that the minimum number of cores to be licenses in SQL Server 2012 is 4 we will continue on from my first example above on a 4 * Quad core server for our installation of SQL Server.

Version License Cost No. Licenses Total Cost
SQL Server 2008 R2 EE $28,749 4 $114,996
SQL Server 2012 EE $6,874 16 $109,984

These figures are not taking into account any discounts or arrangements you may have in place. These are costs as published and are to be used only as a guide on comparing the new licensing model to the licensing model in SQL Server 2008 R2.

Make sure you have a look at the FAQ’s, Data sheet & general information around the SQL Server 2012 license model to understand more.

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I am a Microsoft Data Platform MVP as well as a Microsoft Certified Master working as the Principal Consultant here at SQL Masters Consulting. When I am not working with the SQL Server Stack I like to get away to the Snow and spend time Snowboarding.