SQL Server 2014 : Licensing you need to know

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With the recent release of SQL Server 2014 on April 1 2014, there are some things that we need to know and be aware of to allow us to make any decisions about our potential upgrade path to this new version. Reviewing the SQL Server 2014 licensing datasheet we can see the changes we need to know about.

Most of you would know that prior to the release of SQL Server 2014 you had the ability to look at licensing either using the Server + Cal or Per Core depending on the edition and version you have in your environment. This has not changed so you can relax a little.

The Server + Cal is only available on the Business Intelligence & Standard editions of SQL Server 2014.

Per Core is available for Enterprise & Standard editions of SQL Server 2014.

Just like previous versions, if you are using the Per Core model, every core on the server must be licensed. The minimum number of cores that need to be licensed is 4 cores. Also like before if you are working in a virtualized environment you can choose to license at the virtual server level or at the host level depending on which approach is going to be more cost effective for you. If you choose to license at the per virtual server level then you need to be aware of the following point from page 2 of the SQL Server 2014 licensing datasheet – “Each licensed VM covered with SA can be moved frequently within a server farm, or to a third-party hoster or cloud services provider, without the need to purchase additional SQL Server licenses”

If you choose to go down the per host licensing model then just like previous versions you still need to license all of the cores on the host server. If you have multiple servers in your virtualized farm and you want to utilise license mobility (move all SQL Server virtual servers from host 1 to host 2) you will require to have Software Assurance.

So far this is nothing that new or scary right? And this is where things have changed. Previously if you required any type of stand-by server, as long as it was not being utilised you received 1 free passive for the active server. This little gem is still the case but only if you have Software Assurance.

The takeaways from this for you is that if you are looking at upgrading to SQL Server 2014 know your current licensing and talk to your reseller to gain correct information and pricing. If you are looking at moving to SQL Server 2014 talk to SQL Masters Consulting on how we can help you with your road map to consolidate your environment.

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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.