SQL server licensing in a VM

SQL server licensing in a VM for SQL Server 2014 2016 & 2017

In case if you are looking for more information on SQL server licensing in a VM, look no further. Read along to know more on the topic.

SQL server licensing in a VM

SQL Server Licensing in a Virtual Machine can be a difficult thing to understand. You need to thoroughly understand the types of licensing available, i.e., Server/Core&Device CAL or Core-Based licensing. Once you know the basics of Microsoft SQL Server licensing, you can easily understand how to license it in a Virtual Machine (VM) environment. More than 60% of the current SQL Server deployments are in the Virtual environments, and Microsoft expanded virtualization rights, options, and benefits to provide greater flexibility for customers deploying in virtual environments.

To License SQL Server in a virtual machine, you have two options:

  • License the VM running SQL Server software following either the Server/Core&Device CAL or Core-Based licensing based licensing model.
  • License the Physical server with SQL Server Enterprise & Software Assurance to be able to license unlimited SQL Server running on the VM’s on the same physical server.

Buying Software Assurance with SQL Server gives you License mobility rights, VM Rights and Upgrade options to the next version of SQL Server.

SQL server licensing in a VM

Licensing Virtual Machines Using the Per Core Licensing Model

  • You need to buy a core license for each virtual processor or a virtual thread(Intel HTT) allocated to the VM.
  • You need to buy a minimum of a four-core license per VM.
  • Core factor is not applicable to this method.

Note: You can only license individual VMs for SQL Server 2014 Standard Edition for customers who are running the software in a virtualized environment under the Per Core model.

SQL server licensing in a VM

Source: Microsoft Licensing Guide for SQL 2014

Licensing Virtual Machines Using the Server+CAL Licensing Model

  • You need to buy one server license for each VM running SQL Server software, regardless of the number of virtual processors allocated to the VM.
  • CALS needs to be purchased for each client connections, connecting directly or indirectly.

Only available for SQL Server 2014 Standard and Business Intelligence editions.

SQL server licensing in a VM

Source: Microsoft Licensing Guide for SQL 2014

I hope this gives a reasonable explanation of how to License SQL in a VM. In my next post, I will talk about “Advanced Licensing Scenarios” like High availability and disaster recovery.

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