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Home > SQL Server 2012 > SQL Server 2012 Editions and Licensing - Frequently Asked Questions
SQL Server 2012 Editions and Licensing - Frequently Asked Questions


Date Published: November 3, 2011

SQL Server 2012 Editions - Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What is new in SQL Server 2012?

SQL Server 2012 will provide Mission Critical Confidence with greater uptime, blazing-fast performance and enhanced security for mission critical workloads; Breakthrough Insight with managed self-service data exploration and stunning interactive data visualizations capabilities; Cloud On Your Terms by enabling the creation and extension of solutions across on-premises and public cloud.

2.  Can you describe the product editions offered with SQL Server 2012?

Three main editions, namely Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard, will be available:

  • Enterprise for mission critical applications and data warehousing
  • Business Intelligence (new) for premium corporate and self-service Business Intelligence capabilities
  • Standard for basic database capabilities, reporting and analytics
The Business Intelligence edition will include all of the Standard Edition’s capabilities, and Enterprise will include all of the Business Intelligence Edition’s capabilities.

3.  What about other editions currently available in SQL Server 2008 R2 such as Datacenter, Workgroup and Standard for Small Business Editions?

With the release of SQL Server 2012, the following three editions will be retired:

  • Datacenter – its features will now be available in Enterprise Edition
  • Workgroup – Standard will become our edition for basic database needs
  • Standard for Small Business – Standard becomes our sole edition for basic database needs

4.  What is the full list of editions that will be available with SQL Server 2012?

Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard will be our main editions. The Web Edition will be offered only to hosters via the Services Provider License Agreement (SLPA). Developer, Express and Compact Editions will also continue to be distributed without licensing or pricing changes. We also offer a range of appliances including Parallel Data Warehouse, a BI appliance, and a database consolidation appliance.

SQL Server 2012 Licensing - Frequently Asked Questions

1.  What are the key licensing changes with SQL Server 2012?

With SQL Server 2012, we will offer the following licensing options:

  • Core-based Licensing for Enterprise
  • Server + CAL licensing for Business Intelligence
  • Choice of core-based licensing or Server + CAL licensing for Standard

2.  When will these changes come into effect?

Licensing changes will come into effect at the general availability of SQL Server 2012. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 is expected to release in the first half of calendar year 2012.

3.  Are there any virtualization or cloud-related licensing benefits with SQL Server 2012?

SQL Server 2012 will provide a variety of virtualization and cloud benefits that will help customers save money on database licensing and retain flexibility in their database deployments. Customers can:

  • License individual Virtual Machines (VM), and when licensing per core, buy core licenses only for the virtual cores (threads or physical cores) assigned to the VM.
  • License for high VM density by buying EE and Software Assurance (SA) for all the physical cores on the server (or server farm) and deploying any number of VMs on the licensed hardware. Without SA, VM density is limited to one VM per core with EE.
  • License for VM mobility across private and public clouds. VM license mobility is an SA benefit. Without SA, licenses can be moved from one server to another only once every 90 days.

4.  Could you explain why you are making these changes?

The changes to SQL Server licensing reflect the evolution of the database industry along with new hardware deployment practices. Internal customer research with hundreds of customers has shown us that database customers are comfortable with core-based licensing and consider licensing by core simple and predictable. There is also great enthusiasm for our virtualization and cloud-friendly licensing to help customers save money as their deployment practices evolve. With these changes, we will continue to offer industry leading TCO.

5.  Will other Microsoft products move to core-based licensing as well?

We have put in place licensing models that are appropriate for the products based on industry and customer needs. The changes to SQL Server licensing are based on trends in the database industry and were developed with just the database business in mind.

6.  Will the licensing changes be accompanied by an increase in pricing?

With SQL Server 2012, we are delivering a more powerful Enterprise Edition and a new Business Intelligence Edition with innovative features. SQL Server customers who benefit from the new capabilities and who deploy mission critical databases will likely pay more, though we will continue to be the industry TCO leader.

At the same time, we are offering licensing benefits and flexibility to help customers save money and control costs with virtualization and consolidation. The net price impact to individual customers will vary based on how they deploy SQL Server 2012, their current capacity and their future needs.

We have been actively engaged in conversations directly with our customers and partners to ensure that they know how these changes may impact them.

7.  Can I buy core-based licensing for the Business Intelligence edition?

Enterprise Edition includes the full capabilities of SQL Server 2012, so a customer who wants to license a BI Server on a per core basis can do so by buying Enterprise Edition. Enterprise Edition will be the preferred way to license advanced SQL Server BI capabilities when users are uncountable (e.g., external facing workloads) or when there is a very large number of users.

8.  Can I use the same CAL for the Business Intelligence and Standard editions?

Yes, as with prior releases, there is a single CAL for SQL Server 2012 for access to all the server editions.

9.  I have Software Assurance, do I have to pay more to upgrade to SQL Server 2012?

No. All licenses under SA will be able to upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost.

10.  I recently signed up for an Enterprise Agreement (EA)/Enrollment for Application Platform (EAP). What do these changes mean for me?

EA and EAP remain the best ways for customers to license SQL Server. EA and EAP offer extended transitions to help you plan for the new licensing model. Furthermore, EAP offers significant discounts to help you take advantage of the lowest TCO.

11.  How do I migrate from processor licenses to core licenses? What is the migration path?

Licenses purchased with Software Assurance (SA) will upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost. EA/EAP customers can continue buying processor licenses until your next renewal after June 30, 2012. At that time, processor licenses will be exchanged for core-based licenses sufficient to cover the cores in use by processor-licensed databases (minimum of 4 cores per processor for Standard and Enterprise, and minimum of 8 EE cores per processor for Datacenter).

12.  How will SQL Server processor licenses with SA be exchanged for SQL Server 2012 core licenses? How will I (and Microsoft) determine the number of cores that I am owed?

You can perform a “self-inventory” of your environment at the end of the Software Assurance (SA) term that will provide the basis for the core licenses you will own and for which you are eligible to renew SA. We will provide access to the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit as one way to help track and document deployments. This tool can help you plan the transition from processor-based licenses to core-based licenses by counting both processors and cores across your deployments. If you are not able to document your SQL Server deployments, we will exchange processors based on a standard conversion ratio. We encourage you to work with your Microsoft or Partner representative to determine an optimal transition plan.

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