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MS SQL Server on a fileserver using ODBC - how do licenses work?

I'm new to MS SQL Server and Windows Server, and how licenses work.  I'm going to install SQL Server on a Windows Server (Standard Edition) "file server" that we just purchased.  We have just 1 programmer that will ever need to open MS SQL Server and make any changes to any of the tables.  We will have about 30 users that will connect to the data using ODBC built into their client software that will be installed on each of the 30 user's Windows desktops.

How many licenses do I need to purchase for the file server?   How many do I need to purchase for Microsoft SQL Server?

2 Solutions
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
30 sql server licenses and 30 Windows Server licenses (only if they use any server resources i.e. shares etc)
Vitor MontalvãoMSSQL Senior EngineerCommented:
For SQL Server you can have licenses for server and users (pay for server and each user or client device) or processor licenses (pay per CPU).
You need to check what is less expensive for you and choose that one.

Good luck.
Ryan McCauleyDatabase and Reporting ManagerCommented:
For 30 users, I'd expect the CAL model (licensing by user/device) to be less expensive than buying a full processor license. Generally though, here are the two licensing models for SQL Server:

1. License by user. You buy one (relatively inexpensive) license for the server, and then buy a client access license for each user (a CAL). It's worth noting that once you buy a SQL Server CAL for a user/device, that user/device can access any SQL Server instance, not just this one - so you can add more SQL Servers later and you only need to buy the "Server" license. A quick price check puts SQL 2012 Standard at about $900 for the server plus $200 for each client, making your 30-user situation about $6900.

2. License by server processor. You buy a CPU license (by socket in SQL 2008 R2 and earlier, by core in SQL 2012) for the server, and then anybody can access it - users on your network, website, anonymous through public-facing applications, etc) without the need for CALs. A quick check on these puts them at about $1800/core. Though you don't give the core count in your server, a four-core server would cost you $7200, around the same price as the other option.

For Windows server, you'd need a server license and 30 Windows CALs, which would allow them access any windows servers - adding a second windows server would only require the second server license.

I hope that clears things up - licensing is a complicated situation, and if you want to be sure you're doing it correctly, I'd refer you to a Microsoft Certified licensing expert, as our advice is only our understanding :)
The ODBC access does not change the license requirements. All users who access the services (through whatever means) needs a license.

1 x Windows Server License
1 x SQL Server License
30 users + 1 Programmer = 31 windows Client Access licenses (either per user or per device)
30 users + 1 programmer = 31 SQL Client Access Licenses

As previously mentioned, SQL can be licensed per processor (the latest version of SQL is also per Core). Purchasing the per processor versions is more expensive, but gives unlimited user access, so there is a cross over between the processor and server/cal licensing models.

Speak to your reseller to get all the various options and choose the best for your current size and potential growth over the next 12 months

hope this helps

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