SQL 2012 Core licensing

Hi Experts,

please help me to understand this new license model.
I have read a lot of pages but it seems to be very expensive.

Now we have 2 SQL servers.
each server has 2 CPU´s. 2x X5460
The CPU has 4 cores.
So the server has 8 cores.

How much licenses I have to buy when I want to use SQL ENTERPRISE License ?
Eprs_AdminSystem ArchitectAsked:
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Marten RuneSQL Expert/Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
16 Cores.
Unless you can run both instances on one physical server.

But Before you paied per socket, and now they Count 4 cores per socket (intel processors that is, there is a slight difference when counting AMD processors). So you should not be affected by the change to charge per core.

Either that or CAL licenses. If its just a few users, that might be cheaper. Though I Always come to the conclusion that core licence fits us.

Suddenly a good DBA can be Worth his salary, by consolidating instances to one hardware, and trimming applications so that it runs on lesser CPU cycles.

You should baselinemeasure your servers in order to determine weather you can or cant consolidate.

Regards Marten
Ryan McCauleyEnterprise Analytics ManagerCommented:
Since your servers are four cores per socket, the licensing price should actually be about the same as it was before on the socket model - the pricing per code is 1/4 of the previous pricing per socket. Also, you only have to pay for the servers where SQL is running - if you've got a two-node failover cluster, for example, and all the instances sit on one node (active/passive), then you only have to license the single node.

Also, there is no server/CAL license available for enterprise edition - it has to be licensed by core. If you're using standard edition (and you may be able to), then you have the choice of licensing by core or server with CALs.
Eprs_AdminSystem ArchitectAuthor Commented:
ok, so far I understand.
But what is when I have two processors with 4 cores each ?
Do I have to pay then 8 cores each ?
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Marten RuneSQL Expert/Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
Anything thats in your machine,
2 cpus with 4 cores each = 8 cores
If you want to save, you'll have to open and remove one cpu physically.
A bios disable doesn't cut it!
Regards Marten
Observe things change, this is valid today, tomorrow who knows

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Eprs_AdminSystem ArchitectAuthor Commented:
ok now I understand all of it . Thanks.
Ryan McCauleyEnterprise Analytics ManagerCommented:
Oracle is very specific about licensing sockets - if they've ever had a processor in them, you have to license them (how they'd prove it, I don't know, but the language is very specific).

However, I checked the Microsoft licensing guide and there's no clear language I can find about whether you can remove a processor from a socket to save on licensing. The closest I can find is this phrase, which appears a couple of times (in both the Licensing guide and the "Introduction to per-core licensing):

You can license based on all of the physical cores on the server. If you choose this option, the number of licenses required equals the number of physical cores on the server multiplied by the applicable core factor located in the SQL Server 2012 Core Factor Table.

Though their clear that software partitioning is not sufficient (meaning you can't just unbind SQL Server from particular cores), this language seems vague (to me, at least) about whether you can remove a processor. I'd lean towards removing a processor and then not paying for the licensing to be okay (compared to Oracle's very strong language to the contrary, for example), but you'd want to check with your specialist to confirm, if you intend to take that advice.

Good luck shoring things up - the general principles are pretty straightforward, but all the nuance can be mind-numbing.
Marten RuneSQL Expert/Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
There is a CAL license for Enterprise Edition.
Look at:
Quote:"...Enterprise Edition with Server + Client Access License (CAL) based licensing is limited to a maximum of 20 cores per SQL Server instance"

Just thought i'd let you know.

Cheers Marten
Ryan McCauleyEnterprise Analytics ManagerCommented:
That's the first I've ever heard that enterprise is available like that, and the official licensing guide seems to have it both ways (not sure how I missed the ambiguity the other 400 times I've opened that document). In the chart on page 3, Enterprise is only available licensed by core, but in the chart in page 4, it uses the language you're referring to, and appears to that enterprise edition is indeed available in server/cal for servers up to 20 cores.

However, maybe this is legacy-only, and new purchases aren't an option - this article on the Dell site says pretty clearly that the model isn't available anymore:


I've asked the licensing rep at our software reseller, as I wasn't aware this was an option, and we're actually going through a purchase right now. If it is, this marks a serious misunderstanding, and there seems to be the huge perception online (and with others I've talked to) that EE is no longer available in the server/cal model at all.
Marten RuneSQL Expert/Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
You seem to be right, quote:"Customers cannot license for unlimited virtualization with SQL Server 2008 R2 EE Server + CAL. This was only a temporary use right grant with SA."
From: http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/F/7/4F74E127-827E-420D-971F-53CECB6778BD/SQL_Server_2012_Licensing_Datasheet_and_FAQ_Mar2012.docx

Regards Marten
Marten RuneSQL Expert/Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
Sorry a bit to fast there
These rules change rapidly, thogh I found this:
•SQL Server EE is no longer being offered under the Server + CAL (Client Access License) licensing model. For customers with Software Assurance on existing SQL EE Server licenses (or access to them under their current Enterprise Agreements during term) a version of Enterprise Edition was created to enable them to upgrade to SQL Server 2012. This version has technical restrictions limiting an instance to using only 20 processor cores (40 CPU threads with Hyperthreading).. Customers must still have the proper version of the CAL and additional physical and virtual use right restrictions of this SKU (Stock Keeping Unit) apply. Please refer to the three documents listed above for additional details.

Seems to open up if you have a SA agreement.

Anyway always check with LAR, and good luck.

Regards Marten
Ryan McCauleyEnterprise Analytics ManagerCommented:
I just heard back from my LAR as well, and they verified what you've posted - it's not available as a new purchase, but if you bought licenses with SA on them before last June, you could have gotten access to SQL 2012 EE via the server/cal license model (with noted 20-core restriction).

That clears up my questions, anyways! Hopefully we didn't confuse the OP too much with the additional notes :)
Marten RuneSQL Expert/Infrastructure ArchitectCommented:
Thanks for feedback.
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