MS Sql Test Environment Licensing Question


I have a customer who has Microsoft SQL on Volume license to run their finance application, they are going through a process of upgrading the financial software; the software vendor has asked us to setup a test environment.  

We have a Spare Server we can use to host a test environment; how does this work regards to SQL,  as this is a test environment for the same application are we licensed to install this on the second server or do we have to purchase a second copy?

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PadawanDBAOperational DBACommented:
If it's not used in production for anything, I do believe you are fine.  Depending on the permanence of this, you could either buy an MSDN license or you could use an evaluation version.  I know the specifics are way more involved, but check out the developer edition description here:
Aneesh RetnakaranDatabase AdministratorCommented:
As long as the data is not accessed by external users, you can use the MSDN / Technet subscription. If the application is being tested by users outside your company and contain the production data, then you have to license them
From Microsoft's development licensing specifically for SQL:

Licensing SQL Ser ver for Non-production Use
Customers are required to license every Microsoft software product they install, configure, and use, including all physical and virtual instances. As such, licensing a development and test environment can be expensive and challenging to manage as new servers are set up and others are torn down. Microsoft offers multiple, cost-effective options for licensing SQL Server 2012 software for use in non-production environments.
SQL Server Developer Edition
The SQL Server 2012 Developer Edition is a full-function version of SQL Server software—including all of the features and capabilities of the Enterprise Edition—licensed under the Developer Tools model, which is a “per user” model. One license is required for each person that accesses or uses the software. Customers licensing SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse appliances for non-production use are also able to license the included SQL Server software under the Developer Tools model.17

When using SQL Server software for development, test or demonstration purposes, only the users are licensed and a corresponding license for the actual server systems running SQL Server software is not required. As long as only licensed users have access to the software, customers can install as many copies of the software on any number of servers that are employed exclusively for this use. This is significant, because it allows customers to run the software on multiple devices (for testing purposes, for example) without having to license each non-production server system.
      Before using SQL Server software under the Developer Tools model, customers must assign one license to each user accessing the software.
      Once licensed, customers can install the SQL Server 2012 Developer Edition software, and all licensed users can use copies to design, develop, test and/or demonstrate programs.
      Customers cannot use the software in a production environment and any test data that was used for design, development or test purposes must be removed prior to deploying the software for production use.

Note: A production environment is defined as an environment that is accessed by end-users of an application (such as an Internet Web site) and that is used for purposes other than acceptance testing of that application. Other scenarios that constitute production environments include:
      Environments that connect to a production database.
      Environments that support disaster-recovery or backup for a production environment.
      Environments that are used for production at least some of the time, such as a server that is rotated into production during peak periods of activity.

It is rare that someone whose primary role is designing, developing, or testing software would also qualify as an “end user” of the software.
MSDN Subscriptions
Customers can also choose to license SQL Server software for non-production use through certain MSDN subscription offerings, including the Visual Studio Professional, Premium and Ultimate subscription levels. Similar to the standalone SQL Server Developer Edition, MSDN subscriptions are licensed on a per user basis and the software cannot be used in a production environment.
      For more information on MSDN subscriptions that include access to SQL Server software, visit: 
      For more information on MSDN licensing scenarios, download the Visual Studio 2012 and MSDN Licensing White Paper at: 

Product Evaluations
The SQL Server 2012 Evaluation Edition is a fully functional trial version of SQL Server 2012 software that automatically expires after six months. Microsoft Volume Licensing customers can also, install, and evaluate any of the SQL Server 2012 products for 60 days before requiring a purchase.
      To discover the power of SQL Server 2012, download the free SQL Server 2012 Evaluation at: 
Keep in mind, my comment above is NOT based off what people typically do, but what the licensing policy from Microsoft states you must do to be in compliance with their licensing terms.
I have a question can you upgrade SQL 2012 Standard SP1 volume license key used and upgrade to SQL 2012 Enterprise edition using a MSDN.

We want to upgrade our SQL 2012 standard which is registered with a volume license key, and upgrade SQL to Enterprise using a MSDN key.

Can this be done?

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