SQL 2014 Licensing Update

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server.

  • This will look at the publicly available information upon general availability for SQL 2014 on April 1st 2014
  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product or Version are available within the Product Use Rights
  • Further product-specific conditions or limitations on use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

 


The Challenge

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation  on SQL Server to support clients whom continue to deploy  prior release(s) of SQL but want to understand the implications of the release of SQL 2014. This will look at a high conceptual level at the impact to disaster recovery and deployment of SQL instances on Virtual Machines (VMs) to establish the key recommendations to implement in your organisation.

 

Key Findings

Understanding Which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that an organisation should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2, 2012 or 2014 licensing schema.

  • Product Use Rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even when adopting downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights.
  • Upon upgrade from a prior version, the Product Use Rights for the version running apply, subject to exception from the Product List.
  • The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an Enterprise Enrollment will apply to the use of the then-current versions until upgrade to a new version.
  • Upon upgrade, the Product Use Rights in effect upon General Availability (GA) will apply.
  • In both cases, If Microsoft elect to update a subsequent release of the Product Use Rights, the software use terms will not apply unless they are elected to by the customer.
  • For customers that elect to leverage downgrade rights, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version running will apply.
  • Microsoft do caveat that should a legacy product have components not are not part of the version licensed, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply.

 

A Question of Support

Standard Edition technical specifications continue to improve with the release of SQL 2014, raising the physical memory maximum of 128 GB, representing double the previous maximum utilisation (see table below for a full comparison)The increased memory capacity, combined with a public mainstream support roadmap for SQL 2014 until July 9th 2019, and an estimated release cycle of 2 years would support confidence in continued investment in the edition and Software Assurance (SA). Customers that continue to run legacy versions 2008 R2 and 2008, should be aware of the termination of mainstream support on July 9th 2014 and termination of extended support on July 9th 2019.

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The Critical Value of SA

Microsoft continue to drive the business case for Software Assurance (SA) through the incremental evolution in the licensing schema for virtualization rights.

  • The principal business driver for Software Assurance (SA) is not ‘New Version Rights’ but enablement of dynamic reassignment of licenses within a datacentre, to the Azure platform or an approved hosting partner.
  • The SQL ‘Failover Rule’ is now included within Software Assurance (SA);
    • Under prior precedent, a primary licensed server would include an extended use right to run a secondary passive SQL instance in a separate OSE, and also provide temporary support during a failover event (commonly interpreted as 30 days) in a secondary unlicensed server.
    • Upon release of SQL 2014, the extended use right to operate a passive instance was incorporated into Software Assurance (SA) and Microsoft confirmed a requirement for license reassignment at point of failover.
    • Upon expiration of Software Assurance (SA), the passive instances would become licensable.
    • The requirement for Software Assurance (SA) extends to all SQL CALs when adopting a Server/CAL license model

 

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A Limitation on Multiplexing

Multiplexing is defined as a Universal License Term and will apply to all products licensed through Volume Licensing . Under the hierarchy of the Product Use Rights, a Universal License Term will apply unless explicitly retracted or amended under General License Terms and Product Specific License Terms within the document.

  • For  SQL 2012 Business Intelligence Edition, as licensed under  the Server+CAL licensing model, users and devices that indirectly access SQL Server data through another application or hardware device required CALs, and exposed some customers to a large or unknown number of external users
  • Microsoft reigned in the multiplexing rule for SQL 2014  BI Edition to exclude users or devices that access SQL solely through batching process.

 

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Disaster Recovery – Check the Fine Print

Many organisations elect to leverage the extended use right of ‘Disaster Recovery Rights’ within Software Assurance (SA) but don’t critically evaluate the technical reality of the DR solution as compared to binding terms of the Product Use Rights 

Under the April 2014 Product Use Rights, the OSE on the disaster recovery server can run only during the following exception periods:

  • For brief periods of disaster recovery testing within one week every 90 days
  • During a disaster, while the production server being recovered is down
  • Around the time of a disaster, for a brief period, to assist in the transfer between the primary production server and the disaster recovery server

A notable exception within the April 2014 Product Use Rights – this excludes patch management.

 

Final Thoughts

Business Intelligence Edition 

The ‘Multiplexing Rule’ should reasonably protect and maintain a proportional and scalable commercial licensing model to ensure financial protection for Microsoft, and the Universal License Terms ensures this isn’t limited by hardware or software that pool connections, reroute information, or reduce the number of devices or users that directly access, or use a server product. Accordingly, interpretation and application of this rule for external users as well as internal users should be independently and respectively assessed based on the technical reality of the server infrastructure and processes; the update in policy to access solely via batch processes like ETL for Business Intelligence (BI) Edition is a welcomed revision.

 

Software Assurance

On April 1st 2012 upon General Availability (GA) of SQL 2012, Microsoft removed support for license mobility in the SQL Enterprise 2012 Edition ‘license’ and incorporated this extended use right within Software Assurance (SA). The prior omission of ‘license mobility within server farms’ was amended by inclusion of this within Software Assurance (SA) across all 2012 Editions. This incremental reassignment of business critical extended use rights from a perpetual license to within a maintenance model was continued under SQL 2014 with the curtailing of the ‘Failover Rule’. As most organisations have database sprawl across physical and high availability virtual server environments, the onus on optimum and correct assignment of license and maintenance assets is critical to support cost avoidance and limit commercial risk.

 

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Recommendations

  • Organisations should review the effective date of all enrollments, and review all binding documentation to critically evaluate the software use terms to apply.
  • License mobility is a strong driver for Software Assurance if your organisation intends to deploy SQL in a virtual environment.
  • Software Assurance enables asset mobility to authorised 3rd party server environments, and supports cost avoidance of failover and disaster recovery solutions.
  • Stakeholders should critically evaluate the technical reality of server infrastructure to ensure conformity with software use restrictions of extended use rights i.e. passive failover instances and disaster recovery.
  • Optimum and valid assignment of legacy assets can support ongoing cost avoidance (with strict controls and policies to support ongoing compliance).
  • Organisations should consider upgrade from SQL Business Intelligence 2012 to 2014 to limit exposure to the ‘Multiplexing Rule’ Edit: The June Product List 2014 states (Page 26) the “CAL waiver for Batch Jobs described in the April 2014 PUR also applies to the 2012 version of that Product”. 
  • Implement a hardware and software discovery workstream to evaluate the technical reality of current (and planned) server infrastructure for SQL Server to ensure compliance and cost avoidance through optimum assignment of license and maintenance assets.
  • Evaluate deployed software products exiting mainstream and extended support – a comprehensive products exiting mainstream and extended support on July 9th 2014 are available here

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is Head of Microsoft Advisory Services at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.

 


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.


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An Overview of License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server. This will look at the publicly available information on the ‘failover right’ associated with SQL Server.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, my own emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • As always, If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email

An Overview

Many organisations adopt failover technologies to re-assign  workloads from a primary server to a secondary standby server when a production server fails.

Under the SQL 2008 R2  Product-Specific-License Terms for SQL Server, a standby server that is considered ‘passive’ (and not running any active workloads or reports) would generally not require a license to be assigned. This includes back-up and restore related tasks under the passive designation.

This passive failover server rule  would commonly support situations when a primary server suffers a hardware or software failure (or is taken offline for routine maintenance or patch management) and requires the secondary ‘passive’ server to take over completely for ‘temporary’ support.

A secondary server, utilised solely to maintain a copy of the database and will never take over from the primary does also fall under the ‘passive’ designation, however the passive failover server rule will only support a single designated passive server under the allowance for each primary licensed server.


The Product Use Rights

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in July 2010, Page 63 of 136) (the first PUR after 2008 R2 General Availability) explained this exception as follows:

“Fail-over Servers. For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”).

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in January 2012, Page 58 of 147) – the last archived PUR before general availability (GA) of SQL 2012 – uses almost identical wording and explains the exception as follows:

“For any OSE in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”

Upon the general release of SQL 2012, the Product-Specific License Terms do not appear to explicitly indicate a change in the passive failover server rule. For reference purposes, here is an extract from the latest PUR under the Product-Specific License Terms for SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition. This again uses almost identical wording to previous iterations.

“Fail-Over Rights

For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support.“

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2014, Page 37]

“Fail-over Servers

For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support. However, if you license based on Physical Cores and the OSE in which you use the passive fail-over Running Instances is on a separate Server, the number of Physical Cores on the separate Server must not exceed the number of Physical Cores on the Licensed Server and the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in that Server must be the same or lower than the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in the Licensed Server. If you license by individual Virtual OSE, the number of Hardware Threads used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of Hardware Threads used in the OSE in which the active Running Instances are used.”


Microsoft Advisory Guidance

Microsoft provided a guidance document, originally published way back in July 2008,  that provided a good insight into server ‘failover rights’, with an extract here as follows:

“When doing failover support, a server is designated as the passive server. The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails. A passive server does not need a license, provided that the number of processors in the passive server is equal or less than those of the active server. The passive server can take the duties of the active server for 30 days. Afterward, it must be licensed accordingly

[Ref: SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing, July 2008, Page 2 of 5]

The wording of the Product Use Rights and prior released guidance, (published in July 2008), may therefore support interpretation of  the passive failover server rule as actually two separate but ultimately connected allowances:

  1. A right to have running instances which are classified as passive instances ins a separate OSE.
  2. The passive instances can be used ‘for temporary support’, (with restrictions)


Restrictions

Operational logic of the failover right for SQL:-

  1. There can only ne one unlicensed passive node for every active node, the licenses assigned to the primary must be sufficient to cover the secondary.
  2. Passive servers do not require licenses to be assigned, but are unable to run any production workloads, but backup and restore related tasks are an important exception.
  3. When database mirroring, the secondary server cannot provide reporting functions.
  4. The backup server can take over during a failure or system maintenance, i.e. hardware or software failure, or routine system maintenance.
  5. The duration of the failover event is for ‘temporary support’, this is commonly interpreted as 30 days.
  6. The server cannot be sequestered for short-term transaction load-balancing.
  7. The passive node must takeover completely, no production workloads must remain, (so all databases must move together for database mirroring or log shipping), both active and passive nodes cannot be in an active production capacity.

Non-Binding Guidance on SQL 2012 – Failover Rights

Microsoft Volume Licensing communicated a change of how the operational logic of a failover event is conceptually approached, addressed in non-binding advisory guidance 16 months after general availability, this was via the popular technet blog; under the following statement:

“[…] You do not require SA for SQL Server Fail-over Rights, but once you activate the Passive Fail-Over server in a DR then that Passive Fail-over becomes the active server (during a fail-over event) and it must be fully licensed for SQL Server.  You can accomplish this by assigning new licenses to the (now active) passive server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server to the backup server once the instances of SQL Server on the primary server are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads.”

Wherein, Microsoft admit “What this means is that your SQL Server 2012 licenses without SA may only be reassigned once every 90 days.  This may not fit your fail-over strategy very well.”

The non-binding advisory content of the  TechNet blog indicates that under the software use terms for SQL 2012, during a failover event the primary licensed server would need to have the license reassigned to the passive server at point of failover. The legacy approach, to license only the ‘active’ node of an Active/Passive SQL Server cluster seems to have been curtailed as an extended use right, and would markedly depart from the license precedent of product-specific licensing terms for 2008 and 2008 R2.

The change in precedent was not explicitly referenced in the first non-binding advisory licensing guide document published two months after general availability in June 2012.

“The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server”.

“Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.”

“When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system”

[Ref: SQL Server Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 14 of 25]

To explore this a little further, in the advisory literature I have included the later amended  Licensing Guide, March 1st 2013, Page 15 extract in full:

“Failover Basics

For each properly licensed instance of SQL Server, customers can run a supporting passive instance in a separate OSE for temporary support—that is, to synchronize with the primary server and otherwise maintain the passive database instance in a warm standby state in order to minimize downtime due to hardware or software failure.

A passive SQL Server instance is one that is not serving SQL Server data to clients or running active SQL Server workloads. This passive failover instance can run on a server other than the licensed server.

The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server.

Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server.

•Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.

•When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system.

•In the event that a passive instance of SQL Server becomes active for any reason, then it must be fully licensed accordingly. This can be accomplished by assigning new licenses to the (now active) secondary server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server (once the primary instances are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads). License Mobility, a Software Assurance (SA) benefit, may allow for more flexibility with license reassignment. For details on reassignment considerations without SA, refer to the Licensing SQL Server for Application Mobility section of this guide.”

[Ref: SQL Server 2012 Licensing Reference Guide, March 1st 2013, Page 15]


Final Thoughts

Any conflict in interpretation, and likely the crux of the matter, could likely be  dependent on  the interpretation of  the “fail-over rights” as a single or two separate allowances:

  1. A right to have running instances which are classified as passive instances ins a separate OSE.
  2. The passive instances can be used ‘for temporary support’, (with restrictions)

The TechNet blog would appear to interpret the passive failover server rule as limited to an allowance under the primary licensed server to run a secondary passive failover server under the ‘passive’ designation, but at point of failover and the secondary passive failover taking over completely, the license on the assigned primary licensed server is required to be re-assigned.

This much later non-binding interpretation of fail-over rights in the TechNet blog could have a real impact for  organisations that adopt a 30 day patching cycle and would underwrite an even stronger case for Software Assurance (SA) for organisations seeking to enable ‘license mobility within server farms’ to allow re-assignment of SQL Licenses ‘as often as needed’ outside of the restrictive ‘90 rule’. This is compounded by the previous restriction of SQL Enterprise Edition license mobility under the 2012 schema as requiring active Software Assurance.

While the TechNet blog would be a subtle, but significant change to how the fail-over rights in the Product Use Rights are interpreted by Microsoft and its subsidiaries. It is  strongly recommended to refer to all binding-documentation, rather than relying solely on non-binding advisory documentation, even Microsoft’s own websites and blogs. While this interpretation is commonly shared by licensing professionals, trainers and Microsoft subsidiaries, always look directly at all relevant binding documentation to ascertain the true impact to your current failover model.


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights.


An Exploration of the Microsoft SQL Fiscal Cliff

The objective of this article is to review the publicly available documentation available on SQL Server. This will look at a high level at the impact of the release of SQL 2012 and the per core licensing model introduced on April 1st 2012.

  • This article is not intended to replace the Product Use Rights or Product List or other binding contractual documents
  • The Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List
  • Please be aware that any licensing information could be subject to change. This document confers no rights and is provided for information purposes only.
  • Please be aware, emphasis may have been added to quotations and extracts from 3rd party sources.
  • If you would like to book a consultation, available under NDA , please drop me a note via email 

The Impact of the Per Core Metric

Many organisations  look pro-actively at cost saving and cost avoidance strategies for their software spend, but often don’t receive independent analysis derived from a global managed contract data-set.

SoftwareONE continue to conduct research cost analytics across their managed contract base to track trends in software licensing globally in over 80 countries.

As a simple example, our research unit conducted pricing analysis of SQL from from January 2010 to November 2013, in order to independently verify and asses the impact of the per core metric for Microsoft customers. The graph below, illustrates the impact of the implementation of the per core licensing metric based on Intel and AMD CPUs for SQL deployed in a POSE (Physical Operating System Environment) illustrates what we commonly term ‘the SQL fiscal cliff’.

This dataset accounts for:-

  • SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor 2008, SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor 2008 R2, SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2012
  • The core factor multiplier adopted by Microsoft to differentiate between Intel and AMD CPUs.
  • The cost impact of historical price increase aligned to the general availability of SQL Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 on May 1st 2010
  • The cost impact of the UK Price Increase in July 2012.

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Key Takeaways

  • The continuation of the Per Processor licensing metric would not scale revenue generation to CPU power.
  • The core-based metric will require greater analysis of underlying server infrastructure to satisfy compliance and vendor reporting requirements.
  • Single and Dual Core CPUs have a positive multiplier and successfully maintained revenue for Microsoft
  • As core density increases, AMD Opteron CPUs may start to cost more than Intel Xeon (as the negative multiplier has less effect)
  • Organisations that have SQL under an Enterprise Agreement, Enterprise Agreement Subscription, Enrollment for Application Platform are strongly recommended to plan for their contract renewal(s) pro-actively
  • It is recommended to work with SoftwareONE to plan your datacenter performance and optimisation strategy aligned to vendor licensing models.

Understanding which Software Use Terms Apply

It is recommended that organisations should be aware of when a particular Product Specific License Terms should be applicable. This can be incredibly useful in understand whether their current deployment footprint falls within the SQL 2008 R2 or 2012 licensing schema.

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The Product Use Rights (PUR) is a binding document, published quarterly by Microsoft and should be considered essential reading for organisations that are seeking to understand the software use terms for their SQL estate.

In June 2012, following general availability of SQL 2012 in April of the same year, Microsoft released an advisory licensing guide to assist customers with understanding the new licensing metrics, but also the transition rules for customers with existing investments in Software Assurance (SA) for SQL Server 2008 R2. This document was later updated in March 2013.

The virtualization licensing guide released in June 2012 (still available on the Microsoft SQL Website) provides a brief synopsis of the applicability of the Product Use Rights based on current or planned deployments of SQL Server:

“Product use rights for the originally licensed version and edition apply even if using downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights. For example, if a customer purchases a SQL Server 2012 license, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply even if the customer deploys SQL Server 2008 R2 (or an earlier version)”.

“If customers (who are eligible through SA), have upgraded from a previous version, the product use rights for the version running apply. For example, if a customer upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply”

[Ref:  , June 2012, Page 10-11]

This is a good high-level synopsis, to be reviewed alongside the binding contract stack, including procurement contracts like an Enterprise Agreement and Select Plus Agreement.

  • The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA), provides a detailed overview on the applicability of a PUR; wherein (Section 4) it states:  “The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date of an enrolment will apply to the Enrolled Affiliate’s use of the then-current versions of each Product (excluding Online Services). For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are first released will apply. In both cases, subsequent changes made by Microsoft to the Product Use Rights for a particular version will not apply to Enrolled Affiliate’s use of that version, unless Enrolled Affiliate chooses to have such changes apply. […]
  • Product Use Rights for earlier versions (downgrade). If Enrolled Affiliate runs an earlier version of a Product other the version that was current on the Enrollment effective date, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version being run, will apply. However, if the earlier version includes components that are not part of the licensed version, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will apply to Enrolled Affilliate’s use of those components.”

[Ref: Please refer to your specific Enterprise Agreement, Section 4]

The Microsoft Select Plus Agreement, also provides a detailed overview of the applicability of a PUR; wherein (Section 5) is states:

  • “Summary: Generally, Microsoft agrees to lock-in the Product Use Rights at the start of the agreement, for current versions, and on the date of the first release, for new versions, so that any subsequent changes Microsoft makes to the Product Use Rights will not affect any Registered Affiliates. A Special rule applies in the case of downgrades, as described below.”
  • “a. Product Use Rights. Microsoft publishes Product Use Rights for each version of each product.
  • (i) Product Use Rights for current and future versions of Products. The Product Use Rights in effect on the effective date on the agreement will apply to all Registered Affiliate’s use of then current versions of each product, regardless of the date of the Order. For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect when those future versions are first released will apply. In both cases, subsequent changes made by Microsoft to the Product Use Rights for a particular version will not apply to Registered Affiliate’s use of that version.”
  • “(ii) Product Use Rights for earlier versions (downgrade). If a Registered Affiliate runs an earlier version of a Product than the version that was current on the Agreement effective date, the Product Use Rights for the version licensed, not the version being run, will apply. However, if an earlier version includes components that are not part of the licensed version, any Product Use Rights specific to those components will to the Registered Affiliate’s use of those components.”

[Ref: Please refer to your specific Select Plus Agreement, Section 5]


Summary

To summarise the advisory and high level contract documentation,  current and future versions of a product under Volume Licensing models (like the Enterprise Agreement), the Product Use Rights in effect on the date of the Volume Agreement effective date will apply. For future versions, the Product Use Rights in effect upon general availability will apply, subject to the caveats outlined in the contracts – but how does this work in practice ?

  • This means in practice, that a customer that procured SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Processor License(s) added at signing, via an  Enterprise Agreement (EA) with, for example, a contract effective date of June 2011, would refer to the the most current release of the Product Use Rights available on the effective date of their enrollment (March 2011).
  • As an example, over the term of their enrollment, that same customer would see the release of SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2012 (on April 2012) and would have had the choice to upgrade (under new version rights available when a license is procured with Software Assurance) or continue to run SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 R2.
  • Should an customer have subsequently decided to upgrade, as stated in the licensing guide: “If customers (who are eligible through SA), have upgraded from a previous version, the product use rights for the version running apply. For example, if a customer upgrades from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012, SQL Server 2012 use rights apply”.

This is reasonably straight forward to ‘draw a line in the sand’ to understand the applicability of the relevant Product Use Rights. However this should be reviewed within the context of the whole contract stack to ascertain whether exceptions or special license grants could apply (see next section).


An Exception to Every Rule

The Product List is a binding document, published monthly by Microsoft is considered essential reading for organisations that are seeking to understand the software use terms for their SQL estate. It is critically important to refer to all binding product-specific terms to ensure your existing licensing and software assurance footprint is assigned and leveraged appropriately.

  • As  with SQL, the April 2012 Product List  (Note 88) Microsoft conferred under the then-current term, for a SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor License customer who is eligible under SA (Software Assurance), to upgrade from the 2008 R2 version, could  “upgrade to and use SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Core software in place of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise subject to the SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise processor license product use rights (as reflected in the January 2012 Product Use Rights).” [Ref: Product List, April 2012, page 143 of 166, Note 88].
  • As with SQL, the April 1st Product List  (Note 90)  Microsoft conferred under the then-current term, for a SQL Standard Edition Per Processor License customer who is eligible under SA, to upgrade from the 2008 R2 version, could “upgrade to and use SQL Server 2012 Standard Core software in place of SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard subject to SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard processor license product use rights (as reflected in the January 2012 Product Use Rights). Customers are additionally granted rights under License Mobility through Software Assurance and License Mobility within Server Farms. Customers should refer to the Product Use Rights for SQL Server 2012 Standard Core for license terms for License Mobility.”
  • This is a good example of the impact of the hierarchy of software licensing terms  (see prior article on this site) – on the software use terms for Microsoft Products. While the advisory guides are useful, they should be considered both non-binding  and also non-exhaustive in scope.

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The Software Use Rights  for each Product Version are available within both the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses of licenses or use of products are in the Product List.


SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Datacenter Edition

Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Enterprise Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Enterprise 2012  per core licensing metric based on purchases made before, and planned on or  after,  April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Datacenter 2008 R2 Licenses with active Software Assurance bought prior to April 1st 2015
    • Please note: procured via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES / under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Server Datacenter Licenses procured on or after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015. This enables organisations to renew Software Assurance (SA) on SQL deployed under the legacy per processor licensing model.

The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions; wherein, for Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Datacenter Edition 2008 R2 processor license, the customer “may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b)” […]

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a. a number equal to the lesser of the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • i. Eight, OR
  • ii. the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor.  (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds eight, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b. a number equal to the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by eight.”

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 136 of 161, Note 80]

However, please note the caveat of the wording in the Product List, could impact license grants measurably, as exemplified by the following statement:  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights”.

-It is recommended organisation should ensure they have appropriate time/date stamped and cogent evidence of compliance to underpin renewal into the core licensing schema.


First Renewal (On or After April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

“Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015, may, for every server that is correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights, acquire Software Assurance as following:

  • As provided in the first paragraph of this product note, licenses acquired before April 1st 2015 are qualifying licenses and customers may renew SA as per the terms in the “First Renewal Term (Prior to April 1st 2015) “ section above and,
  • For licenses acquired after April 1st 2015 customers may renew SA for eight SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for every SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter processor license. For ongoing use of SQL Server 2012 on processors that require more than eight core licenses per processor customer has to acquire the additional core licenses.

Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering. The option to acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server core licenses is not applicable to renewal of coverage under subscription programs.”

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 136 of 161, Note 80]


SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Enterprise – Per Processor

For organisations that have committed to SQL Enterprise Edition Per Processor Licenses with Software Assurance (SA); Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Enterprise Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Enterprise 2012 under the per core licensing metric based on purchases made before and planned on or  after planned April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Enterprise Edition Processor Licenses with active Software Assurance prior to April 1st 2015
    • This is completed via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Enterprise Edition Processor Licenses Licenses procured after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 142-3 of 161, Note 88]


At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) after general availability (GA), the customer “may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b)” […]

(-The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions)

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a. a number equal to the lesser of the number of qualifying licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • i. Four, OR
  • ii. the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor. (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds four, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b. a number equal to the number of processor licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by four.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 143 of 161, Note 88]

However, as stated above, please note the caveat of the preceding wording in the Product List, (which could impact license grants measurably), as exemplified by the following statement:  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights”.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 143 of 161, Note 88]

It is strongly recommended that organisations should ensure they have appropriate time/date stamped and cogent evidence of compliance,   to underpin renewal into the core licensing schema to ensure SA maintenance renewals relying on license grants can stand the test of time when potentially scrutinised later by Microsoft or a  ‘forensic’ license auditor like KPMG or Ernst & Young, or PWC.


First Renewal Term (On or After April 1st 2015)

Microsoft set out the following options at renewal for organisations with a volume agreement renewal prior to April 1st 2015:

  • First Renewal Term (on or after April 1, 2015): Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015 will be provided an opportunity to acquire Software Assurance for core licenses for the qualifying licenses they acquire prior to that date. See the June 2012 Product List for details.
  • Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering.

[Ref: See the Product List, April 2012,Page 43 of 161, Note 88]

The Product List for June 2012 makes the following statement [Section 89]:

  • “First Renewal Term (on or after April 1, 2015 Customers who first renew coverage on or after April 1, 2015, may, for every server that is correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license product use rights, acquire Software Assurance as following:
    • As provided in the first paragraph of this product note, licenses acquired before April 1st 2015 are qualifying licenses and customers may renew SA as per the terms in the “First Renewal Term (Prior to April 1st 2015) “ section above and,
    • For licenses acquired after April 1st 2015 customers may renew SA for four SQL Server Enterprise core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for every SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise processor license. For ongoing use of SQL Server 2012 on processors that require more than four core licenses per processor customer has to acquire the additional core licenses.
  • Customers’ processor licenses are no longer valid upon acquisition of Software Assurance for core licenses under this offering. The option to acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server core licenses is not applicable to renewal of coverage under subscription programs. Only qualifying licenses apply when determining the number of core licenses in a) and b) above.

SA Renewal Planning – SQL Server Enterprise –  Server/CAL

Microsoft  extended certain rights to renew Software Assurance (SA) on SQL Server Enterprise  after the licensing model was discontinued on April 1st 2012.

The Product List provides details of exceptions and available license transitions, included as an extract below [Ref: Product List , November 2013, Page 164 of 187, Note 85]:

“SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL Customers — Special Software Assurance Renewal Option

  • “Customers with active Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL licenses as of April 1, 2012 may, as an alternative to renewing their coverage for Enterprise, acquire Software Assurance for an equal number licenses for SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence without acquiring the underlying licenses. Upon acquisition of SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Software Assurance under this offering, customers may no longer use SQL Server Enterprise under their qualifying licenses. Customers who acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Business Intelligence under this offering also will not have the option to revert to SQL Server Enterprise coverage for their qualifying SQL Server Enterprise licenses.”

SQL Server Buy-out Option under EAP

  • “Customers will have an option to renew Software Assurance for SQL Server Enterprise Server/CAL licenses after June 30, 2012, however their only buy-out option at the end of their enrollment term, will be for core licenses.”

Ongoing Use of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise

  • “Software Assurance customers who continue to use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise under licenses acquired under their agreement or enrollment in effect on April 1, 2012 may use the software under SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise use rights during the current term and any renewal term. Customers who use SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise under downgrade rights under licenses acquired after renewal of their coverage must use the software under the use rights for the version licensed.”

[Ref: Product List , November 2013, Page 164 of 187, Note 85].


The 20 Core Limit

While the November 2013 Product List does not make explicit reference to a maximum compute capacity, the updated March 2013 Licensing Guide does provide a table that states the 20 core limit for SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition on the Server+CAL Licensing Model.

This important ‘hard-coded’ limitation is of critical importance when seeking to determine the viability of maintaining the legacy licensing model, when in comparison SQL Enterprise Edition on the Per Core licensing metric is set at a maximum compute capacity set by the OS.

[Ref: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Licensing Guide, March 2013, Page 5 of 26]

Microsoft provided the following guidance, extracted from the March 2013 update:

  • “SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition software licensed under the Server+CAL model is intended and physically limited to only run on servers with a total of twenty cores or less:
  • »» There are now two versions of SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition software: a server-based version and a core-based version. Customers must run the software version for which they are
    licensed.
  • »» For customers running SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition server-based software instances in a physical environment, that OSE is only permitted to access a maximum of twenty physical cores. A per instance technical limit is also enforced.
  • »» For customers running SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition server licenses in virtual environments, each set of VMs associated with a single server license (up to four per server license) can only access up to twenty hardware threads of combined power at any time.”

[Ref: SQL Licensing Guide, March 2013, Page 25]


Planning for Renewal SQL Standard – Per Processor

For organisations that have committed to SQL Standard Edition Per Processor Licenses with Software Assurance (SA); Microsoft support transition to the per core metric for SQL Standard Edition based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

The following should be considered in good time prior to renewal of your organisation’s current agreement term(s) to plan effectively.  It is recommended to ‘draw a line in the sand’ and assess available license grants for SQL Standard 2012 under the per core licensing metric based on purchases made before and planned on or  after planned April 1st 2015.

  • SQL Standard Edition Processor Licenses with active Software Assurance prior to April 1st 2015
    • This is completed via an Enterprise Agreement enrollment, Open Value Subscription, or EES under True Up process.
  • Will have access to license grants based on both a programmatic allowance and/or an evidence based approach based on the technical reality (See below)
  • Any SQL Standard Edition Processor Licenses procured after April 1st 2015 will not qualify for an evidence based license grant (See below)

[Ref: See the Product List, November 2013, Page 168 of 187 Note 89]

At First Renewal (Prior to April 1st 2015)

For Enterprise Agreement (EA) customers with  SQL Server Standard Edition 2008 R2 processor licenses with Software Assurance (SA) after general availability (GA), the customer  “for every server a customer has correctly licensed under SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard processor license product use rights, the customer may acquire Software Assurance for SQL Server Standard core licenses without acquiring the underlying core licenses for a number of core licenses equal to the sum of (a) and (b):”

(-The Product List provides details of exceptions and license transitions)

Microsoft will support transition to the per core metric based on a either a programmatic approach or evidence based approach based on technical reality

  • a) a number equal to the lesser of the number of processor licenses assigned to the server or the total number of physical processors on the server multiplied by the greater of:
  • Four, OR
  • the actual number of cores per physical processor multiplied by the appropriate core factor. (In cases where the actual number of cores per physical processor exceeds four, customers must maintain a record of the configuration of the SQL Server software running on the server (licensed instances running in operating system environments on the licensed server) and the physical hardware supporting that software immediately preceding Software Assurance renewal either using the Microsoft MAP tool or any equivalent software.)
  • b) a number equal to the number of processor licenses assigned to the server in excess of the actual number of physical processors on the server multiplied by four.

Snapshot Overview of SQL Licensing Information Metrics

Under a Microsoft Audit, the assigned auditor will seek to ascertain and collect all information that can inform relevant licensing models applicable to your infrastructure; Therefore, taking a pro-active approach to understanding and tracking all applicable metrics can inform both undiscovered or unmitigated risk exposure for your organisation.

This can impact how much of an organisation’s existing licensing footprint can be leveraged, while informing a work-stream toward an eventual optimum approach to software procurement strategy.

This process will extend past what would be identified in a discovery tool. This is not just a matter of looking at the perpetual license footprint alone and mapping to the Version or Edition deployed. This requires a comprehensive overview of the estate from a “bottom-up” perspective and may require involvement of several stakeholders to ensure current and on-going approach to SQL is accurate, comprehensive and limits on-going risk exposure.

This includes, but not limited to:-

  • The Number of CPUs (Manufacturer, Model Series)
  • Physical Cores in the CPUs
  • Hyper-Threading Technology
  • Virtualization Platform and Configuration
  • Failover, DR and Cluster Configurations
  • Virtual Machines (VM) and DRS
  • Installed Software (Edition, Version)
  • Consolidation Strategy
  • New Project Requirements
  • Dev/Test databases
  • Licensing Dependencies
  • Implications of Multiplexing
  • Number of Internal and External Users

The information collected from your estate via discovery tool(s),  and stakeholder workshops as part of a systematic and comprehensive approach,  can help establish the full technical reality for your organisation to support an optimum licensing and investment strategy for SQL Server.


Licensing Update : License Re-Assignment

Under the Universal License Terms of the October 2013 Product Use Rights Microsoft provide the following guidance on the “Limitations of License Reassignment”:

  • Except as permitted below, you may not reassign licenses on a short-term basis (within 90 days of the last assignment) […]”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, Page 11 of 117]

Under the hierarchy of the software use terms the Use Rights or Terms of Service for each Product of Version are available within the Product Use Rights and further product-specific conditions or limitations on the acquisition of licenses or use of products are enshrined  in the Product List. Accordingly, Universal License Terms will remain in effect unless explicitly retracted or amended as specified in either the General License Terms or Product-Specific License Terms and Additional Terms within the Product Use Rights and subsequent exceptions within the Product List.

As an example, under the subsequent General License Terms for Servers on the Per Core licensing model, Microsoft state a requirement for Software Assurance (SA) to support  reassignment of licenses within a server farm outside of the ‘90 day rule’ enshrined within the Universal License Terms:-

  • You may reassign licenses for which you have active Software Assurance coverage to any of your Servers located within the same Server Farm as often as needed. You may reassign licenses from one server farm to another, but not on a short-term basis (i.e., not within 90 days of the last assignment).”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, General License Terms Page 46 of 117]

Understanding how Microsoft approach software use rights for license reassignment  is an essential area of focus if current and prior versions of SQL have been deployed in Virtual Machines (VM) and your organisation is seeking to understand whether they have sufficient licensing and Software Assurance (SA) ‘footprint’ to support the current (or planned) environment.

This is an important development, where upon general availability of SQL 2012 (April 1st 2012) Microsoft removed license mobility within server farms  as a benefit of the SQL Enterprise Edition License.

This departs from the legacy precedent of the extended use right being defined at within the Product-Specific License Terms for SQL Server Enterprise 2008 R2; wherein Microsoft continued to provide license mobility within server farms (as first introduced in September 2008) as an extended use right within the license:-

  • “License reassignment within a server farm. You may reassign software licenses to any of your servers located within the same server farm as often as neededThe prohibition against short-term reassignment does not apply to licenses assigned to servers located within the same server farm.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, July 2010, Page 64 of 136] (the first PUR publication following general availability of SQL 2008 R2 on May 1st 2010)

[Ref: Product Use Rights, January 2012, Page 54 of 147] (The last PUR prior to general availability of SQL 2012 – the next PUR available in the archive is listed as August 2012]

It is acknowledged that many organisations may not have anticipated this retraction to the extended Software Use Rights for SQL Enterprise Edition 2012 when first leveraging the benefits of server virtualization. This would not have been supported by vendor publication of advisory guidance on SQL Server Licensing two months after general availability:

  • License Mobility moved to an SA benefit with the release of SQL Server 2012. So any license covered with SA, regardless of which version or edition of the software is deployed, will have License Mobility rights

[Ref: Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Virtualization Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 11]

The unmitigated risk impact for organisations  can be considerable if database ‘sprawl’ has continued unmonitored. Leading organisations sometimes unknowingly, to be pulled under new licensing schema.


License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event

Many organisations adopt failover technologies to re-assign  workloads from a primary server to a secondary standby server when a production server fails.

  • Under the SQL 2008 and SQL 2008 R2  Product-Specific-License Terms for SQL Server, a standby server that is considered ‘passive’ (and not running any active workloads or reports) would generally not require a license to be assigned. This includes back-up and restore related tasks under the passive designation.
  • This passive failover server rule  would also commonly support situations when a primary server suffers a hardware or software failure (or is taken offline for routine maintenance or patch management) and requires the secondary ‘passive’ server to take over completely for ‘temporary’ support.
  • A secondary server, utilised solely to maintain a copy of the database and will never take over from the primary does fall under the ‘passive’ designation, however the passive failover server rule will only support a single designated passive server under the allowance for each primary licensed server.

As as an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in July 2010, Page 63 of 136) explained this exception as follows:

  • “Fail-over Servers. For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.”).

As an extract below, the Product Use Rights (published in January 2012, Page 58 of 147) – the last archived PUR before general availability of SQL 2012 – uses almost identical wording and explains the exception as follows:

  • For any OSE in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.

Microsoft provided a guidance document, originally published in July 2008,  that provided guidance as on server ‘failover rights’ as follows:

  • When doing failover support, a server is designated as the passive server. The purpose of the passive server is to absorb the data and information held in another server that fails. A passive server does not need a license, provided that the number of processors in the passive server is equal or less than those of the active server. The passive server can take the duties of the active server for 30 days. Afterward, it must be licensed accordingly

[Ref: SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing, July 2008, Page 2 of 5]

Similarly, Microsoft provide a guidance document, published in May 2011 provides the following guidance:

  • “If you are licensed to use SQL Server, you are allowed to run a certain number of instances of the software for passive failover support without having to license these instances separately. You may run the passive failover instances on a server other than the licensed server.
  • For any OSE in which you run instances of SQL Server, you may run up to the same number of passive failover instances in a separate OSE for temporary support. For processor licensing, however, the number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding OSE in which the active instances are running.”

[Ref: Licensing Management Series, A Guide to Assessing SQL Server Licensing, May 2011 – Microsoft Volume Licensing]

The wording of the Product Use Rights and prior released guidance, published in July 2008, seem to support interpretation of  the passive failover server rule as actually two separate allowances:

  1. A grant to use of  ‘passive failover instances’ on a ‘server other than the primary licensed server’.
  2. An ability to run SQL workloads on a single secondary server ‘running instances’ to support a  failover event ‘for temporary support’

Importantly, the requirement to assign a license to the passive server only comes into effect in a use scenario outside the terms of use enshrined within the passive failover server rule:

Restrictions

  • The passive failover server rule would not apply if the standby server is not considered ‘passive’ and is running active workloads or reporting functions while the active node is operating. This does not include backup and restore related tasks.
  • The passive failover server rule would not apply  if the duration of the failover event exceeded ‘temporary’ support, this is commonly interpreted as 30 days.
  • The passive failover server rule would not apply if the server is sequestered for short-term for transaction load-balancing. This would then be governed by the Universal License Terms and require license reassignment or assignment of a new license.

License Re-Assignment During a Failover Event under the 2012 Licensing Schema

Upon the general release of SQL 2012, the Product-Specific License Terms do not appear to explicitly indicate a change in the passive failover server rule outlined above.

However, Microsoft Volume Licensing have communicated a change of how the operational logic of a failover event is conceptually approached, addressed in non-binding advisory guidance 16 months after general availability in their technet blog; under the following statement:

“[…] You do not require SA for SQL Server Fail-over Rights, but once you activate the Passive Fail-Over server in a DR then that Passive Fail-over becomes the active server (during a fail-over event) and it must be fully licensed for SQL Server.  You can accomplish this by assigning new licenses to the (now active) passive server, or by reassigning existing licenses from the primary server to the backup server once the instances of SQL Server on the primary server are inactive and no longer performing SQL Server workloads.” Wherein, Microsoft admit “What this means is that your SQL Server 2012 licenses without SA may only be reassigned once every 90 days.  This may not fit your fail-over strategy very well.”.

The non-binding advisory content of the  technet blog indicates that under the software use terms for SQL 2012, during a failover event the primary licensed server would need to have the license reassigned to the passive server at point of failover. The legacy approach, to license only the ‘active’ node of an Active/Passive SQL Server cluster seems to have been curtailed as an extended use right, and markedly departs from the license precedent of product-specific licensing terms for 2008 and 2008 R2 versions that allow one unlicensed secondary under the license terms of the assigned primary.

When pressed for guidance, Microsoft will commonly refer customers to the Product Use Rights, wherein the significance of this change is not immediately apparent, and appears to adopt similar terminology as reminiscent in earlier publications:-

  • “For any OSE in which you use Running Instances of the server software, you may use up to the same number of passive fail-over Running Instances in a separate OSE on any Server for temporary support. However, if you license based on Physical Cores and the OSE in which you use the passive fail-over Running Instances is on a separate Server, the number of Physical Cores on the separate Server must not exceed the number of Physical Cores on the Licensed Server and the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in that Server must be the same or lower than the Core Factor for the Physical Processors in the Licensed Server. If you license by individual Virtual OSE, the number of Hardware Threads used in that separate OSE must not exceed the number of Hardware Threads used in the OSE in which the active Running Instances are used.”

[Ref: Product Use Rights, October 2013, Page 48 of 136]

This appears to re-iterate the role of the primary server as the ‘licensed server’. The change in precedent is also not explicitly referenced in the non-binding advisory licensing guide document published two months after general availability in June 2012, but admittedly the wording does create confusion :-

  • The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work” such as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server”.
  • Primary server licenses include support for one secondary server only, and any additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of SQL Server for temporary support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.”
  • “When licensing SQL Server 2012 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it is adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more core licenses than the licensed primary system

[Ref: SQL Server Licensing Guide, June 2012, Page 14 of 25]


Final Thoughts

Any conflict in interpretation, and likely the crux of the matter, could likely be  dependent on  the interpretation of  the “fail-over rights” as a single or two separate allowances:-

  1. A grant to use of  ‘passive failover instances’ on a ‘server other than the primary licensed server’ under the ‘passive’ designation.
  2. An ability to spin-up ‘running instances’ on the secondary passive server to support during a  failover event ‘for temporary support’.

The technet blog interprets the passive failover server rule as limited to an allowance under the primary licensed server to run a secondary passive failover server under the ‘passive’ designation, but at point of failover and the secondary passive failover taking over completely, the license on the assigned primary licensed server is required to be re-assigned.

While the technet blog indicates a subtle, but significant change to how the fail-over rights in the Product Use Rights are interpreted by Microsoft and its subsidiaries, it is  strongly recommended to refer to all binding-documentation, rather than relying solely on non-binding advisory documentation, even Microsoft’s own websites and blogs.

This recent interpretation of fail-over rights could impact organisations that adopt a 30 day patching cycle and underwrites a strong case for Software Assurance (SA) for organisations seeking to enable ‘license mobility within server farms’ to allow re-assignment of SQL Licenses ‘as often as needed’ outside of the restrictive ‘90 rule’.

The half-life of the transactional approach to enterprise software procurement is certainly compounded by the revocation of SQL Enterprise Edition ‘license mobility within server farms’ as an extended use right, previously allowing re-assignment of SQL Enterprise Edition 2008 R2 and 2008  licenses  ‘as often as needed’ within the product-specific license terms; wherein upon general availability of SQL 2012, this has been sequestered and underwritten into the ever growing business case for SA.

For SQL Server Enterprise Server+CAL customers, organisations that are seeking to continue to leverage their legacy licensing investment should seek specialist advice.  While a legacy perpetual licensing footprint can be assigned to 2008 R2 or 2008 deployments of SQL Server; ‘database sprawl’, upgrades to server infrastructure, migration of workloads to 3rd parties or implementation of a virtualization platform can often pull an organisation, sometimes unknowingly, under a new licensing schema.


SQL Checklist

This is a non-exhaustive check-list to support your organisations approach to SQL Server when planning for contract renewal(s) or planning for a vendor audit:

  1. Request a Licensing Workshop and enable knowledge transfer.
  2. Assign an expert project team to manage your SQL Optimisation work-stream.
  3. Access and validate your Existing Volume Licensing and Software Assurance Footprint
  4. Get a clear understanding of all applicable Product-Specific License Terms as supported by all applicable binding documentation – assessed against  your business requirements.
  5. Adopt and assign all optimum Licensing Models as supported by all applicable binding-documents.
  6. Seek advice on identification of historical software license exceptions and license grants to minimise license spend.
  7. Request ‘vendor independent’ creation and analysis of an Effective License Position (ELP), usually completed under NDA.
    • Pursue a ‘clear line’ between  deployment,  licensing footprint and proposed final licensing solution.
    • Request independent review of adopted licensing metrics adopted in assignment of your license footprint to create the Effective License Position (ELP) and ask for this to be made transparent.
    • Seek independent advice on disclosure content and engagement strategy with software vendor.
    • Complete a valid Time/Date stamped inventory to support vendor license grants addressing all required license information metrics to ensure appropriate proof of license.
  8. Complete a datacenter Risk Assessment and construct a Risk Mitigation Strategy roadmap.
  9. If under audit, seek independent advice under NDA .
  10. Work with a SQL Architect to review current and planned Failover and DR strategy – optimally aligned to all applicable vendor licensing models.
  11. Request a comparative cost and investment analysis over 6 years, this should include all global sourcing options, with all applicable procurement contracts. – If appropriate build a negotiation team.

 


About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Specialist at SoftwareONE

If you would like to book an in-depth Licensing Workshop or Microsoft Strategy Workshop please drop me an email and connect with me on Twitter

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing in this document constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material in this document may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice from the vendor should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this document are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this document is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of this document shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

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Don’t be caught out at renewal.
I will highlight the key areas to review to ensure you are protected from any potential financial exposure, and in some cases, help you identify additional licensing entitlement for your SQL Server estate.
Acting now can make all the difference.

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About

This website is a way to give back to the licensing community and as an information resource for all customers that work with Microsoft software and licensing. I hope you find it of value.

Tony Mackelworth is a Senior Licensing Expert at SoftwareONE

Tony lives with his wife in Oxford, England.


SQL Server 2012–Licensing Update


On November 3rd 2011, Microsoft announced both the release and licensing changes aligned to SQL Server 2012.

Microsoft re-aligned the functionality of the SQL 2012 across three main editions, namely Enterprise, Business Intelligence and Standard Edition. Furthermore, It also aligned the licensing across those three editions.

  • Enterprise – Mission critical applications and data warehousing
  • Business Intelligence – Premium corporate and self-service Business Intelligence (BI)
  • Standard – Basic database capabilities, reporting and analytics.

As part of that realignment of functionality, Microsoft will consolidate and therefore remove the following:

  • Datacenter – features will now be available in Enterprise Edition
  • Workgroup – features will be available in Standard Edition.
  • Standard for Small Business – features will be available in Standard Edition.image

Web Edition – Available via Services Provider License Agreement (SLPA)

In addition, non-commercial releases of SQL will continue:-

  • Developer, Express and Compact Editions will also continue to be distributed without licensing or pricing changes.

Licensing Per Core

In response to evolution of the number of cores per physical processor and the future expected consolidation of the number of processors within optimised virtual server environments; Microsoft re-aligned the licensing model for SQL 2012 to remove ‘Per Processor’ as a commercial charging mechanism for their enterprise database software.image

In licensing by a per core licensing model, Microsoft have found a better way to align pricing to hardware capacity. In addition, cores provide a precise and flexible measure of capacity across both physical and virtual environment. This is intended to support both high mobility and hybrid environments.

Enterprise and Standard Editions will be available under core-based licensing. However, Microsoft will not extend the core model to the new Business Intelligence (BI) Edition.

Enterprise Edition will include the full capabilities of SQL Server 2012, so a customer who wants to license a Business Intelligence (BI) Server on a per core basis can do so by buying Enterprise Edition.

Enterprise Edition on a Per Core licensing model will be the preferred way to license advanced SQL Server BI capabilities when users are uncountable (For instance, external facing workloads) or when there is a very large number of users.


The New Core Licensing Model

Microsoft have built two licensing metrics for licensing SQL on a ‘Per Core’ model. This is intended to respond to both high mobility and highly virtualised server environments.

Licensing by Physical Hardware

The licensing requirement for licensing ‘Per Core’ will be to count the physical number of cores on the hardware. Microsoft have ensured there is a minimum requirement, with a minimum of 4 Core licenses per physical processor.

This licensing metric is only available to SQL Enterprise Edition.

Further, Microsoft have encouraged adoption of Software Assurance (SA) by allowing deployment of SQL instances in an unlimited number of VMs.

This can support customers who have a highly virtualized VMware Environment by ensuring the underlying physical hardware is licensed with SQL. Microsoft have continued to encourage the adoption of maintenance (Software Assurance) over stand-alone licenses by extending advantageous software use rights into SA.

If an organisation does not extend software use rights via procurement of SA, unlimited instances of SQL can be deployed in a limited number of VMs corresponding to the number of assigned core licenses to the physical hardware.

  • Customers who have licensed all the physical cores on the server and want to run SQL Server 2012 software
    in more VMs than are permitted, can assign additional core licenses to the licensed server.
  • Each additional core license allows deployment of SQL Server Licensing by Individual VMs

Licensing by Individual VMs

This is the alternative per core licensing metric, extended across both Standard and Enterprise Edition.

The licensing requirement for licensing Per Virtual Core will be to count the number of virtual cores per VM ( The number of threads of physical cores assigned to VM)

Additional licenses are required when:- A

  • A single hardware thread is supporting multiple virtual cores. (A core license is required for each v-core.) or;
  • Multiple hardware threads are supporting a single virtual core. (A core license allows a single v-core to be supported by a single hardware thread.)

[Ref: SQL Server 2012, Licensing Reference Guide, June Revision, Page 11]

Microsoft have stated a minimum requirement of 4 virtual Core licenses per VM.

As a further extension to the software use rights embodied within maintenance (and not the license) SQL Server licensed with Active Software Assurance (SA) will provide flexibility of License Mobility across both on-premise and cloud deployment scenarios (see below).


Cost Implications

Microsoft have modelled the price of a Core license at circa ¼ the cost of SQL Server 2008 R2 Processor License. Accordingly, Microsoft state that there would be limited impact on a physical processor with 1-4 cores. Notably, the impact going forward would be that as compute capacity increases so will the licensing requirement.

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Please be aware that the net price impact to an individual customers will depend on both correctly licensing the existing SQL footprint and understanding current and planned capacity and functionality requirements. Working with only an excellent Microsoft Partner will support an optimum procurement model for your organisation.

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Server and CAL Model

Server + CAL model, available with Business Intelligence (BI) and Standard Editions, is appropriate for business intelligence workloads and scenarios in which users can be counted accurately.

Server + CAL model would support a Business Intelligence (BI) solution as It would align to the number of devices using Office and SharePoint. This would have a defined number of accessing devices.

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To access a licensed SQL Server, the SQL Server CAL should be the same version or newer.  For instance, a deployment of SQL Server 2008 R2 Server will need a SQL 2008 R2 CAL or SQL 2012 CAL.

Each SQL Server 2012 CAL can provide access to any SQL Server database, regardless of Platform or Edition. This includes all licensed SQL Servers, including the new Business Intelligence Edition as well as Standard Edition Servers and legacy Enterprise Edition Servers.

Notably, Microsoft previously announced that SQL Server 2012 CAL price will increase by about 27%. This was prior to the recent announced User CAL Price Increase.


License Mobility

License Mobility within the datacenter is supported by extended software use rights within Software Assurance (SA). This licensing model will support both private and public clouds.

VM license mobility will be a benefit of Active Software Assurance (SA).

  • All SQL Server licenses with active Software Assurance (SA) can be reassigned to another server within the server farm as often as needed.
  • However, Microsoft have imposed limitations to organisations with dispersed datacenters, so please check the time-zone definition. Further, the limitation is extended to deployment of SQL in a “non private” cloud infrastructure.
  • The 90 day minimum time limit for licence re-assignment is applicable to organisations that do not procure SQL with active Software Assurance (SA)

Without SA, licenses can be moved from one server to another only once every 90 days.

This is important distinction for customer who are using VMware v-Motion and are intending to virtualise SQL in their global datacenters. 


License Migrations – Server + CAL

Microsoft has stated that new server licenses for Enterprise Edition will only be available for purchase through 30th June 2012.

Customers on an ‘Active’ Enterprise Agreement (EA) with an Enrolment for Desktop /Enrolment for Application Platform (EAP) Enrolment  can continue to  buy server licenses until renewal of the Agreement after June 30, 2012.

SQL Server Enterprise Licenses purchased with Active Software Assurance (SA) will upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost within the term of their Agreement.

Microsoft customers who have licensed SQL on the Server+CAL model, with Active Software Assurance (SA) will receive SQL 2012 under New Version Rights at no additional cost.

Microsoft have stated that the migration will be subject to a 20 core per server license maximum.  This applies to both net new requirement for SQL Server or existing footprint with Active Software Assurance (SA). In the event SQL Server Enterprise Edition on the Server + CAL model is running on a Server with greater than 20 physical cores, It is recommended that you work with your Microsoft Partner who will contact the  Licensing Sales Specialist within your local Microsoft subsidiary.

Moving forward, If your organisation has procured Enterprise Edition server licenses without Software Assurance can maintain existing SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition Server licenses as legacy licensing for existing workloads.

it is strongly recommended to work with a Microsoft Licensing Expert with strong in-house SAM capabilities if you have a pending contract renewal for SQL Server.


License Migrations – Per Processor to Core Model

Customers with processor licenses under Active Software Assurance (SA) can upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost*

At the end of the Software Assurance (SA) term, processor licenses will be exchanged for core licenses and customers can renew their Software Assurance (SA) on core licenses. This will maintain New Version Rights and License Mobility for Software Assurance to move Volume Licensing (VL) licensed applications to shared hardware clouds.

It is recommended that you review your SQL environment at the end of the Software Assurance (SA) Term. This will provide the basis for the core licenses you will own, and will confirm the requirements for renewal of Software Assurance (SA) going forward.

Microsoft 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 deployments. Microsoft are actively encouraging SQL customers to work with a Microsoft Licensing Expert to determine an optimal transition plan. This will include both review of existing physical and virtual deployments and mapping onto existing and planned SQL requirements going forward

Should the recommended inventory be performed, this should be recorded to demonstrate core license needs. Customers that do not maintain a record will receive a core equivalence for only the minimum number of core licenses – Important from a proof of licence perspective for future audits.

It is strongly recommended to work with a Microsoft Licensing Expert with strong in-house SAM capabilities if you have a pending contract renewal for SQL Server.


SQL Enterprise and Standard processor licenses under SA will be exchanged for a minimum of 4 core licenses per processor or for the actual number of cores in use.

  • SQL Server Datacenter processor licenses will be exchanged for a minimum of 8 Enterprise Edition core licenses per processor or for the actual number of cores in use.

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Customers with an Active Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Active Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) with a desktop Enrolment or an Active Enrolment for Application Platform (EAP) will be able to continue to purchase Enterprise Edition server and processor licenses until the end of the Agreement Term.

Customers with an Active Enterprise Agreement (EA) or Active Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) with a desktop Enrolment or an Active Enrolment for Application Platform (EAP) can also add Core licenses mid-term and can engage via the Microsoft Reseller or Microsoft Account Team.

Please be aware that renewal of Software Assurance (SA)  will continue to attach pro-rated Deployment Planning Services and Technical Assistance in addition to advantageous extended software use rights and New Version Rights.

Again, It is recommend to work with Microsoft Licensing Expert to make sure these benefits are pro-actively managed and used to the benefit of your organisation. This should be quantified in terms of ‘real value’ to on-going contract(s) embedded within a defined process and SLA within your Added-Value Resellers management schema.


Final Thoughts

The most flexible approach is to license the complete physical hardware and ensure complete flexibility for running SQL in VMs in a high availability V-motion environment.

This does require a clear understanding of the overall cost implications before diving in, as the updated core licensing model could require increased investment as the number of cores if the hardware infrastructure exceed 4 cores.

While Microsoft aligned the cost of core licenses (sold in packs of 2) to align to 4 core processors (the minimum amount of licenses that can be bought); It is acknowledged that many customers have an existing investment in at least 6 cores.

Microsoft have provided appropriate license grants for existing customers who have procured SQL with maintenance (software assurance) who had multi-core servers licensed under the pre-existing “Per Processor” licensing metric. This has been provided  as a grant to ensure existing SQL footprint do not become retrospectively non-compliant. However, this does potentially increase the cost at renewal and should be reviewed.  

As discussed, Microsoft encourage the procurement of product licensing on relational contracts with maintenance (Software Assurance) and have moved beneficial software use rights away from the stand-alone perpetual licence. Accordingly, SQL virtualization strongly encourages the procurement of SQL with Software Assurance (SA) and this will enable an organisation to deploy SQL in a high mobility vMotion environment.

While not normally recommended, an organisation could potentially approach configuration of SQL to limit mobility within the virtual environment. This would require adherence to specific DRS Affinity rules to tie virtual machines to specific ESX hosts so that they cannot move from the assigned server except in the event of a host failure.

Please be aware that if there is a host failure a DB Admin would have to immediately adjust assigned rules to pin the VM the new host for a period of 90 days in order to stay in compliance (see 90 day rule above). As always, please refer closely to the authoritative documentation and your relevant procurement contracts before proceeding.  

CPU DRS Affinity rules for a virtual machine (VM) applies not only to all of the virtual CPUs associated with the VM, but also to all other threads associated with the VM; In some cases, such as intensive visual workloads, significant communication might occur between the virtual CPUs and other VM threads.

Accordingly, with correct controls in place, performance might degrade if the VM DRS Affinity rules setting prevent these additional threads from being scheduled concurrently with the VMs’ virtual CPUs

(For example, a Single Processor VM with affinity set to a single CPU)

As an example, VMware recommend that users include at least one additional physical CPU in the setting in order to allow at least one of the VMs’ threads to be scheduled at the same time as its virtual CPUs

(For example, a Single Processor VM with affinity to at least two CPUs)


For information purposes only, this could suffice as a potential approach to limit procurement of Software Assurance (SA) and still be able to virtualize SQL VMs (although this would really limit the main benefits of the virtualization of SQL in the first place).

As always, this website does not constitute specific advice on adherence to licensing rules, and as always It is recommended to work closely with a Licensing Expert to confirm the correct, optimised approach.

It is recommended that an organisation consider the full product licensing implications for their underlying hardware profile and any intended vMotion set-up if intending to virtualise SQL.

I am happy to arrange a meeting and set out a plan to optimise your product licensing and procurement contracts for your specific server infrastructure.

The Search for an Optimal Product Licensing Model for SQL

The overall TCO is dependent on the specific current and planned server strategy for each individual organisation.

The most comprehensive approach is licensing the physical hardware to support high virtualization across a VMware/Hyper-V Environment (Available for SQL Enterprise Edition)

  • This provides scalability and security in terms of compliance.
  • Maximum virtualization rights can be leveraged by licensing the entire physical hardware with Enterprise Edition under the “Per Core” licensing model with Software Assurance (SA)

imageThe “optimum” licensing model is always dependent on the specifics of the organisation and ultimately that specific “Tipping Point” for that customers’ environment, including but not limited to, access to the most cost-effective Volume Agreement.

It is therefore important not to make decisions about procurement ‘in silo’ without a wider review of the existing environment and vendor contract agreement framework. There will be server licensing considerations both pre and post consolidation and it should acknowledge the impact of v-Motion running across the estate.

The advantages of a holistic approach should not be disregarded. While the cost may be higher than your initial estimated costs for the project, but over a longer period it could deliver cost savings through leveraging economies of scale through procurement on the most appropriate Volume Agreement(s) and secure against unanticipated costs from non-compliance following a vendor review (Microsoft) or independent organisation (BSA or FAST) or Vendor Price Increases.

 


Please be aware that I now work at a Large Account Reseller and will now be providing my licensing expertise through their Licensing Services. So please do get in contact with me directly if you would like to have a bespoke review for your organisation.

My team can assist you to purchase the correct licenses, at the best price, through the right program. 

Please email me directly to arrange a meeting (or call) and we can have an open conversation around your plans going forward and any concerns you may have.

Tony.Mackelworth@Softwareone.com

– Tony Mackelworth


Disclaimer

This document is provided “as-is”. Information and views expressed in this document, including URL and other Internet Web site references, may change without notice. This document does not provide you with any legal rights to any intellectual property in any Microsoft product.

Please be aware that nothing on this website constitutes specific technical advice. Some of the material on this website may have been prepared some time ago and therefore may have been superseded. Specialist advice should be taken in relation to specific circumstances.

The contents of this website are for general information purposes only. Whilst the author(s) endeavour to ensure that the information on this website is correct, no warranty, express or implied, is given as to its accuracy and the primary author and website owner or it’s contributing Authors do not accept any liability for error or omission.

The contributing authors and owner of the website shall not be liable for any damage (including, without limitation, damage for loss of business or loss of profits) arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of, or inability to use, this website or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using this website or any such material.

This Disclaimer is not intended to and does not create any contractual or other legal rights. This website is not run by Microsoft or my current or future employers, and the opinions are the author’s own.


Cold Server Back Up Recovery


This is quick reference guide to ‘Cold’ Server Backup rights that come with SQL Server 2008 R2. As always, refer directly to the Product Use Rights and the Product List. This does confer any rights and is for information purposes only.

These benefits require Software Assurance coverage, […]

1.         “Cold” Disaster Recovery Rights.

For each instance of eligible server software you run in a physical or virtual OSE on a licensed server, you may temporarily run a backup instance in a physical or virtual OSE on a server dedicated to disaster recovery.  The product use rights for the software and the following limitations apply to your use of software on a disaster recovery server.

· The server must be turned off except for (i) limited software self-testing and patch management, or (ii) disaster recovery.

· The server may not be in the same cluster as the production server.

· You may run the backup and production instances at the same time only while recovering the production instance from a disaster.

· Your right to run the backup instances ends when your Software Assurance coverage ends.

[Ref: Product Use Rights, December 2010, Page 120 of 138]

 

 

Determining your SQL Licensing Requirements


SQL Server Datacenter

Licensed on a Per Processor model:

1. Count and license all the physical Procs in a box

2. Obtain unlimited # of running instance of SQL Datacenter in an unlimited # of OS environments.

3. SQL has Server Mobility Rights. Check the Microsoft White Paper

4. Down Edition Rights 

SQL Server Enterprise

A) Licensing All Physical Processors
If you license all of the physical processors on the server (one license per physical processor), you may run unlimited
instances of the SQL Server software in 4 OSEs (either physical or virtual):

1. Count all the Physical Procs in the box

2. You may run unlimited # instances in up to four operating systems environments for each Enterprise license you assign to the server.

3. Down Edition Rights apply to those Instances.

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Alternative to a Physical Processor count – look at the Procs Used:

B) Licensing a Portion of the Physical Processors
If you choose not to license all of the physical processors, you will need to know the number of virtual processors
supporting each virtual OSE and the number of cores per physical processor/socket. Typically,
each virtual processor is the equivalent of one core:

clip_image004

1. / (Divide) # of cores (hyper-threading
off)

2. / (Divide) # threads (if hyper-threading on) per
physical processor

SQL Server Standard Edition

1. If you license on the physical processors you may run the software in the physical OSE only.

2. If you license all of the physical processors on the server (one license per physical processor), you may run unlimited
instances of the SQL Server software in 1 Physical OSE.

3. In order to run the software in Virtual OSEs, you will need to license the number of virtual processors supporting each virtual OSE (See above)

4. The total number of physical and virtual processors used by those operating system environments cannot exceed the number of software licenses assigned to that server (1:1)

Failover Rights

For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support. The number of physical and virtual processors used in that separate operating system environment must not exceed the number of physical and virtual processors used in the corresponding operating system environment in which the active instances are running. You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.

Product Use Rights, July 2010, Page 62 of 136

Down Edition Rights

1. New “down edition” rights are being introduced for SQL Server 2008 R2

2. Customers who purchased a higher edition of SQL Server have rights to use a lower edition, but the Product Use rights of the higher edition will prevail. Product Use Rights, July 2010

Multiplexing

1. A SQL Server CAL and Windows Server CAL are required for each device or user that is connected to the
multiplexing or pooling software or hardware front end.

2. The number of tiers of hardware or software between the SQL Server and the user or devices that ultimately use its data, services, or functionality does not affect the number of CALs required

3. Check the Microsoft Licensing Brief

Server Mobility

1. You may move running instances of SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise or Datacenter as needed across servers within a server farm. (There is no 90 day minimum period before reassignment.)

2. Check the Microsoft White Paper


Digg This

Mobility Rights

I have included below from a licensing perspective around transitioning to a datacenter.

Moving an instance of software from one server to another is not the same as reassigning a software license from one server to another. Moving an instance of software means to move the software bits from one server to another. Reassigning a software license means to assign that license to another server so that it becomes the server licensed to run that software.

Microsoft license by running license only and not create and store. Where you execute the software into memory and it is enabled to run you need a license. Once the license is assigned, you are enabled to run that instance.

Microsoft have had some changes to the reassignment of licenses. Prior to this, It had to be kept on the hardware it was reassigned to for 90 days. Please be aware Windows Server licenses have not changed with regard to server mobility.

September 1st 2008 customers onwards Customers are able to move their licenses acquired under Volume Licensing programs for any of the 41 different Microsoft Server applications within a ‘server farm’ as often as necessary so that customers can create more dynamic computing environments.

A ‘server farm’ consists of up to Two datacenters each physically located within the European Union (EU) and each datacenter must be part of one server farm. You may reassign a datacenter from one server farm to another but not on a short-term basis, so not within 90 days of the last reassignment.

For your current and planned move to a datacenter.

• You must assign a license to your intended device
• After the license is assigned, the device is now considered the licensed device.
• Customers can now reassign server applications freely within a server farm.

When it comes to your intended plans for movement to a new datacenter, and you have a license assigned, and the server has capacity. You can move Instances from one server to another server. This is nothing to do with re-assigning licenses. If the destination server has sufficient licenses to have capacity for the Instances you wish to move and copy on it than this can go ahead.

RE-ASSIGNING LICENSES

Microsoft Waiving the 90 day reassignment rule means customers can set up far more dynamic, agile IT infrastructure that make the most of the flexibility that virtualization offers. Please refer to the detail here in the MS White Paper:

http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/9/5/695BA00D-C790-4C90-813A-F10539D97991/Application_Server_License_Mobility_VL_Brief_Nov_2008.docx

Secondly,  if your customer has active SA for SQL Server 2008, they have “Cold server backup” right as well. The Server needs to be turned off in this scenario.

http://download.microsoft.com/download/8/7/3/8733d036-92b0-4cb8-8912-3b6ab966b8b2/dr_brief.doc

However,
• If your current SQL Server and Windows Server have been deployed without a license assigned to them a license must be acquired and assigned.
• If you are looking at consolidation, from a compliance perspective, please be aware this does not address the current deployment of Microsoft software on servers that do not have a license assigned. You must ensure all your servers are licensed correctly before any re-assignment can be made.