How to Optimize
Your SQL Licensing Spend

How to Optimize Your SQL Licensing Spend

  • Dan Ortman
  • Publisher Advisory
  • Digital Supply Chain

Microsoft SQL is by far one of the most popular database management systems. Despite its popularity, many organizations are not taking the proper initiative to ensure that their SQL licensing spend is optimized. Many find it extremely difficult to optimize their SQL spend on their own, and are often left perplexed and wondering where to start. That’s not surprising - one of the biggest challenges with SQL is overcoming its innate complexity and ever-changing nature. 

This means that employees in your organization will need plenty of specific knowledge to overcome these challenges. One such challenge is Microsoft’s complicated SQL licensing rules. This typically results in one of two issues for many organizations – either not complying, or spending far too much money in order to be compliant.

Challenges with SQL’s Cost Efficiency

If nobody in an organization is an SQL licensing expert, it’s difficult to know the best way to fulfil SQL licensing rules. As a result, it’s very likely that organizations without a SQL-focused software license management process are overspending by a significant amount. This is because optimizing SQL licensing spend requires a lot of very specific knowledge. Does your IT team know how to leverage clustering, virtualization, or licensing mobility? Do they use active or passive failover strategies? Do they know where every instance of SQL server is currently running? Not being able to fully answer these questions can negatively impact cost optimization efforts for SQL.

Many of these challenges could be impacted by enacting digital transformation efforts, such as upgrading to Azure SQL Server. However, nine out of ten IT decision makers are stuck in a negative feedback loop that prevents them from embracing digital transformation. This is due to an over-reliance on legacy applications, licensing, and systems. These stakeholders are stuck in a sunk cost fallacy due to on-premise investments, and may not fully understand how cloud-based services can greatly improve SQL’s cost savings.

Assess Your Current Database

To take the first steps towards optimizing your SQL licensing spend, IT teams must assess their on-premise SQL server inventory. First, find all of your organization’s current instances of SQL servers. This is to ensure that SQL instances don’t exceed the amount of actual hardware and active servers in your network environment. Next, establish which server editions your IT team is using. If the versions and editions of the SQL instances in your data center are not evaluated, chances are your organization is overspending. Finally, review the redundant servers that were identified. This will help approximate where these funds are being spent, and how much money is being overspent. 

Using Azure SQL to Optimize SQL Licensing Spend

To optimize SQL spend in the long term, organizations may consider utilizing the cloud. While the guidance outlined in the previous section is an excellent way to practice basic database hygiene and gain short-term financial benefits, businesses that are serious about optimizing SQL licensing spend may consider migrating their servers to Azure SQL. Azure SQL is a Platform as a Service (PaaS) that helps right-size database setups while lowering licensing spending. It also has the added benefit of making SQL easier and faster to use. This is because while the underlying infrastructure is maintained by Microsoft, all cloud resources on your Azure SQL server instance are controlled by you.

Using cloud platforms like Azure, organizations were able to slash their data center costs by 36 percent in 2018. This is likely partially due to Azure’s pay-as-you-go model, which helps organizations save time managing their licensing spending. Azure also saves labor hours by decreasing the need for coding, since features such as directories and security come pre-coded into Azure SQL. By using Azure SQL, your organization’s data center will require far less direct maintenance and management, resulting in significant savings.

How significant are the savings? According to Forrester, migrating to Azure SQL could provide up to a 466 percent return on investment, a 505 percent reduction in time-to-deploy, and an 80 percent reduction in IT admin time. If your organization would like to improve their time-to-market, or believes they could stand to save a considerable amount on database management, Azure SQL must be considered.

When to Consult an Expert

If your organization is curious to see how much they stand to gain and save by switching their database management solution to Azure SQL, it’s worth getting advice from the experts. By using an advisory service, your organization will have assistance with reviewing their current and future use of Microsoft solutions and services. This will help your organization achieve the most success from their existing assets and help them plan for future investments. Experts can help your organization analyze, roadmap, design, and enable the best path for Microsoft’s complicated business, technology, and licensing requirements. Choosing the correct experts will ensure that your organization maximizes their SQL database cost savings right off the bat.

Optimize Your SQL and Azure SQL Licensing Spend

SoftwareONE has thirty years of Microsoft partnership experience.  Learn how our Microsoft Advisory Services ensure your organization gets the most from your chosen SQL solution. 

Optimize Your SQL Spend
  • Friday 13 September 2019

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Author

Dan Ortman, Author SoftwareONE Blog

Dan Ortman Microsoft Advisory Services Practice Lead

Publisher Advisory | Microsoft

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