Revisiting Your Microsoft SQL Strategy

April 17, 2015
Editorial Staff


Editorial Staff

Microsoft SQL Server has evolved in functionality and in the way we license the solution several times in the last 5 years. If you are not paying close attention, you may need to purchase more SQL instances to keep what you have already paid for and are using in production. Likewise, because we are focused on our business, technology updates sometimes slip by and could have a large financial impact.

Technology departments focus on providing the business with solutions that help them make more profits in the most efficient way possible. The Microsoft Independent Software Vendor Royalty Licensing Program sometimes bundle SQL licensing with their solution which then comes with certain entitlements to use the Microsoft software strictly for the solution purchased from the ISV. We often discover that customers who have deployed such a solution get into a little trouble by upgrading that bundled license, using it with other solutions, or even covering it with Software Assurance when it’s not necessary.

When you inventory your SQL environment, it is important to understand the vast licensing rules and buying strategies to effectively license your environment. It’s very common for an organization to be under and over licensed on SQL products.

The Role of Database Administrators

Database Administrators ensure SQL deployments meet the functional requirements identified by the business or developers. They make sure that servers are deployed in the appropriate geographical location and on hardware that will support the performance requirements.

They also identify, document, and manage the Service Level Agreements that IT and the business have agreed upon. And finally, they research and learn best practices for architecting, deploying, managing, and monitoring our databases. But rarely will they look at the licensing entitlements that show them what, how, and how much SQL they can deploy within the datacenter.

The Role of Developers

Developers are highly technical and work at designing and automating business processes to increase business productivity, while optimizing these processes in the most efficient way at a coding level.

As our IT shops become more business centric, we are deploying solutions that provide services to our business with components that may run on SQL Server whether it’s deployed in our datacenter or in a hosted facility.

Because a developer’s focus is business functionality and optimization, they rarely consider what solution is cost effective, but instead on what solution will be the fastest and most efficient even in cases where that speed and efficiency may not be required.  As you can imagine, the databases that allow for the fastest and most efficient processing are usually the most expensive. Often times we discover that our developers create a solution on a platform that their organization doesn’t even own because the corporations do their best to make access to these platforms very accessible to developers. One example is the use of SQL Enterprise Edition when SQL Standard Edition is completely capable of the workload.  In this case the cost of the project can unexpectedly skyrocket even though the advanced features are not required. This is why it has become critical that the application development process include license reviews at multiple milestones within the project. Developers rightly focus on business requirements, while the Project Manager should bring in a license specialist to make sure the project is using software appropriate for the scale of the project.

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