SQL Server 2016 – A Quick Overview of Licensing Updates

June 21, 2016
Editorial Staff


Editorial Staff

You don’t consistently top Gartner’s list of Magic Quadrants without having a pretty good product. Microsoft continues to top Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Operational Database Management Systems with its release of SQL Server 2016 earlier this month. The Standard, Enterprise, Express, and Web editions remain the same as they were with the 2014 version. The discontinued versions include Business Intelligence, Parallel Data Warehouse, and Parallel Data Warehouse for Developers.

SQL Server 2016 is offered in two main editions to accommodate the unique feature, performance, and price requirements for organizations of all sizes:

  • Enterprise Edition is ideal for mission critical applications and large scale data warehousing.
  • Standard Edition delivers basic database, reporting, and analytics capabilities

So what exactly has changed in the licensing structure of SQL server 2016?

The Server + CAL Model licensing model provides the option to license users and/or devices and then have access to incremental SQL Server deployments.

The Server + CAL Model is available for SQL Server Standard and Legacy SQL Server Enterprise Edition Server. The editions are licensed per server and CALs required for all users and or devices accessing the server software. Each CAL allows access to multiple licensed servers granting access to the same or earlier version of the server software.

The Per-Core Model gives customers a more precise measure of computing power and a more consistent licensing metric, regardless of whether solutions are deployed on physical on-premises servers, or in virtual or cloud environments.

One small change which has been introduced in the Per Core licensing model with the launch of SQL server 2016 is that Microsoft has done away with the core factor table. Now there is a simple 4 core license minimum rule for both physical and virtual operating system environments.

SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition discontinued

With the introduction of SQL Server 2016, BI Server will no longer be offered.

Existing SQL Server 2014 Business Intelligence customers with active SA coverage – as well as ISVR customers with active Embedded Maintenance coverage – will be eligible to upgrade to the SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition (Server/CAL) software. This preserves the customer investment in a Server + CAL model while providing advanced BI features available with Enterprise Edition. There is no cost increase since the BI Server was priced the same as Enterprise Edition Server.

How the license grant will work:

  • Post SQL 2016 GA SA renewal, customers may renew BI Server SA into SQL Server EE SA
  • Servers on the customer agreement at the time of announcement (and that will have SA coverage at SQL 2016 GA) are eligible for the grant
  • Grant is 1 BI Server SA to 1 SQL EE Server SA (1 to 1)
  • For customers acquiring Licenses under programs with True-up Rights, Business Intelligence edition licenses acquired after May 1, 2016, in an amount up to 25% of the number of licenses previously acquired, will be Qualifying Licenses. These Licenses must be acquired during the same enrollment term.

EA Example Scenario:

SQL Server parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) Edition and SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse for Developers discontinued

With the discontinuation of the standalone SQL Server PDW license offering on June 1, 2016, PDW customers with active SA coverage will be eligible to upgrade to SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Core Edition software, and the SQL Server Enterprise Core Edition SA benefit becomes the primary license vehicle for PDW software.

Similarly, the standalone SQL Server PDW for Developers software licenses are also being discontinued. Customers licensing APS appliances for development and/or test usage can continue to cover the required PDW software licenses with applicable MSDN subscriptions that include access to SQL Server software.

In summary:

  • No changes in licensing models
  • BI Server Edition no longer offered
  • PDW now licensed through SQL EE Per Core
  • The Failover Servers updated to include cloud deployments
    • Software Assurance still required for passive server benefit
    • When using license mobility for cloud deployment, passive server benefit granted in the cloud

Want more? Download the free ebook to get hands-on guidance for SQL Server 2016.

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