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Microsoft SQL Server: Setup and Administration FAQ

Licensing

Help deciding how to license your SQL server by mrdenny
Posted: 21 May 04 (Edited 6 Feb 08)

Licensing for SQL 2000 can be tricky, and expensive if done incorrectly.

Here are some basic guide lines.  I do realize that this is long, but it is an important subject.

SQL MSDE / SQL Express
SQL MSDE or SQL Express is a free version of Microsoft SQL Server which can be distributed free of charge.  It does not come with Enterprise Manager or Query Analyzer.  These only come with a purchased version of SQL Server.  You can use Enterprise Manager or Query Analyzer with your MSDE database provided that you have purchased a version of SQL Server.

Developer Edition
As the name of this edition says, it is for development use only, which is why it is less expensive than the full blown version or SQL.  Do NOT use this on a production server.  If Microsoft finds out that you are, you will be in a world of hurt.

Workgroup Edition
Workgroup Edition is designed for small workgroups or departments within larger companies.

Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition
Keeping in mind that these cost different amounts, the licensing rules are about the same for both.  There are 3 ways to license these products.  Those methods are per processor, per named user, and per named client.

64 bit licensing
There is no special licensing required for SQL Server 2000 64bit Edition.  It uses the same license as the 32bit Edition.  This means that if you have a 32bit Enterprise Edition SQL Server that you want to upgrade to 64bit Enterprise Edition SQL Server you do not need to purchase any additional software licenses for SQL Server.  Simply contact your VAR and have them get you a media kit for SQL 2000 Enterprise Edition 64bit and you are good to go.

LetÆs go over the differences, and the pros and cons of each.
Per Processor
This is the most common method of licensing SQL Server.  You license each physical processor in the server.  You do not have to license hyper-threaded processors.  If you have SQL server installed on a server with 2 processors, but configure SQL to only run on 1 processor, you must still license both processors in the server.  To only license one processor, you must remove the second processor.  Make sure that your hardware supports this before trying it.

LetÆs look at some examples to clarify.
Dual processor server with Hyper-threading.  This will show 4 CPUs within the OS.  You must purchase 2 processor licenses.

Dual processor server with dual cores.  This will show 4 CPUs within the OS.  You much purchase 2 processor licenses.  microsoft.com

Dual processor server without Hyper-threading, with SQL Server configured to only use 1 processor.  You must purchase 2 processor licenses.

You will use this method of licensing when you have a large number of users using the data from the SQL Server.  If your SQL Server has a web site in front of it, that gives the general public access to the data in the SQL Server then you will need to use the per processing licensing.

If you install more that one instance of SQL Server on a server you only need to license the instance once.
Example
You install 3 instances of SQL Server on a dual chip server.  Before April 2003 you would need 6 processor licenses.  After April 2003 you need 2 processor licenses.

Cluster licensing
If you are installing SQL Server on a cluster you only need to license the active nodes of the cluster.  If you have a 4 node SQL Server cluster with 2 active nodes, and 2 passive nodes, you only need to license the active nodes.

Virtual Server licensing
Microsoft has recently changed ther elicensing structor for SQL Server Enterprise Edition when it comes to Virtual Server.  If you license Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition for the host OS (the OS running on the physical hardware), you are licensed for all guest OSs.  For Standard Edition and below the origional licensing method of seperate licenses for each guest OS are required.

Per named user
Using the named user licensing model, you must purchase a license for each user that will be connecting to the SQL Server.  If a person has 3 workstations, and one account, that user needs one license.  If that person has 3 workstations, and 3 accounts, then technically that person needs 3 licenses.  You would use this method of licensing when you have a low number of users that will be using the data from the SQL Server.

Per named device
Using the named device licensing model, you must purchase a license for each device (client) that will be connecting to the SQL Server.  You would use this method of licensing when you have many users using the data from the SQL Server, but they share machines.  For example if you have an office with a 24/7 operation, and all 3 shifts of people share desks you will want the per named device model.

CALs purchased for Workgroup Edition of SQL Server can only be used on Workgroup Edition.  They can not be transfered to Standard or Enterprise Edition SQL Servers.

When purchasing SQL Server with device CALs or User CALs it comes with a small number of CALs.  Be sure to think ahead about the number of CALs that you are going to need.  You may only need 20 CALs now, but you may need 50 later.  You may be able to get a better deal on them if you purchase them now.  Check with your local retailer for these kinds of deals.

If you need a large number of user or device CALs think about going with the per processor licensing model.  It may well be less expensive.
For Example (based of retail prices at this time) All these examples are based on a dual chip server.  The math is shown so you can adjust for your needs.

Workgroup Edition costs $3,899 per processor ($7,798 for a dual chip server)
Workgroup Edition costs $739 per server (with 5 CALs)
Workgroup Edition costs $1,478 per server (with 10 CALs)
(At this time I can't find the cost of seperate Workgroup CALs.  Since I can't find the cost of the CALs there's no math to show here.)


Standard Edition costs $4,999 per processor ($9,998 for a Dual Chip server)
Standard Edition costs $667 per server + $146 per user/device.
In this example if you will have over 64 users on this system the processor licensing will be the best option.  LetÆs look at the math.

$9,998 - $667 = $9,331 (Left over for CALs)
$9,331 / $146 = 63.91 users

Enterprise edition costs $19,999 per processor ($39,998 for a dual chip server)
Enterprise edition costs $6,382 per server + $146 per user/device.
In this example if you will have over 230 users on this system the processor licensing will be the best option.  LetÆs look at the math.

$39,998 - $6,382 = $33,616 (Left over for CALs)
$33,616 / $146 = 230.25 users


Many people want to get Enterprise edition for bragging rights.  Don't spend the money on it, unless you really do need it.  The biggest reasons to get Enterprise edition are:
  • You need more memory that SQL Standard edition needs (over 2 Gigs)
  • You need to install the SQL Server on a Cluster
  • You need federated databases
  • You need Advanced Analysis services
Many database administrators do not think about licensing very much, however it is the DBA's job to make sure that all the databases are properly licensed.  If they are not, and there is an audit Microsoft will fine the company several times the cost of the software as a fine, as well as make you purchase the software.

If you have 3 web servers connecting to your SQL Server you do not have 3 devices.  Every person's machine that connects to those 3 web servers must be licensed, which is why you will want to use the processor licensing model listed above.

Reporting Services
Reporting Services is covered by the Microsoft SQL Server 2000 License.  What this means is that if you are running the Reporting Services on an already licensed Microsoft SQL Server 2000 than you do not need to purchase additional licenses.  If you install Reporting Services on a server which is not already running Microsoft SQL Server 2000 then you will need to purchase the required licensed for Microsoft SQL Server 2000 as if you were installing a new Microsoft SQL Server 2000 database on the server.

Reporting Services can be licensed with either Per Processor, Per Named User, or Per Named Device licensing models.  See above for more information on this.

The information provided in this FAQ is accurate as of the date I entered it.  For the most current and accurate information please visit http://www.microsoft.com/sql/howtobuy/licensing.mspx.
Choosing the correct edition of SQL Server
Microsoft Paper on Understanding Database Pricing (This includes a great side by side price companision for Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle 10g and IBM DB2.)

Personally I do not recommending purchasing SQL Server software or licenses from the http://shop.microsoft.com we site.  You can almost always get better deals by purchasing through your regular systems distributor.  Don't be scarred off of SQL Server by the price.  If you look at http://www.microsoft.com/sql/evaluation/compare/pricecomparison.asp Microsoft shows you the price comparisons of SQL Server with the largest competitor Oracle 10g.

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