SQL Server Software Licensing

Recently, I have been involved in a number of software licensing reviews. My focus has been limited to database software as well as some middleware components. Microsoft was the first of these and, to be honest, I thought that it was a real chore at the time … but my opinion change rapidly once the other reviews started.

Microsoft provide some items to assist you in both understanding their licensing model and reviewing your software estate.

The Microsoft SQL Server Licensing Guide (http://download.microsoft.com/download/6/F/8/6F84A9FE-1E5C-44CC-87BB-C236BFCBA4DF/SQLServer2008_LicensingGuide.pdf) is an extremely useful document that takes you through the different licensing models, versions of SQL Server, and high availability configurations and carefulyl describes how these impact on licensing. It is an excellent place to start when reviewing their database software licensing.

The second item is the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/dd537566.aspx). This tool allows you to identify where you database servers are and who is accessing them to help get a count of both servers and clients, allowing you to review different licensing models.

Be aware that not all SQL Servers found have to be licensed. An audit can highlight databases that are embedded in both Microsoft development and server applications where the application included the right to use the database (provided that it was used for nothing else). For example, Sharepoint includes SQL Server and, as long as this SQL Server is only used for Sharepoint, does not require a licence.

Buck Woody covers Licensing in his blog (http://sqlblog.com/blogs/buck_woody/archive/2009/11/26/the-magical-world-of-sql-server-licensing.aspx) while Mike Walsh debunks a lot of the SQL Server licensing myths on his blog (http://www.straightpathsql.com/archives/2010/07/sql-server-licensing-or-tax-forms/)

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