Even if you work for Microsoft licensing can be complicated. I am pretty confident on what’s what with SQL Server, but I was in TV land yesterday at a large broadcaster, and they are looking to adopt Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 as a standard for all of their projects. We spent an hour discussing the bits of SQL Server 2008 that would be of value to them and the issues they will have in upgrading and consolidating their current estate. This then led onto virtualization and how Microsoft stuff is licensed in virtual machines.
The first important thing to note is that Microsoft doesn’t care what the virtualization technology is as far as licensing is concerned. Obviously Microsoft would be happier if you used Hyper-V but if you put SQL Server on whatever ware virtualization or Hyper-V the same licensing rules apply.
For enterprise businesses like a TV company you should be using enterprise edition on your servers for a whole range of reasons, but one of the key licensing benefits is that if you license the physical machine per CPU you aren’t constrained as to how many virtual SQL Server machines you can have on that box. This frees you from pricing constraints when considering how to consolidate your servers. For example you could:
If you want to know more about licensing and virtualization then you could do worse than watch this:
and check out Emma Healey’s licensing blog for virtualization articles.
I've been told that this is changing with 2008 R2 so that I would now need to use the new Datacenter instead of Enterprise for unlimited virtualization rights. Is this true, or will both SKUs support unlimited virtualization?
Only the DataCenter edition will have the unlimited virtualisation in SQL Server 2008 R2
The SQL Server editions will be bought into line with the windows server equivalent for SQL Server 2008 R2:
so in SQL Server Enterprise edition you will have a license to sun SQL server on 4 x VM's on one physical box, i.e. the same as Windows Server Enterpsie edition.
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