SQL Server 2012 New License Terms – 2014 Brings New Features

First the bad news. Recently Microsoft changed its licensing model for the Enterprise edition of SQL Server 2012 to a “per-core” basis. They have grandfathered users who deployed under the old model, which was per-processor licensing, but new customers will will have to subscribe the new way.

According to licensing expert Paul DeGroot there are a few things you will need to look out for in the new model. Pricing has remained the same with the SQL Server 2012 editions, for the most part. However, he adds that there are some “traps” that could significantly increase costs for organizations, particularly at the license renewal stage.


For instance, the core conversions from SQL Server 2008 to SQL Server 2012 can be incorrectly assessed. An organization might assume four cores per licensed processor, but the actual core counts could turn out to be higher at license renewal. He cited an example of a reseller that under-licensed in that way, resulting in an extra “true-up” expense for a customer of $290,000.

DeGroot also urges customers to not take Microsoft’s core counts without scrutiny either. The important take away is that organizations should conduct thier own survey of equipment and be sure that they are using accurate counts both when initiating the license and at renewal. The new licensing scheme will continue in the next generation SQL Server 2014 which is already deploying trials and should hit full steam later this year.

SQL 2014 has already revealed several enhancements that should excite fans of the server OS:

Backup Encryption

Encrypting backups gets simpler in SQL Server 2014. Now you can easily prevent a stolen backup file from being restored on any other system.

Business Intelligence

SQL Server 2014 includes business intelligence (BI) improvements to help build and support vast databases and data warehouses.

In-Memory OLTP Engine

In-Memory OLTP significantly improves the OLTP workload and reduces the time required for processing. The performance gains depend on the hardware infrastructure you have and how you are writing your queries.

Memory Optimization Advisor

The SQL Server 2014 Memory Optimization Advisor will help you quickly analyze your tables and walks you through reviewing and migrating disk-based table to In-Memory OLTP tables.

Windows Azure Integration

SQL Server 2014 includes the ability to use Windows Azure for offsite backup storage and as a disaster recovery site. With SQL Server 2014 you can backup and restore your databases from copies stored in Windows Azure, which can quickly and easily provide off-site storage for all backups.

With many organizations still well invested in SQL Server most will want to stay in step with both the changes in licensing as well as the new features and improvements that SQL Server 2014 brings. Consider the services of an expert to aid you in puzzling through the changes and the new prowess this version will introduce. There are a number of options for gaining this expertise and organizations exist that will aid you greatly in moving your server infrastructure forward.

In a world now very dependent on technology and marching rapidly into a future where everything will be connected, your server OS may well become one of the most critical investments you maintain.