Sunday, November 13, 2011

New SQL Server Licensing from Microsoft

Microsoft SQL Server 2012It seems that most people, on the internet at least, have come to accept some new changes to Microsoft's SQL Server 2012 licensing model which is a clear contrast to the anarchy that ensued over changes to VMware's vSphere 5.0 back in July. In that case complaints forced VMware to modify its pricing. Microsoft debuted SQL Server 2012 earlier in the month as the relational database management system upgraded from SQL 2008. However, it is still going to take some effort by customers to figure out what these new changes mean for them, as well as for their IT budgets.

On the other hand, Microsoft is attempting to make it as easy as possible with an SQL Server 2012 Licensing Datasheet. Microsoft explains, in a six-page PDF, the different licensing options, differences among the different editions and how to transition from SQL 2008 to SQL 2012 licenses. However, it is still recommended that users consult with a Microsoft sales representative, preferably one that is the most familiar with their account.

Last month Microsoft and HP jointly announced the development of HP Alliance which will be able to run SQL 2012. VMware landed in some hot water with more than a few customers when it introduced a new licensing policy with vSphere 5.0, specifically when the company switched from a hardware-based licensing model per physical server to a "vRAM metric", where the company billed the amount of virtual RAM per physical server.

A plethora of blogs and reports noted complaints about the limitation on the number of vRAMs per license and, after only three weeks of customer disapproval, VMware relented and increased the limits per license of vRAM. It is no surprise that the backlash of that business venture is on the minds of the people at Microsoft who are responsible for SQL 2012. Some of the highlights of the new release include a new license category called Business Intelligence (BI) Edition, which fits between the existing Standard Edition (SE) and the Enterprise Edition (EE).

The BI Edition is fine-tuned to manage databases that are tied to a business intelligence application, which just so happens to be a growing category of IT for companies that are looking to crunch petabytes of data in order to get a little insight into how to run their businesses. Each edition of SQL 2012 will offer two broad options, pricing based on computing power and pricing based on the total number of end users. This is known as the Client Access License (CAL). However, computing power in the Enterprise Edition will be based on the number of sockets in a server as opposed to the number of processors.

Pricing information is detailed in the datasheet that notes that in EE a license is $6,874 per core for mission-critical apps. The BI edition is $3,952 per server plus an additional $209 per CAL. The SE edition is sold on a per-server ($898) or per-core ($1,793) basis with the addition of the same $209 per CAL license. It's going to take some calculations on the customer's part to determine if it is financially better to go with a per-server or per-core plan. Regardless, SQL Server 2012 will be available sometime in the first quarter of 2012.

Source: Information Week - Microsoft Revamps SQL Server Licensing

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