System Center 2012 Licensing Overview

I thought I would cover a little bit of info on the recent System Center licensing changes, as you all know, simplifying and demystifying licensing is a big part of our changes so expect to see more connection between the product changes and product licensing as we move towards easier ways for customers to buy and get cloud ready 🙂

System Center have continued licensing simplification with the reduction of their multi SKU line-up, providing 2 clear editions aligned to hybrid cloud management.  Let’s look at some key product and licensing changes with the availability of SC 2012.

What are the key SC 2012 Server Management licensing changes?

  • Reduced SKU line-Up to 2 editions, DC and STD 2012
  • Both editions contain the same capabilities/workloads, only difference is the number of Operating System Environments (OSEs) that you can manage per license.
  • Licenses are only required for managed “endpoints”, no additional licenses are needed for management server software or the ‘SQL Server Technology’
  • Licensing model is Processor-based, where each license covers up to 2 Processors
  • Standalone Components are available as part of the integrated DC and STD licenses and are not available to be sold separately*

*See caveat under SC SKU Availability

How many Server MLs will you need to buy?

  • Server MLs are required for managed devices that run server OSEs.
  • Licenses are processor-based, with each license covering up to two physical processors.

For Datacenter Edition: The number of Server MLs required for each managed server is determined by the number of physical processors in the server.

For Standard Edition: The number of Server MLs required is either number of physical processors in the server or number of OSEs being managed (whichever is greater).

Examples:                                                                       DC Server MLs Req STD Server MLs Req
One 1-processor, non-virtualized server



One 4-processor, non-virtualized server



One 2-processor server with 3 virtual OSEs



One 4-processor server with 8 virtual OSEs



**An exception to this rule is when the physical OSE on your server is being used solely to run hardware virtualization software, provide hardware virtualization services, and run software to manage and service OSEs on that device.

In that case, you only count the number of virtual OSEs you will manage on the server, divide that number by two, and round up to the nearest whole number.

What is the SC SKU availability in Volume Licensing?

On Feb 1st 2012 L&SA offerings for existing pre 2012 versions of individual Server MLs and individual product management Server licenses were removed from the volume licensing pricelist.

After SC 2012 General Availability customers can still purchase licenses for previous versions of System Center Products, only as shown in the table below

















What are the SC SA Migration Paths?

Customers with SC and active SA at time of general availability, will be entitled to the migration paths below, all extended detail can be found outlined in the April Product List, couple of things to point out as I have had a few conversations with folks to bring some extra clarity…..see takeaways below

* System Center 2012 Datacenter covers up to 2 processors per license whereas SMSD only covers 1 processor per license.


  • SA is built into the SC 2012 MLs, L&SA Only
  • SC 2012 has 2 offerings, separated by virtualization rights only, STDand DC
  • SC 2012 Datacenter covers up to 2 processors per license whereas SMSD only covered 1 processor per license.
  • Server MLs may not be split across multiple 1-Proc servers
  • SQL Server Technology is no longer a separate offering, a runtime version is in both SC 2012 STDand DC editions
  • License stacking is permitted for SC 2012 STD Edition to increase number of OSEs being managed, be aware of breakeven, its approx. 2.5 Virtual OSEs per processor.
  • Step-Up from SC 2012 STD to SC 2012 DC is permitted
  • Server MLs can manage applications running on a public cloud infrastructure through License Mobility for SA

System Center 2012 licensing for client management has been updated as well.

For more information on both server and client management licensing changes, there is a great Licensing FAQ posted HERE for Partner and HERE for Customers


SQL Server 2012 – Pricing and Licensing Quick Look

Well, Thursday saw the official announce of the SQL Server 2012 Edition line-Up and Pricing/Licensing Changes, and even though I am “technically” on holiday 🙂 ….it’s definitely worth covering the key changes to whet the appetite, see below, very quick overview………more info on

For a more comprehensive look at Pricing/Licensing we are running PARTNER global Webast Series on SQL Server 2012– REGISTER your spot, begins on 7th Nov through to 18th Nov, 3 Topics over 4 TimeZones, with an opportunity to ask your questions directly to us……

SQL Server 2012 – Things to note:

We are simplifying the SKU Lineup

3 main SKUs – Standard, Business Intelligence (New, see below) and Enterprise = “Principal” SKU,

We still maintain the specialized and breadth SKUs (Express, Developer, Appliances, etc











Licensing Models offered

  • Std offered in Server/CAL mode AND Per Core
  • BI only Server/CAL
  • EE only Per Core

New SKU – SQL Server 2012 BI Edition

Data Management and Analytics










SQL Server is moving from Proc to Cores






SQL EE in Server mode is retiring

  • EE Server Licenses available until June 30th, 2012
  • EA/EAP customers can purchase EE Servers through the end of term
  • SQL Server 2012 EE Server licenses will have 20 core per server limit

SQL CAL Price Increase
Approx 27% dependent on VL agreement level

Next time…………SQL Server SA Migration and Virtualisation……….

Windows OS – OEM Reimaging Rights – Licensing and Techie Update

I thought it would be good to post this exchange on OEM Licensing as we have made some changes to the rules for our partners and also its a very common question that we get through the call centres, I have tried to give the complete picture, licensing and technology as they are so synergised these days its good to see the full story –

Let me start with what you can do with a Windows OEM License:
• You can work with an OEM to create an Custom Factory Image (CFI): the OEM can create an Image from their OEM toolkit and then use their Software Factory Integration service to install onto all your PCs at their factory prior to delivery. This type of reimaging service is available on most OEM business PCs and/or royalty OEMs – e.g. PCs installed with Windows 7 Professional.
• This can be done without any need for a Volume License for Windows.

If you also have a Volume License, there is more flexibility:
• The Volume License for Windows is an Upgrade License – for use on top of the OEM License (usually Windows Professional pre-installed).
• With a VL Windows License you can customize the image yourself or ask the OEM to customize to your specification. The OEM still supplies you with a PC that has the underlying OEM License attached to the PC (this is shown by the “Certificate of Authenticity” (COA) label on the back of a desktop PC or bottom of a laptop.
• Customers can take advantage of customizing Windows Enterprise Edition if they have Software Assurance – which offers more features than Windows Professional (such as disk drive encryption – BitLocker).
• Reimaging rights are granted to all Microsoft Volume Licensing (VL) customers as part of the license agreement(s), customers may reimage OEM Operating systems by using the media provided under their VL agreement, such as EA or Select Plus/Select.

You can reimage an OEM Operating system with VL bits as long as you meet the criteria set out in the brief attached – posted – HERE

Note that there are no reimaging rights for OEM Office unless there is Software Assurance on the PC.

In addition you can find good  Windows product licensing information on this section of

Plus there is also a VL Brief regarding Windows re-imaging rights HERE, and a detailed technical/licensing whitepaper on the points above on HERE

Testing and Demo of SQL – MSDN, Technet or ISV?

 James left me a GREAT question on testing/eval/non-production solution options


This is a very helpful thread. I have a similar question that I wonder if you can help with. I produce a software product that has a SQL Enterprise database on the back end. When deployed in customer production environments the end customer buys the appropriate per CPU SQL Enterprise licences across all the servers on which the solution is deployed.What I would like to do is to be able to put a demonstration system in our partner’s labs that uses a SQL Developer Edition license instead. This will be so they can demonstrate and hopefully sell our (and by association, Microsoft’s) software to their end customers. This will NOT be in a production or live environment and will only be used to demonstrate the product.

Does this count as ‘demo’? If not – what would you suggest as a low cost licensing option for this scenario?




There are a number of options, so I want to cover off a couple below


The first thing to do is repost the MSDN v TechNet, this is a really good table, covering what you should use each offering for



Additional option!


If you plan to offer SQL as a unified solution, which it would seem is the case from the info provided J you could also become part of the ISV Program, as part of agreement terms, you would be permitted to provide to the end customer, under specific conditions, example outlined below, the SQL eval/testing/demo rights as part of that program



“Customer” above is in reference to the ISV partner signing the agreement, not “end customer” recieving the service




SQL Server 2008 R2 – Licensing, Changes, New editions



So a few weeks back I said that SQL Server 2008 R2 would have a new edition, with a new edition comes a revamp in the overall licensing


Couple of basic points before we begin, as a few emails have come through on this and a little bit of confusion


Note 1: SQL Server Standard and Enterprise 2008 R2 can be licensed in either Server/CAL mode or Per Processor mode your choice

Note 2: SQL Server Datacenter is offered in Per Processor mode only


I know that sometimes its easy to confuse license rights for the different modes, so let me cover that below, by mode/edition, then next post will concentrate on migration/transition for SA customers and next steps…..


In a nutshell

SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter is licensed Per Proc only, count and license all the physical procs in box = unlimited number of running instance of SQL Datacentre in any number of OS environments = unlimited virtualization, you also have the ability to move these instances in accordance with Server Application Mobility rights – discussed in a previous blog post and you can run Standard or Enterprise in place of DC in any OSE


SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise is licensed Per Proc or Per Server/CALs, Server Application Mobility Rights exist and are outlined in the PUR, you can run an instance of Standard in place of Enteprise in any of the OSEs – Yippeeeee!!!


SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard is licensed Per Proc or Per Server/CALs, currently no Server Application Mobility Rights



Now to the official – Info from the PUR below




SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter– Licensed in Per Processor Mode – License ALL Physical Procs

You must count and license all of the physical processors

You may run the server software in one physical and any number of virtual operating system environments without regard to the number of physical and virtual processors used.

You may run on the licensed server instances of Enterprise or Standard in place of Datacenter in any of the operating system environments.




SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise – Licensed in Per Processor Mode – 2 choices on counting licenses

Option 1:

If you license all of the physical processors on the licensed server

You may run any number of instances in up to four operating systems environments for each Enterprise license you assign to the server.

You may run on the licensed server instances of Standard in place of Enterprise in any of these operating system environments


Option 2

If you don’t want to license all the physical procs in the box, you can license on procs used, as below, to provide you proc count for Enterprise edition, remember for Standard or WG or Small business your only option is “procs used”


Under this option, the total number of software licenses required for a server equals the sum of the software licenses required under (A) and (B) below. 

(A)          To run instances of the server software in the physical operating system environment on a server, you need a software license for each physical processor that the physical operating system environment uses.

(B)          To run instances of the server software in virtual operating system environments on a server, you need a software license for each virtual processor1 that each of those virtual operating system environments uses.  If a virtual operating system environment uses a fraction of a virtual processor, the fraction counts as a full virtual processor.


I covered a long time ago the counting process for SQL, this info is now in the April PUR, as below


A virtual processor is a processor in a virtual (or otherwise emulated) hardware system. 

Virtual operating system environments use virtual processors. 

Solely for licensing purposes, a virtual processor is considered to have the same number of threads and cores as each physical processor on the underlying physical hardware system. So, for any given virtual operating system environment on a server on which each physical processor provides X logical processors, the number of licenses required is the sum of a) and b) below:

a)      one license for every X logical processors that virtual operating system environment uses

b)      one license if the number of logical processors it uses is not a whole number multiple of X


“X,” as used above, equals the number of cores, or where relevant, the number of threads in each physical processor.




SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise – Licensed in Server/CAL Mode

You have the following right for each server to which you assign a software license. 

You may run, at any one time, any number of instances of the server software in up to four operating system environments (physical or virtual) on that server. 

You may run on the licensed server an instance of Standard in place of Enterprise in any of these operating system environments.




SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard – Licensed in Per Proc Mode – Based on Procs used as above

You may run, at any one time, any number of instances of the server software in physical and virtual operating system environments on the licensed server. 

However, the total number of physical and virtual processors used by those operating system environments cannot exceed the number of software licenses assigned to that server



SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard or Workgroup – Licensed in Server/CAL Mode

For each server software license you assign, you may run any number of instances of the server software in one physical or virtual operating system environment on the licensed server at a time.



Don’t forget, Fail-over rights still exist and have been extended from 2000 to now include Small Business, Workgroup and Standard

Enterprise has had fail-over rights for a long time


For SQL Server 2008 Small Business*, SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise, SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard* and SQL Server 2008 R2 Workgroup*:

Fail-over Rights.  For any operating system environment in which you run instances of the server software, you may run up to the same number of passive fail-over instances in a separate operating system environment for temporary support.  You may run the passive fail-over instances on a server other than the licensed server.



Note: SQL Datacentre is only available for servers with two or more processors, Customers may not run instances of the server software on a server with less than two processors

Note: You may not enroll more than 25 instances of any version or edition of SQL Server software with the Control Point Utility in the server software at any one time

LadyLicensing is back – More Focus


Well guys I have finally reached my USA destination and started my new role in World Wide Licensing, this role puts me at the heart of Program/Product Licensing readiness from a global prospective so in that respect its time for me to offer a clear focus on the blog

Firstly blog posts will continue and also “up to date” & “hot off the press” info will still be posted, but, I will also focus on the comments and requests I get directly from you guys and take those comments and that feedback to the people who make the changes :-), then make sure we do some clear signposting so you can find the content you need and at the right time, this will also be a major consideration for me

The first query I want to cover is from Sebastien and its a common one that most people ask for clarity on……………….

Edited for general consumption!

I’m working in a IT company and we recently hired a new employee.
We talked about licensing and I have a different understanding about CAL calculations.
Would you help me to win the bet-of-my-life ?


Here is the context:
A user needs to access 4 different Windows 2008 R2 servers within the our domain.
1x Standard edition, let’s say for an Active Directory server
2x Enterprise edition servers, setup as a cluster
1x Datacenter Edition, for an Hyper-V.


Do I need to Buy?
Answer A: 1 Windows server CAL
Answer B : 3 Windows Server CALs, one per Server edition


The answer is….

Windows Server CALs are just Windows CALs, they are not edition specific, so you cannot buy Windows DC CALs, they are only version specific.

You can use 1x Windows CAL xxx Version, licensed per User or per Device to connect to ANY server within you or your legal affiliates domain

The CAL needs to be equal or higher in Version to the Server it is accessing, so you cannot use a Windows 2003 CAL to access a Windows 2008 Server, but you can use a Windows 2008 Server CAL to access a Windows 2003 Server


Were to find this info on MS.Com

This info is posted within the PUR as below under “Servers”

Servers – Operating Systems – server license + CAL + optional external connector

First Look at SQL Server 2008 R2 SKU Line-Up and Licensing


SQL Server continues to meet the growing demands of enterprise workloads through two new premium editions: SQL Server Datacenter & SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse

The new and expanded product line in SQL Server 2008 R2 delivers unprecedented value and functionality enabling massive scale at low TCO, improved Developer and IT efficiency and Self Service Business Intelligence.


SKU Line-Up

Licensing Changes:

SQL 2008 EE R2 will now provide up to 4 Virtual Machine Licenses, a change from SQL 2008 EE and SQL 2008 DC R2 will provide Unlimited Virtual Machine Licenses,

SQL now comes more in line with Windows Server 2008 R2 licensing, so think of Std = 1, EE=4 and DC= Unlimited


But what if you already have SQL EE and Software Assurance?

Well, we always have a complete transition/migration path for our SA customers, more details to follow nearer launch in the Product List