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Sql Server License - Beginner's Guide to SQL Server License Options - What is Licensing?, How People Decide Which License is Best for Business

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Are you curious about SQL Server licensing? The specifics of SQL server licenses can be very in-depth and complex, but in this guide we will explain the very basics about SQL server licensing.

What is Licensing?

SQL Server licensing is basically permission to run SQL Server on a specific machine. Just like with copies of Windows, you are not authorized to install it on multiple different computers after buying just one copy of the software. In the case of normal consumer Windows copies, legally you must have a new copy for every computer that you install it on. Each one of these copies would be considered a license at the consumer level, which authorizes you to install it on one computer. This is just like the most basic level of SQL Server licensing – you are authorized to install the software on one server, and if you want to install it on more, you will need to purchase additional licenses.

Let us continue with the Windows analogy. Having one license per computer is manageable for most home users, but it is not exactly practical for large organizations to buy individual copies for every single machine. Think of the pain this would be for a business when adding a large amount of new computers, or when when it came time to upgrade all their computers to a new version of Windows. Every machine would have to get a new individual copy of the software in order to have adequate licensing. To help larger organizations avoid that situation, Microsoft has operator licenses that allow them to install Windows on all computers, within certain boundaries. This gives the systems administrators power to freely install windows on multiple machines, and if one happens to break down, it can be simply formatted and re-installed without having to look for the original installation CD that happened to be with that particular machine. It also makes it much easier to upgrade multiple machines to a new version – just get a single operator license for the new version rather than getting hundreds of individual copies.

Similarly, Microsoft provides higher-level SQL Server licenses for larger organizations who run multiple servers with SQL Server software. It allows them more freedom to expand and customize their machines, and move within larger boundaries.

How People Decide Which License is Best for Business

In the case of SQL Server licenses, the type of license provided is usually decided by a meeting of the systems administrator and the partner who is selling the license. SQL server licenses are kept track of in two ways – one that requires a license for every single server that is using the software (similar to individual Windows users), and one that allows multiple operating systems to use the software, but is instead limited by the number of individual processors that are accessed by an OS that is running SQL Server. This allows for much greater freedom and expandability for large-scale clients.

Where to Find Further Information

If you have more questions on the individual licenses and what they all do for you, you should check out the Microsoft Pricing and Licensing Page for SQL Server. It has a huge FAQ that covers most typical questions about SQL Server’s licensing matters.

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