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I have attempted to install SQL Server 2008 twice so far, but have gotten errors. Would like to try again. Is there a limited number of times that the same product key can be used before I have problems?

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migrated from Mar 23 '10 at 17:18

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You can use intall the same license on a single machine as many times as you want (instances) if you are licensing by CPU. With server+ User or Device CALs you license it for the operating environment and can also install it as much as you want on the same machine.

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We were also given permission to use the same key on a cold spare server (for manual failover). Could have just been something in our particular license agreement though. Your mileage may vary. – Mark Henderson Mar 23 '10 at 20:17
SQL Server licenses always have allowed cold spares, however with 2008 you can now also do warm spares as well as long as the warm spare doesn't have more processors and you're using per processor licensing. – Nissan Fan Mar 23 '10 at 20:35

As far as I know, you can install the same instance an unlimited number of times, just don't try and run the same key on two machines at once.

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Not correct. SQL Server can be installed n number of times on the same machine (instances) under all licensing models. – Nissan Fan Mar 23 '10 at 16:55

If a product doesn't have an "activation" step, there usually is no expiration of key.

As far as I know, without activation, the key is not submitted to a central repository to check the number of times it was used.

I'm pretty sure SQL Server is one of the products that does not have an activation step. Databases are often run in locations that are not Internet accessible, for security reasons, and are also part of disaster recovery scenarios. Activation might get in the way of things, and would probably affect Microsoft's ability to compete with Oracle and the other DBMS vendors that do not require activation keys.

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