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Can you help me with my software licensing question?

So we have a number of servers in the Amazon cloud running SQL Server Standard edition to aggregate data. For that purpose we are fine, the licensing is handled by our contract with Amazon, no problem there.

For the beefier work, we want to install Enterprise Edition (EE) on our servers processing raw data so that we can take advantage of table partitioning.

We currently have 3 servers aggregating data from about 40 node servers, all 43 of these servers are running standard edition which is fine. We also have 4 servers running standard processing the raw data, but I think we can get away with 2 (for redundancy) running Enterprise Edition. We have 2-3 dba's that access these DW servers for maintenance (using the same windows login via remote desktop). So visually:

40 --> 3 --> [2] --> 2 --> 1

nodes --> aggregators --> raw (which we want to run EE) --> calculators --> datawarehouse

Nodes PUSH to aggregators,
Raws PULL from aggregators,
Calculators PULL from Raw,
Calculators PUSH to datwarehouse

I am specifying the push vs. pull in case that changes how the # of licenses is calculated.

Q1) how many device (or user) CAL's do we need?
Q2) do I need to speak with someone from MSFT to find out if it is ok to install in the Amazon Cloud (Amazon said we need to verify it is ok in our license terms)?
Q3) what happens if another device tries to access a server with the limited number of device CAL's?
Q4) Are the device CAL's simultaneous number of devices or total?
Q5) Do Device and User CAL's cost the same or is there a difference?
Q6) Would we need to buy a processor license (we are hoping not to)?

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migrated from Dec 23 '10 at 20:20

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by Chris S, Ben Pilbrow, sysadmin1138, GregD, RobM Dec 23 '10 at 22:21

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

serverfault is a better place, and I'm pretty sure you better contact an MS representative and ask rather than base your decision on forum answers... But on a different note, my experience is that the I/O of EC2 instances is not enough for SQL Server, specially the log, even with soft RAID 0 stripping over multiple EBS volumes. Make sure you measure your I/O, and be very careful to pre-size your log files accordingly, don't let them autogrow with default... – Remus Rusanu Dec 21 '10 at 23:13
Definitely speak to MS to confirm your licensing. The license choice generally comes down to the number of users though - the cost per cpu for sql 2008 enterprise is 10-15k last time i looked - the cal was a couple of hundred - so a high cpu low user system is much better with CAL. A public high usage system is best with processor licenses. – u07ch Dec 22 '10 at 8:27

For the most part Can you help me with my licensing? applies here. Talk to your reseller as they will know more. You don't want to muck this up and server admins aren't generally licensing experts.

That said, there are a couple easy answers:

Q3) Nothing will happen. These CALs aren't even really tracked per se. You just need to make sure you own enough CALs to keep things legal but they won't actually prevent you from connecting over your CAL limit.

Q4) A device CAL is just a license for a device. So instead of buying a user CAL for Mary, you buy a device CAL for her computer. This computer can now connect to any SQL Server that it's CAL applies to.

Q5) Device and User CALs cost the same. They are used for much different purposes and each has their pros and cons. A reseller should be able to help you determine how many of each you need.

I would recommend that you also read the SQL Server licensing guide to try and grasp some of the basic concepts behind CALs vs Proessor and other things. It can be found pretty easily by Googling SQL Server licensing guide. I would link it here but it's a direct pdf download so I'll leave it up to you to find.

It's also worth checking out the SQL Server 2008 licensing FAQ. And of course I will repeat that it is always best to speak with a reseller. Their whole business is to sell you this stuff and they're pretty good at it.

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