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SQL Server licensing, is it per CPU? If yes, so a 32 CPU would mean like 150K in licensing?

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closed as too localized by Mark Henderson Jan 11 '12 at 4:01

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It used to be per socket, but with SQL 2012 it all changes once again.… – mrdenny Nov 8 '11 at 8:32
The answer is yes, but a 32 SOCKET server is going to set you back by more than a million likiely, so - sorry, the 150k do not make a difference. – TomTom Nov 8 '11 at 8:46

I'm sure you're all aware of it, but just for the record the per-CPU pricing for SQL Server is per socket - not per core.

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There are a few licensing options.

  1. If the application is internal only you can license the SQL Server with a server license which is a few thousand, then buy a CAL one for each employee which needs access to the system.

  2. If the application is internal only you can license the SQL Server with a server license which is a few thousand, then buy a CAL one for each device which needs access to the system.

  3. If the application is internet facing, or the cost of the CALs is more than the cost of CPU licenses you can get CPU licenses. They are ~$8k for Standard Edition and $~25k for Enterprise Edition. These licenses are per physical CPU, no matter how many cores there are per physical CPU.

To use more than 4 physical CPUs you'll need the Enterprise Edition as the standard edition only supports 4 physical CPUs. So a server with 32 physical CPUs would come in at about $800k to license. If you have a 8 CPU server with 4 cores per server then the licenses will cost you about $200k.

All of these numbers assume that you are paying retail pricing. With a purchase this big you'll want to look into a Microsoft Volume License Agreement which will drop the price quite a bit. We are level A (the smallest discount) and we saved ~8-10% off the cost of the licenses we bought. If you got up to level D (the level is decided by the number of points the software you are buying to worth) the discount would be much more.

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so according to this post, he spend 800k??… "HP ProLiant DL785 with 512 GB of ram and 32 CPU’s and moved from SQLserver 2005 to 2008 and windows 2008. " – user2659 Jun 20 '09 at 4:26
You can always go for SPLA to turn it into a monthly cost, instead of having a massive one-off hit – Nick Kavadias Jun 20 '09 at 5:39
800K? Go and get the price for an 32 CPU Oracle license... – gbn Jun 20 '09 at 6:46
The SPLA only applies when you are a hosting provider such as Rackspace where you are renting the server to another company. If your company will be running it's own service on the server you aren't eligebale for the SPLA on that server. – mrdenny Jun 20 '09 at 20:09
not true. You are also elegible for SPLA if you are offering the server for example to run an online service where people rent access to the service. StackOverflow, for example, can run it all via SPLA. – TomTom Nov 8 '11 at 6:23

Here's the link to the Microsoft page that discusses SQL Server licensing and all the options - it also has a link to a doc that explains the various options and the gray areas.

This is the official word: SQL Server 2008 Pricing or SQL Server 2005 Pricing. Depending on your company size and agreements with MS, you may be able to negotiate lower volume rates.

Hope this helps.

PS Google is your friend - these are the top hits for 'SQL Server 2008 pricing'

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At that price, go talk to your local microsoft office and do a deal.

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When it comes to per CPU licensing, it is probably better to think of it as per socket. If you have a single, quad core processor (which sits in a single socket, of course), you will only pay for a single CPU license.

So, say you had 32 CPU's spread out over 4 sockets (4x quad core procs), your total cost would be around $64K (32 / 4 * $8K).

Hope that makes things a little more clear!

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math fail :) 4x4=16 You would need an 8 socket quad core setup to reach 32 cores. – 3dinfluence Jun 21 '09 at 1:30

One other consideration - you only have to pay per User licensing fees if your users are connecting directly to the database. If they connect to a website that connects to your database, then you don't a CAL per user.

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This is wrong. If the website users are external to your company, an external connector license is required; if they are internal, one CAL per user or one CAL per device is required (except in the case of per-proc licensing). Microsoft license agreements specifically state that the kind of connection multiplexing suggested by this answer do not relieve the customer of purchasing CALs for each end-user or machine. – Jay Michaud Jun 21 '09 at 0:08
Lindy is very wrong as Jay stated, but Jay's comment was slightly incorrectly written, so I'll comment here. If you have a CPU license you don't need CALs. If your using CALs you need one for every end user or end device which gets it data from the SQL Server. It doesn't matter how many layers of middle ware (ie. web servers) there are between the end user/device and the SQL Server they must still have a CAL. The only exception to this is if you have CPU licensing. The external connector allows users to connect to web servers without Windows CALs. – mrdenny Jun 22 '09 at 1:34

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