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We purchased a 4-core license for SQL 2012 Enterprise back in mid-2012, without Software Assurance. At this point we would like to move the license to a VM in Azure but I can't figure out if that's technically allowed under the license rules.

Microsoft has been no help and expect us to pay to open a support case for this question. Can anyone give a hand and provide an answer/link?

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Software insurance is required for license mobility. https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/licensing-faq/

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I work for Microsoft UK Ltd (afryer@Microsoft.com) and it's "software assurance" you need, detailed at https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/license-mobility/ and this does apply to SQL Server

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What Andrew says. You need SA.

If you cannot afford SA then deploy a new VM with SQL pre-installed and migrate the DB. The cost of the VM includes the cost of per-proc SQL, meaning you don't need any CALs. It also gives you the opportunity to get SQL 2014.

Or just migrate to Azure SQL, assuming your app can support that.

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