Licensing changes in SQL Server 2008 R2…

SQL Server

I am a techie, so I am interested in technology. I love to evaluate new features, new gadgets, new technology. I am less interested in actually paying for it, mainly because I am cheap. I am even less interested in Software licensing agreements mostly because they change like the wind. The word arbitrary comes to mind. As soon as you think you have mastered the latest licensing model, it changes. I would rather invest my time in the technology itself. But I have been asked to write about the SQL Server 2008 R2 licensing model, so here goes… In the past, Microsoft has followed the “R2” strategy to provide a functional release to existing products. Windows Server 2003 and 2008 went through an R2 version. It was regarded as a bonus for loyal customers who were current on their Software Assurance agreement. This strategy has continued with SQL Server 2008 R2. However, for new licenses the price of a per-processor license for the Enterprise and Standard editions has increased by 15% and 25% respectively while a new edition, Datacenter, is available at a whopping $57,498 per processor for unlimited connections. Microsoft would say that the introduction of the Datacenter edition means the major SQL Server editions align with those of Windows Server to make things consistent. For instance, you are allowed up to 4 Virtual Machines with the Windows Server 2008 Enterprise license and now the same applies to SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise. If you want to go beyond that number you will want to upgrade to the Datacenter edition for both Windows and SQL Server. Also, because the Datacenter edition supports up to 256 logical processors (cores), the Enterprise edition now supports only 8 processors. To keep existing customers happy, to its credit, Microsoft has a “grandfathering” approach. For instance, if you purchased Enterprise licensing with unlimited virtualization, that will be honored as long as you are current with Software Assurance. There’s also the new SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse edition which implements the DATAllegro appliance technology for supporting large databases into the tens of Terabytes. That goes for the same price as the Datacenter edition. From a technical point of view, the exciting new PowerPivot feature is supported by SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise and above with Office Excel 2010 Professional Plus. For existing features, there are a couple changes to licensing. Now Backup Compression is supported by SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition and above; however Data Compression still requires the Enterprise. And the free Express edition supports databases up to 10GB up from 4GB. So Microsoft has thrown us a few crumbs but is it enough to want to upgrade? We’ll see… Cheers Brian Licensing Overview: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/2008/en/us/pricing.aspx Features by edition: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645993(v=SQL.105).aspx

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