SQL Server 2012 Core Licensing Requirements at SA Renewal
SQL Server 2012 Core Licensing Requirements – Overview
With the release of SQL Server 2012, the Per Processor licensing model is being phased out, and a Per Core
licensing model is being introduced. Both SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition and Standard Edition can be
licensed using the Per Core model. With this new licensing model, you will need to ensure that all cores on
the physical server are licensed—unless you are licensing virtual machines individually, in which case all virtual
cores must be licensed.
If you have Software Assurance (SA) on SQL Server 2008 R2 processor licenses, you are eligible to renew into
core licenses at the end of your SA term. You may renew each processor license into either a minimum of 4
cores, or into your actual core license needs, which may be greater than 4 cores per processor. If you require
more than 4 cores per processor to be correctly licensed for SQL Server 2012, you need to identify those
qualifying processors and ensure that you renew into the correct number of cores. For full details on the
licensing grant into core licenses, please see the Microsoft Product List.
In order to prepare for the renewal process, it is necessary to be fully aware of how existing SQL Server
processor licenses are assigned in the environment. This document provides step-based guidance for the
creation of a SQL Server 2012 Transition Report, which is used to assess how these SQL Server installations will
transition to the SQL Server 2012 licensing model. The Transition Report is a useful resource for inventorying
and documenting an organization’s SQL Server instances and licensing requirements. It also contains the
necessary information needed for renewing SQL Server processor licenses into SQL Server 2012 core licenses.
Note that the creation of this Transition Report will require support from Licensing and IT professionals to
indicate where processor licenses are currently assigned. Additionally, support from IT professionals may be
required to discover instances of SQL Server deployed in the environment if this information is not readily
available. Microsoft recommends using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit to discover SQL
Server instances. Detailed guidance for using the MAP Toolkit is provided in the appendix of this document.
How to Create a SQL Server 2012 Transition Report
This section provides guidance on building a SQL Server 2012 Transition Report, which offers an easy way
to view and understand licensing requirements. Please note that this document describes steps to build a
Transition Report. It does not provide comprehensive licensing terms for SQL Server 2012 or previous versions,
nor does it provide guidance on how the current SQL Server installations are licensed. Instead it is focused on
providing a framework to record SQL Server installation inventory and licensing information.
The purpose of a SQL Server 2012 Transition Report is to:
●● Identify each physical computer where SQL Server is running and licensed through Per Processor licensing
●● Determine how many processor licenses are assigned to each server
●● Calculate the number of SQL Server 2012 core licenses required for each server
With this information, you will be able to record your total core license requirement and eligibility to exchange
your existing processor licenses at SA renewal.
The following table shows a SQL Server 2012 Transition Report populated with sample data. The report is
comprised of five key components, and we will walk through five corresponding steps you can take to build
- Inventorying your hardware and entering machine properties.
- Specifying the SQL Server Processor licenses assigned to each server, organized by product edition.
- Specifying the Core Factor for the physical processors on that machine.
- Calculating the core licenses needed for each machine.
- Determining the total core license requirement for your transition to SQL Server 2012.
The following is an example of a report that you can build using an inventory of your SQL deployments
and the SQL Server licenses you own. Microsoft recommends using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning
(MAP) Toolkit to help gather the server inventory data for your report. Please see the Appendix: Microsoft
Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit for details on how to use the MAP Toolkit to accomplish this.
Step 1: Machine Properties and Inventory
The first section of this report, Machine Properties and Inventory, represents the first set of data that will
be needed to determine the licensing requirements for SQL Server 2012. This data is specific to the servers on
which SQL Server is installed and includes:
●● The computer name (server name)
●● Whether it is a physical or virtual deployment
●● The number of processors on the server
●● The number of cores in the processor
●● The total number of physical cores in the server
●● The processor name and model
●● The SQL Server edition that is running on the server
If you don’t have this information readily available, you can find detailed guidance on how to collect this data
using the MAP Toolkit in the appendix of this document. Once you are able to gather where SQL Server is
running in your organization, the next step is to understand which of those servers have SQL Server processor
licenses assigned to them.
Step 2: Assign Processor Licenses
For this section of the report, you will need to know which processor licenses are assigned to each server. To
gather this information; for each physical machine or host machine listed in the report:
- Review the edition of SQL Server (e.g., Datacenter, Enterprise or Standard) installed on that machine or
installed in VMs hosted on that machine.
Note on virtual deployments: When renewing from processor licenses into core licenses, the number of core licenses
you will renew into is based on the attributes of the host machine, not the VMs. In the process of creating a SQL Server
Transition Report, the VMs are examined only to identify where SQL Server is installed and what edition is running.
- Determine the SQL Server edition of processor licenses assigned to the machine that are covered with
Note on SQL Server Datacenter, Workgroup or Web Processor licenses: If you have these editions, you will need to add
the relevant columns into the “Processor Licenses Assigned” section. If you own SA on these editions, these licenses will
be renewed into core licenses as follows:
- Datacenter Processor licenses will renew into a minimum of 8 Enterprise Edition Core licenses
- Workgroup Processor licenses will renew into a minimum of 4 Standard Edition Core licenses
- Web Edition Processor licenses will renew into a minimum of 4 Standard Edition Core licenses
If these licenses are assigned to processors with more than the minimums above, you are eligible to renew into your
actual core license needs.
Note on Server + CAL Licenses: Many customers have both processor licenses and server licenses (server + CAL
licensing model). Any machine licensed Server + CAL must be hidden or removed from this report, as those licenses
remain server + CAL licenses and are not renewed into core licenses. Only workloads fully licensed by eligible processor
licenses under active SA are eligible for transitions into core licenses.
Note on Cross Edition Rights: While all the processor licenses assigned to a particular computer are typically of the same
edition, an installation can be properly licensed by assigning processor licenses of multiple editions and leveraging
- Enter the processor license count for each edition into the “Processor Licenses Assigned” columns. The
number of processor licenses eligible for renewal into more than the minimum number of core licenses
cannot be greater than the number of physical processors on the server. If more processor licenses under
SA have been assigned to a server than physical processors exist, they are eligible for the minimum renewal
into cores. If processor licenses are not assigned to a specific server, these licenses will be eligible for the
minimum SQL Server 2012 core values.
Step 3: Assign the Core Factor
The core factor is a multiplier used in calculating the number of core licenses you will need for a server with a
given processor type. To simplify the Transition Report, focus on those servers containing more than 4 cores
per processor. (All servers with processors containing 4 cores or less will renew into the minimum core renewal
amounts.) The core factor for the remaining servers can be left blank in the report.
For the remaining applicable servers (with more than 4 cores per processor), you will need to determine the
core factor for the specific type of processors running on each physical and host machine. The core factor table
works by multiplying the total number of cores on the server by the core factor that is associated with the
processor type in the server. For each physical machine or host machine listed in the report:
●● Review the type of the CPU and the number of physical cores for that CPU.
●● Enter a value for Core Factor from the table below into the “Core Factor Assigned” column.
Step 4: Calculate the Core Licenses Needed for Each Machine
The next step in the SQL Server 2012 Transition Report is to calculate the core licenses needed for each
- Calculate core license requirements using your processor licenses assigned
First, you will need to calculate core licensing requirements based on your Processor license edition:
●● Multiply the Processor Licenses Assigned by 4 for each processor license (or 8 if the processor license is
for SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter Edition).
●● Enter this number in the appropriate Core Licenses Needed column for each physical machine.
- Calculate core license requirements using your hardware inventory and core factor
Next, you will need to calculate the number of core licenses required for each physical machine or host machine
in the Transition Report with a core factor (servers containing processors with more than 4 cores).
There is one exception for which adjustments may need to be made prior to calculating your core licenses,
which should only apply to a small percentage of servers:
●● AMD Bulldozer Processors (Opteron 3200, 4200 and 6200 series) may not be represented correctly in the
MAP report with regard to the total number of cores. Windows Server 2008 R2 or newer for example may
report a 16 core processor as only having 8 physical cores. Core licensing requirements must be calculated
based on the total number of cores in those processors. You can qualify these by looking at the CPU column
to see the physical name and number of cores. You may need to manually adjust the “Cores per processor”
column to match this number.
To calculate the total number of core licenses required for each physical machine or host machine listed in the
●● Multiply the Total Physical Cores by the Core Factor to determine the number of Core licenses required
to properly license the installation.
●● If greater than the value calculated from the processor license, enter this number into the appropriate Core
Licenses Needed column for the correct edition of SQL Server deployed.
Step 5: Determine the Total Core License Requirement
The final step is to sum the total number of core licenses that you are eligible to renew your processor licenses
into for all of your servers. Select the Core Licenses Needed column header in the Excel workbook and view
the calculated sum of the column at the bottom of the frame.
Renewing Software Assurance on processor licenses
If you are renewing Software Assurance into core licenses, there are a couple of final things to consider:
- You must renew into the total number of core licenses required for each server.
- Processor licenses will be exchanged for core licenses. Once renewed, you will now own core licenses
instead of processor licenses.
If you choose not to renew Software Assurance on your processor licenses, you should consider the following:
- You can continue to run SQL Server 2008 R2 under the processor use rights with the license.
- Processor licenses with active Software Assurance expiring after April 1st 2012 have upgrade rights to SQL
Server 2012 based on specific use rights. For the purposes of determining SQL Server 2012 use rights, if
you upgrade to SQL Server 2012 core-based software, you will use a fixed (perpetual) “core equivalence”
value for each existing SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license with expiring SA. This core equivalence value
is equal to either:
a. The minimum number of core licenses that could have been renewed into; or
b. The actual number of cores in a physical processor, multiplied by the applicable core factor for that
processor type. You can use the above transition report as an inventory of the actual number of cores
in use to document perpetual SQL Server 2012 core equivalent values for your processor licenses.
- The total number of processor licenses eligible to receive more than the minimum core equivalency cannot
exceed the total number of physical processors in the licensed server.
- Processor licenses with fixed core equivalence values can be combined with SQL Server 2012 core licenses
of the same edition to support deployment on hardware that requires additional core licenses.
Download the document:
(© Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. The information in this document represents the current view of Microsoft on the content.)