Microsoft SQL Server 2016
Microsoft
SQL Server 2016
Licensing Guide
Contents
Overview
3
SQL Server 2016 Editions
4
How SQL Server 2016 License Are Sold
6
Server and Cloud Enrolment
SQL Server 2016 Licensing Models
8
Core-Based Licensing
Server + CAL Licensing
Licensing SQL Server 2016 Components
12
Licensing SQL Server 2016 in a Virtualized Environment
13
Licensing Individual Virtual Machines
Licensing for Maximum Virtualization
Licensing SQL Server for the Analytics Platform System
17
Advanced Licensing Scenarios and Detailed Examples
19
Licensing SQL Server for High Availability
Licensing SQL Server for Application Mobility
Licensing SQL Server in a Multiplexed Application Environment
Licensing SQL Server for Non-Production Use
Additional Product Information
SQL Server 2016 Migration Options for Software Assurance Customers
Software Assurance Benefits
Additional Product Licensing Resources
© 2016 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.
Microsoft provides this material solely for informational and marketing purposes. Customers should refer to their agreements for a full understanding
of their rights and obligations under Microsoft’s Commercial Licensing programs. Microsoft software is licensed not sold. The value and benefit gained
through use of Microsoft software and services may vary by customer. Customers with questions about differences between this material and the
agreements should contact their reseller or Microsoft account manager. Microsoft does not set final prices or payment terms for licenses acquired
through resellers. Final prices and payment terms are determined by agreement between the customer and its reseller. Eligibility for Software
Assurance benefits varies by offering and region and is subject to change. The terms and conditions of your Commercial License Agreement and the
terms and conditions under which any specific Software Assurance benefits are offered will take precedence in the case of any conflict with the
information provided here. For eligibility criteria and current benefit program rules, see the Microsoft Product List.
27
Overview
This Licensing Guide is for people who want to gain a basic understanding of
how Microsoft® SQL Server® 2016 database software is licensed through
Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs. This guide does not supersede or
replace any of the legal documentation covering SQL Server 2016 use rights.
Specific product license terms are defined in the product Software License
Terms—or in the case of Microsoft Commercial Licensing—in the Microsoft
Commercial Licensing agreement under which the software was acquired and/or
the Microsoft Commercial Licensing Product Terms. This licensing guide is not a
legal use rights document. Program specifications and business rules are subject
to change.
Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Licensing Guide
3
SQL Server 2016 Editions
SQL Server 2016 is offered in two main editions to accommodate the unique feature, performance, and price
requirements of organizations and individuals:

Enterprise Edition is ideal for mission-critical applications and large-scale data warehousing.

Standard Edition delivers basic database, reporting, and analytics capabilities.
The editions are offered in a straightforward, tiered model that creates greater consistency across the product
editions, features, and licensing. Enterprise Edition includes all the capabilities available in SQL Server 2016.
SQL Server 2016 Capabilities
SQL Server 2016 Editions
Standard
Enterprise
Core-Based or Server+CAL
Core-Based
Windows Server Core Edition Support
●
●
Basic OLTP
●
●
Basic Reporting & Analytics
●
●
Programmability & Developer Tools
(T-SQL, CLR, Data Types, FileTable, JSON)
●
●
Manageability
(Management Studio, Policy-Based Management)
●
●
Basic Corporate Business Intelligence
(Multi-dimensional models, Basic tabular model)
●
●
Licensing Options
Advanced Corporate Business Intelligence
(Advanced tabular model, Direct query, in-memory analytics, Mobile BI)
●
Enterprise Data Management
(Data Quality Services, Master Data Services)
●
Advanced Security
(Always Encrypted, Advanced Auditing, Transparent Data Encryption)
●
In-memory ColumnStore, In-memory OLTP
●
High Availability
Basic Availability Groups*
AlwaysOn Availability Groups
This table shows a comparison of key capabilities across the main SQL Server 2016 editions (*Basic Availability Groups includes 2-node
Failover Clustering).
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4
Other specialty editions of SQL Server 2016 include Developer Edition, which is licensed for non-production
use; the freely downloadable and distributable Express Edition; and the next-generation SQL Server Parallel
Data Warehouse, which is available as a component of the Analytics Platform System integrated appliance
offering. Note that starting with SQL 2016, the deployment option for SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse is
enabled through SQL Server Enterprise (covered later in this document).
With SQL Server 2016, the Web Edition remains available only under the Microsoft Services Provider License
Agreement (SPLA).
 For general information on each of the SQL Server 2016 editions, visit http://www.microsoft.com/enus/server-cloud/products/sql-server-editions/.
 For more information on the Analytics Platform System visit https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/servercloud/products/analytics-platform-system/.
 For detailed product specifications and a full feature-by-feature comparison of the SQL Server 2016
editions, visit https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143287(v=sql.130).aspx.
SQL Server
2016 Edition
Database Engine (DBE) Capacity Limits
Analysis Services (AS) and
Reporting Services (RS) Capacity Limits
Max Compute
Capacity
Max Memory
Utilization - DBE
Max DB Size
Max Compute
Capacity
Max Memory
Utilization - AS
Max Memory
Utilization – RS
OS max
OS max
524 PB
OS max
OS max
OS max
20 core limit
OS max
524 PB
20 core limit
OS max
OS max
Standard
Lesser of 4 sockets
or 24 cores
128 GB
524 PB
Lesser of 4 sockets
or 24 cores
64 GB (MOLAP)
16 GB (Tabular)
64 GB
Web
Lesser of 4 sockets
or 16 cores
64 GB
524 PB
Lesser of 4 sockets
or 16 cores
N/A
64 GB
Express
Lesser of 1 socket
or 4 cores
1 GB
10 GB
Lesser of 1 socket
or 4 cores
N/A
4 GB (Advanced
Services Ed.)
OS max
OS max
OS max
OS max
OS max
OS max
Enterprise Per Core
Enterprise
Server+CAL
Developer
This table shows a comparison of the key capacity limits across the SQL Server 2016 editions.
 For more information on the compute capacity limits for each edition of SQL Server 2016, visit
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143760(v=sql.130).aspx.
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How SQL Server 2016
Licenses Are Sold
SQL Server 2016 software licenses are sold through channels designed to meet the unique needs of customers.
These sales channels include online retailers offering full packaged product (FPP) licenses of SQL Server
software, Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) offering pre-installed licenses with their hardware systems,
as well as Licensing Solutions Partners (LSPs) and Enterprise Software Advisors (ESAs) offering SQL Server
software through Microsoft Commercial Licensing programs for end-customer organizations.
For customers with as few as five users, Microsoft offers licensing programs to help reduce administrative
overhead and software management costs, while enabling product licensing on an ongoing basis at a
considerable discount. The various licensing options enable customers to choose the program that works best
for their management and operational needs.

Comprehensive programs that offer Software Assurance as a fixed benefit include the Open Value (OV),
Open Value Subscription (OVS), Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Subscription Agreement (EAS), and
the Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE).

Transactional programs include Open and the Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA).
Server and Cloud Enrollment
The Server and Cloud Enrollment (SCE) is an enrollment under the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement that enables
highly committed customers to standardize broadly on one or more key server and cloud technologies from
Microsoft. In exchange for making an installed-base–wide commitment to one or more components of the
Server and Cloud Enrollment, customers receive the best pricing and terms, plus other benefits, including
cloud-optimized licensing options and simplified license management.
Microsoft also offers programs that can meet the specific needs of organizations that partner with Microsoft to
provide additional software and services, such as the Microsoft Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Royalty
Licensing Program and the Microsoft Services Provider License Agreement (SPLA).
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SQL Server 2016 Editions
Retail
FPP/ESD
Enterprise Edition
Standard Edition
●
Commercial Licensing Programs
Third Party
OPEN
MPSA
EA/EAS/SCE
ISVR
SPLA
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Web Edition
Express Edition
Free download
Developer Edition
Free download
This table shows the primary channel availability for SQL Server 2016 software licenses. Not every edition is available in all channels or
licensing programs in all regions.
 For more information about Microsoft Commercial Licensing Programs, download the Commercial
Licensing Reference Guide (PDF, 2.1 MB).
 For details on the Microsoft Server and Cloud Enrollment, visit
http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/licensing-options/enterprise.aspx.
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SQL Server 2016
Licensing Models
With SQL Server 2016, Microsoft offers a variety of licensing options aligned with how customers typically
purchase specific workloads. The Server+CAL licensing model provides the option to license users and/or
devices and then have low-cost access to incremental SQL Server deployments. For customers who cannot
count users or require premium database capabilities, Microsoft licenses SQL Server in a core-based licensing
model. Core-based licensing gives customers a more precise measure of computing power and a more
consistent licensing metric, regardless of whether solutions are deployed on physical on-premises servers or in
virtual or cloud environments.
SQL Server 2016
Editions
Description
Enterprise
For mission-critical applications and largescale data warehousing
Standard
Basic database, reporting, and analytics
capabilities
Licensing Options
Server+CAL
Per Core
Requirements
●
●
●
SQL Server CALs required
when licensing Server+CAL
This table compares the licensing options for each of the main SQL Server 2016 editions.
Core-Based Licensing
Under the Per Core licensing model, each server running SQL Server 2016 software or any of its components
(such as Reporting Services or Integration Services) must be assigned an appropriate number of SQL Server
2016 core licenses. The number of core licenses needed depends on whether customers are licensing the
physical server or individual virtual operating system environments (OSEs).
Unlike the Server+CAL licensing model, the Per Core model allows access for an unlimited number of users or
devices to connect from either inside or outside an organization’s firewall. With the Per Core model, customers
do not need to purchase additional client access licenses (CALs) to access the SQL Server software.
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This figure depicts a physical server with two physical processors, each containing six physical cores.
Physical Server
A server is a physical hardware system capable of running server
software. A hardware partition or blade is considered to be a
separate physical hardware system.
Physical Processor
A processor is generally a physical chip that resides in a physical
socket of the hardware partition and contains one or more cores.
Physical Core
Each physical processor contains smaller processing units called
physical cores. Some processors have two cores, some four,
some six or eight, and so on. The figure above shows an example
of two physical processors with six cores each.
Hardware Thread
A hardware thread is either a physical core or a hyper-thread in a
physical processor.
Physical Operating
System Environment
A physical operating system environment (OSE) is configured to
run directly on a physical hardware system and is all or part of an
operating system instance.
For detailed definitions of these and other key licensing terms, please refer to the Microsoft Commercial Licensing Product Terms.
How to License SQL Server 2016 Using the Per Core Licensing Model
When running SQL Server in a physical OSE, all physical cores on the server must be licensed. Software
partitioning does not reduce the number of core licenses required, except when licensing individual virtual
machines (VMs). A minimum of four core licenses are required for each physical processor on the server.
To determine and acquire the correct number of core licenses needed, customers must:
1
Count the total number of physical cores in the server.
2
Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses required for the server. Core licenses are sold in packs of two, so
customers must divide the number of licenses required by two to determine the actual number of line items (licensing SKUs)
to order.
 For more details on the Per Core licensing model, including key terms and licensing definitions, download
the Introduction to Per Core Licensing Commercial Licensing Brief.
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The Per Core licensing model is appropriate when:
 Deploying the SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition (including using the SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse
deployment option) or SQL Server 2016 Web Edition software.

Deploying Internet or extranet workloads or deploying systems that integrate with external-facing
workloads (even if external data goes through one or more other systems), or when the number of
users/devices cannot be counted easily.

Implementing centralized deployments that span a large number of direct and/or indirect users/devices.

The total licensing costs for licensing SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition software are lower than those
incurred using the Server+CAL licensing model.
Note: The use of hyper-threading technology does not affect the number of core licenses required when
running SQL Server software in a physical OSE.
For details on how to license virtual OSEs using the Per Core model, refer to the Licensing SQL Server 2016 in a
Virtual Environment section of this guide.
Server + CAL Licensing
When licensing the SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition software under the Server+CAL model, customers
purchase a server license for each server and a client access license (CAL) for each device (Device CAL) and/or
user (User CAL) accessing SQL Server or any of its components. A CAL is not software; it is a license granting
users and devices access to the SQL Server software.
This figure illustrates the licenses used in the Server+CAL licensing model.
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How to License SQL Server 2016 Using the Server+CAL Licensing Model
Under the Server+CAL licensing model, each operating system environment (OSE) running SQL Server 2016
software or any of its components must have a SQL Server 2016 server license assigned to the physical server
hosting the OSE. Each server license allows customers to run any number of SQL Server instances in a single
OSE, either physical or virtual.
Note: Running SQL Server software on different hardware partitions or blades requires separate software
licenses. Hardware partitions and blades are considered to be separate servers for licensing purposes and SQL
Server software licenses cannot be assigned to more than one server at any time.
To access a licensed SQL Server, each user or device must have a SQL Server CAL that is the same version or
newer than the SQL Server software version being accessed. For example, to access a server running SQL Server
2016 software, a user needs a SQL Server 2016 CAL.
Note: Devices not operated by humans require device CALs, even when connecting to SQL Server indirectly.
For human-operated devices such as PCs or hand-held terminals, a user CAL or device CAL can be used.
While being version-specific, each SQL Server 2016 CAL provides access to any number of current and/or prior
version licensed SQL Server instances in a customer’s organization, current or previous product edition,
including legacy SQL Business Intelligence, SQL Server Enterprise, SQL Server Workgroup, and SQL Server for
Small Business edition servers.
Note: The use of hardware or software that reduces the number of devices or users that directly access or use
the software (multiplexing/pooling) does not reduce the number of CALs required. For details on how to
license SQL Server in a multiplexed application environment, refer to the Advanced Licensing Scenarios section
of this guide.
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The Server+CAL licensing model is appropriate when:
 Deploying SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition software in scenarios in which customers can easily count
users/devices and the total licensing costs are lower than using the Per Core licensing model.

Accessing multiple SQL Server databases and/or planning to scale out the use of SQL Server by adding new
Standard Edition servers over time. After customers have purchased the necessary CALs, additional server
licenses are needed only for new server system deployments.

Accessing legacy Enterprise or Business Intelligence edition servers in the Server+CAL licensing model. For
more detailed information on this topic, refer to the Additional Product Information section of this guide.
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Licensing SQL Server 2016
Components
SQL Server software includes a range of licensed server components, including but not limited to the SQL
Server Database Engine (DB), SQL Server R Services for Windows, Master Data Services (MDS), Analysis Services
(AS), Integration Services (IS), Reporting Services (RS), and Data Quality Services (DQS). In addition, a number of
management components, such as client applications and tools used for creating or working with analytical
data, are provided.
 For more details on the software components specifically included with SQL Server 2016, visit
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms144275(v=sql.130).aspx.
The software components of a single SQL Server 2016 license cannot be separated. Any OSE running any of the
licensed components of SQL Server 2016 requires a license. For example, if the SQL Server DB is deployed in
one OSE and SQL Server RS is deployed in another, both OSEs must be fully licensed for SQL Server 2016
accordingly.
Management tools and other software identified as additional or supplemental software—such as product
documentation, client connectivity tools, software add-ins, and Software Development Kits (SDKs)—can
generally be distributed and run on any number of devices for use with a licensed instance of SQL Server
software. Refer to the Commercial Licensing Product Terms for the list of additional software components
provided with SQL Server 2016.
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Licensing SQL Server 2016
in a Virtualized Environment
Microsoft SQL Server is increasingly being deployed in virtualized environments, which enable running
instances of SQL Server concurrently in separate virtual OSEs (or virtual machines).
SQL Server 2016 offers expanded virtualization rights, options, and benefits to provide greater flexibility for
customers who are deploying in virtual environments. When deploying SQL Server 2016 software in virtualized
environments, customers have the choice to license either individual virtual machines as needed or to license
for maximum virtualization in highly virtualized, private cloud, or dynamic environments. Maximum
virtualization can be achieved by licensing the entire physical server with Enterprise Edition core licenses and
covering those licenses with Software Assurance.
This figure depicts two virtual machines, each containing two virtual cores.
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Licensing Individual Virtual Machines
As customers consolidate existing workloads and refresh hardware, they may find that a SQL Server instance
uses only a fraction of available system computing power. When deploying databases in virtual environments
that require just a fraction of a physical server, savings can be achieved by licensing individual virtual machines
(VMs).
How to License Individual Virtual Machines Using the Per Core Licensing Model
Similar to the Per Core licensing model in physical OSEs, all virtual cores (v-cores) supporting virtual OSEs that
are running instances of SQL Server 2016 software must be licensed accordingly.
To license individual VMs using the Per Core model, customers must purchase a core license for each v-core (or
virtual processor, virtual CPU, virtual thread) allocated to the VM, subject to a four core license minimum per
VM. For licensing purposes, a v-core maps to a hardware thread.
Note: Licensing individual VMs is the only licensing option available for SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition
customers who are running the software in a virtualized environment under the Per Core model.
For customers with highly virtualized environments who want to move VMs dynamically across servers to
reallocate resources as needed, Microsoft permits License Mobility as an exclusive Software Assurance benefit
available for all SQL Server editions. For more information on licensing for application mobility, refer to the
Advanced Licensing Scenarios section of this guide.
1
License the virtual cores in each virtual machine
2
A minimum of four core licenses is required for each virtual machine
This figure illustrates the licensing requirements for three different virtual machines under the Per Core licensing model.
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Additional licenses are required when:
 A single hardware thread is supporting multiple virtual cores. (A core license is required for each v-core.)

Multiple hardware threads are supporting a single virtual core simultaneously. (A core license allows a
single v-core to be supported by a single hardware thread.)
How to License Individual Virtual Machines Using the Server+CAL Licensing Model
To license individual VMs using the Server+CAL model, customers simply purchase one server license for each
VM running SQL Server software, regardless of the number of virtual processors allocated to the VM.
For example, a customer who wants to deploy Standard Edition running in six VMs, each allocated with four vcores, would need to assign six SQL Server 2016 Standard server licenses to that server.
Note: Each user or device accessing SQL Server 2016 software, regardless of a virtual or physical deployment,
requires a SQL Server 2016 CAL.
For details on how to license individual VMs with legacy SQL Server Enterprise Edition server licenses, refer to
the Additional Product Information section of this guide.
1
License each virtual machine with a server license
2
License each user or device with a CAL
This figure shows an example of licensing virtual machines under the Server+CAL licensing model.
Licensing for Maximum Virtualization
With SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition, customers who have licensed all physical cores on the server can
run an unlimited number of instances of the software in a number of OSEs (physical and/or virtual) equal to the
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number of core licenses assigned to the server. For example, a four-processor server with four cores per
processor—fully licensed with 16 core licenses—can run SQL Server software in up to 16 VMs, regardless of the
number of virtual cores allocated to each VM.

Customers who have licensed all the physical cores on the server and want to run SQL Server 2016 software
in more VMs than are permitted can assign additional core licenses to the licensed server.

Each additional core license allows deployment of SQL Server software in an additional VM, so in the
previous example, a customer who wants to run SQL Server Enterprise Edition in 18 VMs would simply
acquire and assign 18 core licenses to that server.
With the addition of Software Assurance coverage on all Enterprise Edition core licenses (for a fully licensed
server), customers’ use rights are expanded to allow any number of instances of the software to run in any
number of OSEs (physical or virtual). This valuable Software Assurance benefit enables customers to deploy an
unlimited number of VMs to handle dynamic workloads and fully utilize hardware computing capacity.
Note: This benefit ends when Software Assurance coverage expires.
Licensing for maximum virtualization can be an ideal solution when:

Deploying SQL Server private cloud scenarios with high VM density.

Hyper-threading is being used.

Using dynamic provisioning and de-provisioning of VM resources.
1
Fully license the server with SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition core licenses and Software Assurance
2
Deploy an unlimited number of virtual machines
An example of licensing for unlimited VMs with Enterprise Edition core licenses and Software Assurance.
 For additional details on licensing SQL Server in virtualized environments, download the SQL Server
Virtualization Licensing Guide (PDF, 2.7 MB).
Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Licensing Guide
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Licensing SQL Server for
the Analytics Platform
System
SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) is a specialized edition of SQL Server software that is available only
as a component of the Analytics Platform System (APS) appliance. APS appliances provide data warehouse
solutions that are offered only through preferred hardware partners.
Simple to deploy, SQL Server PDW is delivered as a component of a pre-built APS appliance with software,
hardware, and networking components already pre-installed and configured to maximize data warehouse
performance. Designed to grow with a customer’s data warehousing needs, APS appliances can scale from a
quarter rack configuration to a multiple rack solution supporting petabytes of data.
Beginning with SQL Server 2016, deploying and running SQL Server PDW is done through SQL Enterprise
Edition Per Core licensing with SA coverage. The number of SQL Server Enterprise Edition core licenses for an
APS appliance will depend on the total number of physical cores in the SQL Server PDW compute servers
configured within the appliance.
Note: An APS appliance is defined to be a single unit made up of two or more active compute servers (also
called compute nodes) that are controlled by a single PDW control VM (virtual OSE).
When licensing an APS appliance, all physical cores on all active SQL Server PDW compute servers must be fully
licensed to run the SQL Server PDW software. For example, a quarter rack appliance configured with two active
SQL Server PDW compute servers—each with two 8-core processors—would require a total of 32 SQL Server
Enterprise Edition core licenses.
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This figure depicts the architecture of a representative quarter rack APS appliance.
Additional Considerations when Licensing APS Appliances:
 The underlying Windows Server Standard Edition software is acquired with the appliance hardware through
an OEM license. Software Assurance coverage for Windows Server Standard Edition must be added through
an applicable Microsoft Commercial Licensing program.
 Windows Server CALs with Software Assurance are also required for all users accessing the APS
appliance.

Customers must additionally acquire software licenses with Software Assurance coverage for the SQL Server
Enterprise and requisite System Center Standard software components through a Commercial Licensing
program.

Although SQL Server Enterprise core licenses are required only for the active compute nodes in an
appliance, all servers—including the control server and passive failover servers configured in the
appliance—must be fully licensed for both Windows Server Standard and System Center Standard Edition
software.

Licensing by individual OSE is not applicable to SQL Server PDW software deployments. As noted above, all
physical cores on all active compute servers in the APS appliance running SQL Server PDW must be fully
licensed for SQL Server Enterprise Edition.

SQL Server software running on the PDW appliance control server is considered Additional Server Software
and does not need to be separately licensed when all active compute servers are fully licensed as defined
above.
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Advanced Licensing
Scenarios and Detailed
Examples
This section introduces a few advanced SQL Server 2016 licensing scenarios to help illustrate how customers
can apply some of the key licensing principles covered in this guide. For detailed licensing terms and additional
licensing guidance applicable to more specific software deployment scenarios, refer to the Microsoft Product
Terms.
Licensing SQL Server for High Availability
SQL Server software can be configured so that if one server fails, its processing will be picked up, recovered,
and continued by another server. All editions of SQL Server 2016 provide basic high-availability features,
including backup log shipping, database mirroring, and/or two-node failover clustering. Advanced (AlwaysOn)
high-availability features in SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition include enhanced support for multiple, active
(readable) secondary servers and support for multi-site failover clustering.
Log shipping and database mirroring take place at the database level, whereas failover clustering takes place at
the SQL Server instance level.
Failover Basics
For each server licensed with SQL Server 2016 and covered by active Software Assurance, customers can run up
to the same number of passive failover instances in a separate OSE to support failover events. A passive SQL
Server instance is one that is not serving SQL Server data to clients or running active SQL Server
workloads. The passive failover instances can run on a separate server. These may be used only to synchronize
with the primary server and otherwise maintain the passive database instance in a warm standby state in order
to minimize downtime due to hardware or software failure.

The secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as
long as it is truly passive and the primary SQL Server is covered with active Software Assurance. If it is
serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any “work”, such
as additional backups being made from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server.
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This figure shows an example of licensing an active primary SQL Server 2016 database with Software Assurance and a passive
secondary database hosted on-premises.
This figure shows an example of licensing an active primary SQL Server 2016 database with Software Assurance and a passive
secondary database hosted in the cloud.
Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Licensing Guide
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
If you are using License Mobility to license your primary database running on shared hardware in the cloud,
you may run the same number of passive SQL Server instances in a separate OSE running in the cloud on
shared hardware to support failover events
This figure shows an example of licensing both the active primary SQL Server 2016 database with Software Assurance and a passive
secondary database in the cloud.

Primary server licenses covered with Software Assurance include support for one secondary server only; any
additional secondary servers must be licensed for SQL Server. Note: The rights to run a passive instance of
SQL Server for failover support are not transferable to other licensed servers for purposes of providing
multiple passive secondary servers to a single primary server.
This figure shows an example of licensing an active primary SQL Server 2016 database with Software Assurance and multiple
passive secondary databases.
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Additional Considerations for High Availability:
 When licensing SQL Server 2016 under the Per Core model, the number of core licenses must be based on
the server that requires the higher number of licenses. This way, when the failover server takes over, it will
be adequately licensed. For a passive instance of SQL Server to be properly licensed, it cannot require more
core licenses than the licensed primary system.

In the event that a passive instance of SQL Server becomes active for any reason, the primary SQL Server
2016 license is dynamically reassigned to the newly active server via the License Mobility within Server
Farms Software Assurance benefit and now assumes all active workloads.

When individual SQL Server instances are failing over independently from each other, each SQL Server OSE
running an active SQL Server instance requires a separate license.
AlwaysOn Availability Groups
Enhanced for SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition, AlwaysOn Availability Groups enable customers to configure
multiple databases that will failover as a unit, with support for up to eight active secondary servers and three
synchronous secondary servers. The ability to use secondary servers for more than just passive failover support
can improve the performance of primary, reporting and backup workloads due to better balancing of
workloads across instances, helping to provide better return on hardware investment.
Note: When secondary servers are actively used to support these additional workload scenarios—that is, when
the servers used for failover purposes are no longer truly passive—they must be fully licensed accordingly.
This figure shows an example of licensing an active primary SQL Server 2016 database with Software Assurance and an active secondary
database.
Today, many virtual environments are becoming even more dynamic, especially in scenarios where software is
used to automatically and dynamically allocate resources to different VMs “on the fly.” In the next section, we
will discuss licensing SQL Server in these scenarios and look at ways to further simplify licensing management.
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Licensing SQL Server for Application Mobility
License Mobility is a use right that is available for all editions of SQL Server 2016 software licenses with active
Software Assurance coverage. With this Software Assurance benefit, customers can reassign SQL Server licenses
to different servers within a server farm as often as needed. Customers can also reassign licenses to third-party
shared servers. License Mobility is available for licenses under both the Per Core and Server+CAL license
models.

SQL Server licenses that are not covered with active Software Assurance can be reassigned only to a
different server within a server farm once every 90 days, and they cannot be reassigned to a third-party web
hoster or non-private cloud at any time. (In the event of permanent hardware failure, the 90-day
reassignment limit is waived.)

All SQL Server licenses with active Software Assurance can be reassigned to another server within the server
farm as often as needed; however, they can be reassigned only to another server in another server farm, or
to a non-private cloud, once every 90 days.
 A server farm may consist of up to two data centers located in time zones that are within four hours of
one another and/or with the European Union (EU) and/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA).
 A given data center may be part of only one server farm.

License Mobility use rights do not apply to SQL Server PDW software.
License Mobility can benefit customers who license individual virtual machines (VMs) and then want to reassign
those licenses to different servers within a server farm—as workloads move dynamically—or to VMs in cloud
environments.
Note: License Mobility applies only to the reassignment of software licenses and is not applicable to the
reassignment of running instances of SQL Server software.
In this figure, core licenses are being reassigned within the same server farm through License Mobility.
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In this figure, core licenses are reassigned to a third-party shared server through License Mobility. Note that unlike License Mobility
within a server farm, licenses can be reassigned to third party only once every 90 days.
 For more information on how to use License Mobility to extend the value of SQL Servers licenses, visit
http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/software-assurance/license-mobility.aspx.
Licensing SQL Server for Non-Production Use
Customers are required to license every Microsoft software product they install, configure, and use, including
all physical and virtual instances. As such, licensing a development and test environment can be expensive and
challenging to manage as new servers are set up and others are torn down. Microsoft offers multiple, costeffective options for licensing SQL Server 2016 software for use in non-production environments.
SQL Server Developer Edition
SQL Server 2016 Developer Edition is a fully featured version of SQL Server software—including all of the
features and capabilities of Enterprise Edition—licensed for development, test, and demonstration purposes
only. SQL Server Developer Edition may not be used in a production environment or with product data. Any
test data that was used for design, development, or test purposes must be removed prior to deploying the
software for production use.
Customers may install and run the SQL Server Developer Edition software on any number of devices. This is
significant, because it allows customers to run the software on multiple devices (for testing purposes, for
example) without having to license each non-production server system.
Note: A production environment is defined as an environment that is accessed by end users of an application
(such as an Internet website) and that is used for more than gathering feedback or acceptance testing of that
application. Other scenarios that constitute production environments include:

Environments that connect to a production database.
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
Environments that support disaster recovery or backup for a production environment.

Environments that are used for production at least some of the time, such as a server that is rotated into
production during peak periods of activity.
It is rare that someone whose primary role is designing, developing, or testing software would also qualify as
an “end user” of the software.
Note: Effective April 1, 2016, SQL Server Developer Edition became a free product, available for download from
the Microsoft Dev Essentials program. Customers who need prior versions and/or additional SQL Server
editions for development, test, and demonstration purpose (for example, Standard or Enterprise editions), can
access them through Visual Studio subscriptions.
 For more information on free Dev Essentials program, including how to register, visit
https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/products/visual-studio-dev-essentials-vs.aspx.
Visual Studio Subscriptions
Customers can also choose to license SQL Server software for non-production use through certain Visual
Studio subscription offerings, including the Visual Studio Professional and Enterprise subscription levels. Visual
Studio subscriptions are licensed on a per user basis and the software cannot be used in a production
environment.
 For more information on Visual Studio subscriptions that include access to SQL Server software, visit
http://www.visualstudio.com/products/visual-studio-with-msdn-overview-vs.
 For more information on Visual Studio licensing scenarios, download the Visual Studio 2015 Licensing
White Paper.
Product Evaluations
SQL Server 2016 Evaluation Edition is a fully functional trial version of SQL Server 2016 software that
automatically expires after 180 days. Microsoft Commercial Licensing customers can also install and evaluate
non-expiring software versions of any of the SQL Server 2016 products for 60 days before requiring a purchase.
 To discover the power of SQL Server 2016, download the free SQL Server 2016 Evaluation.
Licensing SQL Server in a Multiplexed Application Environment
“Multiplexing” refers to the use of hardware or software to pool connections, reroute information, or reduce
the number of devices or users that directly access or use SQL Server. Multiplexing can also include reducing
the number of devices or users SQL Server directly manages.
When licensing SQL Server software under the Server+CAL licensing model, users and devices that indirectly
access SQL Server data through another application or hardware device still require SQL Server CALs.

Multiplexing does not reduce the number of Microsoft licenses required. Users are required to have the
appropriate licenses, regardless of their direct or indirect connection to SQL Server.
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
Any user or device that accesses the server, files, data, or content provided by the server that is made
available through an automated process requires a SQL Server CAL.

The number of tiers of hardware or software between the SQL Server and the user or devices that ultimately
use its data, services, or functionality does not affect the number of CALs required.

Manual transfer of data from employee to employee does not necessitate the requirement of a CAL for the
receiving employee. For example, if an employee sends a Microsoft Office Excel® version of a report to
another employee, the receiving employee does not require a CAL (as long as the report does not access a
server running SQL Server in some way).
This figure illustrates the licenses used in the Server+CAL licensing model via multiplexing.
SQL Server CALs are required for users or devices that directly input into, query, or view data from a SQL Server
database. Similarly, SQL Server CALs are required for users or devices that input data into, query, or view data
from a SQL Server database through a pooling device (such as the CRM Server in the figure above). This
includes users who view data through web-based applications or enter information into a database through an
intermediary product.
When users actively send SQL Server data by email or other messaging technology, recipient users do not
require a SQL Server CAL. With multiplexing, these rules do not change. Likewise, the paper distribution of data
does not require SQL Server CALs for the recipients of the paper report. Users who receive data directly or
indirectly from SQL Server require CALs, but if these users print the data, recipient users do not require a SQL
Server CAL.
 For more details on how multiplexing affects the licensing of SQL Server 2016 products under the
Server+CAL model, download the Commercial Licensing Brief.
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Additional Product
Information
Upgrades, Downgrades, and Step-Ups
When licensing SQL Server 2016 software, several deployment options are available to support a variety of
customer upgrade scenarios.

Version Upgrade Rights are offered as a Software Assurance benefit for qualified licenses and allow
customers access to upgrade their deployments at no additional cost. Existing SQL Server 2012 software
licenses covered by Software Assurance are automatically upgraded to licenses for the corresponding SQL
Server 2016 edition.

Cross-Edition Rights are currently available for certain SQL Server products only and allow customers to
deploy an alternate (usually lower) edition in place of the currently licensed edition. SQL Server crossedition rights can be combined with the version downgrade rights (available for all products offered under
a Commercial Licensing Agreement) that allow customers to deploy prior versions of the software in place
of the currently licensed version. In some cases, rights to deploy prior versions of product editions other
than the edition currently licensed may also be allowed.
Note: When using version downgrade or cross-edition deployment rights, the product use rights for the
originally licensed version and edition still apply.
Software Deployment options for SQL Server 2016
Customers Licensed for:
SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition Server
SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition Core
SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition Core
Can Choose to Deploy:
Software Edition
Software Version
SQL Server Standard Server
2016 or earlier
SQL Server Workgroup
2008 R2 or earlier
SQL Server for Small Business
2008 R2 or earlier
SQL Server Standard Core
2016 or earlier
SQL Server Web (non-SPLA only)
2008 R2 or earlier
SQL Server Workgroup
2008 R2 or earlier
SQL Server Enterprise Core
2016 or earlier
SQL Server Business Intelligence
2014 or earlier
SQL Server Standard Core
2016 or earlier
SQL Server Datacenter
2008 R2 or earlier
This table shows deployment options available to customers with SQL Server licenses. SQL Server 2016 use rights apply.
Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Licensing Guide
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
Edition Step-Ups are offered as a Software Assurance benefit in certain Commercial Licensing programs
only and allow customers to move from a lower product edition. SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition Core
licenses can step-up to SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition Core licenses only. To be eligible to step-up to a
higher edition, the lower edition license must be covered by Software Assurance. Step-Ups between
licensing models are not allowed.
SQL Server 2016 Migration Options for Software Assurance Customers
To facilitate a smooth transition to the product edition and licensing model changes introduced with SQL
Server 2012, Microsoft continues to offer several migration options to help customers who have invested in
Software Assurance benefits to protect their current software investments.
For SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition Licenses with Software Assurance
SQL Server 2014 was the last version of the SQL Server Business Intelligence Edition. Customers with active
Software Assurance coverage on qualifying Business Intelligence Edition server licenses on June 1, 2016, are
eligible to upgrade to and use SQL Server 2016 Enterprise (Server+CAL) software with those licenses.

During the current term of Software Assurance coverage (effective on or before June 1, 2016),
customers who are licensing SQL Server 2014 Business Intelligence Edition can, for a given deployment,
upgrade to and use the SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition (Server+CAL) software in place of the
licensed SQL Server 2014 edition. Note: Customers who upgrade to SQL Server 2016 software are
subject to current version Enterprise Edition server license product terms.

Customers with Enterprise Agreements effective on or before June 1, 2016, can continue to acquire
additional SQL Server 2014 Business Intelligence server licenses—and upgrade those licenses to SQL
Server 2016—through the end of their current enrollment term, as long as the number of new licenses
acquired does not exceed more than 25 percent of the number of qualifying licenses acquired as of
May 1, 2016.

After their current term expires, Software Assurance coverage can be renewed and maintained on SQL
Server Enterprise Edition server licenses to provide continued access to Software Assurance benefits,
including License Mobility rights, Failover Server rights, and access to future releases.
Additional Considerations for Customers Migrating to SQL Server Enterprise Edition Server Licenses
SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition software licensed under the Server+CAL model is intended and physically
limited to run only on servers with a total of 20 or fewer cores:
 There are two versions of SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition software: a server-based version and a
core-based version. Customers must run the software version for which they are licensed.
 For customers running SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition server-based software instances in a physical
environment, that OSE is only permitted to access a maximum of 20 physical cores. A per instance
technical limit is also enforced.
 For customers running SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition server licenses in virtual environments, each
set of VMs associated with a single server license (up to four per server license) can only access up to 20
hardware threads of combined power at any time.
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Existing SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition server licenses continue to have tremendous value, and with the
availability of ongoing Software Assurance coverage, customers licensed under the Server+CAL model can
retain access to the latest product enhancements and advanced capabilities of Enterprise Edition. As such, there
are no programmatic conversions to core licenses.
For SQL Server Parallel Data Warehouse (PDW) Licenses with Software Assurance
Since February 1, 2015, customers have been allowed to license SQL Server PDW software running on the
Analytics Platform System (APS) with SQL Server Enterprise Edition core licenses covered by Software
Assurance as an alternative to the “standalone” SQL Server PDW license offering.
As of June 1, 2016, Microsoft no longer offers SQL Server PDW-specific licenses and customers can only use
Enterprise Edition core licenses with Software Assurance coverage to license APS appliances.

Customers with Enterprise Agreements effective on or before June 1, 2016, can continue to acquire
additional SQL Server PDW licenses—and upgrade those licenses to SQL Server 2016—through the end
of their current enrollment term.

After their current term expires, Software Assurance coverage can be renewed and maintained on SQL
Server Enterprise Edition core licenses to provide continued access to PDW software deployment rights
and Software Assurance benefits, including access to future software releases.
For full details on the migration options and additional license grants available to current Software Assurance
customers with eligible SQL Server licenses, refer to the June 1, 2016, publication of the Microsoft Product
Terms.
Software Assurance Benefits
Software Assurance for Commercial Licensing helps boost IT productivity by enabling customers to get the
most from Microsoft software products. Software Assurance benefits—including 24x7 support, deployment
planning services, user and technical training, and the latest software releases and unique technologies—are
combined in one cost-effective program.
Using these benefits can help customers improve productivity and help IT efficiently deploy and manage SQL
Server software. As hardware capacity and licensing needs expand, SQL Server customers with Software
Assurance coverage can enjoy the benefit of adding incremental licenses without regard to the software
version licensed. Software licenses and use rights are version-specific and as such, licenses for different
software versions cannot be combined when licensing a single operating system environment. As a benefit of
having access to—and therefore always being licensed for—the latest version of SQL Server software, Software
Assurance customers licensed under the core licensing model (for example) can easily combine current version
core licenses with future version core licenses, without the need to track or otherwise reassign covered licenses
based on software version alone.
Note: All licenses must be covered with Software Assurance and product use rights do not change when using
downgrade rights to deploy prior software versions.
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Software Assurance Benefits Overview
Benefit
Description
Unlimited Virtualization
Allows customers to run any number of instances of SQL Server 2016 Enterprise Edition software in an
unlimited number of VMs. Applicable under the core licensing model only.
Failover Servers
Allows customers to install and run passive SQL Server 2016 instances in a separate OSE or server for high
availability in anticipation of a failover event.
License Mobility within a
Server Farm
Allows reassignment of SQL Server 2016 licenses within a server farm more than once every 90 days. Does not
apply to SQL Server PDW.
License Mobility through
Software Assurance
Allows license reassignment of SQL Server 2016 to third party shared servers. Does not apply to SQL Server
PDW.
Disaster Recovery Rights
Allows backup instances of SQL Server 2016 software for temporary use in a server dedicated to disaster
recovery.
Special Migration
Offers
Provides license grants and additional use terms for legacy SQL Server 2008 R2 customers who are still
migrating to current SQL Server 2016 product editions and license models.
SQL Server Appliance
Updates
Allows access to new product features and functionality between major appliance software releases. Applies to
SQL Server PDW deployments only.
Additional Benefits for SCE
Customers
In addition to the benefits noted above, Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE) customers may also qualify for premium
benefits, including Unlimited Problem Resolution Support.
This table provides an overview of the benefits of Software Assurance.
Refer to the Commercial Licensing Product Terms for more details on these benefits and additional license
grants available to SQL Server customers with Software Assurance, including any additional terms and
conditions that may apply.
 For more information on the full set of Software Assurance benefits available to help customers deploy,
manage, and maximize their SQL Server Commercial licensing purchases, visit
http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/software-assurance/default.aspx.
Additional Product Licensing Resources
For more information about licensing SQL Server 2016, including what is new with this version, please visit the
following websites:
 For detailed SQL Server product licensing information, including new version features, edition comparisons,
benchmarks, competitive comparisons and more, visit http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/.
 For SQL Server Product Terms, Product List details, licensing briefs, and other information on Microsoft
Commercial Licensing topics, visit http://www.microsoft.com/licensing/about-licensing/productlicensing.aspx.
 For a list of dependent licenses required for SQL Server under the terms of Commercial Licensing Programs,
download the Software Dependency Guide.
© 2017 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
This document is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS DOCUMENT. This information is provided to help
guide your authorized use of products you license; it is not your agreement. Your use of products licensed under your commercial license agreement is governed by the terms
and conditions of that agreement. In the case of any conflict between this information and your agreement, the terms and conditions of your agreement control. Prices for
licenses acquired through Microsoft resellers are determined by the reseller.
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