The long and short of it is there are several changes in the way SQL 2012 will be offered from a licensing and product stand point.
The Three Main Versions of SQL Server
|Server + CAL||Core-Based|
|Business Intelligence (NEW)|
What you need to know about Core based Licensing
Microsoft is moving towards licensing by computer power for Enterprise Customers
Core Pack are sold in units of 2 with a minimum of 4 required per physical server.
With physical server licensing you must license all of the cores of the server.
Note for Enterprise Customers: Check out Server and Cal licensing if you are in the transition period (Before June 30th, 2012).
What you need to know about Server and CAL Licensing
The Business Intelligence and Standard Editions will be available under the Server + Client Access License (CAL) model.
- This licensing model can be used anytime the number of users can be readily counted (e.g., internal database applications).
- To access a licensed SQL Server in the server + CAL model, each user must have a SQL Server CAL that is the same version or newer (for example, to access a SQL Server 2008 SE server, a user would need a SQL Server 2008 or 2012 CAL).
- Each SQL Server 2012 CAL can provide access to multiple licensed SQL Servers, including the new SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence Server as well as prior versions of the Enterprise Servers.
- To help with the transition to the new licensing model, the SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition will be available under the Server + CAL model through June 30, 2012.
- All existing licenses of the Enterprise Edition in the Server + CAL licensing model with Software Assurance (SA) can be upgraded to SQL Server 2012, and SA can be maintained to provide access to future software updates. These licenses will continue under the Server + CAL licensing model.
- Existing Enterprise Edition licenses in the Server + CAL licensing model that are upgraded to SQL Server 2012 and beyond will be limited to server deployments with 20 cores or less. This 20 core limit only applies to SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition Server licenses in the Server + CAL model and will still require the appropriate number/versions of SQL Server CALs for access.
What you need to know about Visualization and Cloud Optimized Licensing
With databases that use just a fraction of the compute power of a physical server, you can save by licensing individual database Virtual Machines (VMs).
- To license a VM with core-based licenses, simply pay for the virtual cores allocated within the virtual machine (minimum of 4 core licenses per VM).
- To license a VM under the Server + CAL model (for the Business Intelligence and Standard Editions of SQL Server 2012), you can buy the server license and buy associated SQL Server CALs for each user.
- Each licensed VM that is covered with Software Assurance can be moved frequently within your server farm or to a third party hoster or cloud services provider.
- Servers fully licensed with Enterprise Edition Core licenses with Software Assurance allow you to deploy an unlimited number of database VMs on the server (or server farm) in a heavily consolidated virtualized deployment to achieve further savings.
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