SQL 2017 Standard Core Licensing Limits

  • Nautius

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 274

    I'd like to know if there is a limit to how many SQL Standard Server licenses you can put on a 3 host VM that had 72 cores total (24 each).

    So, if you bought 36 Core licenses (36 2-packs to support 72 cores), can you put as many OS's on that VM with as many SQL Server Standard instances the VM can handle?

    I found Microsoft documentation that states explicitly that you can have unlimited instances of Enterprise edition on a VM.  But it does not say what the limit is for Standard edition.

    Given the complexity of the SQL Licensing, I am guessing it may be my misunderstanding.

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442094

    Nautius - Thursday, November 30, 2017 10:59 AM

    I'd like to know if there is a limit to how many SQL Standard Server licenses you can put on a 3 host VM that had 72 cores total (24 each).

    So, if you bought 36 Core licenses (36 2-packs to support 72 cores), can you put as many OS's on that VM with as many SQL Server Standard instances the VM can handle?

    I found Microsoft documentation that states explicitly that you can have unlimited instances of Enterprise edition on a VM.  But it does not say what the limit is for Standard edition.

    Given the complexity of the SQL Licensing, I am guessing it may be my misunderstanding.

    For the best answer, contact Microsoft or your software vendor.  Any answer you get here will just be opinion.

  • Nautius

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 274

    Ok, if someone can offer an "opinion" on the matter, that would be helpful too.

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442094

    Nautius - Thursday, November 30, 2017 11:08 AM

    Ok, if someone can offer an "opinion" on the matter, that would be helpful too.

    I would not base operational needs on opinion.  Get an informed answer from Microsoft or your software vendor.

  • Michael L John

    One Orange Chip

    Points: 25632

    Nautius - Thursday, November 30, 2017 10:59 AM

    I'd like to know if there is a limit to how many SQL Standard Server licenses you can put on a 3 host VM that had 72 cores total (24 each).

    So, if you bought 36 Core licenses (36 2-packs to support 72 cores), can you put as many OS's on that VM with as many SQL Server Standard instances the VM can handle?

    I found Microsoft documentation that states explicitly that you can have unlimited instances of Enterprise edition on a VM.  But it does not say what the limit is for Standard edition.

    Given the complexity of the SQL Licensing, I am guessing it may be my misunderstanding.

    Absolutely not. Standard licensing does not work this way. 
    You need to license each VM individually.  
    And, to echo Lynn, contact your software vendor or Microsoft!

    Michael L John
    If you assassinate a DBA, would you pull a trigger?
    To properly post on a forum:
    http://www.sqlservercentral.com/articles/61537/

  • Nautius

    SSC Veteran

    Points: 274

    I believe I misspoke.  Rather than VM, I mean to say the entire virtual environment.  Are you saying that there is no Standard licensing model for the entirety of the virtual environment?  

    Our sales manager's answer is, "I don't know, I'll have someone from Microsoft call".

    The standard answer from Microsoft is, "let us scan your network and we can tell you what we think you need" (actual quote). So, no, that's not an option for me as I am trying to clean up a licensing nightmare that I inherited at the moment.  We support applications that have different editions across both virtual and physical servers.  I'd like to get as much cost reduced as possible by the next true up by getting the correct edition installed for any instances that are out of compliance.  

    If Standard Core edition only licenses per the core count of each virtual server, then this will be pricey.  If I can simply license the cores for the hosts, that would be a more cost efficient route.

    Any advice?  Opinions are welcome.

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442094

    If you want to license the underlying hardware you need to use Enterprise Edition + Software Assurance, not Standard Edition.

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442094

    You can find more info here; https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-2017-pricing

  • frederico_fonseca

    SSChampion

    Points: 14006

    As mentioned before Microsoft or vendor should always be consulted.

    But on this case the licensing documents are pretty clear.
    From the Licensing Guide on the link above

    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 2017 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 2017 Standard Edition customers who are running the software in a virtualized environment under the Per Core model.

  • Sue_H

    SSC Guru

    Points: 89729

    Lynn Pettis - Thursday, November 30, 2017 11:01 AM

    For the best answer, contact Microsoft or your software vendor.  Any answer you get here will just be opinion.

    I wish more people would pay attention to this. Thanks for continually posting that.
    I worked for a large company that spent however many millions yearly with MS and the licensing agreements they had were nothing like what I have seen posted as "absolutes" forums. Too many people don't realize how customized a lot of this is for some companies.

    Sue

  • Steve Jones - SSC Editor

    SSC Guru

    Points: 714105

    MS Licensing is a pain and not much more helpful many times, so I understand why people are hesitant. From reading the guide on VMs (https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/sql-server/sql-server-2017-pricing), here's my I'm-Not-a-Lawyer-and-didn't-stay-in-a-Holiday-Inn-Express

    First, there isn't a VM machine. There's a host and VMs running on that host. You don't have a 3 host VM, you can have a host with 3 VMs or 3 Hosts that have 1 or more VMs on them, potentially moving.

    1. For Standard, you have to license each VM as if it's a regular machine.  That means if you have a VM with 24 cores, you need 24 core licenses. If you have 3 of these, then you need 72. The licenses are for that VM.
    2. You can move licenses in a DR situation, but only once every 90 days, so you can't have VMs floating.
    3. to license the physical cores and have unlimited VMs on a host, you need Enterprise Edition + SA.

  • superfila

    Newbie

    Points: 1

    Got here by a web search and didnt see a straight answer.

     

    72 cores in a host and 72 sql standard per core licenses allows up to have anywhere between:

    1 VM (max 24 cores)

    2 VMs (2 x max 24 cores)

    3 VMs (3 x max 24 cores)

    ...

    18 VMs (18 x 4 cores).

    License requires to use AT LEAST 4 core-licenses per VM, so with 72 licenses you cannot have more than 18 VMs (18 VMs w/ one core each or 18 VMs w/ 4 cores each, it doesn't matter)

    Also, make sure the hypervisor / host allocates the processing power to VMs as CPUs W/ MANY CORES, not many cpus w/ one core, as the sql will use no more than 4 CPUs.

     

     

  • Lynn Pettis

    SSC Guru

    Points: 442094

    superfila wrote:

    Got here by a web search and didnt see a straight answer.   72 cores in a host and 72 sql standard per core licenses allows up to have anywhere between: 1 VM (max 24 cores) 2 VMs (2 x max 24 cores) 3 VMs (3 x max 24 cores) ... 18 VMs (18 x 4 cores). License requires to use AT LEAST 4 core-licenses per VM, so with 72 licenses you cannot have more than 18 VMs (18 VMs w/ one core each or 18 VMs w/ 4 cores each, it doesn't matter) Also, make sure the hypervisor / host allocates the processing power to VMs as CPUs W/ MANY CORES, not many cpus w/ one core, as the sql will use no more than 4 CPUs.    

     

    That would depend if you are licensing each of the VMs independently or if you license the host.

  • DinoRS

    SSCrazy

    Points: 2276

    Lynn Pettis wrote:

      That would depend if you are licensing each of the VMs independently or if you license the host.

    Reading the question and replies before carefully, you would've learned that OP is about licensing SE which can only be licensed on a per VM Level or in short superfila's answer is correct in all mentioned points.

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