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How Microsoft Enterprise Agreements affect SQL upgrades

Microsoft offers a trade-in program for the SQL server 2012 licenses. Before considering this, it’s important to understand that “qualifying” licenses as Microsoft defines them are those that were covered by Software Assurance when SQL Server 2012 was released. Therefore, under and active Enterprise Agreement, these licenses would have been considered qualified because Software Assurance is inherent under an Enterprise Agreement.

There are multiple factors to consider relative to this trade-in program and we can’t possibly cover all in one blog so, we’ll draw upon the SQL server Enterprise Edition 2008R2 as an example, which is licensed in the Per Processor metric.

With Software Assurance being renewed on these licenses, the customer would be eligible to convert to the Per Core metric of SQL Server 2012 for the equivalent number of cores. The numbers of those per core licenses is determined using one of the following calculations:

(A) The actual number of processors multiplied by the actual number of cores per processor; or

(B) The number of processors multiplied by four, whichever of A and B is greater; or

(C) The number of Per Processor licenses that were assigned to the server multiplied by four – this is referred to as license “stacking”.

Option C speaks to when we have allocated more licenses to the server than Microsoft would consider as “standard” for the edition of SQL Server. The reality is that the conversion can be a very, very complex situation and Microsoft’s calculations are and can be difficult to verify.  It’s truly important to work through it very carefully and perhaps even with the assistance of a licensing expert.

Take note of the term “being renewed”. The trade-in takes effect at the renewal of Software Assurance. So that means re-upping, re-enlisting for another term of Software Assurance, which makes this trade-in something less than free. This is not a scenario that never ends. The qualification of licenses ends on April 1, 2015. If you have an enterprise agreement that is being renewed in the months ahead, you’ll want to start preparing soon.

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