All About the Core – Key SQL 2012 Update for SPLA Partners

There’s significant buzz about the updates and changes afoot for SQL 2012, but what does it mean for our SPLA partners?

In general, the key takeaways from this product update include:

  • Replacement of Processor License with Core Licenses
  • Retirement of the Datacenter edition and the Workgroup edition
  • Retirement of SQL Enterprise SAL
  • Introduction of the new Business Intelligence SAL
  • SQL Web remaining with SPLA/Removed for other Microsoft vol. licensing programs

So what does all that mean to you?  Beginning in spring when SQL 2012 launches (or whenever you choose to deploy) you’ll be paying for the power that you need instead of the physical processors.  In addition, SQL Enterprise will offer unlimited virtualization rights. Given how pricey the Datacenter SKU has historically been, this could mean cost savings for service providers that were previously licensing Datacenter.

The new way of licensing SQL 2012 is a bit interesting.  Instead of licensing by the physical processor you will need to license by the core.  The cores will be approximately ¼ of the costs of SQL 2008R2 processor license.  However, there’s a 4 core minimum in order to report this SKU.  In other words, if you have a machine with two cores, you still need to report four cores! 

Here are some simple guidelines:

  1. Count the number of cores on the server
  2. Minimum four core licenses are required per physical processor
  3. Purchase the appropriate number of core licenses for the future
  4. Licenses are sold in packs – each pack includes two core packs. 

The transition process is a bit cloudy, (no pun intended).   One of the key benefits of SPLA is the ability to use the latest version and downgrade to previous SKU. This is an option within the parameters of specific dates:

  • Spring 2012: General availability for SQL 2012
  • January 2013:  SQL 2012 will be available on the SPUR and on the pricelists. There will be two SKUs for each product (1 for SQL 2008R2 and 1 for SQL 2012)
  • Spring 2012 – January 2013: SQL 2008R2 and SQL 2012 will be on the pricelist.  This means if you are not ready to move to 2012, you can continue to license 200R2 in the same fashion you’re doing it today (per physical CPU).  Once you migrate to 2012, you need to adhere to the 2012 use rights and report 2012 SKU.

More information on this coming soon!  Look for another blog post on SQL 2012 as more information becomes available.  If you have a volume licensing agreement, check out the other blogs on this at

Related Posts

About Brett LaForge

Program Manager -Microsoft Hosted Solutions: Saint Louis, MO