Per Core licensing
2 min

Do I need Software Assurance to license Virtual Machines with SQL 2022?

2 min

The new SQL 2022 comes with new licensing requirements. Besides the added updates and improvements to SQL Server 2022, Microsoft has implemented new licensing rules. One of them is the mandatory requirement to have Software Assurance when licensing Virtual Machines with SQL Standard 2022 per core. Read more about the change in the SQL Server 2022 licensing below in the article.

SQL Server 2022 Licensing Models

Microsoft has developed two on-premise SQL Server 2022 editions for the commercial use: Standard and Enterprise. SQL 2022 Standard still follows the two licensing models: SQL Server Standard + CAL and SQL Server Standard per core licensing. As for the Enterprise edition, the licensing rules remain the same for the core licensing model.

Read more about the main differences between SQL Standard and Enterprise:

SQL Server 2022 Licensing for Virtualization

When it comes to virtualization with the new SQL 2022, the licensing rules have changed. Microsoft implemented additional rules for licensing Virtual Machines (VMs) with SQL Server 2022. Read below how to ensure that your organization's licensing complies with Microsoft’s licensing rules:

Per Core: Per-core licensing can be done through the SQL Standard and SQL Enterprise editions. To license a Virtual Machine with core licenses, a core subscription license or Software Assurance license is required for each virtual core (virtual thread) allocated to the VM. The rule of minimum 4 core licenses remains the same for this licensing model.   

Software Assurance: Software Assurance (SA) is a subscription available as part of Microsoft's Volume Licensing program. This subscription guarantees that your organization's software is always up to date and you can make use of exclusive benefits. However, these extra benefits can be costly. Read more about Software Assurance and its pros and cons.

SQL Server 2019 banner

Per CAL: Per CAL licensing is only possible with the SQL Standard licensing model. In this case, to license a single Virtual Machine with SQL Server license, you need to purchase a separate SQL Server 2022 license for each Virtual Machine and a CAL for each user or device accessing the server. Keep in mind that the number of virtual or physical cores will not affect the number of the required SQL Server 2022 licenses.  

The changes in the licensing only affect SQL Server 2022 and not previous versions of SQL Server, for example, SQL Server 2019 and 2017. 


Microsoft's new SQL Server 2022 rules for virtualization can have a negative impact when it comes to the extra costs that Software Assurance brings on the per-core licensing.  So, if you're not ready to enter the world of subscriptions yet, the alternatives are to assign perpetual licenses to physical cores only or to stay with your SQL Server 2019 for a few more years. 

Another alternative to save on SQL license costs is to buy pre-owned licenses. Softtrader specializes in pre-used perpetual licenses, so your organization can save up to 70% on license acquisition costs. Contact us today and ask us for a quote! 

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