I was trying to create a distribution database on an instance of SQL Server 2016 SP1 Standard Edition.

I got an error that the replication component of SQL Server was not installed. We have recently upgraded our server from SQL Server 2012 to 2016 where we had tested replication to a dev machine previously.

It occurred to me that the reason that the replication components aren't installed is that we perhaps aren't paying for them. Looking at the licensing guide found HERE, I can't find information on replication specifically - either because it IS included in the basic SQL Server app or it falls under some generic product name like 'Enterprise Data Management', or something else.


  1. Does SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition include replication?
  2. Does the Distribution server count as a separate instance of SQL Server and require its own license?
  3. If we are using this as a testing 'dev' ground, do we still need to purchase licenses for replication from prod to dev, with the distribution server hosted on the same dev machine?

1 Answer 1

  1. Yes. (See the REPLICATION section in Editions and supported features of SQL Server 2016

  2. Yes. The distributor (Distribution Server) is located on a SQL Server instance and has to be correctly licensed, be this a production server or development server.

  3. Yes. License required. A replication from a production server to another (dev) server is considered a move of productive data and so the target is no longer a DEV server, but a productive server.

The basic premise regarding Microsoft Licenses for SQL Server is: If it contains productive data, it is a productive server and requires (correct) licensing.

IMHO : Do no try to circumvent MS licensing fees by being clever and innovative. It will almost always backfire.

DISCLAIMER: Please contact a Microsoft SQL Server licensee/specialist/re-seller or Microsoft themselves to obtain information about correct licensing. No guarantee given for above made statements.

  • As for the web application, is it possible to write data record s into the first database once and the second ?
    – Larry Lo
    Commented Feb 17, 2019 at 3:45

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