We recently purchased a license for SQL Server 2017 Standard (16 cores) in behalf of a client from an online reseller (not directly from Microsoft), and installed it without problem: we downloaded and installed the evaluation version of SQL Server from the MS web site and then used the edition upgrade of the installation center to enter the serial number (since we didn't have the license at the installation time).

But now the client want to reinstall SQL Server in another (more powerful) server and decommission the current one. So the question is: can we just use the serial number in the new server, or previously we have to "remove" the license of the current installation in some way?

  • 3
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about licensing. Oct 4, 2018 at 6:40
  • I understand that questions about purchasing licenses are off-topic, but this is about how to reuse/reinstall an already owned license, I think the question is more like this one. Are that type questions off-topic as well? In that case, where I should ask this type of questions, maybe in Server Fault? Oct 5, 2018 at 19:21

1 Answer 1


Look under the section “ Licensing SQL Server for application mobility” the first bullet details on what you are asking about. There is no need to remove the license from the first machine prior to installation of the replacement machine.

License Mobility is a use right that is available for all editions of SQL Server 2017 software licenses with active Software Assurance (SA) coverage. With this SA benefit, customers can reassign SQL Server licenses to different servers within a server farm as often as needed. Customers can also reassign licenses to third party shared servers. License Mobility is available for licenses under both the Per Core and Server+CAL license models.

  • SQL Server licenses that are not covered with active SA can only be reassigned to a different server within a server farm once every 90 days, and they cannot be reassigned to a third-party web hoster or non-private cloud at any time. (In the event of permanent hardware failure, the 90-day reassignment limit is waived.)

  • All SQL Server licenses with active SA can be reassigned to another server within the server farm as often as needed; however, they can only be reassigned to another server in another server farm, or to a non-private cloud, once every 90 days.

    • A server farm may consist of up to two data centers located in time zones that are within four hours of one another and/or with the European Union (EU) and/or European Free Trade Association (EFTA). A given data center may only be part of one server farm.

    • License Mobility use rights do not apply to SQL Server PDW software. License Mobility can benefit customers who license individual virtual machines (VMs) or containers and then want to reassign those licenses to different servers within a server farm—as workloads move dynamically—or to VMs in cloud environments.

2017 licensing doc

  • Thanks, I downloaded that document before asking but get lost in the quasi-legalese language. So if I understand correctly, we can move the license to the new server right now but if for some reason the next month the customer wants to change servers again we should wait 60 days to meet the 90 days period between reassignments, is that correct? Oct 3, 2018 at 22:23
  • 1
    The way I read it is that if your purchased the mobility you can move it as often as you want in the same farm of servers. Without it you have technically a 90 day waiting before you can move it again with the exception to that being if the hardware has failed then you can move it without waiting 90 days
    – Aaron
    Oct 3, 2018 at 22:30
  • I would not recommend giving advice by stating "...The way I read it..." as this may vary form the way Microsoft lawyers and/or the Licensing Team wrote it. (Or are you a Microsoft representative?) You are quoting from one section only. Further, you don't know if the OP has purchased Software Assurance which is a vital part in being allowed to move a license.
    – John K. N.
    Oct 4, 2018 at 14:13

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.