I am looking to license SQL Server 2012 Standard on my VMware Vsphere server farm. I currently have 3 hosts in the farm with the following spec:

2x 6core Xeon CPU (12 cores total) 128GB RAM

According to the documentation released by Microsoft I would need to license each core on the host. This documentation does not clearly explain if I need to license every core on every host on my server farm. It also appears I will need SA to allow me to vMotion the servers across the farm.

Can someone please clarify how many core licenses I will need to correctly license my farm? And confirm that I also need SA to use vMotion.


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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about licensing. Questions on licensing should be referred to the vendor, and an answer obtained in writing from them. – Max Vernon Jan 6 '15 at 16:39

Excerpts from Microsoft Licensing Guide

How to License Individual Virtual Machines Using the Per Core Licensing Model *Similar to the Per Core licensing model in physical OSEs, all virtual cores (v-cores) supporting virtual OSEs that are running instances of SQL Server 2012 software must be licensed accordingly. To license individual VMs using the Per Core model, customers must purchase a core license for each v-core (or virtual processor, virtual CPU, virtual thread) allocated to the VM, subject to a four core license minimum per VM. For licensing purposes, a v-core maps to a hardware thread. When licensing individual VMs, core factors do not apply. Note: Licensing individual VMs is the only licensing option available for SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition customers who are running the software in a virtualized environment under the Per Core model.*

Licensing is tricky, I would encourage you contact Microsoft to get true answer

You should call 1-800-426-9400, Monday through Friday, 6:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. (Pacific Time) to speak directly to a Microsoft licensing specialist, and you can get more detail information from them. Outside North Ameriac you can use the Guide to Worldwide Microsoft Licensing Sites to find contact information in your regional MS location.

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At the risk of sounding dismissive, you should really ask your licensing vendor this question. They usually have staff dedicated to understanding licensing.

That having been said, with Standard Edition, you also have the choice of licensing Server and Client Access License (CAL), as opposed to per Core licensing. Do you know how many user connections you are expecting? If so, it might be more attractive to go down the Server/CAL route. Otherwise, you will need to license every CPU core, in your farm, that could possibly be used by a "Production" SQL Server Instance. As I understand, you are entitled to Disaster Recovery instances, as long as you are not using them as a standby read-only instance.

Hope this helps.

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