I wanted to move some of the reporting workload to the secondary replica but the following things stopped me:

  • no writes can be performed (including creating temporary tables);
  • a license is required;

I guess I might get it wrong... I've checked the docs again and it is said that:

Though you cannot write data to secondary databases, you can write to read-write databases on the server instance that hosts the secondary replica, including user databases and system databases such as tempdb.

which basically means I can execute every reporting query.

But I am not able to find any information about the licensing in the docs. Is the licensing requirement off, now?

closed as off-topic by McNets, Josh Darnell, Erik Darling, Randi Vertongen, gotqn Aug 26 at 13:37

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Tip of the iceberg - the question or comments reveal an underlying issue that would need extensive investigation by a consultant or database vendor support team: issues like this do not fit the SE Q&A model well. For more information see this meta post." – Josh Darnell, gotqn
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  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because licencing questions are not in the aim of this site. And it can be solved by the product's vendor. – McNets Aug 26 at 8:00
  • 2
    The licensing guide here has the answers to these questions. download.microsoft.com/download/7/8/C/… – David Browne - Microsoft Aug 26 at 15:15
  • @DavidBrowne-Microsoft Thank you! – gotqn Aug 26 at 17:59

Yes, it required license as both of the instances are active/running.

Availability Group has set of databases that you want to synchronize to secondary replica. It's not necessary to add all databases to availability group, you can add the databases for which you want fault tolerance.

So if your primary replica goes down only those database are part of the availability group would fail-over to secondary & it becomes primary.

MS doesn't restrict you to use the secondary nodes having read-only secondary replica for read-only purpose only, you can also create and use databases on the secondary nodes.

So, it needs a license for secondary replica whether you use it for read-only or read-write both.


  • 1
    Just a contribution, If you have Software Assurance(SA) with your licensing agreement and you do not use your secondary replica with any purpose such as reporting, backup and so on then you don't have to license secondary replica. Moreover, you are allowed to failover to that server once in 90 days. – Bahtiyar Samet Çoban Aug 26 at 7:09

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