I want to create a database on a non-readable secondary replica to collect some data for troubleshooting and monitoring the AG. I have read that there is no license cost when the server is not queried (i.e. when the instance is not a readable secondary), but the server has to be licensed when you query it.

So my question is: Is there a problem in creating a separate database on a secondary replica (obviously the database will not be included in the AG)?

1 Answer 1


An instance having an AG that is currently acting as a secondary non-readable replica does not prohibit you from creating other databases that are not members of that AG.

But you'd have to license that instance since it now is used for other things than a fail-over instance.

  • Even if my only purpose is to log some information to help me troubleshoot and monitor the AG? So the purpose is "AG related" (collecting metrics).
    – xhr489
    Aug 31, 2022 at 11:58
  • How can I collect metrics then, e.g. from DMVs, for the non-readable secondary?
    – xhr489
    Aug 31, 2022 at 12:45
  • @xhr489 It's a non-readable secondary, so there's nothing unique to collect information from on it as opposed to just pulling that information from your primary (it's not like you're using it to offload reporting, etc). And as Tibor mentioned, any form of querying on that server will require licensing to that server then.
    – J.D.
    Aug 31, 2022 at 13:18
  • 2
    I suggest you talk to an MS representative about this. The licensing guide (learn.microsoft.com/answers/storage/attachments/…) allow for "Monitoring resource usage data". that is not enough information for us to answer your question, and the risk is that you interpret this as that it is allowed and MS has a different interpretation. My take on this is that since you aren't doing SELECT only, you need a license, but that is just my interpretation. Aug 31, 2022 at 13:29
  • 1
    @xhr489 Not really. You probably would want to analyze the DMVs from the Primary for that. Or you can look at the PerfMon counters in Windows of the server that the secondary is hosted on. But both seem like inefficient ways to trace network issues. I'd defer to standard ways for testing network issues, which really becomes more of a question for NetworkEngineering.StackExchange. And I agree with Tibor on checking with MS on what you can and can't do.
    – J.D.
    Aug 31, 2022 at 13:30

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