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Be careful with new licensing model with SQL Server 2012 and CPU’s!

I was upgrading a server recently from SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition to the latest version with 2012. I got a surprise after the upgrade… I lost 12 CPU. I had a 32 Processor system ( HP DL580 4×8 server) as seen below:

After the upgrade, I wanted to verify the CPU configuration and noticed the following (highlighted in purple):

I was stuck at 20 CPU and was scratching my head, so I took another look and tried the following:

As you can see no matter what I did, I was stuck at 20 CPU and then I noticed the license comment above in the error message. The good news is that I did not need to go that far to find my answer as it is located here:

However you need to read the fine print:

¹Existing SQL Server Enterprise edition licenses in the Server + CAL licensing model upgraded to SQL Server 2012 will be limited to server deployments with 20 cores or less. Refer to Datasheet and FAQ for more details.

Of course that got my head spinning and interested so I looked at the Datasheet and FAQ and saw this section:

  • Legacy SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition Server deployments licensed in the server + CAL model will be subject to a 20 core per server license maximum.  This core maximum applies both to new server licenses and to prior version server licenses upgraded to 2012 with SA.  If you purchased SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise Edition in the Server + CAL model with Software Assurance and at the launch of SQL Server 2012 are running on a server with > 20 physical cores, contact your Microsoft representative for help transitioning to the new licensing model.
  • Legacy SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition Server licenses are still considered licensed under the Server + CAL model but have the new core limit to allow customers to upgrade their existing deployments and have some near term deployment options to finish currently planned projects under the Server + CAL model for the SQL Server Enterprise Edition.

So before you do your upgrade, make sure you contact Microsoft to transition to the new license model and take advantage of all your processing power. Please take important note of this information as well:

  • New server licenses for SQL Server Enterprise Edition in the Server + Cal model will only be available for purchase through June 30th, 2012, after which they will no longer be available for purchase.  EA/EAP customers that buy SQL Enterprise Edition Servers will have until their next EA/EAP renewal after June 30th, 2012 to purchase additional server licenses to complete currently planned projects. After that, all new SQL Server Enterprise Edition deployments must be purchased per core.
A great reference for the new SQL can be found here: Microsoft SQL Server Licensing For Dummies..

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