There seem to be a lot of questions and even some misinformation popping up with regards to SQL Server 2012 licensing. Microsoft is moving away from licenses based on the number of processor in a server to figure out per/cpu licensing. They are now licensing hardware on a per/core license.
Right or wrong, agree or disagree, here’s the details as I know them. Based on a number of sources, including a meeting with my employers VAR and an internal MS licensing expert.
Per core licensing is based on “Core-Packs”. Each core-pack covers two cores, and there is a minimum purchase of two core-packs. This will be an expensive premium if one plans on building a single processor dual core machine, and you’re paying to license a minimum of four cores.
I’ve been told that the core-packs cost 50% less than current per/cpu licenses. That makes the magic number a total of 4 cores with 2012 licensing costing the same a single processor license with current license costs.
I’ve read that with 2012 licesning – in the case of virtualization if you license all the physical cores you have unlimited rights to virtual OS’s (vOS). Current day licensing with Enterprise Edition would only allow a total of 4 vOS’s per license.
Also, current customers with an EA will retain their current purchasing plan until the expiration of the EA, regardless of when that is.. if it’s Jan 1 of 2013, then all of 2012, you continue to purchase the licenses as you have. Once the EA is up, you will have to submit the number of cores in your currently licensed environment and MS will “trade” those for the equivalent number of Core-Packs. I’ve heard conflicting reports of a hard limit of 20 cores or 10 Core-Packs per server, and other reports that do not mention that limit.