SQL Server licensing can be confusing.
Here is my guide to help you understand licensing for Solarwinds Orion SQL server, based upon a server with 20 CPU cores.
Types of SQL Server licenses
There are 4 types of licenses that make up 3 possible licensing combinations for sale via SQL licensing vendors.
- SQL CPU Core
- SQL Server
- SQL Device
- SQL User
- Processor Licensing Model
A license is required for each physical or virtual processor accessed by an operating system environment running SQL Server. This license does not require any device or user client access licenses (CALs). Under this structure, a customer acquires a separate processor license for each processor that is located in the server running the SQL Server software. If you have made a processor inaccessible to all operating system copies on which the SQL Server software is set up to run, you do not need a software license for that processor. This licensing model is most appropriate for applications that are accessible through the Internet and for internal applications with a high client-to-server ratio.
We have one Orion SQL server with 20 CPU cores, so this licensing model could be expensive.
- Server Plus Device CALs Licensing Model
Server plus device (CAL) licensing requires a separate Server license (for either SQL Server Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition) for each server on which the SQL Server software is installed, plus a CAL for each client device.
A SQL Server CAL is required for a device (for example, a personal computer, workstation, terminal, personal digital assistant, or mobile phone) to access or use the services or functionality of either edition of SQL Server.
The main Solarwinds poller and each additional poller requires a device cal license to access the SQL server.
We have one SQL server and one Solarwinds poller server (device) this is classed as a multiplexer device, so you have to license the client devices that connect through Solarwinds to the SQL database. The licenses die with the devices and cannot be transferred.
- Server Plus User CALs Licensing Model
Server plus user client access license (CAL) licensing requires a separate Server license for each server on which the software is installed, plus a user CAL for each user accessing the server.
A SQL Server CAL is required for a user to access or use the services or functionality of either edition of SQL Server.
We have one SQL Server and about 60 users. This model is probably the best for around 60 users, when you reach more than 150 users the processor licensing model becomes a better option.