Microsoft changes SQL Server 2008 R2 virtualization licensing

With new R2 licensing, costs go up and unlimited virtualization rights on SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition go away

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To try and make better sense of it, Microsoft does provide a SQL Server 2008 R2 licensing quick reference guide. The guide offers these frequently asked questions and answers to try and provide some guidance with this confusing issue. Evidently, there are instances where your organization may be grandfathered, so it could be worth a read.  It states:

Q: What is the scenario for grandfathering unlimited virtualization rights for SQL Server 2008 Enterprise?
SQL Server 2008 Enterprise licenses with Software Assurance acquired prior to the release of SQL Server 2008 R2 will be granted the right to run in unlimited VMs. This right is remains in effect as long as Software Assurance coverage remains active and until the SQL Server version that follows SQL Server 2008 R2 is generally available. If you acquire new licenses (on a new or existing contract), you will also be granted similar rights to run unlimited VMs if you acquire Software Assurance.

Q: I acquired SQL Server 2008 R2 Enterprise License with Software Assurance and want to create unlimited VMs using SQL
Server 2008 R2 Standard. Can I do this?
Yes. The new down edition rights announced with SQL Server 2008 R2 allow you to deploy the Standard edition in place of Enterprise edition, and as long you remain active on your Enterprise Software Assurance, the right to run in unlimited VMs will continue until the next version of SQL Server after SQL Server 2008 R2 is generally available.

Q: I acquired two Datacenter licenses and installed those on a server with four processors. Can I create unlimited VMs?
You need to license all physical processors in order to run instances of SQL Server 2008 R2 Datacenter in an unlimited number of virtual OSEs. In this case, you will need four Datacenter licenses.

If your company was having a difficult time getting budget approval for virtualizing SQL Server before this announcement, how will this new R2 pricing and virtualization licensing change impact your decisions going forward? Will these licensing changes be a widespread problem, or will they only affect a small minority of organizations?

This article, "Microsoft changes SQL Server 2008 R2 virtualization licensing," was originally published at Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter and on your mobile device at

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