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SQL Server Standard 2022 Licensing

Cores or CALs - Which is best?

There are different options available to you when licensing Microsoft SQL Server 2022, each suited to a different scenario. Getting this wrong can add unnecessary expense to your solution, so this guide aims to assist you in choosing the correct licensing method for your needs.

The Server + CAL Method

The most popular method and the best fit for small businesses is the Server + CAL method. This is a one-off purchase of the SQL Server Standard 2022 package (typically £940-£950) and then one User or Device CAL for each user or device that is accessing the SQL server (typically £220 to £230 each).

The Core Method

In instances where there are many users, or an unlimited number of users (i.e. internal and external users), it's not feasible to license individual users or devices via CALs. Instead, the individual cores of the server (or virtual cores in a VM) can be licensed, with no need to license users or devices. A two-core pack is typically around £3,750 to £3,800 and when licensing the core method, a minimum of four cores must be purchased. This means the minimum cost of licensing this method is via two of these packs (totalling around £7,500 to £7,600).

It is important to note that if the server has more than 4 cores, and the SQL server is not running in a VM, then all the physical server cores must be licensed. Therefore, when licensing via the Core method it is common practice to virtualise the SQL server and assign just 4 cores to the VM.

Deciding which method makes sense

If your SQL database is for internal use with a fixed number of users or devices, it's relatively easy to calculate - The cost of SQL Server Standard and 30 users is around the same price as two of the 2-core packs. So if you have 30 or fewer users/devices then this method will always be the one to go for.

To discuss your requirements and get a tailored quote, speak to us today on 03333 11 00 66