Last year, Microsoft unveiled the new core licensing model for SQL Server 2012 Enterprise Edition. It’s a sensible change, but they are also doing away with user licensing, that’s where I throw my hands up in confusion/disgust. I have some legitimate customers needing an enterprise featureset, with high performance, but have a relatively small number of users.
The cut off date announced by Microsoft is June 30, 2012 where they will not sell SQL 2012 Enterprise with the Server + User CAL model.
Take a recent quote example, user licensing for 75 users runs roughly $26,000, but run it on 16 cores, running roughly $110,000. Say what? Bottom line, evaluate your needs for SQL Server licensing now, because you already probably can’t pick up older SKUs, so you’ll not even be able to license prior editions of Enterprise with downgrade rights with this change.
Here’s some additional information on the SQL licensing models: http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/get-sql-server/licensing.aspx