SQL Server Multicore Licensing Policy
Published: August 1, 2005
Multicore processors, which consist of multiple processing execution
units or "cores" on one chip, promise to boost computing power, allowing
servers, workstations, and PCs to perform more functions simultaneously.
By the end of 2006, Intel expects more than 80 percent of its server
products to be shipping with multicore technology. Because most
server-side software is licensed "per processor," it has caused
confusion among some software vendors regarding whether to charge their
customers "per processor" or "per core."
Microsoft has been driving thought leadership in this area by charging
the same amount per processor, regardless of how many cores are in the
processor. Microsoft was the first database vendor to make this
announcement, in October of 2004, and continues to be the only vendor to
date that has taken this position. This strategy is based on the belief
that multicore processors are a natural extension of Moore's Law (that
the number of transistors on a chip doubles about every one to two
years), and that the benefits should be passed on directly to customers.
For example, if you are using SQL Server Enterprise Edition on a
four-processor server with dual-core processors, using all eight cores
(two cores x four processors), you will require only four processor
licenses. That can mean substantial savings for customers of Microsoft
compared to its competitors.