Hidden costs saving opportunities with SQL Server
One of the most common topics in every organizations is related to the opportunities of saving costs. Therefore, most organizations are also looking into ways to cut costs related to software as usually this is a considerable burden for their budget. While in some previous articles we discussed ways to reduce support and maintenance costs or costs related to certain license agreements, this article is aimed at finding the hidden cost saving opportunities when licensing Microsoft SQL Server.
So, what are the options you have to reduce costs? Below an overview of the common ways used to cuts costs for SQL Server installation:
Run the right edition
SQL Server 2017 comes in six different editions: Enterprise, Standard, Web, Parallel Data Warehouse, Express and Developer, the last two being free of charge. If you only need SQL Server for your development systems, then you should run the Developer Edition, as it is free of charge. Same with lightly loaded production systems or servers with limited users which are great candidates to convert to SQL Server Express, also free of charge.
License for the functionalities
SQL Server Enterprise Edition has the most functionalities, but do you make use of them all or did you just decide to purchase the most expensive version “just in case”? If the latter, you are just leaving money on the table since a “lower” edition may be sufficient and less expensive.
Choose the right Client Access License
If you license SQL Server per a Server and Client Access License (CAL) licensing model you should choose the CAL type that is best for your organization’s structure – if more users access the same device, than a Device CAL is a good option, but if a user accesses multiple device, than a User CAL is definitely a better choice.
Choose the best suited licensing model
SQL Server can be licensed on a Per Server and CAL model or on a Per Core model. Keep in mind that with the Per Core licensing you pay for the server’s CPU cores, with a minimum of four core licenses per server (e.g.: for servers with one or two core CPU you will still have to buy four licenses). On the other hand, servers with more than four cores will require multiple licenses.
You should remove unused machines and consolidate as much as possible under one or two clusters and centralize your hosting environment to reduce license requirements.
Pay for usage not for deployment
For temporary or periodic workloads (for example, an app that needs to support an event for a couple of months every year, or business analysis on Mondays) you can consider paying the SQL Server license per usage. The per-second cost of running the Azure Virtual Machines includes the cost of the SQL Server license and is the same for all versions of SQL Server. The per-second licensing cost depends on the number of VM vCPUs.
The scenarios discussed here are just a few examples of how you can start saving costs on your SQL Server licenses. Keep in mind that there are more to consider, the first step is having a complete and accurate understanding of your license entitlements, deployment and usage.
If you have any questions or if you’d like to have a conversation with a specialist to determine what options you have to start saving costs in your particular situation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Since 2015, Roxana is a Software Entitlement Specialist focused on educating clients on licensing issues with Oracle, SAP and Microsoft. In her role, she works with customers to assist them in understanding and improving their software environment by reviewing their software license agreements and provide them advice regarding legal and financial risks. With a legal background, she also helps customers identify legal weaknesses in their contracts and optimize them.