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Microsoft SQL Server 2016 Licensing Explanation

SQL Server 2019 (15.x) builds on previous releases to grow SQL Server as a platform that gives you choices of development languages, data types, on-premises or cloud environments, and operating systems. Find out what's new in SQL 2019.



SQL Server Standard provides core data management and business intelligence capabilities for non-critical workloads with minimal IT resources.


SQL Server Enterprise delivers comprehensive datacenter capabilities for mission-critical database, business intelligence, and advanced analytics workloads.
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Licensing Information
Microsoft SQL Server licensing made simple. Learn more about Software Assurance and Per Core licensing. Per user and device CALs are also available.

License type:


The most affordable way to get sql, this option is great for small (1 – 30) users or devices.

  • 1 users CAL for each user in the organization that accesses the information
  • 1 device CAL for each server accessing the system outside of the host system

Open License
Your price: $999.99 Purchase

Open License with Software Assurance
Your price: $1,499.99 Purchase

Software Assurance only
Your price: $424.99 Purchase

Standard 2 Core

Microsoft SQL 2 Core license comes with unlimited users and can be enhanced by speeding up storage and memory. Cost effective when you have more than 31 users on a system.

  • Minimum purchase of 2 licenses, each covering 2 cores for a total of 4

Open License
Your price: $3,999.99 Purchase

Open License with Software Assurance
Your price: $999.99 Purchase

Software Assurance only
Your price: $1,899.99 Purchase

Enterprise 2 Core

Microsoft SQL Enterprise 2 Core license comes with unlimited users and can be enhanced by speeding up storage and memory.

  • Minimum purchase of 2 licenses, each covering 2 cores for a total of 4

Open License
Your price: $14,999.99 Purchase

Open License with Software Assurance
Your price: $23,189.99 Purchase

Software Assurance only
Your price: $6,499.99 Purchase

Device Client Access License
(1 Device CAL)

Your price: $249.99 Purchase

User Client Access License
(1 User CAL)

Your price: $249.99 Purchase

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What's New for 2019
  • Big Data Clusters – Deploy scalable clusters of SQL Server, Spark, and HDFS containers running on Kubernetes
  • Data virtualization with PolyBase – Query data from external SQL Server, Oracle, Teradata, MongoDB, and ODBC data sources with external tables, now with UTF-8 encoding support
  • Intelligent Database - Intelligent Query Processing improves performance and scalability of all your database workloads without any changes to your application or database design
  • Support for persistent memory (PMEM) devices
  • In-Memory Database technologies that leverage modern hardware innovation to deliver unparalleled performance and scale
  • Monitoring improvements unlock performance insights over any database workload, just when you need them
  • Enhancements to graph and spatial data types, UTF-8 support, and a new extensibility framework that allows developers to use the language of their choice to gain insights across all their data
  • Unicode support - Support businesses across different countries and regions
  • New Java language SDK - Simplifies the development of Java programs that can be run from SQL Server
  • Language Extensions - Execute external code with the extensibility framework
  • Expands upon Always Encrypted with in-place encryption and rich computations by enabling computations on plaintext data inside a server-side secure enclave
  • Vulnerability assessment to track compliance of SQL Server instances and Azure SQL Database instances with recognized security best practices
Download the SQL Server 2019 Datasheet (PDF)

  Standard Enterprise

Mission critical performance

Mission critical performance

  • Disk-based OLTP
  • 24 cores max and 128 GB max memory
  • 2-node single database failover (non-readable secondary)
  • Query Store
  • Temporal
  • Operating system max cores and memory
  • Enhanced in-memory
  • OLTP performance
  • Operational analytics
  • Enhanced AlwaysOn with no domain join (WS 2016)
  • Query Store
  • Temporal



  • Row-level security
  • Dynamic data masking
  • Basic auditing
  • Separation of duties
  • Policy-based management
  • Always Encrypted
  • Row-level security
  • Dynamic data masking
  • Enhanced separation of duties
  • Enhanced SQL Server auditing
  • Transparent data encryption
  • Policy-based management

Data warehousing

Data ware-housing

  • PolyBase (compute node only)
  • Support for JSON
  • Enhanced in-memory ColumnStore
  • PolyBase in scale-out configuration (head and compute nodes)
  • Deployment rights for APS
  • Distributed query processing
  • Support for JSON

Business intelligence

Business intelligence

  • Basic tabular (16GB memory per instance)
  • Web portal experience
  • Modernized reports
  • Pin reports to Power BI
  • Enhanced multidimensional models
  • End-to-end mobile BI on all major platforms
  • Enhanced direct query
  • In-memory analytics
  • Advanced data mining
  • Advanced tabular
  • Web portal experience (all reports in one place)
  • Modernized reports
  • Pin reports to Power BI
  • Enhanced multidimensional models

Advanced analytics

Advanced analytics

  • Single-threaded for RRE
  • Connectivity to R Open
  • In database advanced analytics
  • R integration with massive parallel processing for performance and scale
  • Works with in-memory technology
  • Run in database or standalone
  • Connectivity to R Open

Hybrid cloud


  • Stretch Database
  • Backup to Azure
  • Stretch Database
  • Enhanced backup to Azure
  • Enhanced HA and DR with Azure – ease of use, no domain join (Windows Server 2016)
  • SSIS integration with Azure Data Factory and Azure SQL Data
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Compare Versions
  Features Standard Enterprise
Mission critical performance
Maximum number of cores
24 cores Unlimited
Maximum memory utilized per instance
128 GB OS Max
Maximum size
524 PB 524 PB
Basic OLTP
Manageability (Management Studio, Policy-Based Management)
Basic high availability (2-node single database failover, non-readable secondary)
Enterprise data management (Master Data Services, Data Quality Services)
Advanced OLTP (In-memory OLTP, Operational analytics)
Advanced HA (Always On - multi-node, multi-db failover, readable secondaries)
Basic security (Row-level security, data masking, basic auditing, separation of duties)
Advanced security (Transparent Data Encryption, Always Encrypted)
Data warehousing
Advanced data integration (Fuzzy grouping and look ups, change data capture)
Data warehousing (In-Memory ColumnStore, Partitioning)
Business intelligence
Programmability & developer tools (T-SQL, CLR, Data Types, FileTable, JSON)
Basic reporting & analytics
Basic data integration (SSIS, built-in connectors)
Basic Corporate Business Intelligence (Multi-dimensional models, Basic tabular model)
Mobile BI (Datazen)
Advanced Corporate Business Intelligence (Advanced tabular model, Direct query, in-memory analytics, advanced data mining)
Advanced analytics
Basic “R” integration (Connectivity to R Open, Limited parallelism for RRE)
Advanced “R” integration (Full parallelism for RRE)
Hybrid cloud
Stretch Database
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Compare Years
Features 2019 2017 2016 2014
Intelligence across all your data Big Data Clusters
Data virtualization using PolyBase
Database performance In-memory OLTP*
In-Memory Database: Persistent Memory
In-memory database: memory-optimized tempdb
Real-time operational analytics
Intelligent query processing
Intelligent performance
Availability Always On*
Accelerated database recovery
Read scale-out availability groups
Security Always Encrypted*
Always encrypted with secure enclaves
Data discovery and classification
Transparent data encryption*
Encryption at rest and in motion
Dynamic data masking and row-level security
Backup encryption support
Cloud-ready Free asynchronous replication on Azure Virtual Machines for disaster recovery
Backup to Azure
Disaster recovery to Azure*
Optimized virtual machine images in Azure gallery
Management & Programmability Linux support
Container support
Kubernetes support
Temporal tables
JSON Support
Graph data support
UTF 8 support
Java support
Azure Data Studio to manage SQL Server including support for T-SQL using notebooks
Database compatibility certification
Business intelligence and Analytics Support Tabular BI semantic model*
Master data services*
Integration services managed as a server
Data quality services*
Many-to-many relationships in tabular models
End-to-end mobile BI on any device
SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) direct query
Calculation groups in tabular model
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Software Assurance
Software assurance in the Microsoft realm has always meant buy the next version for half off with purchase of a current version license and the software assurance licensing at once time. In SQL it holds a special meaning as well, it allows users to receive Microsoft support on their SQL server installations as well as granting audit data base server abilities. Software Assurance must be purchases within 90 days of your original open license purchase and grants 2 years of upgrades as well as standard support.

Benefits of Software Assurance

  • Latest Technologies - access to new product versions that are released during your term at no additional cost.
  • E-learning - offers self-paced interactive online learning for end-users and IT professionals
  • Home Use Program - provides employees with the latest version of Microsoft Office for their home computer, via low-cost download (around $10)
  • 24x7 Problem Resolution Support - provides specific product fixes on a per customer incident basis, beyond the standard product support
  • Backup for Disaster Recovery - for each licensed instance you run under qualifying licenses with SA and related CALs, you may run one instance of the software on a backup server for disaster recovery purposes
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    Per Core Explanation
    SQL Server Core Factor Table*  
    Processor Type Core Factor
    All processors not mentioned below 1
    AMD Processors 31XX, 32XX, 33XX, 41XX, 42XX, 43XX, 61XX, 62XX, 63XX Series Processors with 6 or more cores 0.75
    Single-Core Processors 4
    Dual-Core Processors 2
    * This is an example of how to calculate core license requirements and the core factor table. The core factor table is subject to change.
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    Feeling a little lost? Have some questions? Call us at 800-318-1439 (between 6am and 5pm PT), or use the handy form below and one of our Microsoft Certified Professionals will get back to you as soon as possible.

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