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Microsoft Adds SQL Server Disaster Recovery Use Rights with Software Assurance

Microsoft announced on Oct. 30 that it expanded SQL Server passive use rights for organizations licensing SQL Server with Software Assurance (SA) coverage.

Organizations with SA coverage on SQL Server now get the ability to add a total of three passive SQL Server instances at no extra cost. One of the instances can be used as a failover server, while the two other newly added instances can be used for disaster recovery purposes.

On the disaster recovery side, the two free passive SQL Server use rights permit organizations to have one instance housed on an on-premises server and one instance housed in an Azure virtual machine.

"With these new benefits, Software Assurance customers will be able to implement hybrid disaster recovery plans with SQL Server using our features like Always On Availability Groups without incurring additional licensing costs for the passive replicas," Microsoft's announcement explained.

Previously with SA on SQL Server, organizations got the ability to run just one passive SQL Server instance for failovers, so Microsoft has enhanced the SA benefit, particularly on the disaster recovery side. The enhanced SA benefit was described in Microsoft's announcement as kicking off with "the next refresh of the Microsoft Licensing Terms" on "Nov. 1."

Microsoft's November Licensing Terms are already published and can be downloaded. The terse description on page 47 of the English version suggested that the new SA rights applied to all editions of SQL Server except the Parallel Data Warehouse edition (bracketed copy added):

[SQL Server SA passive-instance use rights apply to]All editions (Not applicable to Parallel Data Warehouse). See Fail-Over Rights section below for additional terms for SQL Server.

The "Fail-over Rights" section of the November Licensing Terms document includes a caveat about what kind of workloads can be run for an operating system environment (OSE) under this updated SA passive SQL Server instance benefit, namely:

Fail-over OSEs permitted for disaster recovery must be asynchronous and manual. Fail-over OSEs may not serve SQL Server data to users or devices or otherwise run active SQL Server workloads. The number of licenses that otherwise would be required for a Fail-over OSE must not exceed the number of licenses required for the corresponding Primary Workload. These fail-over rights require SA for both the Licensed Server and CALs, if any, and do not apply when Customer deploys SQL Software under License Mobility through SA.

Importantly, the free instances can't be used to run SQL Server workloads. The SA benefit is just for failovers and disaster recovery.

SA is Microsoft lingo. It's basically an annuity charge on top of the software licensing cost that's sometimes required to use Microsoft's software. SA offers educational perks, plus it permits upgrades to the next software release at no extra charge, provided that the software upgrade gets released within the SA contract's time period.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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