Today, more and more SQL Server’s are being deployed in a High availability scenario, using various technologies available, such as Database Mirroring, Log shipping, Hardware Clustering, Replication or Always On availability groups. In some cases, SQL Server’s are being deployed on a Virtual Machine, which in itself is highly available.
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Let’s talk about the various scenario’s in HA & DR with SQL Server and how to properly license them.
You need to buy Software Assurance for all SQL Server’s which needs to have a “Warm” passive server for failover purposes. The SA (Software Assurance) benefit will ensure “License Mobility Rights” so that you do not need to buy additional licenses for the failover partner.
Note: You cannot run any workloads(Reporting, Querying etc.) on the secondary server. If you do, you need to “Fully” license the second SQL Server. Only Standby servers are supported.
Source: Microsoft Licensing Guide for SQL 2014
In the following scenario, One location is covered under the SA benefit. However, since there are 2 secondaries, you need to purchase the required number of licenses for maintaining two DR sites.
For Always On Availability Groups, if the Secondaries are using “Read Intent”, “Read-Only” or “Backup Server”, then they need to be fully licensed.
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