Free SQL Server 2016 Licenses!

Sort Of—Get the Full Story


As part of the SQL Server 2016 launch event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a commercial database promotion that provides customers with free licenses if you are running a competitor’s platform (Oracle, Sybase, SAP Hana). The offer ends on June 30, 2016; however, free is never free. In order to qualify, there is a laundry list of criteria that a company must meet in order to get these licenses. Read on to learn what you can do to qualify for these licenses.

Step one is to run an inventory report tool like Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit (MAP) or equivalent. This will generate a report needed to help identify application workloads to migrate as well as specify the SQL Server cores required.

This takes us to step two. These licenses must reside on a special kind of Microsoft Volume Licensing agreement called the Server Cloud Enrollment (SCE). This type of Enterprise Agreement has the very best price on the market for SQL Server, but it features a 50-core minimum as well as a requirement for covering your entire SQL footprint. This means you can’t just pick and choose which Oracle databases you want to migrate—you must migrate 100% of all your databases and fully cover them with Software Assurance.

And that’s why the free is not so free. While the licenses themselves are covered, the Software Assurance, a version protection type of maintenance, is not. There are certainly other benefits to Software Assurance on SQL than just new version rights. Two benefits, which tend to be dependencies of Software Assurance with SQL Server, are VMotion (or similar technology) and Passive Failover. If you plan to use either of these technologies, Software Assurance is mandatory anyway.

So what does that mean for your bottom line? The barrier of entry here for these free SQL licenses can run about $17,500 per year for three years for 50 cores of SQL Server Standard, or $66,750 for 50 cores of SQL Server Enterprise. Obviously, depending on the size of your current environment, these figures can go higher.

Once you have worked with your LSP and Microsoft with the proper contract, approvals, and paperwork, you must then prove you did in fact migrate your entire database footprint to SQL. This can be done again with an inventory tool like MAP, a letter from your CIO, or a partner proof of execution (POE).

Though the licenses are not truly free, there are other benefits to migrating to SQL Sever 2016. Microsoft will then provide you with free training on how to administer SQL as well as help subsidize your deployment to kick start the migration process. In the end, you are certainly paying far less for an excellent product than you would for a competitors’. SQL Server 2016 is an industry leader listed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Operation Database Management Systems, number one in performance, and rated the most secure six years in a row.

With SQL Server 2016 about to be released, now is a perfect time to take advantage of this opportunity and PC Connection can help! Our team of experts can take you from start to finish. Give us a call!

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