SQL Server Standard - 24 Core Limit - Licensing

Copper Contributor

Hi Team,

Hope you are doing well.

I do not want to put up a duplicate question, so please excuse my ignorance, and if this question is already answered, would request you to direct me to the correct link.

With SQL Server Standard (Core or Server-CAL model), there is a limit on compute capacity and maximum number of cores should be 24 cores.

Would request your help to understand what impact will it have on licensing i.e. do we need to assign such server (assuming running 32 cores) the Enterprise Core edition license? Or do we need to stack SQL Server Standard Core licenses?

Appreciate any inputs here.

7 Replies

Hi @VaibhavDeepani1 


To clarify, you need to know how to license a server that has 32 cores, correct?  Is this for an EA agreement?


If so, there are no limits under the Core-based Server Licensing model. Once you know the number of cores, you would purchase that number of licenses, dividing by 2, since core licenses are purchased in 2-packs. Therefore, 32 divided by 2 = 16 core licenses.


(the Enterprise edition w/ Server + CAL based licensing w/ Server + CAL based licensing is limited to 20 cores per SQL Server instance).


If this (or someone else's) reply answers your question, please Accept as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly. Otherwise, please let me know if you need further assistance on this topic.


Microsoft CSP Licensing Concierge


to add, Partners can log into Partner Center to find the current SQL Server 2022 Licensing guide.


Microsoft CSP Licensing Concierge


Thank you so much for your reply.


Please refer this link once Compute capacity limits by edition of SQL Server - SQL Server | Microsoft Learn

This says SQL Server Standard (both for Core and Server CAL) edition has a Maximum compute capacity for a single instance which is 

Limited to lesser of 4 sockets or 24 cores


Here is the screenshot from MSFT SQL Server guide:




Now does this means we need to assign Enterprise Edition (Core) to the server if that is running with 32 cores capacity?



 Please carefully review my reply above where I stated that for Enterprise Server + CAL there is a max of 20:




I believe my initial response answers your question where I stated and provided documentation of how to calculate using the core licensing model 



That means you should can use SQL Server 2022 Enterprise or SQL Server 2022 Standard and use the core licensing model calculation that I provided above:





If you have other BizApps questions, please let me know.


If this (or someone else's) reply answers your question, please Accept as the solution to help the other members find it more quickly. 


Microsoft CSP Licensing Concierge




If you have additional SQL Server questions, it might be best that you post to their community instead of BizApps - https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/sql-server/ct-p/SQL-Server


Microsoft CSP Licensing Concierge


No, actually the point is - assuming such server (with 32 cores) is running SQL Server Standard. In that case, can i assign SQL Server Standard 32 cores license to such server? because, based on the screenshot, 24 core is max compute capacity that SQL Server Standard Core can support. 

So my question is - do we need to assign SQL Server Enterprise Core or assigning the SQL Server Standard core is fine? 




Hi Vaibhav,

I am not a Microsoft certified partner nor employee. But I have come across such use case, so I would like to share my experience with you.


Based off the documentation above, you may stack SQL Server Standard licenses in a single physical host. You mentioned you have a 32-core physical server to be installed with SQL Server Standard (ideally). In that case, you may purchase two SQL Server Standard (instance + CAL) licenses to overcome the 24 core max limit. With that, you will have 2 instances of SQL Server.

Hope that helps.