Software Assurance (SA) Benefits for SQL Server are enhanced on November 1st, 2019 with new rights to build a holistic high availability (HA) and disaster recovery (DR) plan for SQL Server workloads. Enhanced SA rights for SQL Server enable significant licensing cost savings for SQL Server both for on-premises and on Azure VMs. In this blog post, we will highlight the scenarios to maximize savings with new SA benefits for SQL Server.
SA rights for primary servers hosted on-premises data centers
Many of you are using SQL Server for the data tier of on-premises workloads today. To ensure business continuity and prevent data loss, enterprise workloads are supported with a minimum of three servers:
1. the active primary server serving the application,
2. the passive failover server for high availability located on same data center,
3. the passive failover server at a separate data center for disaster recovery.
HA and DR cores used on-premises data centers are free
Effective by November 1st, 2019; SA brings “one free passive core for HA or DR” and also “one free passive core for DR” benefits for one core of SQL Server license of Enterprise or Standard edition. No additional license fee is required for one HA and one DR server when the primary server is licensed and covered with SA (if the number of cores used for HA and DR servers are the same as or fever than primary server). The same rights apply to customers licensing SQL under the Server/CAL model. For details see the Product Terms.
DR cores on Azure VMs are free
In addition to one HA and one DR core coverage, SA also covers an additional DR core on Azure Virtual Machines (VM). This is a huge opportunity to start leveraging the elasticity, performance and manageability benefits of Azure VMs for SQL Server. Simply by having SA for the primary SQL Server hosted on your on-premises data center, you are eligible to run a DR server on Azure VMs without paying any additional SQL Server fee ( if the number of cores used for HA and DR servers are the same as or fewer than primary server). Free SQL Server license combined with the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) savings of Azure unlocks the lowest cost disaster recovery configuration for SQL Server workloads. Use the Azure TCO calculator to find out possible savings by migrating disaster recovery servers for SQL Server to Azure VMs.
Recommended technology to configure DR between your data center and Azure VMs is Always On Availability Groups (AG). If you are using availability groups with a Windows Failover Cluster then, to have all availability replicas in the same failover cluster, the cluster must span both networks. This configuration requires a VPN connection between Azure and the on-premises network. And, for successful disaster recovery of your databases, you should also install a replica domain controller at the disaster recovery site as shown in the picture below.
Alternatively, you can configure Distributed AG to remove the need for a VPN tunnel. Note that, the SA benefit only covers SQL Server licensing for the disaster recovery server it does not cover licensing for the forwarder. Also, you can configure domain independent availability groups to remove the need to replicate Active Directory domain controller in Azure.
Starting November 1st, 2019; SA now brings following benefits for one core of SQL Server license used on Azure VMs:
One free passive core for HA or DR on Azure VM
One free passive core for DR on Azure VM (asynchronous replication only)
Similar to SQL Server workloads hosted on-premises, no additional license fee is required for one HA and one DR server if primary server is covered with SA on Azure VMs (if the number of cores used for HA and DR servers are the same as or fever than primary server). The same rights apply to customers licensing SQL under the Server/CAL model. For details see the Product Terms.
You can leverage this benefit with Azure-only DR solutions including Always ON AG, database mirroring , log shipping, backup restore and Azure Site Recovery with application consistent snapshots.
This information is provided to help guide your authorized use of products you license; it is not product documentation or part of your commercial licensing agreement. Microsoft makes not warranties, express or implied, with respect to the information presented here.