SQL Server 2019 Standard Questions

Copper Contributor


Apologies ahead of time - I am completely new to this and not familiar with Microsoft SQL.  My boss has tasked me with installing SQL on a Dell R650xs server running Windows Server 2022 Standard.  It has 2x Intel 6326 CPUs (16 cores each).


He specifically asked for "Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Standard, 4 Core, OEM, NFI, English" and "Microsoft SQL Server 2019 Standard, Additional 2 Core, No Media" to be installed on this server.  What confuses me is why pricing is so high on a SQL 2019 Standard 4 core license, and also very high on purchasing an additional 2 core license.  I have found sellers with very low pricing on 16 and 24 core licenses, so I was wondering if I could just purchase one of those to cover the 6 cores he is asking for, or if I am not understanding how that works and really do need the expensive 4 core + 2 core licenses.  I also wanted to know what the "NFI" part of the request meant.


Would appreciate any guidance here, I am a bit lost.


Thank  you!

2 Replies



Hi, Jeremy.


You really should reach out to an account manager or retail Microsoft sales channel, as SQL Server licencing is extremely complex.


Attached is the per core licencing information from Microsoft.


There's a lot to navigate here but I'd draw your attention to one specific concept, which is of physical versus virtual.


If you intend to install Windows Server on the Dell, and then SQL Server onto that Windows Server instance (i.e. SQL Server is on the "physical" box and not contained within a virtual machine) then you must use the "licensing by physical cores on a server" (page 5), meaning you must licence up to the maximum 24 cores that SQL Server standard scales out to. You cannot simply licence for six cores from your description.


If you intend to install Windows Server on the Dell, then create a virtual machine within that Windows Server instance and install SQL Server into this virtual machine, then you are subject to the "licensing by individual virtual operating system environment" scheme (page 6) where you can indeed purchase a lesser amount - such as the six cores you've mentioned.


SQL Server core licencing has always been profoundly - even prohibitively for small to medium business - expensive. Return on investment comes when you can consolidate many smaller instances onto the new, per core host.


I'd be wary of resellers advertising prices that appear to be too good to be true.


There are typically discounts for not-for-profit and education, and even larger businesses, however, it's all on a sliding scale (education is ridiculously cheap compared to everything else) meaning you really do need to engage an account manager or legitimate Microsoft reseller.





I have found sellers with very low pricing on 16 and 24 core licenses

@TechTrade , sure you compare exactly same licenses; somehow I doubt that.

There are a lot of (small) differences.

And if the prices are that different, you may mix CAL and CORE licensing.