SQL Server 2022 – price rises & licensing changes

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SQL Server 2022 is now generally available and is, in Microsoft’s words, the “most Azure enabled release” so far.


There are a few licensing updates and changes to be aware of with SQL Server 2022 as well as a price increase:

Flexible Virtualisation Benefit

Both licenses with active SA and active subscriptions can now be deployed with any Authorized Outsourcer – that is, anyone who isn’t a Listed Provider (Amazon, Google, Alibaba). However, don’t forget that License Mobility through Software Assurance rights still exist (via SA) which allow you to put software on the servers of an “Authorised Mobility Partner” – and the Listed Providers are eligible for this.

Furthermore, when licensing SQL Server Standard or Enterprise by virtual OSE, if you have active SA you can run an unlimited number of containers containing SQL Server within that virtual OSE.

Related to this, Microsoft have made another change that will cause some issues for certain customers. Licensing a virtual machine based on the number of virtual cores now requires Software Assurance with SQL 2022 and, as that is the only option available for licensing virtual machines with SQL Server Std 2022 (i.e. you can’t license the physical hardware to then run VMs), this means that Software Assurance is a requirement if you have virtual machines with SQL Server Std per core.

Machine Learning removal

Looking at the Product terms, it appears that Microsoft have removed the rights for SQL Server Enterprise customers to use:

  • Machine Learning for Window or Linux
  • Machine Learning Server for Hadoop

PAYG licensing

Enabled via Azure Arc, this new billing model enables organisations to pay for SQL Server on a monthly or hourly basis:


The servers must be connected to Azure Arc to use this option. For 2022, the Arc connection is a default part of the setup process while for SQL 2014 and above, it will be enabled via a capability within the Azure portal which is, according to Microsoft, coming soon. This seems to suggest that PAYG isn’t available with SQL 2012 or earlier which makes sense, given they’re all out of support.

See more on SQL PAYG here and the pricing is here.

New pricing

Microsoft have confirmed that SQL Server 2022 Standard, Enterprise, and Web pricing will increase by 10% from January 2023 – including public sector.

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