The ITAM Review

News, reviews and resources for worldwide ITAM, SAM and Licensing professionals.

Microsoft SQL Server License Management Standard

Microsoft SQL ServerBack in October 2014 we published a comparison of four SAM tools with Microsoft License Management capabilities (See: Microsoft License Management Group Test – The Results).

This previous group test above was based on a questionnaire completed by participating vendors and an online briefing to quiz vendors on their capabilities.

For 2016, we would like to take this up a notch by formally benchmarking tool manufacturers against an open standard (This article) using real customer data. We wrote a similar standard for Oracle Database License Management back in November (See: Oracle Database License Management Verification Standard V1.0).

An open standard for Microsoft SQL Server License Management

The details published below are a first draft of our open standard for the management of SQL Server.

i.e. If I want to invest in tooling to manage the risk and cost of Microsoft SQL Server licensing in my environment – what should I be looking for?

This has been a community effort, thanks to forum contributors Steve O’Halloran, Deepika, Mike Austin and lmiguelmartins for their input.

We are publishing this standard so that others may add or critique it – please provide your feedback via the comments below or this thread on our forum and we will update the standard accordingly.

See also:

Are SAM Tools fit for purpose for managing SQL?

The ITAM Review will use this standard to verify tools for SQL Server license management.  Microsoft offers MAP and has industry affiliations with general SAM tools.

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Our verification process will be open, transparent and collaborative. It will evolve with the industry over time (Hence sharing this open standard).

The ITAM Review verification will test both inventory and reconciliation (as you can read below).

Tools will be benchmarked using real customer data to independently verify whether they meet the criteria below.

Microsoft SQL Server License Management Verification Standard V1.0

Version 1.0 Published 16th May 2016


  • Record and manage mixed entitlement records using different license grants into a consolidated ELP
  • Manage prior and mixed license models (Device/CAL compared to Processor/Core)
  • True up in the instance of shortfall must be trued up based on current model, historical compliance justifications might be based on mixed models.

Hardware Asset Management

  • Identify physical processors and cores
  • Identify virtual processors and cores of Virtual operating system environment
  • Core factor table calculation to identify consumption or manual override based on processors / cores

License metrics

  • Manage device / power based licensing
  • Manage user based licensing
  • Manage Server/CAL based licensing

Software Assurance

  • Identify if mobility is enabled on Virtualisation (for when Software assurance is required for virtual mobility) and frequency (would it violate 90 day rules if applicable)
  • Manage Software Assurance qualification critiera for optimization – Virtual mobility, failover rights, load balancing and so on. SAM tool can help provide transparency – when it is required or not and reasons why.


  • MSDN subscriptons – Identify MSDN installs of SQL Server and align to users
  • Non-production states – Ability to manage states relevant to license management (e.g. hot-backup, cold-backup, testing, development, staging, etc)
  • OEM /Embedded installs – Identify / Manage scenarios when third party software has inbuilt SQL databases
  • Supporting services – Identify ancillory SQL installs and relevance to license management (SQL reporting and integration services might be free when included but licensable if installed separately etc. )
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  • Identify SQL edition and version
  • Product Use Rights
  • Manage SQL product use rights based on the edition and version of SQL

Cloud / Virtualisation

  • Map virtual host to underlying physical infrastructure
  • Manage entitlement based on VMs in a cluster > datacentre
  • Identify and manage SQL instances in Azure or AWS


  • Report on actual usage – server last logged in date, last used date for SQL, business use from CMDB etc. (Are we still using this / do we still need it?)
  • Manage indirect access to / multiplexing of SQL Server

Further Resources


We are publishing this standard so that others may add or critique it – please provide your feedback via the comments below or this thread on our forum and we will update the standard accordingly.

We welcome your feedback on this first draft, have we missed anything? Is it realistic? Please let us know.

Thanks, Martin


About Martin Thompson

Martin is owner and founder of The ITAM Review, an online resource and community for worldwide ITAM professionals.

Martin is also author of the book "Practical ITAM - The essential guide for IT Asset Managers", a book that describes how to get started and make a difference in the field of IT Asset Management.

On a voluntary basis Martin is a contributor to ISO WG21 which develops the ITAM International Standard ISO/IEC 19770.

Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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