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Example License Topologies and Costs for SQL Server 2014 Self-Service Business Intelligence

Microsoft SQL Server 2012 and Microsoft SharePoint 2013 introduced several changes in licensing that provide more options in how you can license your servers, users, and devices. SQL Server 2014 Licensing supports the same Business Intelligence related scenarios.

  • SQL Server 2014 is available in the Business Intelligence edition and offers per core licensing for some editions of SQL Server.

  • SharePoint 2013 simplified SharePoint Server licensing for extranet and internet scenarios as well as options for SharePoint Online.

This topic illustrates high-level considerations for selecting the SQL Server Business Intelligence edition or the SQL Server Enterprise edition. The topic includes several sample on-premises Microsoft self-service Business Intelligence (BI) topologies. The examples include the editions and licenses you can utilize to optimize the balance between cost and performance. The topologies, number of servers and, licensing cost are provided only as examples. Before purchasing, visit the "How to Buy" section for each product and consult your Microsoft representative or local reseller, regarding your specific licensing requirements. For information on the most recent licensing plans and costs, see the following:

This topic focuses on SQL Server and SharePoint server technologies. The costs and examples do not specifically illustrate Microsoft Windows Server or Microsoft Office components you require for a full client and server solution. The SQL Server Business Intelligence components covered in this topic are SQL Server Reporting Services running in SharePoint mode and PowerPivot for SharePoint. The components include the following features:

  • Interactive PowerPivot workbooks in the browser.

  • Interactive Power View reports in SharePoint.

  • PowerPivot Gallery, Schedule Data refresh, Management Dashboard.

  • Reporting Services in SharePoint mode, including Data Alerts.

For more information, see the table of features in Install SQL Server BI Features with SharePoint (PowerPivot and Reporting Services).

This section summarizes licensing requirements for SQL Server and SharePoint. The information is a high-level summary and only covers the scenarios used in the topology diagrams and cost examples in this document. Review as noted the content links for more detailed license details. Example prices are based on Microsoft Open License Program (MOLP) prices.

A common practice is to use the Enterprise Edition for servers that run SQL Server Database Engine and the Business Intelligence Edition for servers that run Reporting Services or PowerPivot for SharePoint. However, the number of users and number of server cores in your deployment affect cost and your decision on what edition to use.

SQL Server 2014 Licensing Summery

  • The SQL Server Enterprise Edition uses core based licensing. Core-based licenses are sold in two-core packs.

  • The SQL Server BI edition uses both Server licenses and Client Access Licenses (CAL).

  • CAL licenses are based on each user or device connected to SQL Server, regardless of the number of the servers they connect to.

  • Core licensing requires all the cores in the server to be covered by a license. There is a minimum of four core licenses required for each physical processor in the server.

The following table summarizes the license details used for deployment design and license cost estimation. NOTE: Pricing shown is for demonstrative purposes only.

SQL Server Editions

SQL Server License + Client Access License (CAL)

SQL Server Core Based License

Enterprise

Not applicable

(Yes) $6874 X [# of cores] X [core factor]

Business Intelligence

(Yes) $8592 + $199 per CAL

Not applicable

Standard

(Yes)

(Yes)

For more information on sample SQL Server license prices, see:

  1. SQL Server Assumptions and more licensing information:

  2. The diagrams in this topic use the Enterprise Edition of SQL Server for database servers so that the full set of high availability features is available, for example, AlwaysOn Availability Groups. For more information, see Features Supported by the Editions of SQL Server 2014.

  3. Servers in this example are all 2 Intel Xeon 6-core processors, therefore there is a SQL Server Core factor of 1 when calculating license costs. For more information on core factors and licensing costs, see SQL Server Core Factor Table (http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/C/8/0C85665B-11EA-4FF5-B37C-8CC21CF95AC4/BizTalk%202013_CoreFactorTable_3.19.2013.v4.pdf).

SharePoint 2013 Licensing Summary

The following list summarizes the license model used for deployment design and license cost estimation. Pricing shown is for demonstrative purposes only.

  1. A SharePoint server license is required for each instance of Microsoft SharePoint Server.

  2. To license SharePoint Enterprise, for each end user or end device, purchase a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Standard CAL license in addition to a Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise CAL license.

  3. SharePoint CAL licenses are purchased one per user or device that access SharePoint servers. You do not need to purchase CAL licenses for each server.

For example if your environment consisted of 2 instances used by 100 users, and your quoted costs where the following:

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Standard CAL license: $107.99

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 Enterprise CAL license: $94.99

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013 license: $6,412.99

The cost would be: $33,123.98

  • CAL License: ($107.99 +$94.99) X 100) =$20,298.00

  • Server License: ($6,412.99 X 2) =$12,825.98

  

SharePoint Assumptions and more licensing information:

The sample deployments are all intranet environments, therefore SharePoint CAL licensing is required.

This example illustrates that with 800 or less users, it is least expensive to use the SQL Server BI edition for the SharePoint application servers and PowerPivot for SharePoint servers. However when there are 800 users or more, SQL Server Enterprise Edition is less expensive. Core licensing is independent of the number of users, and therefore there is a cost threshold point when you compare core and CAL license costs and the number of user’s increases. From the threshold point onwards the Enterprise Edition is the least expensive solution. To determine the cost threshold, compare costs based on the number of cores to be licensed versus the number of end-user or end device CALs to be licensed.

  • This example is an intranet deployment; therefore SharePoint CAL licensing applies for SharePoint 2013.

  • The Application role (2) includes SQL Server Reporting Services installed in SharePoint mode.

    The SharePoint service application databases run on database role (4) servers.

  • PowerPivot for SharePoint runs on separate servers (3). SQL Server 2014 PowerPivot for SharePoint 2013 runs outside the SharePoint farm and can be installed on servers that do not include a SharePoint installation, improving performance.

  • The Database role (4) uses SQL Server Enterprise so that SQL Server feature, AlwaysOn Availability Groups, is available.

bi_license_3tiers_and_ASseparate

With 100 users, the SQL Server BI edition is less expensive.

bi_license_3tiers_and_ASseperate_calcs

However with 300 users, using SQL Server Enterprise Edition is less expensive.

bi_license_3tiers_and_ASseperate_calcs2

This example illustrates that with 100 or less users, it is less expensive to use SQL BI edition for servers that run SQL Server BI functionality. However when there are 500 users or more, SQL Server Enterprise Edition is less expensive.

  • This example is an intranet deployment; therefore SharePoint CAL licensing applies for SharePoint 2013.

  • Analysis Services in PowerPivot mode (2) runs outside the farm but PowerPivot is running on the same physical servers in the other application role.

  • The Database role (3) uses SQL Server Enterprise so that the SQL Server feature, AlwaysOn Availability Groups is available.

bi_license_3tiers

With 100 users, the SQL Server BI edition is less expensive.

bi_license_3tiers_calcs1

However with 500 users, the SQL Server Enterprise Editions is less expensive.

bi_license_3tiers_calcs3

With only 2 tiers, the SQL Server Enterprise Edition is used so that the SQL Server feature AlwaysOn Availability Groups is available for the SQL Server Database Engine. Therefore there are not cost differences to compare between SQL Server editions. The only variable is SharePoint CAL pricing based on the number of users.

  • This example is an intranet deployment; therefore SharePoint CAL licensing applies for SharePoint 2013.

  • Analysis Services in PowerPivot mode runs outside the farm but PowerPivot is running on the same physical servers (2) as the SQL server Database Engine.

bi_license_2tiers

bi_license_2tiers_calcs1

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