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Obfuscating SQL Server Data for Development - License Implications


Been told by a Ops Manager that you need to "prod" license a SQL Development server if the data is not obfuscated when refreshed from production.

Understand common reasons to obfuscate data in non-prod environments, but never read anywhere it was mandatory from the vendors view point, only internal policy or industry compliance.

Extract from the Microsoft SAM: Non Production Environment Took Kit

If you are unsure whether or not a physical server or operating system environment should be considered production, apply the following test: can the customer permanently migrate this environment offline – including any data that it is consuming – without impacting end users? If the answer is “no,” then you should treat the environment in question as production.

In my use case the answer is YES. No impact to the end-user and therefore development is sufficient.

Please advise if my logic is correct?


pretty sure your Ops Manager is incorrect. Can you ask them for a reference? Certainly Microsoft has no stake in what you do with the data on your Development edition server -- just that you not use it in production.


Thanks. And I concur.

On a clients site and the internal Ops Manager is insistence Microsoft recently told him over a telephone call the rule was unless you obfuscate you pay for the full prod license.

Before I put my head on the chopping block, thought wise to reach out to the SQL community for verification.

Appreciate the feedback