Triying to understand server purchasesing


I went to Microsoft site and they have an number of different additions to buy. I am having trouble understanding witch one we would want for our needs. Currently we have SQL server 2012 standard edition. We want to upgrade to 2017. they seem to talk in CALS and cores, Is there some place on the web that explains the different versions better, and how they correspond to the number of users.

Thank you

If your usage is limited to fixed number of users then CAL will be good.If you are not sure about how many users will connect to the database then Per Core will be good.

The problem is that I need to know a little deeper what defines a user to the database. So for example, a number of users will access data through a web site or desktop application. But for actually going into the server through SSMS and querying or administrating SQL server is only two people at best. So the question becomes what defines a user.

Thank you

Would this help?

Do you not have a vendor that can help with this? Or a person specializing with licenses within the company you work at?

Hi, and thanks for the reply, No, I called Microsoft and they were supposed to connect me with a vendor, but I never heard from them. Do you know how I can connect with someone myself?

We use a local 3rd parrty that deals exclusively with licensing . We dont deal with MS directly

Okay Thanks

If you have people that connect through web sites or applications that only open a few connections to serve more users than connections it's called "multiplexing". And that usually forces you into the core based licensing.

There is a link to the "SQL Server Licensing Guide" on this page ( That's the best guide I've seen so far.

Based on what you've described you will most likely end up with a 4 core license of SQL Server Standard Edition. You have to license a minimum of 4 cores per operating system environment (OSE - either physical box or VM host). Plus you have to license every physical core in the OSE.

Is there any chance you can use Express Edition? How big is your data and server?