BizTalk Server 2013 – New Per Core Licensing Model

BizTalk Server 2013, expected to be released on April 1st, is to be licensed under a new policy. The main change is the move from per processor to per core pricing. According to Microsoft, conversion rules will be the same as for SQL Server 2012. What does it mean for BizTalk users? Should they purchase BizTalk licenses now or rather wait? Have a look at our findings on this topic.

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Here is what we have found out and compiled based on information gathered from Microsoft’s representatives and Microsoft’s website. You should be aware that you are solely responsible for your purchasing decisions and license rights you obtain from Microsoft.

Key findings
– No nominal price increase. However, it will cost more for customers deploying to physical machines with processors above 4 cores.

– Some customers may benefit from purchasing additional licenses in advance of this change (1st of April, 2013).

– Rules for conversion will be indeed the same as for SQL Server 2012

Shall I buy BizTalk licenses now?
– If you have BizTalk license 2010 or older without Software Assurance there is no need to do anything. You have perpetual (fixed) right for the processor and there is no need (and no possibility either) to do anything.

– If you are considering to buy license in the near future and anticipate that over the next two-four years you might need more processing power than 4 cores this is a good time to put some thinking into it and maybe place the order with Microsoft reseller prior to this change.

Here is rough comparison of street prices:

BizTalk version 2010 2013
no of cores per proc 4 or less 8 12 4 or less 8 12
BTS Std Lic 9,500 € 9,500 € 9,500 € 9,500 € 19,000 € 28,500 €
BTS Std Lic+SA 14,000 € 14,000 € 14,000 € 14,000 € 28,000 € 42,000 €
BTS ENT Lic 41,000 € 41,000 € 41,000 € 41,000 € 82,000 € 123,000 €
BTS ENT Lic+SA 61,000 € 61,000 € 61,000 € 61,000 € 122,000 € 183,000 €
Note: Many AMD Processors require less core licenses with a factor of .75


– When you buy BTS 2010 with SA and do nothing at the end of SA period you are going to get 4 cores. However if you run Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) toolkit and send the result to Microsoft at the end of your SA period you will get up to 20 core licenses. At the end of this period you may decide whether you are going to continue with buying SA (might be quite expensive with 20 cores) or not.

Here are some scenarios:

Scenario 1)

No hurry, buy when the project time would come, buy Lic only or Lic+SA depending on your strategy and benefit analysis of SA. Do this when there is high risk of not starting BTS project at all.

Scenario 2)
Buy in March 2013 lic only. You get 2010 without upgrade rights, stay with 2010 version. In most cases not advisable.

Scenario 3)
Buy in March 2013 Lic+SA, find a single processor-many-cores machine, install on it BTS, claim your rights using MAP Toolkit, use licenses according to the use rights.

Option 3a)
You have 8 core processor, install on it BTS 2010 or wait till April and do it with 2013, wait till the end of your SA period (2 years on average), claim your cores. You end up with 8 core licenses.

Option 3b)
Install it on whatever you want (or put it on shelf), prior to the end or your SA period find a single processor-many-cores machine (you may rent it for a week), install on it BTS, claim your rights, return the machine. You end up with up to 20 core licenses.

Processors that require/convert-to less licenses
– AMD 31XX, 32XX, 41XX, 42XX, 61XX, 62XX Series Processors with 6 or more cores have Core Factor of 0.75

SQL Server 2012 processor-core conversion rules
Below you can download documents on the licensing of SQL Server 2012 so as to be able to find out for yourself all the details of processor-core conversion rule. As the documents may be not so easy to understand, we have highlighted the most important bits.

“SQL Server 2012 – Licensing Datasheet and FAQ”

Page 5: Customers with processor licenses under SA will receive rights to upgrade to SQL Server 2012 at no additional cost. At the subsequent renewal, the customer will have the opportunity to renew into core licenses

· At the end of the current agreement term, customers should do a self-inventory of systems currently running SQL Server, documenting the number of cores in each processor in use with an SQL Server processor license covered with Software Assurance. This will enable customers to receive the appropriate SQL Server 2012 use rights moving forward and will determine the core license exchange eligibility at renewal.

· Customers should do this self-inventory using the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit or other inventory tools and processes to accurately archive a time/date stamped inventory of hardware tied to SQL Server installations.

“Determining SQL Server 2012 Core Licensing Requirements at SA Renewal”

Not Renewing
If you choose not to renew Software Assurance on your processor licenses, you should consider the following:

1. You can continue to run SQL Server 2008 R2 under the processor use rights with the license.

2. Processor licenses with active Software Assurance expiring after April 1st 2012 have upgrade rights to SQL Server 2012 based on specific use rights. For the purposes of determining SQL Server 2012 use rights, if you upgrade to SQL Server 2012 core-based software, you will use a fixed (perpetual) “core equivalence” value for each existing SQL Server 2008 R2 processor license with expiring SA. This core equivalence value is equal to either:

a. The minimum number of core licenses that could have been renewed into; or
b. The actual number of cores in a physical processor, multiplied by the applicable core factor for that processor type. You can use the above transition report as an inventory of the actual number of cores in use to document perpetual SQL Server 2012 core equivalent values for your processor licenses.

We have asked Microsoft about the date of conversion, since current interpretations as to the term ‘at the end of the period’ are not precise. Will inform you soon.

News Update, 26/03/2013

We have just received the answer from Microsoft regarding the date of conversion. Based on it we have created one more scenario that can be very interesting for companies planning to install BizTalk Server in a high availability architecture. Such an installation requires separation of two hosts with BizTalk Server and thus it has been associated with purchasing two per-processor licenses so far. How to take advantage of a new BizTalk licensing policy to save money on the second license?

Scenario 4 – The Miraculous Multiplication

If you buy BizTalk Lic + Service Assurance and install it on a machine with an 8-core processor in March 2013, you can claim your rights for the Core licenses any time between the 1st of April 2013 and the closing date of your SA (prior to the 1st of April 2015). Once you have claimed your right for 8 cores, you can deploy your SQL Server 2012 on two separate servers – each with one processor and 4 cores. In this way you can deploy your BizTalk Server in high availability architecture in a very cost-effective way.

Obviously, if you install your BizTalk on a machine with more than an 8-core processor, you can claim your right for even more per-core licenses. In such a way by buying one per processor license now, you can get the right to use it on two or three or four or five processors. This means a big savings on BizTalk licenses. So, hurry up! There are only 6 days to take advantage of this opportunity.

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