In almost every company I’ve worked for there was this indifference about licensing for SQL Server. Every time a company, appointed by Microsoft, came by to check the licenses of all the Microsoft products, at least one server would not have been licensed correctly.
At a company I’ve worked for in the in the past I asked about the contract for all the SQL Server instances. The reason I asked was because, after a quick scan, I found out every SQL Server instance had Enterprise Edition installed.
Turned out that the manager told everybody that they could install as much SQL Server Enterprise instances as they wanted because there was some sort of enterprise licensing arranged. That wasn’t true and anybody with some knowledge of licensing would have questioned that. The company was just too small to have that kind of Enterprise licensing.
Projects can also put pressure on you to install new SQL Server instances to keep the deadline of the project. It normally goes like this:
– Project manager: We need a SQL Server instance for project Y
– DBA: We don’t have a license for the instance
– Project manager: I don’t care just install the instance we’ll sort it out later
After the project is done, everything is delivered to the IT department and nothing has happened to license the SQL Server instance. I know the dba should have taken responsibility but as you know projects tend to put pressure on you.
I’ve seen companies that during an audit would shut down instances to make sure the servers weren’t picked up by the license audit tool (mostly it’s the MAP toolkit). That’s ridiculous! If you don’t have the license don’t install the instance!
About 6 months in the job we got such an audit for the licensing and it turned out that we had to buy about 30 SQL Server Enterprise server licenses and that we had to pay about 140.000 to get all these licenses. I’m not kidding, that was the proposal.
Fortunately I was able to arrange something else where I would consolidate the servers which didn’t have a license. I would than run the MAP Toolkit again to see if we did everything we promised to do.
It took me 6 months, a lot of planning and a lot of headache to get all the servers consolidated to just 3 SQL Server instances. Consolidating database servers is not fun. You have to know exactly which databases can be put together, which databases have special needs like security, compatibility from vendors, performance requirements etc etc etc. You have to get all the objects to the other instances, test everything over and over to see if databases don’t slow each other down.
Brent Ozar has a nice article to get you started with consolidation.
From that moment on I was really keen on keeping up with every SQL Server instance being installed.
Do we have a license?! No! Fine than we don’t install the instance until we have licensing sorted out. But the project will slow down because of that! I don’t care, we have to make sure we have the license before we will install the instance.