Microsoft SQL Licenses

Hi All,

We’re preparing to buy our Microsoft SQL CAL licenses for an upgrade to E10(we currently run progress). It appears Epicor will sell us CALs for Microsoft SQL that come with an annual maintenance fee (I think we’re leasing the software?). We also found for about twice as much per CAL we can buy a “real” Microsoft SQL license that has no annual maintenance fees. With the “real” CALs in about 5 years we’ll be ahead cost wise… Also, although, we’re not planning on giving direct access to SQL at this time, I understand the real licenses will allow applications other than Epicor to access the DB (only the Epicor application is allowed to access the Microsoft SQL DB if we purchase licenses from Epicor). Is our understanding correct so far?

Next question is how many CALs do we need to buy(why does Microsoft make buying software so complicated?). Say we have 10 full Epicor licences, 5 MES licenses, and 5 web service licenses, does that mean we should buy 20 CAL licenses as we could potentially have a maximum of 20 connections to the DB at any time ? To look at it from another perspective, say there are never more than 15 people accessing Epicor at a time, is 15 CAL licences the right number to buy?

Last question is if we run out of Microsoft SQL CAL license what happens - do we see performance problems, etc?

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Hi Eddie,

SQL licensing is the 2nd most confusing thing in the world (right behind the steps necessary to publish an ERP mobile dashboard). I’ll tell you what I recall, but you should ask your CAM to consult with Ivan Ban at Epicor, who manages the Microsoft reseller agreement for Epicor. I can loop you all into a call, if you like.

For years there have been two types of SQL licenses: runtime and full-use. As you mentioned, the runtime license is (conceptually) embedded in the ERP application and is meant to hold Epicor ERP databases and connections from other applications is not allowed. The full-use license removes that restriction.

My understanding is that Microsoft has stopped offering the runtime option – if there’s some way it’s still available through Epicor, it’s the best deal. But a lot of companies weren’t adhering to the license restrictions, which is why I think Microsoft killed off the runtime version. Epicor is (was?) required to sell “embedded maintenance” with SQL Server runtime, which provided next version rights.

Under the full-use licensing, you can purchase a “Software Assurance” subscription for SQL Server which provides rights to the next version of SQL Server, license portability to cloud servers (if that’s applicable to you), and allows you to establish a standby SQL Server for high availability. I think Software Assurance runs ~15% of the SQL purchase price per year.

You need one CAL per ERP user (full ERP client + MES) and a CAL for the ERP application server(s) or any other server machines connecting to the database. So you’re CALculations (see what I did there?) look right, except for the web services part. You do not need a CAL for each web service license because the licensing is covered by the (one) CAL for the machine hosting the web services. So figure 15 CALs (client + MES), plus one CAL for the app server, and CAL each – if needed – for other machines connecting to ERP or the DB (reporting server, Service Connect, etc.).

The number of CALs has nothing to do with the number of connections to the database or throughput, so no worries there.

I think CALs can be bought for about $220 each, which together with the $3200-ish server license (I guessed 17 CALs) comes to under $7K (not including software assurance). I think that’s probably less than going with the per core pricing which is something like $3600 per 2-cores.

Hope this helps, but please take all this to your CAM for final clarification. Let me know if you have further questions.

Congratulations on your uplift to ERP 10. I think you’ll find the new system more reliable and faster in a lot of respects (especially BAQs). We are pouring a ton of investment into ERP 10, especially on the UX and operational analytics features over the next two years. Let me know if I can help resolve any snags during the migration process.



Erik sums it up really well. Only thing I would add and only you will really know, if you expect some uplift in your user numbers - for example adding more MES clients - there is a relatively low cut off point where outright purchasing of core licences is more cost effective than outright purchase of CAL’s.

@erikj & @mcfreedombaby thanks so much for your feedback!

After more discussions we realized a potential snag. We plan to have our website interacting with Epicor so we have an unknown number of unique people/machines. In this case I think we have to license by the number of CPU cores and don’t need any CALs. Does that sound right?

Yes, moving to core licensing simplifies things a lot. No CALs needed.


Go with cores with software assurance.