Microsoft unlocks SQL Server 2005 license for virtualization

Microsoft takes another step towards licensing restyling for virtualization scenarios with release of SQL Server 2005 Service Pack 2.

Quoting from the official announcement:

Microsoft Corp. today released Microsoft SQL Server 2005 SP2, an update to its award-winning data management and analysis platform. Customers can now take advantage of enhancements in the familiar and easy-to-use Windows Vista operating system and 2007 Microsoft Office system to easily connect and integrate with the power, security and reliability of SQL Server 2005.

In addition, Microsoft announced that it is expanding virtualization use rights to allow unlimited virtual instances on servers that are fully licensed for SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition. For customers who want maximum flexibility in their use of virtualization technology, now or in the future, SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition is the ideal choice.

This is an impressive move from Microsoft: at this point buying a Windows Server 2003 R2 Datacenter Edition and a single SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition means having limitless databases in your infrastructure.

Previous evaluations of company strategy about virtualization are now to be reconsidered: when Microsoft released for free its Virtual Server 2005 R2 and subsequently unlocked its licensing model in virtualization scenarios for Windows Server 2003 R2, several analysts highlighted those moves as part of a sharp tactic to sell more back-end servers licenses (mainly for SQL Server and Exchange Server).

But looking at this announcement and remembering the new Exchange Server 2007 isn’t supported in virtual machines at the moment, such reading is far to be confirmed.

Please note this new licensing model applies to any virtualization platforms, not only Microsoft Virtual Server 2005.