Tag Archives: SQL Developer

SQL Developer Edition: Be very…very…careful

Here’s a brief rundown with SQL Developer edition and what to be aware of if you decide to deploy it.

  • It’s free – you can download it for zero costs
  • It’s a compliance nightmare – When you deploy MAP tool in an audit, the scan typically will reveal a SQL Enterprise installation not SQL Developer edition.  Most features of Developer are found in Enterprise which brings on more confusion.  If you are audited, you must prove this license is for non-production environments.  Which brings us to the next bullet point.
  • What is a non production environment?  Any time you host Microsoft software it is defined as “production.”  Whether or not you charge for this access is irrelevant.  (Microsoft doesn’t care if you make money off of it).  If you do internal development, that’s non production.  If you host a dev environment for the benefit of your customer, now that is software as a service and would be considered production.
  •  Microsoft made SQL Development free in 2016.  For those that need prior versions, you would need to access them through Visual Studio subscriptions.   Again, for non-production environments.  Otherwise, you can report Visual Studio through SPLA; per user, per month.
  • To play it safe, isolate the hardware for any customer’s that want to transfer their free version of SQL Dev to your datacenter environment.

One might ask if it’s free, what’s the penalty if I am found out of compliant?  If you were deploying SQL Dev for production use and Microsoft finds out, you would have to true up using SQL Enterprise.  In other words, if you installed SQL Dev in 2014, get audited in 2017, Microsoft could force you to true up SQL Enterprise dating back to when you first installed Developer edition.  That’s not a very cheap solution!

Is this confusing?  Yes.  You have to make a decision of whether or not this is production or non-production environment.  Do not install SQL Developer because it’s free.  It may cost you in the long run.

Thank you for reading,



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Testing Environments for Hosting Providers

In this article, we will discuss the licensing rules for service providers who would like to provide testing/development environments for their customers.  We will break down MSDN, SQL Developer edition, and the terms and conditions found in your signed SPLA agreement.  We will also provide a sneak peek into how AWS does it to stay to compliant.

MSDN Licensing for Hosting

A common question from hosting providers is “Can I host MSDN?  The short answer is “probably not in the way you want to provide MSDN” that sounds a bit harsh, but the reality is MSDN is a customer owned subscription licenses (I guess at the end of the day, it’s a subscription – no one owns anything, but you get my point).  If your customer wants to transfer their MSDN licenses into your datacenter, you must inform them that you must isolate (dedicate) the hardware for that customer only.  Under no circumstance, can you host MSDN in a shared datacenter environment, MSDN is not license mobility eligible.

What you can do is license the components of MSDN (Visual Studio) through SPLA, and yes, that can be shared since it’s a SPLA license, not MSDN.  All other components (Windows/SQL) would also have to be licensed via SPLA since it’s shared.

What about Azure?  Azure is the only exception to this rule.  Azure does allow MSDN licenses to be transferred over to their shared datacenter environment.

To summarize MSDN: No, you cannot host an end customers MSDN license from your shared environment.  Yes, you can in Azure.  Yes, you can license the components of MSDN in SPLA.  Don’t shoot the messenger!

SQL Developer Edition

SQL Developer edition is not part of the SPLA program.  The only SQL editions in SPLA are Web, Standard, and Enterprise.  Since SQL Developer is not included in SPLA and is not license mobility eligible, it cannot be installed in shared cloud environments (Like MSDN – which SQL Developer is included).

We get asked if it’s possible to report SQL Standard in development.  Yes, you can use SQL Standard for testing since it’s included in SPLA, but that does not have the same functionality as SQL Developer edition.  If you want similar functionality, you would have to license SQL Enterprise.  Please see the supported features here to learn more.

Evaluation/Testing Language in SPLA

As part of your signed SPLA agreement, you can test products for an evaluation period of 90 days.  After 90 days, you must remove it or report it under SPLA. There is often confusion as to what Microsoft means by evaluation and testing.

Evaluation/testing and development are two different things.  Testing/Evaluation is to ensure the solution works for your customers to perform internally before delivering on behalf of your customers.  It could mean testing, maintenance, and administrative tasks to the server.   Development is building or creating the solution.

How does Amazon license MSDN?

I wrote a white paper on this topic, but in short, AWS must play by the same rules that you do as a service provider.  If you want to use your MSDN licenses in AWS, you must purchase a dedicated instance from AWS.  I would check out their FAQ guide to learn more.

Thanks for reading,






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Posted by on November 21, 2017 in Testing and Development


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