In our last two posts, we have covered the basics of SQL Server licensing and we have examined the breaking points between some of the key versions of the product. Our next topic in this series answers the question: What use rights or permissions changed with the release of SQL 2014?

There are two main changes in use rights for SQL 2014: passive failover rights for servers covered with SA, and permission to use batch processing when using the Business Intelligence version of the product. I have included some images from the Microsoft licensing datasheet below to help explain these changes.

Passive Failover Rights

sql server licensing

“Passive failover rights” means that if your SQL license is covered with SA, then you can have a passive server running the background as a disaster recovery solution. If the active server fails, then the passive server can pick up the workload. In the licensing datasheet, Microsoft states, “The passive secondary server used for failover support does not need to be separately licensed for SQL Server as long as it is truly passive. If it is serving data, such as reports to clients running active SQL Server workloads, or performing any ‘work’ such as additional backups from secondary servers, then it must be licensed for SQL Server.”

Batch Processing Permissions

sql server licensing

The other big change is that if you are using SQL 2014 Business Intelligence and you make batch changes to that SQL Server, then the machine making the batch changes does not need a CAL. Here is the relevant section of the current Product Use Rights document:


You do not need CALs for any user or device that accesses your instances of the server software solely through a batching process. “Batching” is an activity that allows a group of tasks occurring at different times to be processed all at the same time.

For example, let’s say you have a CRM system that updates changes in the SQL database only twice a day. Under the old licensing rules, the server running your CRM system would need a CAL, but under the new rules it does not. Furthermore, due to multiplexing rules (again see here for more information about multiplexing) not only would the CRM server need a CAL, but all the devices making changes to that CRM server would also need a CAL. You can see how the costs for this could quickly add up. But with this new use right, things are now much simpler. Another piece of good news is that this change also applies to SQL 2012.

In our next post, we will discuss how to properly license SQL in a virtual environment. In the meantime, you can read more about these use rights changes in a free report from Directions on Microsoft available here.

Need help planning your next SQL deployment or improving your current deployment?  Mirazon is here to help with both the licensing side and technical side of the project.  Give us a call at 502-240-0404 or send us an email at