SQL Server license prices rise ten percent as version 2022 debuts

Azure SQL pay-as-you-go rate is the only rate that won't change, and it was already expensive

Udpated Microsoft last week made SQL Server 2022 generally available, and this week started to advise partners of price hikes for the database.

The price hikes were detailed on the software behemoth's Partner Center announcements page, which detailed a jump from $1,325.15 to $1,583.88 for a two core, one year, SQL Server Standard License Pack, and a jump from $5,080.45 to $6,073.92 for an Enterprise License Pack. Those hikes apply to the licenses sold through cloud service providers – Microsoft partners who sell and administer software licenses to end-customers.

The price rises commence on January 1, 2023.

Software licensing consultancy Quexcel has also claimed that Microsoft is set to increase the price of on-prem SQL Server licenses by ten percent, or eight percent for Microsoft Service Providers.

Quexcel's figures almost match those in a report from Microsoft-watching outlet Redmond. [Both were confirmed by Microsoft in an update, below]

We've asked Microsoft to detail the price rises for SQL Server and to confirm whether they apply to the database when rented in the Azure cloud. The Register understands [see update below] that's not the case – meaning Microsoft has again made it cheaper to access its software in its own cloud. That's a tactic that earned Microsoft the ire of the European Union and ongoing antitrust investigations.

Microsoft responded to those concerns with virtual core licensing for Windows Server. Europe-based clouds feel that change did not level the playing field, though – Microsoft still offers terms for its own software on Azure that rivals cannot match.

At least SQL Server 2022 buyers get more for their money: the new version adds improved analytics, disaster recovery (to Azure, natch) the "Purview" unified data governance and management service, and plumbing improvements that make the database faster and more resilient.

There's also a new PAYG billing model, if you sign up for the Azure Arc multi-cloud application platform.

As if SQL Server users needed another piece of evidence that Microsoft really wants them to get cloudy.

The Register has asked Microsoft to confirm and detail the full extent of SQL Server price rises, and will update this story if the company provides meaningful information. ®

UPDATED at 02:30 AM UTC November 24th Microsoft has confirmed that as of January 1, 2023, a ten percent price increase will be imposed on SQL Server Enterprise edition, Standard edition, and Web edition. The price rises were communicated to customers in late October.

"Azure SQL Customers using SQL Server licensing offers such as software subscriptions or License and Software Assurance will also be impacted by the price increase," the company told us, adding "Azure SQL pay-as-you-go rate is the only version that will not see a price increase in January 2023 given its recent launch at a proportionately higher price point compared to other offerings."

A Microsoft spokesperson added "This is the first substantive update to our list price since SQL Server 2012 and reflects the significant value that we have added over that time. We regularly evaluate the pricing of our offerings based on the value that we are delivering to customers."

UPDATED at 10:45 PM UTC November 24th Microsoft has posted more information to its partner announcement page, which now states "This price rise does not affect the Azure SQL Server Pay-as-You-Go pricing or any of the other Azure SQL services.

Microsoft applied the italics in the quote above.

The new post from Microsoft also advises

  • ew customers should expect a delay in the ability to access previous versions and downgrade leveling of SQL Server until mid-January.

  • Software subscriptions will be eligible to receive upgrades to SQL Server 2022.

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