SQL Server 2012 Available for Download, Evaluation

General available expected April 1.

SQL Server 2012 has reached its release-to-manufacturing milestone and is available for download and testing as an evaluation version.

In a telephone interview, Doug Leland, general manager of Microsoft's business platform marketing group, said the "general availability" product release is set for April 1. SQL Server 2012 will be available in three editions: Enterprise, Business Intelligence, and Standard. For this release, the Datacenter edition was dropped; many of its licensing benefits were rolled into the Enterprise edition.

As with other products, Microsoft is changing the licensing basis from processors to cores, based on a minimum of four cores per processor. The licensing limits are 16 cores for the BI and Standard editions. According to Microsoft, "for SQL Server Enterprise Edition when licensed under Server + CAL, a single instance cannot use more than 20 cores." The company is currently working on enhancing its Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit to make it easier for organizations to estimate the licensing changes, according to Tom Bartlett, director of SQL Server pricing and licensing, at a SQL Server 2012 workshop event held last month. (Read more about licensing changes in this article.)

When released, SQL Server 2012 can be self-built, based on reference architecture, or purchased as an appliance. Microsoft recommends the currently available HP Enterprise Database Consolidation Appliance. The appliance will be updated when System Center 2012 ships, according to Darmadi Komo, senior technical product manager for SQL Server 2012, at the workshop event. System Center 2012 is currently available as a release candidate, with release expected in April.

Leland said that SQL Server 2012 has already been "battle tested" by around 150,000 customers. He added that Microsoft plans to roll out further details about its newest relational database management system from customer, partners and Microsoft executives on Wednesday, which is when the company will hold its SQL Server 2012 "launch event."

For details on what to expect from SQL Server 2012, see First Look: Inside SQL Server 2012.

[Editor's note: Story updated 3/7/12 to clarify corepbased licensing.]

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.