Windows Server 2022 licensing changes

Microsoft have made a number of changes to Windows Server 2022 licensing, detailed in the April 2023 Product Terms.

First of all they’ve removed the requirement for a customer to have a minimum of 16 Windows Server Core licences in their estate before they can take advantage of licensing by virtual machine or use the Azure Hybrid Benefit. Secondly, there’s a change to the Azure Hybrid Benefit where Windows Server Core licences no longer have to be kept in groups of 8 when licensing a virtual machine with more than 8 cores – previously a 20-core virtual machine would have needed 24 licences (3×8), now it just needs 20.

Then there are changes to the rights when Windows Server licences are acquired as Software Subscriptions through CSP. If a customer has these licenses then they may use Standard licences with Windows Server Datacenter virtual machines. This right is available to them if they’re running their virtual machines in their own on-premises data centres, or with Authorized Outsourcers.

And finally there are changes when a CSP-Hoster partner sells Windows Server Software Subscription licences as part of a solution which they are hosting and managing for a customer. In this case, there’s no need for Windows Server CALs or External Connector licences, and the right to use Standard licences with Datacenter images also applies as above.

SQL Server 2022 licensing

There’s a new SQL Server 2022 Licensing Guide ( and Datasheet (, and the Product Terms is also updated ( for SQL Server 2022. Here are the key licensing changes to be aware of:

  • Licensing by virtual machine with Core licenses is now an SA/Software Subscription benefit
  • When licensing by virtual machine a customer can run SQL Server in any number of containers in the virtual machine
  • Customers with active SA/Software Subscriptions may now use Azure SQL Managed Instance as their preferred fail-over server option in Azure for disaster recovery

SQL Server 2022 licenses with SA or purchased as Software Subscriptions are also eligible for the Flexible Virtualization Benefit, introduced in October 2022, enabling customers to use their licences with any Authorized Outsourcer’s shared hardware. Find the Flexible Virtualization Benefit Licensing Guide here:

And finally, there’s the new PAYG option where customers can pay for SQL Server on a consumption basis from $0.1 per hour for a Standard Core, and $0.375 for an Enterprise Core for Azure Arc-enabled servers. Find out more about how that all works here:

Host Integration Server

BizTalk Server 2020 is added to the March 2020 Product Terms document with information on page 15 detailing a customer’s allowable usage of Host Integration Server.

Essentially this is allowed when BizTalk Server Core licences are purchased, and the edition of BizTalk acquired defines the rights – for example BizTalk Server Branch Edition licences restrict the use of HIS software to branch office deployments.

Find the current Product Terms document here: