System Center Software Subscriptions

Microsoft extended the range of Software Subscriptions in CSP by adding System Center in November 2023. Both Standard and Datacenter Core licences are available in 2-packs for terms of either 1 or 3 years. In addition, the requirement for a customer to have a minimum of 16 System Center Core licences before they can choose to license by virtual machine is removed.

Find the Product Terms entry here:

Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers

Microsoft add use rights for the Windows Server Annual Channel for Containers to the October 2023 Product Terms. Customers are eligible to use this operating system if they have Windows Server Datacenter Core licences acquired either with Software Assurance or as Software Subscriptions and can expect a new release every 12 months, with support for 24 months.

You can find an announcement article here:, an overview of Windows Server servicing channels here:, and the relevant Product Terms page here:

Licensing Microsoft server products in virtual environments

There’s an updated (October 2022) “Licensing Microsoft server products in virtual environments” Licensing Brief from Microsoft.

There are updates for the new per virtual machine licensing model for Windows Server, the introduction of the Flexible Virtualization Benefit, and the changes for SQL Server 2022 where licensing by virtual machine becomes an SA/Software Subscription benefit.

Find this updated Licensing Brief here:

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:

Flexible Virtualization Benefit Licensing Guide

There’s a brand new (October 2022) Licensing Guide for the new Flexible Virtualization Benefit. This allows customers licensed with Software Assurance or Software Subscriptions to use their licences with Authorized Outsourcers’ shared servers. The guide contains an overview of the benefit itself, a definition of Authorized Outsourcers, and details about using the benefit with SQL Server, Windows Server, and the desktop products. There are also FAQ and Resources sections at the end.

Find this new guide here: