Last week Microsoft announced a new licensing schema for SQL Server 2012. If you are interested in an extensive discussion of the new licensing scheme, Denny Cherry wrote a great blog post about that.

I’d like to comment about the new BI Edition license. Teo Lachev already commented about the numbers and I agree with him.

I generally like the new licensing mode of SQL 2012. It maintains a very low-entry barrier for SSRS/SSAS/SSIS (Standard Edition). It has a reasonable licensing schema for 20-50 clients. I’ve read on Twitter that Donald Farmer is happy, too: probably QlikView feels that Microsoft is not too much aggressive for them, because BISM Tabular model is not available in Standard edition. However, there is already a free to use product, which is named PowerPivot for Excel.

Probably everyone was expecting an introduction of BISM Tabular in the Standard Edition, maybe with some limitations (like no partitions, for example). This will be not the case. I’m not sure this is a bad news, having BISM Multidimensional with a lower entry price than BISM Tabular could be better, at the end. We will see the customer reaction in a few months.

In reality, what Microsoft really changed is that the Server+CAL licensing of Enterprise Edition is no longer available and it is now called Business Intelligence. Because more advanced SQL Server features will be available only in Enterprise Edition (core-based license only), we will finally see the real numbers of Business Intelligence back-end sold by Microsoft. Until today, in fact, the numbers were always hard to get (also for Microsoft, I think): it wasn’t easy to understand the real adoption and usage of single features. With SQL Server 2012 Microsoft will have clear numbers about what is the real money generated by its Business Intelligence stack.

I think that even if it could appear just a name change, it could be more than that. Having a Business Intelligence license might improve the perception of something that is more valuable and not just a “free add-in to the SQL engine”. Only time will tell!