Microsoft Server Core (license type)

Tip: For some more recent Microsoft products such as Microsoft Windows Server 2016 and System Center 2016, this license type has been superseded by Microsoft Server/Management Core license type (see Microsoft Server/Management Core (license type)). However, this license type is widely applied to Microsoft SQL Server, and is also used to authorize other products, depending on the appropriate license metric.
  • This license type is available only when you have licensed the FlexNet Manager for Datacenters product.
  • If you have procured a Microsoft Server Core license for server applications (such as Microsoft SQL Server), no User or Device CALs are required to access this server application.
Microsoft Server Core is a license type introduced for Microsoft SQL Server 2012, applicable to only two product editions (Standard and Enterprise). Every processor core must be licensed individually, and minima apply (typically, every physical processor will be licensed for at least four cores, even if it has fewer; and where virtual machines are licensed separately, they are licensed for a minimum of four virtual cores each, no matter how many cores or threads may be assigned to them). As well, permissible licensing may be affected by the presence of continuous Software Assurance: Enterprise edition with Software Assurance may be licensed for all physical cores on the server, regardless of how many virtual machines it hosts.
Tip: For capacity-based licenses, if you allocate the license to an individual device but inventory does not show any relevant applications (linked to the license) installed on that same device, consumption on that device is calculated as for a device license (a count of one per device, regardless of the device capacity). You can manually adjust the points consumed using the Overridden consumption value (consumption is then updated at the next compliance calculation). If corrected inventory is later imported that shows installation of relevant applications, you also need to remove the manual assignment of points.

If you are migrating your SQL Server workloads from an on-premises data center to the cloud, the Microsoft Azure Hybrid Benefit (or, for other cloud service providers, license mobility) may allow to swap your on-premises Microsoft Server Core licenses (where covered by active Software Assurance) for entitlements for installations of SQL Server in the cloud. Check the terms of your license agreement for details. For more information, see License Consumption Rules.

Provided that your SKUs include your purchase of Software Assurance, it is best practice to allow the Product Use Rights Library (PURL) and SKU library to appropriately set values for these licenses.

Product use rights Multiple use, downgrade rights, upgrade rights, and licensing on VM hosts. For record keeping purposes only (not affecting any calculations), you can also record a specific right for each user to access multiple installations.
Group assignment

Group assignment is supported.


The number of processor cores being used to run the licensed software. Different editions of the software and its license vary the way that cores may be counted.


Processor cores, either physical or virtual or both, within a single physical host. Each license entitlement covers one core.


Compliant when Consumed is less than or equal to Total licensed.

Note: You may need to specify the points rule in the Points rule set field.
Changing from

Scoping rules will be deleted. Allocations to computers may be deleted.

Changing to You may want to allocate the license to computers.

IT Asset Management (Cloud)


Microsoft Server Core