SQL Server 2022 Paid Editions Require a Licensing Key.

SQL Server 2022

For the final release of SQL Server 2022, Microsoft popped a surprise that wasn’t in the release candidates:

Your choices are:

  • Install a free edition: Evaluation (which times out after 180 days), Developer (which isn’t allowed to be used for production purposes), or Express (which is limited to small databases & hardware resources)
  • Use pay-as-you-go-billing, which requires you to connect the SQL Server to your Azure account
  • Put in a product key if you want to use Standard, Enterprise, or Web Edition


Microsoft deserves to get paid for their work, just like you, dear reader.

This is a significant change from past behaviors, taking us back to the days of SQL Server 2000 (or thereabouts?) when we had to put in license keys. Back then, the setup process simply validated the key, but didn’t phone home to Microsoft to see if the key was being used repeatedly across lots of SQL Servers.

Logistically, this is a little tricky to enforce. You can buy SQL Server licenses in 2-core packs, each of which would presumably have its own key. The setup doesn’t appear to allow you to put in multiple keys, so it would seem that you could buy a 2 CPU pack of Enterprise, then install it on a 128-core server and put that key in.

Baby steps.

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