How to buy SQL Server?


I often receive questions about how organizations in Canada can buy SQL Server licenses. In this article, I will cover all possible options.

SQL Server 2017 Licensing Options

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The most common way to acquire SQL Server licenses is to use one of following Volume Licensing programs:

EA/EAS/SCE: Large organizations (500 users or more) often use Enterprise Agreement (EA), Enterprise Agreement Subscription (EAS) and Server & Cloud Enrollment (SCE) to acquire SQL Server licenses.

MPSA: Medium organizations’ (250 user or more) preferred choice is Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (MPSA).

Please take into account, that EA, EAS and MPSA agreements are sold exclusively from Authorized Licensing Solution Providers (LSP). In Canada we have 10 LSP partners.

Canadian Authorized LSP Channel

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Open License agreement: SMB companies prefer to acquire SQL Server licenses through Microsoft Open licensing programs. In this case, organizations can acquire SQL Server licenses from any Microsoft partner or local reseller.

SQL Server sales workflow

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ISVR: If you are buying a new application, the company developed this application can offer you to buy SQL Server licenses along with the application. The SQL Server licenses acquired from an application developer (ISV) can be used only with this application and not with any other application. For example, you cannot connect 3rd party BI tool to the application database. The company which sells the agreement should have an ISV Royalty (ISVR) agreement signed with Microsoft or Microsoft Distributor to resell SQL Server licenses.

SPLA: if you want to host your database with a hosting provider, you can bring you own SQL Server licenses (these licenses should be covered with active Software Assurance subscription) or rent SQL Server licenses from your hosting provider. In this case, your services provider should have Service Provider License Agreement (SPLA) signed with Microsoft or Microsoft Distributor to be able to resell Microsoft licenses.

Retail: you can buy SQL Server Standard edition in retail, for example at Microsoft Store in Canada.


Get familiar with Microsoft SQL Server 2017 licensing and pricing here. For more information about Microsoft Volume Licensing, or to order or renew software licenses, contact your partner or call Microsoft Resource Centre at (877) 568-2495.


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