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Microsoft SQL Server licensing for SOLIDWORKS PDM

Wednesday October 14, 2020 at 11:23am

SQL 2014 End of Life Scheduled for SW2021 SP5

As documented in the release notes for the last few releases, SOLIDWORKS PDM / Manage 2021, released this month, will be the final release of SOLIDWORKS PDM / Manage to support SQL 2014 SP3. ‘End of Life’ in this situation, is tied to the point at which the software reaches ‘End of Mainstream Support’. At this time, Microsoft will no longer provide non-security hotfixes unless part of an extended support agreement. For SQL Server 2014 SP3, End of Mainstream Support was July 9th 2019. As such, the minimum requirement for PDM 2022 will now be SQL 2016

The discontinuation of Microsoft SQL Server licenses bundled together with individual CAD Editor, Contributor or Viewer licenses of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage.

  • On October 8th 2019, SOLIDWORKS disconnected the SQL licenses previously included as standard with each SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional licenses, instead choosing to offer them separately as add-on licenses along side those individual CAD Editor, Contributor or Viewer licenses of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage.
  • From April 1, 2020. SOLIDWORKS also removed the bundled Microsoft SQL Server Core Based license from its “Universal licenses” of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage. Unlike with named license types however, SQL Core Based licenses could not be offered separately.
  • As of October 1, 2020. SOLIDWORKS are no longer able to provide Microsoft SQL Server 2014 Server + CAL licenses as add-on components to individual CAD Editor, Contributor or Viewer licenses of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage

In practical terms, as an existing user of SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional, what does that mean for you?

Immediately? Not a great deal, but it is probably a good idea to start thinking about the next 12 months. As noted above, SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS Manage 2022 can not be installed alongside Server 2014, so you will need to factor in this upgrade before that time. Whilst using PDM / Manage 2021 or earlier, if you purchased under the Server + CAL license type (named CAD Editors, Contributors etc) and you need to add new users, you will be required to purchase accompanying Microsoft SQL User CAL licenses independent to the PDM licences. This is not the case for Customers who purchased under the Core Base license type (Universal License / Processor License (PSL)) which allow unlimited users but is instead restricted by the number of processor cores that could be used on the server

Frequently Asked Questions

I have an active Subscription package for SOLIDWORKS PDM, why am I unable to upgrade to a newer version of SQL Server for free?

The SQL Software licenses supplied to you with SOLIDWORKS PDM were done so via a special agreement with Microsoft. This agreement allowed SOLIDWORKS to supply the SQL software at a greatly reduced price but with some notable limitations as a result. The primary reason why you are unable to upgrade this version of PDM to a new version is that the software was provided without ‘Software Assurance’ and, in the case of the Server + CAL model, it was also “runtime restricted”. Software Assurance is the equivalent of a SOLIDWORKS Subscription and without it, it is not possible to upgrade to a newer version for free.

What does Run Time Restricted mean?

This means the software supplied is solely to be used with the application you are purchasing it with.

What does this all mean for my existing SOLIDWORKS PDM / Manage environment?
If you are using PDM Standard then you will want to upgrade your SQL Express instance to SQL 2019 as part of the SOLIDWORKS PDM upgrade to PDM 2022. SQL Express is free so can be upgraded freely and easily.
If you are using PDM Professional, with or without SOLIDWORKS Manage, then up until SOLIDWORKS 2021 SP5
  • Nothing is required unless you add additional users.
  • You can choose to purchase and upgrade your SQL licenses to the most recent supported version at the time when it’s most convenient for you, then plan your upgrade.
  • For SOLIDWORKS PDM / Manage 2022
  • You will be required to purchased SQL licenses that are newer than 2014 for SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional and SOLIDWORKS MANAGE.
Note: If you are considering moving your existing SOLIDWORKS PDM Professional or SOLIDWORKS MANAGE to a public cloud, at your current release, you will also have to upgrade the SQL licenses ensuring you include Software Assurance in order to remain compliant. Note: To avoid the unknown costs of metered public cloud hosting services such as AWS or Azure, please talk to Solid Solutions regarding our CloudSure platform and care package which can also be supplied with suitable SQL Server Licenses
What if I need to add new PDM licenses or Users to my existing PDM license pool?
Whilst using PDM / Manage 2021 or earlier, if more PDM licenses are needed, you can:
  • Purchase additional, individual CAL licenses so that you have a mix of your original run-time restricted licenses (approaching end of life) and newer licenses which can be purchased at the latest release and downgraded to match your existing SQL 2014 SP3 infrastructure.
  • Upgrade your SQL infrastructure fully to the most recent SQL Server edition with suitable CAL Licenses for all users Solid Solutions have partnered with Tech Data in order to be able to address your requirements and supply you with SQL Licenses that can match your needs today and in the future.
How do I budget for this?
First, work out your license requirements for SQL Server in order to determine the most cost effective and compliant Licensing model for your requirement. We can help you with this, but I have outlined the ‘basics’ below.

SQL Server Standard Edition can be licensed via one of two models*.

1. Server + Clients (CAL) 2. Server x Processor Cores

In the Server + Client (CAL) model the minimum requirement would be for 1 Server License and 1 User or Device license. In the Server x Cores model licences are purchased in 2 Core ‘packs’ and the minimum requirement, as defined by Microsoft, is 4 cores (2 x 2 Core Licences).

CAL’s unlike your SOLIDWORKS PDM licenses, do not float and in the Server + CAL model, the number of licenses that you require will be based on the number of distinct database connections. In effect, each user or device (whichever is the lowest number) that connects to PDM will require his or her own CAL.

For example. If you have 2 CAD Editors linked to 2 SOLIDWORKS desktops and a pack of 5 Viewers shared by 10 individuals, you would need to purchase 1 Server license, plus 12 User CAL’s. This can however be different if you have multiple users sharing devices (PCs). With the same scenario of 2 CAD Editors and a pack of 5 Viewers shared by 10 people if, instead, 4 of those people share a single PC (e.g. in the machine shop) then you would instead require a Server license, 8 User CALS and 1 Device CAL. For this reason the Server + CAL model is most suited to smaller installations where there is a fixed and known number of users and that number is not expected to exceed roughly 30 - which is the point at which a Core based license becomes more cost effective.

Ask yourself…
  • Will the number of users defined in the system be greater than the PDM Licenses you are using or looking to purchase? If YES, how many Users in total will ‘connect’ to PDM?
  • Will any of the Users be accessing PDM via a shared device (PC)? If so How many Devices are shared and by how many users?
As the Server + Cores model is not limited to a number of connections, it is most suitable for larger installations or those with potentially a large number of data consumers, include those potentially outside the business, using the Web Client for example.

If installing SQL Server on a Physical Server, the number of Licenses required will be based on the number of Processor Cores available to the Database Engine with a minimum of 2 packs of Licenses (4 Cores) needing to be ordered.

If installing SQL Server on a Virtual Server you can limit the Cores available to the Virtual Server, however a minimum of 4 Cores will still need to be licensed (2 x 2 Cores)

* Note: SQL Server Enterprise Edition is required for Database Replication with SOLIDWORKS PDM and this edition can only be purchased via the per processor license model.

To get a complete understanding of licencing requirements with Microsoft SQL Server please visit the Microsoft Website where you will find a Licensing Guide.
If I’m buying a new edition of SQL Server, what does Software Assurance (SA) give me?
  • Public Cloud Usage: Customers are increasingly moving their servers to public cloud services and Solid Solutions are able to offer a ‘Cloud hosted’ PDM environment via our partnership with Iomart through our ‘CloudSure’ package ad services. The Microsoft SQL Server 2014 licenses offered before could not be transferred to public cloud servers. Newer versions will let you do that, but only if purchased with SA.
  • New Version Rights: With New Version Rights you can upgrade to the most recent product version for no additional cost, taking advantage of performance benefits only available to Customers using the most up to date (supported) technology.
  • Disaster recovery and fail over benefits: You may run a passive secondary instance of SQL Server only if you have Software Assurance attached to your SQL Server Licenses
  • Load balancing: Software assurance removes the 90 day limitation on moving software licenses between devices. This restriction means that with your existing SQL 2014 Licenses you are unable to utilise automatic load balancing in a virtualised Server environment. This works by moving the Virtual Server between different hosts in order to improve performance and as this could happen quite regularly Software Assurance would be required in order to remain compliant.

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