SQL Server Developer Edition - What counts a development

Andrew Teece 1 Reputation point

Regarding SQL Developer Edition what counts as "Development" and is configuration covered by this term?

We have multiple requirements and i'm trying to figure out which of these scenarios are covered by a SQL Developer Edition license and which need a production license.

  • New Version of Packaged Product
    Customer receives a new version of our product. They often use a database which is a replication of a production database, but this is a 1-way copy from Prod to UAT. Application is accessed over the internet but customer is only performing UAT. I'm pretty confident that this is acceptable with a SQL Developer Edition license.
  • New Configuration within Packaged Product
    Customer is doing ongoing configuration within our product. The database may or may not be a replication of production but there is no automated migration of this configuration; they must repeat any configurations they develop into a production system manually. The customer would test this new configuration also. The grey area on this is does "configuration" of a product count as development? What is development defined as by Microsoft licensing terms?


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  1. Dan Guzman 9,211 Reputation points

    For the authoritative answer to licensing questions in the US, call (1-800-426-9400), Monday through Friday, 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM PST to speak directly to Microsoft licensing specialist. For other counties, see https://www.microsoft.com/worldwide/.

    IMHO, these use cases could be considered development and testing as long as users never use the database for operational needs, such as generating a report instead of using production. The user's job title doesn't matter nor how the configuration (presumably meta-data) is promoted to production. But I'm just some random guy on the internet; contact MS.

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  2. AmeliaGu-MSFT 13,961 Reputation points Microsoft Vendor

    Hi @Andrew Teece ,

    I agree with DanGuzman.
    In addition, please note that a production environment is defined as an environment that is accessed by end-users of an application (such as an internet website) and that is used for more than gathering feedback or acceptance testing of that application. Other scenarios that constitute production environments include:

    • Environments that connect to a production database
    • Environments that support disaster-recovery or backup for a production environment
    • Environments that are used for production at least some of the time, such as a server that is rotated into production during peak periods of activity

    And any test data that was used for design, development or test purposes must be removed prior to deploying the software for production use.
    Please refer to SQL Server licensing Guide for more details.
    For detailed information about the license issue, suggest you consult professionals in this area as DanGuzman mentioned. For international customers, please use the https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/worldwide to find contact information in your locations. For Volume Licensing Service Support, please use the https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/licensing/contact-us to contact information for your country.
    Best Regards,

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  3. Magnus Tjerneld 41 Reputation points

    We are in the exact same situation and currently evaluating our possibility to use Developer Edition.

    We have a few third party applications running in production, and a copy of these in our dev/test environments to be able to test/stage version upgrades and facilitate ongoing development of new features before deployment into production. These test environments are never used in any production scenarios; not acting as cold standbys for DR, not connected to production system and not accessible by any end users. The only thing that have us confused is this line:

    "And any test data that was used for design, development or test purposes must be removed prior to deploying the software for production use."

    Our development is continuous, so we have a constant need for our test databases. Multiple development efforts also utilizes the same test databases. Why would/should we have to wipe our test databases prior to each deployment. It makes no sense.

    Can anyone share some insight into what this line actually means and MS reasoning behind it? Apart from this caveat, we believe we qualify completely for Dev Edition, and it would make a huge difference for us financially since we are currently paying just as much for our DevTest-and Production environments.

    Thanks in advance!