When Microsoft released SQL Server 2012, they also changed the licensing model from CPU licensing to Core licensing. This have some interesting implications, and in this blogpost I will explain how this affects the specific case of running Core licensed SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition in a virtual environment such as VMWare or Hyper-V.
An important note to start with is that When licensing individual VMs, core factors (see earlier blogpost http://www.sqlservice.se/sv/start/blogg/the-sql-server-2012-core-factor-table.aspx ) do not apply. Also, to license individual VMs using the Per Core model, you will have to purchase a core license for each v-core (or virtual processor, virtual CPU, virtual thread) allocated to the VM, and the four core license minimum still applies per VM. For licensing purposes, Microsoft has decided a v-core maps to a hardware thread, meaning that you could actually be paying a Core license for each HyperThread. That in it’s turn means that Hyperthreading most likely should be OFF in your virtual SQL Server environment. Atleast when running Standard Edition. Licensing individual VMs is the only licensing option available for SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition, you can not license the entire underlying physical HW, as you can with Enterprise edition.
When you have Software Assurance for your SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition Core Licenses, you can freely move your licenses around in your virtual server farm. If you do NOT have SA, you can only reassign your licenses to a different server inte the farm once every 90 days. If you find all this confusing, there is more, much more, information on the subject at http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/get-sql-server/how-to-buy.aspx . Or you can contact us, and we will help you!