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Microsoft SQL Server Integration Services? Nope, it's NOT FREE

SQL Server Integration Services is a popular Microsoft SQL Server suite component. If you don't understand its licensing requirements, you could face license compliance penalties.

SSIS component requires a full SQL Server licence

The following are not free components. You need a full SQL licence to install them separately from the SQL Server database:

  • SQL Server Analysis Services

  • SQL Server Integration Services

  • SQL Server Reporting Services (unless installed with/from SQL Express)

  • SQL Server Master Data Services (requires Enterprise edition)

These are just a few components SQL and IT administrators often incorrectly consider free of charge. The list above is not exhaustive, however.

How can you tell what SQL Server components you can install without a payment?

Check Product Terms. Look for "Additional Software" on the SQL Server product page.

What other ways to get free SQL Server components and tools?

Fortunately, Microsoft provides various flavours of free MSSQL components and tools.

  1. See if SQL Express includes the desired component or service and if there are no technical limitations. SQL Server Express is free of charge.

  2. SQL Server Management Studio usually doesn't cost anything. We encourage you to read its license terms, however, just in case.

  3. SQL Server Developer is free of charge for development, test, design and demonstration.

If you find something you want to download from the Microsoft website, make sure to check the license agreement. Even if it is free, there may be restrictions on what you can do with it.

SQL Server Data Quality Services (DQS)

DQS component licensing is unclear. It is listed only as a component of SQL Server Enterprise.

However, SSIS, which also comes with SQL Standard, includes DQS components. And we see it installed with SQL Standard quite often.

SQL Server Data Tools includes SSIS, so what?

"But I installed SSIS with SSDT, so it's free in that case, isn't it?"

Incorrect. It may only be used as a part of SSDT if you comply with this:

"You may install and use any number of copies of the software on your devices to design, develop and test your programs." (click for the entire EULA)

SSDT is free of charge, but the terms are restrictive.

Simply put, do not install it on regular servers.

Call to action

  1. Use a good discovery tool to find all the SQL Server services that require a license. Be sure to look for services that are installed and running separately from the database. If you find any unlicensed services, be sure to uninstall them or license them.

  2. Uninstall SSDT from production machines.

  3. Ensure your DBA and development teams are trained on SQL Server licensing.

Our licensing experts have experience in over a hundred SQL Server licensing reviews, SQL Server cost optimisation exercises, and commercial negotiations with Microsoft.

If you want to discuss your SQL Server license compliance, please drop us a message below. We will be happy to have an informal, no-obligation chat.