Microsoft’s licensing rules can be very complex. Many people have written articles on the subject and no single writer can cover everything about licensing. The first thing you should do is get a handle on how many SQL Server instances you have running in your company. You may think you know the answer, but you may be surprised by the number of rogue instances running in your environment once you actually start looking.
Microsoft makes a tool to help you discover all the instances on your network, while also reporting Windows versions, Exchange, SharePoint, etc.
The new usage-tracking feature in the MAP Toolkit 6.5 provides consistent software usage reports for Microsoft servers, including Windows Server, SharePoint Server, Exchange Server, SQL Server and System Center Configuration Manager. The server inventory and software usage tracking reports enable you to track licenses and significantly simplify the “true-up” process for software asset management. The Usage Tracker reports provide detailed information that you can use to analyze usage trends and plan future growth and acquisition of the necessary licenses. You can also use the report’s data and analysis to help determine your server license and client access license (CAL) needs for server products, and simplify the inventory process for CAL reporting.
It’s free and designed to support network-wide automated discovery and assessments for SQL Server. It should also come as no surprise that Microsoft has invested significant resources in its compliance efforts, so don’t think they don’t care if you are running a unlicensed copy of their software. All it takes is a unhappy employee, or former employee, to make a telephone call (1-888-667-4722) or complete a simple web form.
There are also vendor independent tools for performing a network inventory, like the free tool named Lansweeper.