Joe Webb Blog

Musing and observations about SQL Server, other technogies, and sometimes just life in general

Reporting Services Licensing

Licensing models can sometimes make database modeling seem trivial. Per processor or per seat? Single core, dual-core, multi-core processors? Multiple instances on one server? Virtualizing servers on a single server? It can get very confusing, very quickly.

Recently, I was asked by a former student about licensing for a SQL Server Reporting Services instance. In the proposed scenario, the Report Server would be installed on one server and the back end database would be installed on a separate, remote server. How many licenses of SQL Server are required?

In short, each server where a Business Intelligence component is installed requires a valid SQL Server license. So, a remote database deployment scenario where the Report Server is installed on one server and the ReportServer database is installed on a separate server requires two licenses of SQL Server.

But don't take my word for it. Here are a couple of links that will help clarify licensing requirements.

Special Licensing Considerations for SQL Server 2005

SQL Server 2008 Pricing and Licensing

Cheers and I hope this helps!

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Legacy Comments

Remote DBA
re: Reporting Services Licensing
really, as far as I know every server that runs any service of sql server needs separate licensing... And it is very expensive to have at leat 2 physical processor server for your SSRS...

Nick L Duckstein
re: Reporting Services Licensing
I could use a clarification here. Having any SQL Service run on a separate server makes sense that it would require an additional license. However, I'm under the impression that having the web components run on a different server does NOT constitute a SQL Service and therefore would NOT require a separate license.

Am I mistaken there?


Jairo Portela
re: Reporting Services Licensing
Check this document:

It seems like if you want to install reporting services web components (the site and the web service) on a different server where SQL Server 2008 is installed then you will need an other license.

bonus del casino
re: Reporting Services Licensing
hat was my understanding as well. We have all of the Reporting Services components installed on our database server which sits behind the firewall. And our web servers call the reporting services web service(on the DB server) to retrieve the reports for the users.I spent a lot of time researching the licensing documentation and was so happy when I found this solution. It would be great if someone from Microsoft could confirm that what we're doing is ok.

re: Reporting Services Licensing
what about Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Express Edition with Advanced Services?
It said that you can "Run SQL Server Reporting Services reports on local relational data".
If I have production data on the different server (properly licensed) - can i still use Reporting server from SQL Express to report with?

IT manager
re: Reporting Services Licensing
For those who need an inexpensive distribution option for SSRS reports, look at rePORTAL at It is a complete portal and scheduling engine that lets you publish and distribute SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) and Crystal reports easily and without any need for coding. Licensing is significantly less expensive as it offers a server license with unlimited users.