Most Windchill products do not include database licensing.  The two current exceptions are/were:

  • Pro/INTRALINK 'bundled' licensing - included 'bundled' Oracle database licensing.
  • PDM Essentials licensing - included bundled SQL Server licensing.

Even in these unique packages, the database licensing was eventually un-bundled and future software purchases required a separate database license purchase.  So assume every Windchill purchase requires a separate database software purchase.

First the disclaimer...

All SQL Server database software quotes should come from certified Microsoft software resellers.  Microsoft resellers should know what licensing combinations are possible and can keep us legal.  That said, resellers typically don't understand the Windchill database requirements and it is up to you to guide their quotes.  Without guidance they almost always quote core based pricing - which is often the more expensive option.

Licensing requirements for SQL Server change from one release to the next.  This article explains SQL Server 2016 licensing.

We need to gather a few details before reaching out to our Microsoft certified reseller.

  • Does our Windchill implementation support SQL Server 2016?
    • SQL Server 2016 is supported as of Windchill 11.0 M020.
    • Companies implementing Windchill 10.2 and earlier need to confirm they are purchasing access to the Windchill supported version of SQL Server.
    • SQL Server 2016 is not supported as part of the upgrade process to Windchill 11.0 M020 or later.  So the upgrade system must use a SQL Server 2012 or 2014 database.  At the end of the upgrade, the database can be rehosted to a production SQL Server 2016 database.
  • Do we want SQL Server 2016 Database Engine "Standard Edition" or "Enterprise Edition"?
    • Windchill supports both editions.  The versions are compared here.
    • Customers might go with Enterprise Edition for High Availability or an extremely high amount of cores or RAM.
    • Smaller Windchill implementations with less demanding SQL Server requirements find Standard Edition to be the more cost effective option.
    • As of SQL Server 2016 SP1, several Enterprise Edition capabilities have been included in Standard Edition, making it even more attractive.  A summary of the inclusions can be found here.
  • Do we want Software Assurance (SA)?
    • SA is effectively a software maintenance package that includes Microsoft Tech Supt and version upgrades, e-learning, etc.  Included benefits are outlined here.  Without it, customers must re-purchase the database software when they want to upgrade from say 2012 to 2016.
    • When buying SQL Server, we can purchase an "Open License" (with optional Software Assurance), or "Open Value/Subscription" (included Software Assurance).  For more than 250 users the products are called Microsoft Products and Services Agreement (optional Software Assurance) and Enterprise Agreement/Subscription (included Software Assurance).  If we don't want Software Assurance, choose a package without it.
    • SA has some other benefits outlined in the 
  • How many "Production" databases are there?
    • SQL Server licensing is for production systems.
    • According to Microsoft, "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
      "  Disaster recovery and failover environments are considered Production environments.
    • We can exclude test/development systems.  These systems can use a free SQL Server Developer Edition license.
  • How many cumulative Windchill licenses were purchased?
    • This is the total number of Windchill named users: heavy, light, print/view, external, etc.  The easiest way to determine this is to request a customer detail report (CDR) and add up the licenses on active maintenance.
    • Some solutions have implemented floating licenses: Windchill INTRALINK and PDM Essentials.  In these solutions the database license count still equals the PTC software license count.

Before we call our SQL Server reseller, we need to understand the SQL Server licensing model.  For Standard Edition, SQL Server can be licensed by:

  • Core/virtual-core (v-core):  This licensing model provides an unlimited number of users with no additional charge as users come and go.  However, core licensing must be purchased for every core/v-core in the system.  The 2016 price guide says Standard Edition core licensing is $3,717/core.
  • Server + Client Access Licenses (CALS): One server license for the server, regardless of the hardware configuration PLUS a CAL for each named user who accesses Windchill.  The 2016 price guide says Standard Edition Server license is $931 and CALS are $220/user.

The break even point today is ~17 users/core, subtract four users from the total to account for each server license. Say the company has a 4 core/v-core database server, they would calculate the break even point by to multiplying 17 users by the number of cores and subtract 4 users to account for the server license (17 * 4 - 4 = 64). If there are fewer Windchill users it is cheaper to to purchase Server + CALS.  If there are more users it is more cost effective to buy core licenses.

Perform both core and server + CALS calculations to determine the most cost effective licensing solution.  For example, we have a virtual environment with one production server and one test server.  There are 30 users of the system.

SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition core licensing: $3717 * 4 = $14,868

SQL Server 2016 Standard Edition server + CALS licensing: $931 + $220 * 30 = $7,531

These numbers are representative.  The calculations are using list prices and do not include Software Assurance.  Microsoft resellers may be able to offer bundles and license count discounts that improve on these prices.

Things to be conscious of...

  • It is extremely common to get core based pricing, without consideration of server + CALS pricing.  Always ask for both a core based quote and a server + CALS quote, especially if the number of users are near the break even point.
  • Ask for the Software Assurance price.  It may be cheaper in the long run to pay the maintenance than to re-purchase the software with the next database upgrade.
  • When purchasing server + CALS licensing, adding Windchill licenses at any time in the future will require adding an equivalent number of CAL licenses.
  • In high availability or clustered systems, ensure to include server licensing for the failover or cluster nodes.