Microsoft Definition for Non Production usage

Does anyone know where to look for a Definition for Non Production use rights for Microsoft SQL Server ?

License guide provides explanation for Production usage.

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The Visual Studio WhitePaper is your place to visit. I have attached the link which pulls back March 2020, and this used to be updated every 6 months or so, however not much has happened recently… so its almost certainly current. Best route is “Visual Studio White Paper” into your favourite search engine to pick up.
The White Paper defines the difference between Production, Staging and Development. There are many scenarios where Staging becomes Production which everyone needs to be aware of.


@Ram - As you noticed, Microsoft does not define non-production anywhere.

@GemmaWalker - That Licensing Whitepaper is one of the better ones Microsoft has put out but it does not define staging or development; it only defines production and then you have to infer from there what is non-production. Microsoft does not differentiate between test/development/staging only between production and non-production.

The product terms which are Microsoft’s actual and official contractual terms are even less helpful on this subject.

The lack of a concise definition for non-production is frustrating, but there is enough information in the guide to determine production vs non-production, especially with the examples they provide. I’ve also heard some unofficial rules/guidelines when talking to Microsoft’s own internal licensing experts which largely revolve around whether the end-user of the application will directly or indirectly be served data from the application etc. (whether that end-user is internal or external to the company).

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Licensing for SQL Server Developer Edition can be found here and attached. Reference top of page 5. It can be found in various other Product Use rights guides. Caution installation of Developer Edition is the Enterprise Edition equivalent. If deploying later Standard Edition ensure you’ve not enabled any Enterprise features

SQL Server 2019 Licensing guide.pdf (1.1 MB)

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