Licensing and activation of distributed system products

Applies to
ApexSQL AuditApexSQL Backup, ApexSQL Defrag, and ApexSQL Monitor

This article describes what you need to know about the licensing and activation of distributed ApexSQL products. This currently includes ApexSQL Monitor, ApexSQL Defrag, ApexSQL Backup and ApexSQL Audit.


Central instance – this is a SQL Server instance that hosts the repository where transactional and audit data, from the variously utilized instances are stored. A central instance can host a repository that services hundreds of utilized instances.

Utilized instance – (or ‘Managed’ instance) is an instance on which actions and value added features such as auditing, backup, monitoring are employed. So if a SQL Server instance was audited with ApexSQL Audit, it would be considered a utilized instance.

Distributed system products – these are ApexSQL products that perform actions on one instance but also include a repository (and sometime additional components as well) on a separate instance. In this way, the components of the software, that make up the installation topography, are ‘distributed’.


Licensing and activation:

Distributed system products are licensed per utilized SQL Server instance, including auditing, monitoring, managing, etc.

For each central instance, you will get a single activation key which will allow connection from a predefined number of utilized SQL Server instances. Our system will automatically keep the track of the number of utilized instances that are connected and limit it to the total number of licenses. This simplifies key management as you only get and need one key per central instance vs all utilized instances.

However, if you need more than one central instance, we will provide you with as many central instance keys as required. Just email


  1. Your company buys 100 ApexSQL Audit licenses

    If it’s not specified differently, you will get 1 key for the central instance and can connect up to 100 audited instances on 100 different SQL Server instances.

    If you have specified that you want to collect the data on 4 different central instances, we will give you a key for each central instance – that is four different keys, and each key will be limited to connections from 25 distributed instances; or in any other distribution that you may have specified.

  2. Your company buys 10 ApexSQL DBA bundles 

    This gets you 1 key for each distributed system product. This key activates one central instance and up to 10 utilized instances of each distributed system product. If you want to change this configuration and have more central instances, just email and we will get you as many central instance keys as required.