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The place where I page to when my brain is full up of stuff about the Microsoft platform

SQL Server 2008 R2 licensing

A while I go I did a post on licensing SQL Server in a virtual world, and there some changes you need to be aware of with the release of SQL Server 2008 R2 as the current site for SQL Server 2008 R2 doesn’t have this detail

Very simply SQL Server licensing has been aligned to Windows Server licensing:

  • There is a new DataCenter edition of SQL Server 2008 R2 and it is this version will have unlimited virtualisation in it, just like Windows Server DataCenter edition.
  • In Windows Server enterprise edition you can run 4 x virtual machines on a physical server, and so this same limit will apply to SQL server 2008 R2 Enterprise edition.

This alignment also applies to CPU support and memory as the table below shows..


Two other things to note..

  • There is another version of SQL Server 2008 R2 that I haven’t mentioned which is the Parallel Data Warehouse. This is an appliance i.e. SQL Server etc. comes with a physical box and more details on this are here.


  • The key differences in functionality between Enterprise and standard editions in SQL Server 2008 R2 are that you’ll need Enterprise edition for:
  • PowerPivot for Sharepoint
  • Master Data Services
  • unicode compression (which apparently is really useful if you’re running SAP)
  • the Enterprise features introduced in SQL server 2008/5 e.g. Resource Governor, partitions more than 3 nodes in your cluster etc.
  • as ever there is an exception to every rule and in SQL Server 2008 R2 Standard edition, data and backup compression are included except for the unicode compression mentioned above.

The editions page of the SQL Server 2008 R2 site, currently only has an overview of this but should be your primary resource in understanding which edition is right for your business and how to license it

I do think this is all pretty straightforward and reduces confusion, rather than the customisation approach where you buy the basic engine (much as you would buy a car) but every little add-on is an extra cost such as compression, clustering etc. but as ever comments are welcome.