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SQL Server edition sprawl

One of the confusing things about SQL Server is all the editions it comes in and one of the great things about SQL Server is er… all the editions it comes in.

Recent additions to this edition sprawl are the SQL Server DataCenter edition, the SQL Server Parallel data warehouse and SQL Azure. Why is this annoying and why is this good for you?

The annoying bit first…

Which edition should I use is a common question, and here I want to use the analogy of pizza.  Go into any restaurant and they will have a list of the different pizzas on the menu based on their experience and feedback from their customers.  But surely at the end of the day we are talking about cheese on toast here so how hard can it be? True but each customer is a little bit different and may have allergies and other dietary constraints and preferences. 

SQL Server works like this the editions are named for what they are used for web edition for the web, workgroup edition for workgroup , enterprise edition and so on.  These have the mix of features in them that make them fit for purpose like compression, resource governor and all the BI stuff in enterprise edition.

Of course you could adopt the “make your own pizza” approach that some other some vendors go for which is to give the basics at a given price and then charge for every single add on that you might want like compression clustering, support etc. but this can get quite difficult to manage across a suite of servers to say nothing of the higher costs this usually entails.

The good stuff..

is the ability to run SQL server on anything from an embedded application on a device, to a small PC, all the way up to data centres and the cloud.  This is a good thing for developers because the same application will just work on any of these without a rewrite, and dbas can use the same set of tools to manage any of these and replicate data across them if need be.

The point is that new editions have recently appeared in R2 to reflect new hardware and the cloud, but you don’t need to do anything radical to use them except install or subscribe, the rest you’ll be familiar with.