A question I often get asked by customers is which edition of SQL Server do I use? I then based on the workload, high availability/disaster recovery, scalability, BI and other requirements do walk the customer down to the decision.
You can also work through this using the edition comparison tool on the web at the following link - http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/product-info/compare.aspx. In the below example I am showing the comparison between Enterprise and Standard for the area of scalability and performance.
One thing that the tool doesn’t cover and is probably not as well known is that apart from features that you choose to use or not to use, Enterprise Edition has some built in optimizations that would enable better performance for an Enterprise workload. Including but not limited to:
- Larger Read Ahead - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms191475.aspx, http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/sql/bestpractice/pdpliobp.mspx
- Advanced Scanning (Merry-go-round scan) - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms191475.aspx
- Parallel index Operations - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms189329.aspx
- Large Page Extensions - http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa337525.aspx
Most of the time I end up recommending Enterprise Edition as it provides a platform that can grow with the solution.