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SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition vs. Standard Edition

We have a dual processor 8 GB RAM Windows Server 2003 running SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition, hosting a relatively small data warehouse of 100 GB. Performance is a bit poor and I have made a proposal to move to either SQL Server 2005 Standard or Enterprise Edition, allowing access to additional memory. Can you offer reasons to use one edition over the other?

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The main reasons to choose Enterprise over the Standard Edition are for scalability and availability requirements. Features such as partitioning and online indexing help maintain a high level of database quality of service and uptime. However, as your company's management has discovered, these features do not come cheap. The Enterprise Edition is almost five times more expensive than the Standard Edition, and many firms have decided that their requirements for availability and scalability simply aren't stringent enough to make the additional cost worthwhile.

Microsoft has published a features comparison chart that shows the differences between the various editions of SQL Server. It should help you make the correct decision for your company's needs.

By the way, it's important to note that upgrading to SQL Server 2005 from SQL Server 2000 may not have any positive impact upon your application's performance. Before upgrading, make sure to carefully analyze the system in order to determine what is causing the poor performance. It is quite possible that you'll be able to fix the issue without upgrading.

This was first published in July 2006

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