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The complete SQL server 2016 licensing guide

Saturday June 10, 2017,

4 min Read

Microsoft SQL Server Licensing can be a headache. In fact, over 80% of SQL instances are licensed incorrectly. As a business owner or IT specialist, it can be hard to tell which configuration is right for your environment. SQL server licensing models are complex because there are multiple versions, each with their own features. The most popular are Standard and Enterprise. It is important for growing enterprises to understand exactly what they are pricing before they commit to buy. This introductory licensing guide for SQL Server 2016 will help clear up any questions before a large scale purchase is made.

What is SQL Server?

The SQL Server is a relational database management system (RDBMS) which is a sort of database server structured in a non-hierarchal format and uniquely divided into the storage, processing, and memory components. In recent years, RDBMS have replaced the more traditional hierarchal databases and network databases because of their superior stability, widespread applications, uniformity, and general ease of use. Data is the lifeblood of any organization that seeks to gain a competitive advantage through logistical superiority and a RDBMS is what enables data to be stored and distributed in the most efficient way possible.

With innovations in technology that have materialized over the past several decades, RDBMS options have become more affordable and accessible than ever before, and—unlike they were in, say, the 1970s—utilizing this technology is something that can be utilized by medium-sized and even small firms, rather than just the big data companies such as IBM. Choosing the proper database can be what ultimately enables the success of an entire company, so the decision of which sort of database one should is something that ought to be carefully researched and not taken lightly.

Find a Licensing Expert Well Versed in SQL

When constructing a new database—or converting an old one—it is a good idea to find a software retailer with continuous support & resources. Working with a licensed Microsoft partner is key. Make sure to set an appointment with a licensing expert who will help you understand the nuances of Microsoft SQL Server. Depending on your needs, they should recommend either the Core or CAL model. The four versions of MS SQL include enterprise, standard, express, and developer. Each are uniquely adapted to meet the needs of various kinds of jobs.

SQL Server enterprise edition is custom-tailored for databases that require advanced analytic workloads. This is the most feature rich version available. SQL standard is ideal for non-critical workloads with minimal IT resources. The express variety is free and ideal for the development of desktop, web, and small server applications. Lastly, the developer variety—which is also free—can indeed be useful for the early development and testing of certain applications, though its biggest drawback is that it does not come with production use rights. Ultimately, when deciding on SQL licensing, business should identify their needs and contact a certified professional.

SQL Server 2016 Editions & Pricing

There are several features that exist in all four editions of the 2016 SQL. These features include the use of a hybrid cloud, basic “R” integration for advanced analytics, and basic OLTP (online transaction processing) to assist in the execution of mission critical performance. Beyond these standard features, the developer and enterprise models are superior to the express and standard models in a plethora of different categories, including: maximum memory utilized per instance, maximum number of cores, security features (namely, data masking, separation of duties, and basic auditing), and superior data warehousing. If your business is not particularly in need of these features, then either the express or standard models will likely be just fine; if your business is indeed in need of these features, then it ought to consider the developer or enterprise models.

These are just some of the details that go into creating and preserving a functional database. There are many reasons a business would want to invest in establishing a database server of its own. These reasons are not just limited to technology-driven enterprises, but apply to essentially every business that seeks to remain competitive. Start by evaluating your business infrastructure and determining your needs. Will you be using a front facing web database? Are you developing for a live production environment? If you don’t know, ask your IT person.

Ultimately, the SQL Server—one of the most innovative advancements in data storage and delivery by Microsoft—is an important and complex enabler of operational superiority. Before any business decides to invest its time, energy, or resources in any sort of operational transformation, speak with a licensing expert.