Real-World DBA Podcast Show Notes – Episode 1: SQL Server Editions

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Welcome to the "Real World DBA" Podcast recorded live in Downtown Microsoft. I'm your host, Buck Woody, and each week I'll bring you the latest news on SQL Server, along with in-depth feature reviews, Database Administration Tips and links to more information on line.

This week

·         In the news this week, Launch Events are in the air - and you don't even have to leave home to attend one.

·         Our feature for this podcast is on SQL Server Editions.

·         In the links section I've found some great resources for SQL Server Best Practices

·         This week's tip tells you where to focus your performance tuning efforts when your system slows down.

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News Headlines

Microsoft is providing a 2008 Launch Event for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio 2008, and SQL Server 2008 in cities around the United States. You can also attend virtual events to find out more about these platforms. Check it out at - that's all one word, heroeshappenhere.

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This week's Feature Discussion is on choosing a SQL Server Edition

Microsoft has several editions of SQL Server, not to be confused with a version of SQL Server. A version is a time-based release of the software that contains various features. An edition is a set of those features, with or without restrictions.

Each edition has various configurations and advantages, such as the licensing and the operating systems they support. This week I’ll talk about SQL Server 2005 editions – there are no major changes in the plans for SQL Server 2008 Editions, so the same information holds true. I’ll link to a web page where you can see all of the restrictions and requirements for each edition in the show notes, so I’ll just focus on where you can use these editions in the Podcast.

To clear up a couple of issues, you can always take a database backup or data file created on a smaller edition of SQL Server and use it on a higher edition. In a lot of cases you can go the other way as well. You can also run almost all of the Transact-SQL statements you have in your scripts in every edition. Of course, if the Transact-SQL statement is used to control a feature that doesn’t exist in a lower edition, it won’t work.  

The smaller editions of SQL Server are normally used by developers to distribute applications that have only a few users, to create satellite databases for replicated systems, and even for hobbyists and educational tasks.  In this category are SQL Server Express, and SQL Server Compact Edition.

SQL Server Express replaces the older MSDE edition. It includes a lot more features, including basic reporting services, and it can also work with in SQL Server 2005 database mirroring as a witness system.  The licensing for this edition is essentially free - you don't have to pay anything to use it. You’ll see the express edition used by developers on “edge” systems, which are those exposed to the Internet, for web or small applications, for hobbyists, and even in schools for training. Anything you create here will work on the higher editions. You’re limited in RAM and CPU, as well as database size. Check the link for more info on that.

SQL Server Compact Edition, or CE, is used when you need a really light footprint, like on a PDA. You can also “embed” this edition right inside an application. It’s also free to use. If you want to run the database as a service or have a multi-user system, you should use Express or higher.

Workgroup Edition is also limited on CPUs, RAM and Disk, but not as much as Express. You have to pay for this one, but it isn’t much. If you’ve grown out of your Access application and you only have a small number of users, this is the edition for you.

The Standard Edition is what Microsoft sold the most in the past. This edition has a 4-proc limit, no limit on RAM, and no limit on database size. You can also use it for database Mirroring, it has all of the Reporting Services features, and you can create a two-node cluster with it. It’s good for installations up to a department. Starting with Standard you move up to 64-bit with x64 or ext64 architectures.

Enterprise Edition has all of the features, well, and Enterprise needs. It has hot-add memory, online operations for indexing, restores, advanced analytics in Analysis Services and more. You have no limits here on CPU (including multi-core), Memory or disk. This runs on all the chipsets, and you need this edition for an IA64 system.

The Developer edition is basically Enterprise Edition with licensing limitations.

I’ll refer to these editions throughout the series, and I’ve linked to reference on my blog where you can find the specifics on resources and features for each edition.

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Web Links

This week's link is a great reference site to the SQL Server best practices - you can find it at, as always, I'll link to that in the show notes on my blog.

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Tip of the week

This week's tip is how to decide where to start for your performance tuning. Normally, you always want to go after the queries that are running the longest. Now, they might be running long because they are doing a lot of work - but this is one of the best places to start looking for low-hanging fruit. You can find long running queries using several tools, including SQL Server Profiler, and there's a handy script posted in the show notes that shows you how to get the same information in a query window.

Sign Off

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You can find the show notes for this week at my blog on MSDN – the address is - and buckwoody is all one word. Look for entries with the tag: Real World DBA.

That's all for this week - thanks for joining me, and I look forward to joining you again on my next podcast where I'll cover more DBA tips for SQL Server. See you then!

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Show Notes

Virtual Launch site:

This week’s Tip:

SQL Server Editions:



Comments (3)
  1. Dan's Blog says:

    Buck Woody, a PM on my team, has launched a new weekly Podcast entitled "Real-World DBA". You can find

  2. Buck Woody, a PM on my team, has launched a new weekly Podcast entitled "Real-World DBA". You

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