Comparison of SQL Server 2005 Editions


Microsoft this week announced a new product line for its

flagship database and a new pricing structure for its users. For Enterprise

Edition customers, the price increase equated to approximately 20% for those

who license per processor. Standard Edition customers will see about a 15%

price increase once they migrate to SQL Server 2005. This price increase marks

the first price increase in more than 5 years.

One of the biggest items to note is the new lower-end options

that Microsoft is adding to SQL Server 2005 and retrofitting into SQL Server

2000 soon. The new editions of SQL Server are:

  • SQL Server 2005


    Edition – The edition of SQL Server for large enterprises that need

    higher availability and more advanced features in SQL Server and business

    intelligence. For example, there is no limit on processors or RAM in this

    edition. Available for an estimated retail price (ERP) of $24,999 (

    U.S.) per processor or

    $13,499 (

    U.S.) per server (25 CALs). Microsoft will also continue

    to support Developer Edition, that let’s developers develop SQL Server

    solutions at a much reduced price. That edition has all the features of

    Enterprise Edition but is licensed for development purposes only.

  • SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition – This

    edition of SQL Server has a lot more value in this 2005. For example, you can

    now create a highly-available system in Standard Edition by using clustering,

    database mirroring and integrated 64 bit support. These features were only

    available in Enterprise Edition in SQL Server 2000 and caused many enterprises

    to purchase Enterprise Edition when Standard Edition was probably sufficient

    for them. Like Enterprise Edition in SQL Server 2005, it also offers unlimited

    RAM! So, you can scale it as high as your physical hardware and OS will allow.

    There is a cap of 4 processors though. Available for an ERP of $5,999 (

    U.S.) per processor or

    $2,799 (

    U.S.) per server (10 CALs).

  • SQL Server 2000 and 2005 Workgroup Editions

    This edition is meant for small and medium businesses that need a

    database server with no business intelligence or Reporting Services. Available

    for an ERP of $3,899 (

    U.S.) per processor or $739


    U.S.) per server (five CALs), Workgroup Edition supports up to

    two processors, unlimited database size. In SQL Server 2000 Workgroup Edition,

    the limit is 2GB of RAM. 

    In SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition, it raises to 3 GB.

  • SQL Server 2005 Express Edition

    This edition is the equivalent of Desktop Edition (MSDE) in SQL Server 2000 but

    with a lot more enhancements. For example, MSDE never offered any time of

    management tool and that is included in 2005. Also included is the

    Import/Export Wizard and a series of other enhancements. This remains to be a

    free addition of SQL Server for small applications. It has a limit of 4 GB

    databases. Most importantly is that the query governor has been removed from

    this edition allowing for more people to query the instance at the same time.

As you can see the prices have increased but value has been

added to each release. For example, now that SQL Server Standard Edition can be

clustered and have more RAM, you can utilize it instead of going to Enterprise

Edition. Many of the highly touted features of SQL Server 2005 will only be

available in Enterprise Edition though. The most disappointing one for BI

workers will be the Report Writer, which allows users to create their own

ad-hoc reports against your DBMS and will only be available in Enterprise


Bottom line though is that users that just need a database

will find SQL Server much less expensive by using Workgroup Edition in SQL

Server 2005. Those users who want high availability can now get it in Standard

Edition, lowering their overall price. Enterprise Edition customers though will

find a larger price increase, but with a lot more value that SQL Server 2005

brings. So, what do you think? Click Your Opinion at the bottom of this article

to comment.

Here’s a summary of the SQL Server 2005 features (from

Microsoft’s site) that are available in the new release by edition:

Feature Express Workgroup Standard Enterprise Comments
Scalability and Performance
Number of CPUs 1 2 4 No Limit Includes support for multicore processors
RAM 1 GB 3 GB No Limit No Limit  
64-bit Support Windows on Windows (WOW) WOW  
Database Size 4 GB No Limit No Limit No Limit  
Partitioning       Support for large-scale databases
Parallel Index Operations       Parallel processing of indexing operations
High Availability
Database Mirroring     1 Advanced high availability solution that includes fast failover

and automatic client redirection

Failover Clustering     2  
Backup Log-shipping   Data backup and recovery solution
Online System Changes Includes Hot Add Memory, dedicated administrative connection

and other online operations

Online Indexing        
Online Page and File Restore        
Fast Redo       Database available when undo operations begin
Auto Tuning Automatically tunes database for optimal performance
Express Manager Simple Management Tool
Management Studio   Full management platform for SQL Server; includes Business

Intelligence (BI) Development Studio

Database Tuning Advisor   Automatically suggests enhancements to your database

architecture to improve performance

Serviceability Enhancements Dynamic management views and reporting enhancements
Full Text Search    
Advanced Auditing, Authentication, and


Data Encryption and Key Management Built-in data encryption for advanced data security
Common Criteria Certification Certification planned to be completed after release to


Best Practices Analyzer Scans your system to make sure you are following recommended

best practices

Integration with Microsoft Baseline Security


Scans your system to check for common security vulnerabilities
Integration with Microsoft Update  
Stored Procedures, Triggers, and Views  
T-SQL Enhancements Includes exception handing, recursive queries, and support for

new datatypes

Common Language Runtime and .NET Integration  
User-defined Types Extend the server with your own custom datatypes
Native XML Includes XML indexing and full-text XML search
Notification Services   Allows the building of advanced subscription and publication


Service Broker 3 3  
Integration and Interoperability
Integration Services with Basic Transforms     Provides graphical extract, transform, and load (ETL)


Integration Services Advanced Transforms       Includes data mining, text mining, and data cleansing
Merge Replication 3 4
Transactional Replication 3 5  
Oracle Replication       Transactional replication with an Oracle database as a


Web Services (HTTP Endpoints)     Support for native Web services, WSDL, and Web authentication
Business Intelligence (BI)
Data Warehousing      
BI Development Studio     Integrated development environment for building and debugging

data integration, OLAP, data mining, and reporting solutions

Analysis Services (OLAP Engine)     Includes advanced OLAP capabilities including KPIs
Partitioned Cubes        
Proactive Caching       Provides automated caching for greater scalability and


Advanced Measures and Dimensions        
Custom Rollups        
Parallel Data Modeling        
Data Mining—Standard Algorithms     Includes decision trees and clustering
Data Mining—Advanced Algorithms       Five additional algorithms including neural networks, naïve

bayes, time series, association and sequence clustering

Reporting Controls and Wizard Both Windows and Web-based report controls are delivered with

Visual Studio 2005

Reporting Engine      
Data-Driven Subscriptions       Supports large-scale, customized report delivery
Scale-out Web Farms        
Infinite Drilldown        
Report Builder       New end user ad-hoc query and reporting client

1 Supports only two CPUs per server

2 Supports only two nodes
3 Subscriber only

4 Publish to up to 25 subscribers

5 Publish to up to five subscribers


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