I know on the face of it the answer may appear to be no, this is not a safe move! But within our SQL sprawl, not only have people been installing many sql instances, but they have installed and licensed them, without thought, with the media they happened to have to hand - almost always Enterprise edition.
Although there was a push to save money, including on licensing, this was not my only reason to suggest "hold on a minute, we do not need Enterprise Edition on some of these SQL servers". I did some analysis too.
We are a fairly large organisation, and we have about 3000 users potentially hitting this sql server, and about 4000 active connections. Our transactions per second average only around 20, mind you. But there is nothing about the features of Standard edition itself that mean it limits the volume of usage (are there?!).
We have bought a new DL585, with lots of RAM, and are running windows 2003 x64. With 4 quad-core CPUs, we are allowed SQL Server 2005 x64 Standard edition. And i am confident that, while we will not truly get the equivalent of 16 CPus, the 4 modern quad cores can take on the load of the old DL740 G1 (8 physical processors). This server, 6 weeks of metrics show, is not stretched CPU-wise (or in any other way).
So with just 4 physical CPUs, and no memory limitation imposed by 2005 Standard edition, that is the hardware limitations taken care of I feel.
In terms of features, we do not need table partitioning, and do not feel our 3rd party vendor will impose this as a must have, or that our future data volumes will make it appropriate. I would be caught out if a vendor (or developer, to a lesser extent) imposed upon us the need to use cross-server Service Broker conversations, but i cannot see this happening. We can definitely live without partial restores, especially when you consider the cost of enterprise over standard edition. And i will verify that our reindexing and DBCC checks do not suffer so much from the loss of parallelism that we get potentially unmanageable maintenance windows.
But still, I am nervous! I have suggested this direction, and obviously don't want to get to production and find that I have missed something??!!
Do you think I have overlooked anything here?