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Not trying to start a war here, but I would like some thoughts.

I work for a small nonprofit that is eligible for generous charity licensing from Microsoft. I am the database/web coder and my background is with open source stacks. I am most comfortable using PHP and MySQL.

That said, we are undertaking some large projects and am wondering whether it'd be worth investing in MS Server 2012 as a data staging and reporting system. It would not be used for any production purposes. I am most interested in the server studio management's advanced capabilities for importing and exporting data and for little productivity boosts like Intellisense.

What do you think? Is it worth the 80% discounted costs, or should we remain open source?

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closed as not constructive by Mark Storey-Smith, Paul White, Jon Seigel, Marian, A-K Feb 12 '13 at 13:25

As it currently stands, this question is not a good fit for our Q&A format. We expect answers to be supported by facts, references, or expertise, but this question will likely solicit debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion. If you feel that this question can be improved and possibly reopened, visit the help center for guidance.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Agree with some of the points in Ayende's blog (mainly about the buggy UI pre-2012), but some are a bit spurious or overdone. Such as version control; we have our packages in TFS, and .DTSX == XML. That's not to say there isn't a steep learning curve with SSIS. – Grignar Grenac Feb 11 '13 at 19:38
If you need more horse power or functionality, check PostgreSQL. It's open source (BSD style license), works great with PHP and comparable with SQL Server functionality. Don't forget to use a connection pool like pgBouncer or pgPool (open source as well) – Frank Heikens Feb 11 '13 at 20:43
I've VTC'd this as any answer given is a matter of opinion, rather than fact. I would however encourage you to visit the site chat room where you would undoubtedly trigger a lively debate. Personally I'd suggest that with a reporting focus and 80% discount, SQL Server is worth consideration. 180 day trial download would be a good place to start. – Mark Storey-Smith Feb 11 '13 at 23:16
Don't forget 2012 has great integration with PowerPivot/PowerView which allows for millions of rows vs Excel. – Ali Razeghi Feb 11 '13 at 23:32
@AliRazeghi I've been doing some work with PP/SSAS Tabular/PowerView lately... I could wax lyrical for hours. – Mark Storey-Smith Feb 11 '13 at 23:35

Not worth it for the reasons you gave, especially considering that you're not going to use it for production purposes. Reporting Services is a great platform for reporting, but I'm sure there are Open Source tools and frameworks to help you with that for PHP / MySQL. Ditto Integration Services, especially in 2012 (much better IDE for developing packages) it's a great tool for ETL, data staging and other import / export work, but probably overkill for you.

I'd definitely stick with the open source for now - it's always going to be cheaper for licencing ;-). Especially as the cost model for SQL Server 2012 shifted to a different per core model. We had to disable cores on recent deployments to bring down licencing costs, as we'd bought hardware before-hand (on assumptions of the same cost model as before). Funnily, enough that's how I started out on SQL Server - with a "we must port this to SQL Server, because Oracle licencing just got too expensive" project.

I look after about 16TB of high-transaction throughput SQL Server production databases for international clients. So definitely not anti-SQL Server and make plenty of use of all those tools you mention.

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