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Is there an economic way to license SQL Server standard edition on a test server?

Given the following environment:

  • live: SQL Server 2012 Standard Edition
  • test: SQL Server 2012 Developer edition
  • dev: SQL Server 2012 Developer edition

The problem with this scenario is that a developer could code using a feature that works in developer edition, but is not available when deployed to the live server. The client would be the first to discover the problem!


  • Host test database on live server?
    • Doesn't give the live/test isolation I would like
    • Uses live server resource (buffers, CPU, etc.)
    • (Could disconnect test database when not in use to minimise this)
  • Run a second database instance on the live server
    • Still poor live/test isolation
    • More processes using server RAM/CPU
share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Jon Seigel, Max Vernon, RolandoMySQLDBA, bluefeet, Michael - sqlbot Oct 17 '13 at 17:45

If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

This question appears to be off-topic because it is about licencing which is an inherently transient topic. Please call Microsoft Sales. – Jon Seigel Oct 15 '13 at 13:31
In my defence, I tagged it with sql-server-2012 and it's been an issue for me since about sql2005. I did call Microsoft but they just sent me to technet homepage. – Andy Joiner Oct 16 '13 at 16:11
I'd be open to suggestions as to where would be an appropriate place to post this question. – Andy Joiner Nov 14 '13 at 15:45
up vote 6 down vote accepted

There is certainly an economical way to do this - get an MSDN subscription. The licenses that you get allow you to use the software specifically in development and test environments. It looks like currently $1,199 would cover your needs for SQL Server (and assuming you can make use of some of the other software too), but you could always invest more to get additional software:

Also, we've been asking for the ability to tell Developer Edition what our target edition is for ages. Please vote and comment on these items, explaining your use case and what you have to do to get around the problem:

The more comments, the better!

This feature should also make it into SSDT at some point. But they're only going to do it if there is enough customer noise about it. :-)

share|improve this answer
"MSDN subscriptions include all SQL Server editions for development and test"… – Andy Joiner Oct 15 '13 at 12:49
+1, this is available more or less in SSAS (deployment target) and should be available in database engine too! – Tom V Apr 4 at 20:15

Another thing that you could do that was even more economical is to use the developer edition and then run the following query against the database before deploying:

SELECT * FROM sys.dm_db_persisted_sku_features

This will then tell you if you are using a feature that is not supported in all editions of SQL server, so if this returns no rows, you are ok to deploy to standard edition.

Link: MSDN: sys.dm_db_persisted_sku_features

share|improve this answer
+1 very useful. I'd still be concerned that other parts of our system (.net) could dynamically generate an SQL statement that's not supported on standard edition. – Andy Joiner Oct 16 '13 at 16:07

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