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I want to use SQL Server for a big project and was wanting to know what licence is needed, Enterprise or Standard?

I have 2 servers and I'm looking to have the first as a primary and the second as a mirror (as a reporting server and DR server), from what I can see on Microsoft's comparisons I should be able to do standard but am I missing anything?

I understand I would need to manually promote the mirror in the case of DR, but would enterprise make it easier/faster?

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This question appears to be off-topic because it is about licensing, which is off topic for dba.stackexchange.com - please see the faq. –  Max Vernon Aug 5 at 13:17

2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You should call a Microsoft licensing expert and talk to them. They would be best person to resolve all your queries. Microsoft licensing is bit comlex and varies per environment.

I have 2 servers and I'm looking to have the first as a Primary and the second as a mirror (as a reporting server and DR server), from what I can see on Microsoft's comparisons I should be able to do standard but am I missing anything?

You can use standard edition in SQL server database mirroring but you cannot use Snapshot functionality to get report as Mirror server is always restoring and you need to create database snapshot on mirror to run reports but snapshot is enterprise only feature. If you use transaction log shipping with Secondary database in standby mode you can run reports although when log backups will be restored users will be disconnected.

I understand I would need to manually promote the mirror in the case of DR, but would enterprise make it easier/faster?

Whether you need to manually promote mirror to principal or it does automatically depends on your mirroring configuration. If you have witness with automatic failover it will take care of automatic failover in most cases IF it is able to form QUORUM. Also database comes online after second phase of recovery in Enterprise edition but after 3rd phase in Standard edition. There are 3 phases of recovery analysis redo and undo.

PS: Please tell me if any further clarification required

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+1 on calling a Microsoft licensing expert. –  Colin 't Hart Aug 4 at 11:44
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"They would be best person to resolve all your queries." - pun intended? –  user11153 Aug 4 at 14:21

I would rephrase your question to what is likely to make my company shell out all the extra cash for Enterprise edition?

Well it depends on the version of SQL server but below is a list of features and reasons that businesses upgrade for.

  • SQL 2012 Standard is limited to 64 GB of RAM
  • SQL 2014 Standard is limited to 128 GB of RAM
  • Standard is limited to 2 nodes in a fail over cluster
  • Transparent Data Encryption is Enterprise only
  • Allways On Availabilty Groups is Enterprise only (This would be perfect for your reporting needs as it can provide read-only replicas. Without this I would recommend log shipping)
  • Change Data Capture is Enterprise only
  • Many advanced BI tools are Enterprise only

This is not a full list but in my experience these are the main reasons people upgrade.

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Online index operations is a big one too. –  Aaron Bertrand Aug 4 at 16:45

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