I am planning to buy SQL Server 2012 for development and I have gone crazy with Microsofts complicated licencing policies.I had been searching the internet for valid answers from last few days and finally decided to post a question for expert advice.

The Requirement:

I have a small team of developer who will work on different applications. The applications require SQL SERVER as the backend.Following are the things I want to do with SQL Server

  1. The application will interact with the basic tables, SP, functions and views.
  2. Developing basic SSIS packages and SSRS reports.
  3. I do NOT intend to use the database for Mirroring, Replication, Snapshots or any other complicated stuff but just the basic development.

I approached the Microsoft vendors for quotes for SQL SERVER 2012. They told me that I can go with the Standard Edition with 5 CALS (I have no idea what is CAL and why do I need it). I searched the internet and found that there is a BI edition also which is much costlier than the standard edition.

The Question: The question is that what version should I use considering my requirement?


  • 3
    Did all of your searching not yield any information about Developer Edition or MSDN subscriptions? Sep 16, 2015 at 11:03
  • How many applications, How heavy is the load with applications in question, what would be the usage like, i.e 24*7 , 24*5 or any other?
    Sep 16, 2015 at 11:04
  • @KASQLDBA The applications are light weight and the uptime of the server is not an issue. I can shut down the server after 10 hours of work. The main purpose is only the development. Sep 16, 2015 at 12:20
  • 2
    If it's only for development you can get developer edition, like @Aaron said, and be done with it. It's as complete as Enterprise Ed, that's why you need to take care of what features you use for future production deployment. As that one is the expensive part.
    – Marian
    Sep 16, 2015 at 13:31
  • Check out msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc645993(v=sql.120).aspx for details on what is available for each edition. It seems like a scary list at first glance but it's worth the 10-15 minutes of scrutiny to ensure you don't dev yourself into a corner and have to buy something else.
    – SQLmojoe
    Sep 17, 2015 at 20:07

1 Answer 1


Purchase Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition for each of your SQL developers in the exact SQL edition that you need. I would personally go for SQL Server 2014 Developer Edition since service pack one is available.

UPDATE: As of Late March 2016 Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition is now free.


Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition, contains all the benefits of Microsoft SQL Server Enterprise Edition, and must be applied to each respective SQL developer within your organization that uses Developer Edition. That being said, once your developers have a SQL Server developer license, they can develop indiscriminately on as many Developer Edition SQL Servers and databases as you like with as many cores as you like.

For example, one developer with license can deploy (n...) databases to (n...) SQL Servers with (n...) cores. Another developer within your organization can access all those installations, databases, and SQL Servers provided that they, too, have a developer license.

Microsoft SQL Server and can literally save your organization thousands to tens of thousands of dollars for development servers--especially since core licensing has gone through the roof. It's a shame that many Microsoft licensing VARs are very misinformed and/or uninformed about Microsoft SQL Server Developer Edition.

  • I was unable to purchase a download of Developer edition because I was outside of the United States. Very frustrating. Even calls to Microsoft support were not helpful, other than to explain If I had a US address it would work. I changed my office address to an associate's, and it worked.
    – datagod
    Nov 5, 2015 at 16:48

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