I'm planning to set up a new SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition instance, with Basic Availability Groups. How can I test that in a dev or qa environment?

In my QA environment now, I have Developer edition installed. When I run the T-SQL to create a Basic Availability Group, I get the following error:

'BASIC' failed because it is not supported in the edition of this SQL Server instance

I've learned that Developer and Evalualtion have same feature set as Enterprise, so looks like I can't use those? Do I need a fully licensed Standard edition in a dev/qa environment to test Basic Availability Groups?

  • Can always just use the 180-day trial download for initial testing.
    – user507
    Jan 16, 2018 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Unfortunately, there is no magic switch to make Developer / Enterprise / Evaluation Editions behave like Standard (though we've been asking for that for years; this Connect item is from 2009, and it was only the first one I found). So you have at least two alternatives:

  1. Get an MSDN subscription. Ask around; your employer (or a fellow employee) may already have a suitable subscription. To get SQL Server you only need VS Professional ($1,199 for the first year; $799 per year afterward). With this edition, you can install any number of instances of any edition of SQL Server, as long as it is only used in a dev and/or test scenario.

  2. Assuming you already have the Standard Edition licenses for production (or can get them soon), as long as they aren't installed at the same time, you should be able to use that licensing in dev/test and then uninstall it completely before deploying to production. If you have MSDN (or additional licenses you're not using yet), you could go on this way until you use them; if not, you'd be in violation of the licensing agreement. Honestly, MSDN is a cheap and effective way to avoid this (but I know that it can bring about the temptation to use those cheaper licenses for production machines).

  • Thanks! I'm asking around to see if we have a MSDN subscription. #2 isn't really an option for us, we need to have a standing QA environment where we can test changes going forward before they get deployed to prod. It needs to remain in place after the prod server goes live.
    – Rekonn
    Jan 3, 2018 at 18:38
  • @Rekonn Yeah, #2 is only for proof of concept, to prove that it works. It couldn't be that way permanently. For most of the other aspects of your application / production environment, though, other editions would suffice - especially now that there are so few functional differences between Standard and Enterprise. Jan 3, 2018 at 18:40
  • Hi @AaronBertrand. I'm in the same situation as Rekonn. One of my coworkers has the VS Professional subscription. We looked for SQL Server Standard Edition and all we can see in the downloads section is Developer and Express editions. Do you know how we can get Standard Edition for TEST/DEV purposes using VS Professional subscription? Thanks!!! Mar 23, 2020 at 23:54
  • 1
    @VictorBarajas According to this spreadsheet, Standard Edition is available in VS Professional (screenshot). If you can't find it in your list, you'll need to contact subscription support. Mar 24, 2020 at 17:45
  • Thanks Aaron. We're going to contact Microsoft support for this. As you mentioned, we looked for the spreadsheet in our subscription and you're correct. Not sure why we can't see SQL Std in the downloads. Thanks again! Mar 24, 2020 at 19:24

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