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I would like to implement SQL Server 2012 purely for the Business Intelligence Features: SSIS, SSAS and SSRS on its own server.

I current have SQL Server 2008R2 Database Engine installed on another server. It is maintained by a vendor, so it cannot be upgraded to 2012.

From what I understand within SQL Server 20102 Business Intelligence tools, you are able to use 2008R2 databases as database targets/sources. Ideally, I would like to be able to create 2012 BI Projects: SSIS, SASS, and SRSS and deploy the solutions to Sql Server 2012, but transform the data in the 2008R2 database.

Is this setup possible? If so, other than licensing are there any drawbacks or potential problems?

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Perfectly reasonable proposal. No technical issues from your description of what you're aiming for.

I'm wary of commenting on licensing issues and would encourage you to verify you are correctly covered with either Microsoft or your reseller. In principle, the same licensing would apply for this arrangement as would apply if you were also deploying the database engine to that server.

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You can install SSAS, SSIS and SSRS2012 and use a SQL Server 2008 R2 database as the backing data store. Assuming that the vendor will let you set up other databases on the server there is nothing that would prevent you from doing this.

However, you would have to Licence SQL Server 2012 in order to do this. If (a) you can do this and (b) the vendor will let you set up your B.I. suite and associated databases on the server then there is no technical obstacle that would prevent you from doing this.

If you wanted to put it on a separate server then you would have to license that separately.

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