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Aside from features like partioning, indexed views and parallel indexing, are there any actual performance differences between the Standard and Enterprise editions of SQL Server 2008?

Also, is the limitation of 4 CPUs relate to 4 cores or 4 physical CPUs?

In our environment we host a number of databases (same schema, different sizes) ranging up to 100GB. We host between 50 to 100 instances on a fail-over cluster.

Our architecture uses NHibernate between our application and the database.

I very much doubt any single database will grow more than 1000GB for the next few years.

The reason I ask is we about to scale out to a second cluster and I want to know whether it is worth the extra money for Enterprise (it is about 5 times more expensive). We currently are able to do all of the maintenance we need to on the previous version.

The only feature I can see that might be useful is the Resource Governor to ensure some queries don't take too much resource.

  1. Other than the potential benefits you list plus the extra CPU capabilities there's no direct performance differences - it's not like MS 'throttle down' Standard.

  2. Physical sockets/CPUs - not cores.

Only you can decide whether Enterprises additional features are worth the cost. I tend to put more than 64GB of memory in my MSSQL boxes so my hands are tied but you may not have that problem. And of course DB snapshots and encryption can come in handy, a lot of people but Enterprise purely for the data-mining tools too.

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In addition to the additional CPU / Memory support, there are several features that would improve performance on SQL Enterprise:

1) "Shared" table scans (if one connection is doing a table scan, and then a second table scan comes in for that table, the second one can use the results of what the first one is reading, and then just re-read the parts that were missed)

2) Considering indexed views to satisfy other queries

3) Lock pages in memory: note this is supported in SQL Standard x64 2008 SP1 / 2005 SP3 CU4 and later, but requires a trace flag prior to SQL 2012

4) More prefetching/read-ahead

5) Parallel / online index operations

Nevertheless, this stuff is fairly advanced; fix your queries and your schema first.

See also the following (but there's nothing there that I didn't list): http://blogs.msdn.com/b/boduff/archive/2008/01/24/why-should-i-use-sql-enterprise-edition.aspx http://blogs.technet.com/b/sqlman/archive/2011/03/26/sql-server-standard-vs-enterprise-edition.aspx

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Maximum Number of Processors Supported by the Editions of SQL Server (then choose the drop down box to go from R2 to 2008)

SQL Server supports the specified number of processor sockets multiplied by the number of logical CPUs in each socket. For example, the following is considered a single processor for purposes of this table:

A single-core, hyper-threaded processor with 2 logical CPUs per socket.

A dual-core processor with 2 logical CPUs.

A quad-core processor with 4 logical CPUs.

SQL Server is licensed per processor socket, and not per logical CPU basis.

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