The Essential Guide to SQL Server 2014 Series: Scalability

The Essential Guide to SQL Server 2014 Series: Scalability

Learn about SQL Server 2014's scalability capabilties

In this new series I’m going to explore the essential features in Microsoft’s SQL Server 2014 release. There’s a lot to cover but this week I’m going to kick this series off by looking at scalability.

SQL Server 2014 has come a long way since it was originally introduced. Back in the early days SQL Server was thought of as a departmental database that wasn’t able to handle enterprise workloads. That may have been true back in the SQL Server 6.5 days but when Microsoft rearchitected SQL Server for the SQL Server 7.0 release all that changed. SQL Server has continued to quickly advance over the subsequent releases and now SQL Server 2014 is a complete enterprise-ready data platform. SQL Server leads the enterprise database market for the number of database seats. So what are some of the SQL Server 2014 scalability capabilities? Well, it depends upon the SQL Server edition that you are interested in. Here’s summary of the scalability capabilities for the SQL Server 2014 editions.

  • SQL Server 2014 Enterprise – Like you would expect the Enterprise edition is the most scalable of the SQL Server 2014 editions. On a physical server it supports the operating system (OS) maximum which essentially means it supports up to 640 logical processors and 4 TB of memory. All of the BI subsystems like Analysis Services and Reporting Services also support the OS maximum for processors and 4 GB of memory. In a VM you're limited to 64 virtual processors and 1 TB of memory – which is the maximum limit for both Hyper-V and vSphere VMs. Databases can be up to 524 PB.

  • SQL Server 2014 Business Intelligence – The SQL Server 2014 Businesses edition doesn’t support the same scalability that’s in the Enterprise edition. In fact, the relational database engine scalability is the same as the SQL Server Standard edition which means it supports the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores and a maximum of 128 GB. However, for the BI subsystems it’s a different story. Analysis Services and Reporting Services both support the OS maximums for processing and memory. Databases can also be up to 524 PB.

  • SQL Server 2014 Standard – The SQL Server 2014 Standard edition is the most widely installed edition of the commercial SQL Server editions. It supports the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores. One of the most important changes in the SQL Server 2014 release was the increase in the maximum memory supported. The SQL Server 2012 Standard edition was limited to 64 GB. The SQL Server 2014 Standard edition now supports 128 GB of memory. The SQL Server 2014 Standard edition also supports Analysis Services and Reporting services. However, they are limited to the lesser of 4 Sockets or 16 cores and 64 GB of memory. The maximum database size is 524 PB.

  • SQL Server 2014 Express -- I think it’s fair to say that the Express edition has the most confusion around scalability. To be fair the SQL Server Express edition has undergone many changes that have changed its scalability over the past several releases and many people mistakenly still believe that some of those old workload or database limitations are still in effect. To set the record straight the SQL Server 2014 Express edition is limited to lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores with a maximum of 1 GB. Maximum database size has increased over the earlier release and the maximum database size is now 10 GB. In previous releases it was limited to 4 GB so that could be an important change for smaller database implementations. 

Check in to the next installment of this series where I’ll dive into In-Memory OLTP.

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