SQL Server Enterprise or Standard? A Hands-On Planning Tool to Get it Just Right

SQL Server Enterprise or Standard? A Hands-On Planning Tool to Get it Just Right

For my last blog, "Dead Birds in the Storm of a SQL Server Audit: 3 Tips to Keep from Getting Killed on Licensing Costs," I talked about reducing your overall SQL Server costs by changing your mix of SQL Server Enterprise edition and Software Assurance (SA). This week I wanted to share a planning tool that some of our customers have found quite effective for analyzing the financial trade-offs of changing their use of SQL Server Enterprise and Software Assurance.

Let's look at a scenario of upgrading an environment from SQL Server 2005 to SQL Server 2014 with SA and changing the mix of Enterprise from 100% of our environment to just 25%. Some reasons for reducing the amount of Enterprise edition deployed are:

1. The servers being deployed have a total of 16 or less cores

2. The servers use a maximum of 128GB of RAM

3. Log shipping is the preferred HA method

In situations like these, the model can be a powerful planning tool and using it is very simple. A snapshot of the model's output is given below:

SQL Server TCO Tool

The first input is your number of SQL Server instances. Let's assume there are currently 25 instances all running under SQL Server 2005 Enterprise edition. Since most SQL Server users only deploy 1 instance per server, the number of servers that need to be upgraded is 25.

Next, we input the current percentage of Enterprise edition use. In this case that is 100%. We then enter the percentage of Enterprise use for the future. We will look at reducing our use of Enterprise to 25% after the upgrade. Then, we enter the number of spare hosts, the number of CPUs per host, the number of cores per CPU, and the number of years of support. In our example, those are 0, 4, 10, and 3 respectively.

The first set of outputs breaks out the number of hosts running SQL Server Enterprise, Standard, and the required number of SQL Server core licenses for both the current and future cases.

Next, you need to input your SQL Server 2014 license and Software Assurance costs. For the purposes of the exercise I used the latest list prices I had access to (which are subject to change). The model does the rest. It calculates the total costs for each different case. Over a three-year period we will save 51% by changing our mix of Enterprise and Standard editions.

The great thing about any well-crafted model is its ability to explore different scenarios. Our customers have extended the model to understand the effects of virtualization, high availability/disaster recovery (HA/DR), and consolidation on their specific SQL Server environments. Regardless of which model you use, remember the goal is to stay in compliance and minimize your SQL Server costs: "Not too hot or not too cold…just right."

If you would like a copy of the model, just send me an email: [email protected].

Until next time. . .

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