As the Data Professional in your organization, the rest of the org looks to you to ensure that the system can handle what the business requires. To do that, you need to know two things: what the business requires, and what SQL Server can do.
But of course there’s a bit more to it than that. Knowing the business side of the requirements – well, I teach an entire course on that. But knowing what SQL Server can do is something you can find out on your own.
SQL Server comes in versions, which are released based on date, and editions, which are based on features and capabilities. It’s that last part that I want to focus on today.
As Microsoft SQL Server matures, you’re going to see even more separation between what each edition of SQL Server can do and where it should be used. In the past, most folks have only focused on three editions – Express (the “free” one), Standard, and Enterprise. The rule of thumb was that if Standard was good enough at the moment, put it in. And it is true (and a good thing) that you can upgrade from one edition to another fairly easily.
But as time goes on, we should spend a little more time understanding what each edition does, what it’s features and capabilities are, and where and when we should put them in. As I study this information, I’ll throw in my 2 cents and you can as well based on what you see. One thing I’ve found so far is that once I have the business requirements, there’s a mix of what I can write in code and what might already be included in a different edition. It’s important to look long and hard at that choice – writing a feature on my own is certainly cheaper in the short term than moving to a “higher” edition, but in some cases it makes sense to let Microsoft handle that lifting.
These links are ones that you should bookmark and take a peek at periodically. They are the “header” links for more information on those features and capabilities:
SQL Server 2008: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143287.aspx
SQL Server 2008 R2: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ms143287(SQL.105).aspx
In addition, you might start learning a little more about SQL Azure. I’ll talk more about that later.