What are Versions and Editions in SQL Server?

When I was adding (writing) new content in the recently started section Learn SQL Server for Beginners, I mentioned about SQL Server Versions and Editions. That section is written keeping in mind a beginner in SQL Server. In this blog post, I would like to explain in detail, and make things clear for those who have no prior knowledge of SQL Server Editions..

What are Versions and Editions?

When you read or listen something like SQL Server 2005, 2008, 2008 R2 and 2012, they are Versions of SQL Server.. Each time a major release of SQL Server is released, that is called a Version. With each of these new Versions, the SQL Server Software (a more simplistic term, instead of using terms like Database Engine and BI components) are designed for better performance, are more reliable and robust than the previous versions and these feature enhancements go on and on and on….

Now I hope you have a decent understanding of SQL Server Versions, so lets take a look at the what are Editions. Within those SQL Server Versions, there will be different flavors (Editions) of SQL Server released. Some of those Editions are Express, Workgroup, Standard, Developer and Enterprise Edition. Each of these Editions is released, keeping in view the end users requirements and the licensing cost for these Editions go higher as we move towards Enterprise Edition.

Express Edition is a free Edition, has various limitations (in terms of available features). It is most often installed on personal workstations, for example in situations where developers need the databases available when they are remote (at home) to write and test code for the applications.

Workgroup Edition has few more features that are suitable for smaller organizations (something like an individual store or a branch).

The next one is Standard Edition, which is good for mid-sized organization and has most of the features but not all. They are also used in large organizations for an individual group of applications which can be built and managed with those features available in Standard Edition.

Enterprise Edition is the most feature rich Edition and has all features and functionalities available in that SQL Server Version. Enterprise Edition is used Very Large Databases (VLDBs) and Mission-Critical Databases.

There are 2 more Editions, Enterprise Evaluation Edition which is has the same features as Enterprise Edition but expires after 180 days of installation. Developer Edition is a low cost (approx 50 bucks) Edition which does not expire, has no limitations and has the same features as Enterprise Edition. Important point to note, Microsoft does not recommend and support the usage of Developer Editions in a production Environment..

Note: This post is written focusing beginners so there is  no mention of the SQL Server features like Clustering, Database Mirroring, Database and backup Compression, Database Partitioning, Resource Governor, Policy Based Management etc. Lets keep that discussion for another time….

You might want to read a related blog, this is on Editions in SQL Server 2012.

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— Bru Medishetty

Startup Parameters Tabs in Configuration Manager – New feature in SQL Server 2012

With each new SQL Server Version, plenty of new features and enhancements are released. In SQL Server 2012, one of those new additions is the Startup Parameters Tab in SQL Server Configuration Manager. Using this you can make changes to SQL Server startup parameters. 

Let us learn where to find the newly added tab.

On the machine where SQL Server 2012 is installed, go to Programs and Microsoft SQL Server 2012 (in this case this RC0, but in the final version Release to Market Version, you would see only Microsoft SQL Server 2012). Then click on Configuration Tools to expand that node, you should see SQL Server Configuration Manager, click to open. (Pic below)

You should see a console which has 2 sections, on the left hand side click services upon which the SQL Server components that are installed on that machine are displayed as shown below. Right click on the Service SQL Server and select Properties.

The Properties window is displayed and there are 6 tabs in total. Click on Startup Parameters Tab to bring it to front. (pic below)

You can see the current startup parameters in this Tab and add new one if required.

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Installing SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate 0

This blog will show you step by step instructions on how to install SQL Server 2012 RC 0.

Before we begin the installation, I would recommend you to go through the Installation documentation for SQL Server 2012 such as Minimum Hardware and Software Requirements and SQL Server 2012 Release Notes.

Once I setup my separate Virtual Machine for SQL Server 2012, I made sure that my Windows Server 2008 R2 had the Service Pack 1 installed. After that I added .Net 3.5 Framework by adding the Role Application Server. You can read how to install .Net 3.5 Framework on a Windows Server R2 in one of my previous blogs.

Once I was done installing those 2 prerequisites, I rebooted my Server to ensure it is ready for the SQL Server 2012 Installation (remember, SQL Server Installation will perform a check and if any of the previous updates needs a system reboot, it will ask you to reboot, so it is always good to restart your machine before you begin the Installation)…

Go to the location where you have copied the SQL Server Installation software and you should find the root directory something like what you see below. Make sure you logged in as a user who has Admin rights on the server. Right click the Setup.exe and choose Run as Administrator. (Though this is not an absolute must, you can also double click the Setup.exe to begin the installation)

SQL Server Installation Center should open and by default the Planning page is displayed as shown below..

SQL Server Installation Center is designed to be useful when you are performing a new Installation, or modify an existing installation, perform an upgrade and many more tasks related to Installation. We need to click on Installation to display the Installation choices. The Installation page is displayed as below..

When you are installing SQL Server 2012 on a stand-alone server, we need to choose the very first link by clicking on the text in New SQL Server stand-alone installation or add features to an existing installation.

Setup Support Rules is displayed (picture below) which performs a quick check that might cause issues while installation. If there are any failures in the the checklist, those failures need to be corrected (such as a system reboot or user not having admin rights etc). Click OK to proceed.

The next screen is Product Key, in this screen you will have to key in the product key (25 characters long) which came with your Installation media. In this case we are installing an Evaluation Edition, hence that is left blank and we continue clicking Next.

The next screen will display the License Terms and we need to accept the license terms by selecting the check box (as shown in the picture below).

Click Next to proceed. The next screen displayed is an enhancement to SQL Server 2012 installation, “Product Updates“, this step check for any updates available for the SQL Server product we are installing.

In this case we do not have any updates available, click Next (above pic). The next screen would display download and extract any updates / setup files (in this case they are skipped as there are no updates available) and then Setup files are installed..

As soon as the Setup files are installed, the windows closes and the next screen is displayed, which is second leg of Setup Support Rules which performs additional checks for smooth Installation (picture below).

See that there is one warning (Windows Firewall) which will not stop us from installing SQL Server. Click Next to proceed..

The Installation now moves to the next step where we can choose how do we want the SQL Server installation to continue. Select SQL Server Feature Installation option button, as this would give us more control on what SQL Server components are going to be installed and installation drives and directories.

Click Next to continue.. In the next screen, you can choose what features do you want to install on your server. You can choose only what is required and in a work environment, not all features are going to be installed. Since we are setting it for trying all features in the latest release of SQL Server, I selected all features. Click Next…

One more round of Installation Rules to ensure that we do not run into trouble while Installing.. Since the 2 check have passed, click Next

Then see the below screen displaying the disk space required for the Installation, this space requirements depend on the components / features we choose. Click Next to proceed…

In the next screen, Installation wizard shows us Names of the Service Accounts  which will be created and used for each of the SQL Server components and the Startup Type for those components. You can also set the Starup Type according to your choice. (In this case I changed the Startup to Automatic for SQL Server Agent).. Once you are done, click Next..

The next few screens will be displaying the configuration for the components, the first being Database Engine (pic below). This is the place where you can set the Authentication Mode of the SQL Server Database Engine. By default it would be Windows authentication mode, If you choose Mixed Mode, you will be asked to enter sa password and additionally you might want to add any other users who would be sysadmins on the SQL Server. You can do both of these at a later time, but I prefer doing it at the time of Installation.

There are multiple tabs in this screen and the below screen is displayed when we choose the Data Directories tab. This tab allows you to choose the Data and Log directories of the User databases, TempDB and the location for your database backups. In this case, I changed the location for User Databases Data and Log directory.

Click Next, to go to the next screen.

In the next screen (pic below), you can choose the Analysis Services Mode, Admins and the Data Directories for SSAS. Once you have made your selections, click Next

The next screen is for Reporting Services. If you would like the Installation to automatically configure Reporting Services for you, you can choose Install and configure option. I have chosen Install only as I would like to configure manually at a later time. Click Next

The option in the next screen lets you decide if you would like SQL Server to send Error Reports to Microsoft automatically. It is only optional and varies from user to user.

The next screen is the final check of Installation prerequisites before Installation begins..

We are all set for Installation, and the next screen is a summary of what we have chosen to Install, what components and chosen, installation location etc.. Click Install for the Installation to begin..

The screen below is a screen shot of the Installation process..

Once the installation is successfully competed, the following screen is displayed.

Related blogs you might want to read…

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— Bru Medishetty