When you look at the various editions of SQL Server available from Microsoft, there is a strange combination of restrictions at each level. Features, maximum amounts of hardware, database size, and even licensing change from edition to edition. A DBA making the decision on which edition to buy is faced with a choice that is more complex than it needs to be in order to solve a problem. The DBA not only considers the scale of their hardware, but also the mix of features present in that particular edition. It becomes even more complex for third party vendors, who may not be able to request that Enterprise or Data Center editions must be used for their product and must often choose to develop an application with a minimal amount of features.
I would rather see all features in all editions and change the licensing model to charge by the scale of server I want. Charge me one price for a single socket, 2GB of RAM machine and more for a dual socket, 8GB machine. Let me pay by the scale, or the amount of performance I’m willing to pay for. I don’t know that Microsoft will change, but I think it would be a better way to license their software.
As data professionals, we get paid to solve problems. We should learn to use the various tools that are available to us. For SQL Server professionals, that means choosing features like partitioning that prepare your system for archiving data. Using Resource Governor appropriately to manage disparate workloads and improve the performance for different groups of clients. Appropriately deploying online indexing operations to prevent downtime for your systems, or impacts to production processes. Better security with TDE isn’t available in Standard Edition, which is something that every company could use. Yet for many DBAs, the many customers that choose to deploy Standard Edition, these features aren’t accessible.
Streaminsight is one of the features that follows a more logical license. It’s available in Standard Edition, but at a lower processing rate and higher latency. It scales higher if customers find the need to pay for it in Data Center, but customers are free to choose a lower level of performance, with all the same features, in other editions. This isn’t perfect since I think I’d like to see a third level of performance in Enterprise Edition, but it’s a start.
I don’t think these choices actually convince many customers to purchase Enterprise Edition over Standard Edition. The features missing from Standard Edition aren’t necessarily hurting customers as much as they’re hurting Microsoft and the SQL Server platform. Adding those features in would improve the performance of all applications. They would allowed DBAs to perform better at their jobs, and build more robust systems that would ultimately make SQL Server a better choice for most customers than other RDBMSes. They would, IMHO, improve sales and revenue over time, not reduce them.