Microsoft's SQL Server 2012: What's coming in the three main editions

Summary:Microsoft is adding a brand-new business-intelligence SKU and core-based licensing to its coming SQL Server 2012 database offering due next year.

SQL Server 2012, which will launch some time in the first few months of 2012, has a lot of moving parts. Exactly how is Microsoft going to bundle up its various capabilities?

We know a bit about the three main SQL Server 2012 editions -- Enterprise, BI (Business Intelligence) and Standard -- thanks to a new chart posted to the Microsoft SQL Server page. There also will still be Web Developer and Express versions of SQL Server 2012, but they're not detailed.

Microsoft is eliminating three of its current SKUs when it launches SQL Server 2012, according to its Licensing frequently asked questions (FAQ) document. The three:

• Datacenter – its features will now be available in Enterprise Edition • Workgroup – Standard will replace it • Standard for Small Business – Standard will replace it

Here's Microsoft's chart explaining what's in (and not) in the three main SKUs, or packages:

(Click on the chart to enlarge.)

BI is a brand-new SKU that wasn't part of previous SQL Server releases.

Standard offers "basic database, reporting and analytics capabilities." BI includes all Standard's capabilities, plus Power View ("Crescent"), reporting and analytics, data-quality services and master-data services. Enterprise includes all the Standard and BI features, plus the "AlwaysOn" high-availability, ColumnStore datawarehousing functionality, and "Maximum virtualization" (for users with Software Assurance licenses). Enterprise has a 20-core max, while BI and Standard support 16 cores max.

With SQL Server 2012, Microsoft will offer three licensing options:

• Core-based Licensing for Enterprise • Server + CAL (Client Access License) licensing for Business Intelligence • Choice of core-based licensing or Server + CAL licensing for Standard

There's no word (yet) on planned SQL Server 2012 pricing.

Update: The planned pricing also is up, as noted by one of my Twitter pals, Mark Stacey. Here's the pricing chart, on page 3 of this Microsoft SQL Server 2012 licensing document:

(Thanks to Directions on Microsoft's Wes Miller for his tweet on the new editions.)

Topics: Enterprise Software, CXO, Data Centers, Data Management, IT Employment, Microsoft, Software

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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