Problem In addition to hyper-threading (i.e. multiple threads execute on a single physical CPU appearing as 2 logical CPUs) and dual-core technology (i.e. a single CPU socket that has more than 1 core appearing as multiple logical CPUs), chip vendors are beginning to release processors with more than 2 cores. I am considering purchasing a new SQL Server with multi-core processors to support a SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition deployment. What are the impacts when using a 4-core processor with SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition? Will I only be able to make use of a single physical CPU since Standard Edition is limited to 4 CPUs? Additionally, what is the overall licensing policy in relation to multi-core technologies with SQL Server 2005?
Solution One key competitive licensing advantage of SQL Server is related to this exact question - for the purposes of both licensing and CPU edition support, SQL Server considers the number of physical sockets/CPUs, regardless of the number of cores on the processor. So, for example, if you are planning to deploy SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition, which supports up to 4 CPUs, that means Standard Edition will support 4 physical CPU sockets, regardless of the number of cores in each CPU. If you have 4 physical CPUs with 4 cores each, then your SQL Server Standard Edition deployment would have 16 logical CPUs to make use of. Additionally, even though you have 16 cores/logical CPUs, the licensing of this requires that you pay for only the 4 physical CPUs, not all 16 cores. This offers a very attractive return on investment (ROI) for any organization looking at the latest hardware with SQL Server 2005.