SQL Server 2005 CPU Licensing with Multi Core Technology

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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?

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. 

For additional information on SQL Server 2005 and multi-core licensing, reference the SQL Server Multicore Licensing Policy article.

Next Steps

  • With these new CPU options, research these options with your hardware vendor of choice to see what opportunities are available with their latest and greatest servers
  • If your applications are CPU bound and you are unable to tune the SQL Server and queries any further, then research the multi-core opportunities to meet your CPU needs
  • Keep in mind the huge pricing advantage for SQL Server 2005 with support for multiple cores when you start to look at other DBMS's in your environment or considering upgrading
  • Special thanks to Chad Boyd from the MSSQLTips.com community for this tip.  

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About the author
MSSQLTips author Chad Boyd Chad Boyd is an Architect, Administrator and Developer with technologies such as SQL Server, .NET, and Windows Server.

This author pledges the content of this article is based on professional experience and not AI generated.

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Comments For This Article

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 - 9:44:06 AM - Jay Back To Top (30071)



Could you please provide me some SQL DBA interview questions for 8 - 10 years experience candidates. When i google for dba interview question i am getting only basic level of questions. kindly email me those questions.


Thanks in advance


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