SQL Server 2017 Pricing, Licensing & Feature Comparison

Microsoft SQL Server has been utilized by businesses across the world to help establish the competitive advantage they need to succeed. It has been widely recognized for its operational intelligence, advanced security, and state of the art analytics. With SQL Server, your business can be more organized, more efficient, and more poised for long-term success. In this guide we will compare features, licensing and pricing for SQL server.

Though SQL Server 2016 was widely praised for the progress it had made in the world of business intelligence, it is clear that Microsoft wasn’t quite ready to stop evolving. With the debut of SQL Server 2017 earlier this year, the world has come to see that this revolutionary piece of technology is more adaptable and dynamic than ever before.

In a word, the changes that have been made can be described as dynamic. As a consequence of intense research, ongoing customer feedback, and constant brainstorming, Microsoft has been able to make some tremendous strides.

First, what is SQL Server 2017 primarily used for?

SQL (Structured Query Language) Server 2017 is used for storing, delivering, and organizing data in the most efficient way possible. For organizations that require a large amount of data storage, being able to access data as quickly as possible can make a tremendous amount of difference down the road.

SQL Server is a relational database management system that seeks to organize bulks of data in a way that allows the data that is most likely to be used to be the easiest to access. Just as the spice cabinet in your kitchen is likely to have the most useful spices towards the front, SQL Server seeks to prioritize data in a way that can benefit the primary user.

Having an efficient system for accessing data can enable an organization to operate more quickly, smoothly, and with less interruptions. Data is something that undeniably needs to be accessed. SQL Server 2017 has established itself as the premier system for database management.

Licensing Models:

There are two types of licensing scenarios with SQL 2017 – the CORE model and the CAL model. The core model is based off the number of cores the physical server has. The CAL model is based off of the number of users accessing the database. This guide will help you determine how to best license your environment. It basically comes down to the number of clients. The selection between them is made on the based on the number of clients. These are:

  1. Client Access Licensing (CAL) Model
  2. Core Licensing Model

CAL Licensing:

CAL licensing is for clients that connect to the server. A CAL is needed for each client that accesses the server. One license is bought for entire database server and then user or device CALs are bought separately. CAL Licensing is best when the number of clients accessing the Database Server are known (and small in number). This is great in instances where the number of users will remain relatively consistent (i.e. – an internal workload as opposed to a web facing database).

CORE Licensing:

CORE Licensing requires us to buy license for all the core present on a physical server. It is bought in a pair for two cores and needs to be bought at least for four cores. This model is used when number of users or clients connecting to the server are not exactly known. It is designed for heavy usage internet deployments. In CORE based Licensing, you never worry about the number of users connecting to the server because you are having premium database capabilities.

CORE 2017/2016 Licensing Method:

1.Count the number of physical cores on your server.

2.Divide the number of cores by 2 to determine the number of licenses to be purchased since they are sold in packs of 2.

CAL 2017/2016 Licensing Method:

1.Each OS running the SQL Server must have a license.


It requires enough knowledge to choose the Licensing option based on the requirements so that it becomes economical for one to deploy the Microsoft’s SQL Server services.

  1. CAL 2017 Based: $867 is charged per server and $202 per CAL is charged for every client accessing the server. The Standard Edition of Microsoft SQL Server 2016 supports both CAL based Licensing and CORE based Licensing.
  1. CORE 2017 Based: A retail price of $3,350 is charged against a pair of two cores and one needs to license a minimum of four cores. Enterprise Edition supports CORE Based Licensing and does not support CAL based Licensing.

1.Express Edition:

This Edition of SQL Server is free to use and distribute. There is no restriction on the number of users and number of databases but the functionality of it is strictly restricted to using one processor, 1 GB Ram and 10 GB database files.

2.Standard Edition:

Standard Edition is intended towards providing a back-end database server functionality. The provision of this edition is under the Core and Cal based Licensing. It is used for non-critical workloads

3. Enterprise:

This edition is used by big firms and contains Data Warehousing features, BI tools for analyzing data and contains all basic functionalities which are present in Standard Edition. It also provides advanced Security infrastructure for data encryption.  This too is provided under the Core and Cal based Licensing.

Top 6 Features in SQL 2017

1 – Automatic Database Tuning

One of the highlights of SQL Server 2017 is the automation of database tuning. SQL Server 2017 has become much more intelligent than previous models and has saved operators the hassle of having to manually make adjustments by hand.

This new feature allows users to be notified of performance issues, recommend solutions, and have query problems be fixed automatically. The adaptability of SQL Server 2017 allows it to constantly be improving on its own, and this is one of the primary reasons it has already generated such widespread recognition as a major innovator. In addition to this, you can find different tools designed to fine-tune different aspects of a SQL server.

2 -Compatibility with Linux

Continuing with the theme of dynamism, SQL Server 2017 is the first Microsoft product of this kind to also be adaptable with Linux. This sort of compatibility has proven to be particularly advantageous for the many organizations that use both Microsoft and Linux products. By having a unifying relational database management system, managers can eliminate redundancies, streamline operations, and ultimately save money over time.

3- Adaptive Query Processing

The Adaptive Query Processing feature of SQL Server 2017 helps assure that functioning operations can continue as designed, but also recognizes inaccuracies that are causing systematic inefficiencies. Having an adaptive query processing feature enables the appropriate changes to be made during operations, rather than having to wait for them to be completed.

4 – Resumable Online Index Rebuild

Another way in which SQL Server 2017 has been able to accelerate data storage processes is through its resumable online index rebuild functions. In the past, when an index rebuild operation were interrupted for any reason—such as insufficient space, failure to replicate, etc.—the entire process would have to start again from the beginning. Microsoft recognized this was simply inefficient. Instead, they developed a resumable rebuilding function that enables the operation to pick up exactly where it left off once it is resumed.

5 – Incorporation with the Cloud

As has been the case with pretty much all Microsoft products, one of the notable developments of SQL Server 2017 has been the way in which Microsoft seeks to incorporate it with the Cloud.

Microsoft’s new hybrid of platform and infrastructure services is known as Azure Managed Instances. The cross-database query capability allows both data that is stored in the Cloud and data that is stored on the ground to be effectively utilized simultaneously.

The Cloud—being one of the most important innovations in the data storage industry—has enabled technology companies of all kinds to minimize data storage costs and operate more efficiently. As the functions of SQL Server continue to be integrated with Microsoft’s cloud-based technology, these costs will continue to decrease and data will become more readily accessible than ever before.

6 – Graph Database(set as h3 tag)

Ironically, one of the problems that relational database systems frequently come across is that their ability to actively manage relationships is seemingly one-dimensional. In an effort to overcome some of the difficulties posed by hierarchy management, Microsoft developed a graph database within the core engine that can make these relationships much more manageable. Graph databases have proven themselves to be particularly helpful when working with internal hierarchies, predictive analysis, social media, and other applications.

Other major database developments

The overall goal with redesigning SQL Server 2017 was to make database management as efficient, productive, and functional as it possibly could be. Microsoft is actively competing with IBM, SAP, and several other big name providers, and every competitive advantage they can possibly gain will go a long way.

As these companies continue to learn from each other and from the feedback of their customers, the amount of tweaks they have been making along the way has been relentless. Other notable changes that can be seen in SQL Server 2017 include a database tuning advisor, sting functions, bulk access options, and memory-optimized enhancements.

Essentially, the newest version of SQL Server can do more things, accomplish more complicated tasks, and execute an increasing number of operations at once. The way in which this server has been able to perform has been absolutely revolutionary.

If you are the owner of any organization who is hoping to establish a competitive advantage, you are obviously going to want to compare and contrast the different server options you have available. But once again, it seems Microsoft has been demonstrating to critics everywhere why it deserves to be at the head of its class. SQL Server 2017 is a remarkable improvement of the 2016 version, and we already cannot wait to see what next year’s version will be able to offer.

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