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SQL Server Editions Overview

Microsoft SQL Licenses

Tags: Windows 

SQL Server Editions Overview

SQL Servers store data and retrieve it upon the request of other software applications. Hostwinds does not sell SQL licenses, but we will help install third-party licenses for you quickly and easily. Please open a ticket providing the task and the correct information in both the title and body to our technical department to get started.

SQL Server Editions Overview


A free version with minimal capabilities that work well for general database use for small applications. However, it is a great way to test if SQL is the option for you without paying for it first.


The essential standard for its reporting and analytics, providing limited memory, size, and cores and coming in both Core-Based and Server + CAL licensing models.


All the basic features of standard, but enterprise provides additional tools for analyzing business and financial data and critical applications, data, and warehousing features for enterprises this edition primarily targets. The Enterprise edition does not have any limits that the standard does and is only offered in a core-based licensing model.


This edition allows you to build, test, and demonstrate applications in a non-production environment. You must keep to a non-production element in this edition. The use of developer edition on anything considered full production may instigate heavy fines.

Note: Software is considered in production if the software is used in any way outside of development. Production use extends from inside or outside of the organization, including evaluation acceptance testing.

SQL servers are in production if they are connected to another database in production or backup for disaster recovery to a SQL server.

You can make sure there is no penalty by adding access controls to prohibit use outside of development and testing. For Example:

  • Use naming conventions for SQL Server instances to explicitly state if a Server is in development or testing.
  • Install the SQL server on a separate network segment or cloud environment to lower the chance of unauthorized interaction.
  • Require that installs be developer-specific editions.

Written by Michael Brower  /  February 28, 2018