Monday, November 23, 2015

Can I use Standard Edition of SQL Server for implementing my Business Intelligence solution?

I always get this questions from my clients, companies I consult and people who work on BI implementation. Most of the companies initially purchase Standard Edition of SQL Server because of the cost and gradually upgrade to Enterprise. Can we really implement a BI solution with Standard Edition?

Microsoft offers multiple editions of SQL Server, mainly two premium editions and two core editions. Microsoft Analytics Platform System (Parallel Data Warehouse + HDInsight) and Enterprise are premium editions and Business Intelligence and Standard are core editions. If you have purchased Standard Edition, yes you can still implement a BI solution but with many limitations.

Generally, it is not recommended to have Standard Edition for large BI implementations. For managing large volume, you need Enterprise Features like partitioning, data compression and columnstore indexing that are not available with Standard Edition. Therefore, if it is a either small or middle-scale, then Standard Edition can be used.

There less number of functionalities with Standard Edition Integration Services too. Some of main missing features are Persistence Lookup, data mining query transformations and fuzzy lookup and grouping.

It is very important to consider Analysis Services features. As you know, it supports two types of Models; Multidimensional and Tabular. Standard Edition does not support Tabular Model. This forces you to go for multidimensional model though it is bit complex and time-consumed that Tabular. In addition to that, scalable shared databases, synchronizing, perspective, proactive caching and write-back features are not supported with Standard Edition.

Now you know whether you can implement your BI solution with Standard Edition or not. You may consider Business Intelligence Edition if you need more features specifically on Analysis Services end.

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