Introducing Microsoft SQL Server 2012

By - April 2, 2013


This article describes the exciting new versions and features of the recently released Microsoft SQL Server 2012.  Since the introduction of SQL Server 7.0, Microsoft continues to make giant leaps in data analytics, data mining, data retrieval performance, and high-availability; thus, earning a significant spot in the Gartner quadrant for business intelligence (BI) platforms.

SQL Server overtakes IBM DB2 and claims #2 spot for DBMS revenue.

Lowest total cost of ownership when compared to other DBMS vendors.

SQL Server reliably manages the data for the largest retail project of 8,000 stores.

PowerPivot was voted one of eWeek’s Top 10 technologies of 2010.

SQL Server delivers 99.9999% uptime availability.

This article will list and describe the editions, key features, and will review licensing.



SQL Server 2012 Enterprise (EE)

  • Can utilize as many core processors and memory as are supported by the host Windows Operating system (OS).
  • Includes support for all of the advanced availability (“AlwaysOn”) and advanced BI features.
  • Includes advanced analysis features such as: PowerPivot, Power View, Master Data Services, and advanced auditing.
  • Includes new data management features such as: Transparent data encryption and “ColumnStore” index.
  • Licensed per core which is different compared to the SQL Server 2008.


SQL Server 2012 Standard

  • Supports up to 16 core processors and up to 64GB of memory.
  • Does not include support for any of the advanced features listed under Enterprise.
  • Licensed per core or server
  • Support for two-node “AlwaysOn” failover


 SQL Server 2012 Business Intelligence

  • A unique edition to SQL Server 2012.
  • Supports up to 16 core processors and up to 64GB of memory.
  • For SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS) and SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS), this edition can use as many cores supported by the host Windows server OS.
  • Includes all of the BI features listed under Enterprise including: Power View and PowerPivot.


SQL Server 2012 Express and LocalDB

  • Free licensing
  • Limited support for one processor and 1 GB of memory.
  • Designed to work with lightweight client applications
  • Runs as a user process and not as a Windows service.


SQL Server 2012 Web and Developer

  • The Developer edition includes all of the features of EE
  • Licensed per developer and as with previous versions, cannot be used to support production installations.
  • The Web edition is licensed to the web hosting firms with service provider license agreements.

Key Features

Just a few of the new features listed here:

AlwaysOn – It is often heard that IT department directors are interested in high availability, however they are reluctant to buy additional hardware to support SQL Server clustering and Database Mirroring does not allow for immediate use of mirrored databases. “AlwaysOn” failover eliminates the need for idle hardware and this feature allows for the utilization of a “Reporting” server to provide failover support for the Dynamics AX Online Transaction processing (OLTP) database. For more information, please refer here.


Columnstore Index – A new type of index to greatly improve reporting performance. Creating a ColumnStore increases reporting efficiency by storing table columns commonly used in reports in a separate set of disk pages. When compared to storing several rows per page, this makes disk access much faster. For more information, please refer to this whitepaper.


Database Recovery Simplified – Using the Database Recovery Advisor, a visual timeline can be viewed by the Database Administrator (DBA) which will show the backup history and helps the DBA identify which backups are required to get a database recovered to a specific point. For more information, please refer here.


PowerPivot – To download Microsoft SQL Server 2012 PowerPivot for Excel 2010, please refer here.


Power View (SSRS)

Integrated with Microsoft SharePoint, Power View allows users to create and view powerful interactive reports using a few clicks of the mouse. These graphics can easily be imported into PowerPoint to create highly effective business presentations.

For more information, please refer here.



There are still two SQL Server licensing options,

1) Based on the number of processors (Cores)

2) Based on the number of users (CALs).

The Enterprise and Standard Editions are based on the number of cores sold in two-core packs. However, the cost of a core license has been significantly reduced compared to the SQL Server 2008 per processor licensing.

Microsoft has created a smooth transition to these new editions and licensing. Microsoft wants to enable customers to be able to take advantage of the new features and performance advantages of SQL Server 2012 while at the same time, help customers protect their investments.

For up-to-date licensing details, please refer here.



To learn more about the capabilities of SQL Server 2012, be sure to check out this article.

Please send me your questions and comments.


Herman J. Kanter

Director – Consulting Technical Services


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