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What version of SQL can I use if I buy SBS 2008 Premium?

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What version of SQL can I use if I buy SBS 2008 Premium?

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Last weekend at SMB Nation, one of the most asked questions was, “If my clients buy SBS 2008 Premium, what version of SQL can they use?” This followed my earlier post, “Is Small Business Server (SBS) 2008 Premium going to ship with SQL 2005 or SQL 2008?” This question was even discussed in great depth during Jeff Middleton’s party where Susan Bradley, Kevin Beares, Dean Paron, and I had a nice long conversation about the various possibilities, all leading to the final outcome where I promised to find out the definitive answer to the question and post it here for everyone. As such, here you go:

  • Components of SBS cannot be downgraded independently. If you choose to downgrade one component, you must downgrade the entire suite.
  • Because Microsoft recognizes that line-of-business applications may experience compatibility issues moving from one version to the next, for approximately one year from the SBS 2008 Release to Manufacturing (RTM) date, we will ship SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition (both 32 and 64-bit platforms) in addition to the SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition for Small Business with SBS 2008 for the customer’s use in order to address these potential issues.
  • Customers who receive SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition for Small Business with their SBS 2008 Premium can choose to run SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition instead of SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition with their SBS 2008 Server Premium Edition without having to downgrade their SBS 2008 suite.
  • Once we stop shipping both versions of SQL Server with SBS 2008 Premium, customers are restricted from downgrading just the SQL Server component.
  • Customers who received SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition with their SBS 2008 Premium can continue to use it after the shipping period ends, but they may not use both SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition and SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition for Small Business simultaneously. If they choose to continue using SQL Server 2005 after the shipping period ends, they can later choose to install SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition for Small Business instead of SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition.
  • Customers who do not receive both versions of SQL Server (2005 and 2008) Standard Edition with their SBS 2008 Premium Server license (included for approximately one year from the SBS 2008 Release to Manufacturing (RTM) date) do not receive the rights listed above to run SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition with their SBS 2008 Premium Edition. If they choose to run SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition, they will need to downgrade their entire SBS Premium Edition to SBS 2003 R2 Premium in order to do so.

We will be updating the SBS Downgrade FAQs page shortly with these updated clarifications to help ensure everyone fully understands what version of SQL Server they can and cannot run with their SBS 2008 Premium Server license.

Thank you to everyone for your patience while we worked to get you these clarifications on this issue.

Thank you and have a wonderful day,

Eric Ligman
Global Partner Experience Lead
Microsoft Worldwide Partner Group
This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

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  • Eric,

    While I thank you for clarifying this licensing quagmire, I can't help but think that this whole thing illustrates exactly what is wrong with SBS licensing.  The inability to upgrade or downgrade individual components is what makes SBS such a hard sell to consumers.

    Microsoft should seriously rethink their SBS strategy, place the emphasis strictly on number of licensed users, rather than integration of the licenses and product line, and provide for individual upgrading as client needs demand instead of as Microsoft's release schedule dictates.  In addition there should be easy, discounted ability to upgrade one or more components without upgrading the entire suite, and the ability to "buy off" having to have all components on one physical machine should needs outgrow ability for the integrated software to deliver.

    Thanks ofr listening, and thanks again for the clarification.  If only it weren't necessary.

  • And the NEW news is:

    "Customers who received SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition with their SBS 2008 Premium can CONTINUE TO USE IT AFTER THE SHIPPING PERIOD ENDS"  (emphasis mine).

    Previously, our understanding was that we'd have to STOP using SQL 2005 (i.e., upgrade to SQL 2008) when Microsoft stopped including it with SBS 2008.

    The new explanation is much more likely to accomodate our Client's needs.

    Thanks!

  • @ Lee: Thanks for the feedback and input, Lee.  I do appreciate it.  One thing to keep in mind with SBS is, the limitations of upgrading the components only when the suite revs vs. when the individual components do (as well as the downgrading of individual components) is that the additional integrating layer of code that pulls the suite together (wizards, etc.) vs. them being just individual procudts running side by side are built for the versions included in the suite.  There are often tecnichal reasons to ensure quality ad functionality within this additional layer of coding that cannot be guaranteed if various different versions of the components are introduced in random ways.  Just like the suite is designed to install through the wizards and install process, not just by installing Windows Server, then Exchange Server, etc. as standalone products.  So in this case, it is not a licensing limitation for the sake of a licensing limitation.  It is actually more dependent on the actual product(s) itself/themselves.

  • As some of you may recall, shortly after the launch of SBS 2008, there were originally some questions

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