There are currently two versions of Microsoft Commerce Server available – Standard Edition and Enterprise Edition. Some of the key differences between the two can be summarized as follows:

Function

Standard Edition

Enterprise Edition

Notes

Processor Sockets

Up to 2

Unlimited

Standard Edition cannot be installed – and will not function on machines with more than 2 processor sockets visible and usable to Windows.

Web Farm Size

Up to 2 Web Servers

Unlimited

A Commerce Server site in Standard Edition cannot span more than 2 Web servers. Although technically bits can be used and code replicated on more machines, many management/administrative functions will not behave properly if this limitation is circumvented.

Sites

Up to 10

Unlimited

Standard Edition will not allow more than 10 Sites (in Commerce Server definitions – see last chapter for more information) to be provisioned.

Applications

Up to 5

Unlimited

Standard Edition can practically only support an individual Web site, the Orders Web Service, Catalog Web Service, Profile Web Service, and Marketing Web Service configured within a Commerce Server site given the restrictions on Commerce Server Applications being provisioned is restricted to 5 (see last chapter for more information).

Data Warehouse

Not Included

Included

Standard Edition does not support the Data Warehouse. That being said, it can be installed on a separate instance of Enterprise Edition and data collected and analyzed from a system running Standard Edition.

Staging

Not Included

Included

Standard Edition is effectively restricted to being deployed in a single environment – as data cannot be replicated from one environment to another.

Given these differences, it is important to pick the right version of Commerce Server for the task at hand. The principal considerations of using Standard Edition can be summarized as follows (with the invalidation of any assumption requiring an upgrade to Enterprise Edition):

· The use of a single Web farm deployment is not a problem – and the potentially negative performance and business impact of making changes to a live production site is a non-issue.

· The traffic volume will not exceed the capacity of 2 Web servers with 2 processor sockets each.

· Data Warehouse capabilities will not be needed.

· There will not be more than 1-10 sites deployed on the same physical hardware, depending on how Commerce Server is configured (please refer to the last chapter for in-depth description of the tradeoffs here from an application architecture perspective).

Mapping Scenarios to Commerce Server Editions

Going back to the aforementioned list, the fits of the various usage scenarios outlined can be summarized as follows (with the assumption that the previous list of caveats has also been evaluated):

Scenario

Standard Edition Fit

Enterprise Edition Fit

Standalone User

Yes

Yes – but it may be overkill from a cost perspective unless an extremely high number of sites/application or processor sockets is required.

Dedicated Server

Yes

Yes – but it may be overkill from a cost perspective unless an extremely high number of sites/application or processor sockets is required.

Single Environment Web Farm

Yes – though the farm cannot scale beyond 2 servers.

Yes – if more than 2 servers is needed.

Multi-Environment Web Farm

No – this is not possible given software limitations.

Yes

Shared Hosting of Commerce Server

N/A

N/A

Impact of Virtualization

Virtualization can play a role now in virtually any Commerce Server deployment scenario. It is fully supported by the product – on either Microsoft Virtual Server or Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V. The only consideration is that often times a virtual server will not perform as well as a real physical server – so long as this impact is inconsequential, virtualize away!

Base Platform

The following summarizes the best platform upon which to run Commerce Server:

· Base Operating System – Windows Server 2008 x64 will provide the most forward mobility for upgrades beyond Commerce Server 2007 or Commerce Server 2009. x86/32-bit support is being dropped beyond CS2009, as previously blogged.

· WSS versus MOSS – The main reasons to use MOSS would be enhanced Web Farm, Search, content management (approvals, workflow), and Site Variations (useful for implementing globalized sites)

· SQL Server – SQL Server 2008 x64 should be utilized, as previous versions will not be supported beyond Commerce Server 2009 as previously blogged.

· BizTalk Server - 2009 should be utilized.

· Visual Studio – VS2008 should be utilized, as VS2005 support will be dropped beyond CS2009, as previously blogged.