SQL 2016 SP1! Do you ever need SQL Enterprise again? (tl;dr, yes)

With much fanfare, SQL 2016 SP1 was released!  (Please read these release notes in depth before testing and deploying!)

The original blog post talks about PROGRAMMABILITY features and post RTM+CU2 enhancements added in.

“SQL Server 2016 SP1 also includes all the fixes up to SQL Server 2016 RTM CU3 including Security Update MS16–136.”

So if you are coding up a new application, and only need SQL Express, you can use columnstore indexes, or in-memory tables, or Always-Encrypted!

So why would anyone need SQL Enterprise with all these features in SQL Standard?

The following is my own notes gathered around the edition differentiation:

SQL Enterprise allows for the following:

Online database access 24×7:

Index rebuilds – Tables are accessible during table and index maintenance

Schema Changes – tables online while adding columns or other structure

File, page, or piecemeal restore is online by default – tables online while restoring corrupt pages, files, etc.

Disaster Recovery Scenarios: AlwaysOn Availability Groups with Local HA and remote Asynchronous copy

Scalability Scenarios: AlwaysOn Availability Groups with Readable or multiple secondary copies, and offloading backups to secondary

Larger datasets for in-memory or columnstore data

Whole-database encryption (TDE)

Third Party encryption key management

Better throughput optimizations for data warehousing and high-throughput OLTP

More than 24 cores needed

More than 128 gigs of RAM needed

Resource Governor (Control those difficult queries or applications via IO, CPU, or Memory, MAXDOP etc)

Standard and Enterprise post SP1 of SQL 2016 can use the following now:

Polybase to access Hadoop and other sources

Columnstore indexes

In-Memory tables

Table Partitioning

Always-Encrypted data from client to server

Row level security

Fine-grained auditing

Here is the full reference feature-by-feature for each edition of SQL 2016 SP1:


Datasheet (shiny!) for SQL 2016 SP1 editions



About George Walters

Microsoft Partner Technical Evangelist/Architect, serving independent software vendors. Formerly data platform sales, and support even before that.
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