Should We Use SQL Standard or SQL Enterprise With Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

As part of my role as CRM Technical Specialist, I help our clients who use Microsoft Dynamics CRM On Premise design their server architecture. Any good architecture design is built to handle the expected initial usage volume, along with expected growth, and offer good long term application performance.

A frequent question I get is “should we use SQL Standard or SQL Enterprise Edition?”

Both SQL Standard and SQL Enterprise will work with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, and you will get full functionality in the application with either edition.

However, there are three main advantages that Enterprise Edition will give you specific to CRM:

1. Data compression: The performance of CRM is dependent on fast disk I/O from SQL server, as the CRM application runs many small SQL queries under normal operation. SQL data compression offers the fastest possible performance by reducing the amount of disk I/O. It can also significantly reduce the size of your database. With SQL Standard you will still probably get acceptable speed, but sql compression can give you faster performance.

2. Encryption: CRM supports transparent data encryption, and that is only offered with SQL Enterprise. This is good to know if you have regulations requiring sensitive data to be encrypted.

3. Quick restore: SQL Enterprise offers data mirroring and quick restore that can be very useful for your disaster recovery strategy.

Those are the main three reasons why our customers who want true high availability performance usually go with SQL Enterprise. There are also some new capabilities in SQL Enterprise 2012, such as business intelligence features like PowerView and the new AlwaysOn features that are supported for use with CRM. That is why our customers who view CRM as a mission critical high availability application go with Enterprise Edition of SQL Server. However, that is not for everybody.

My recommendation is always based on a client’s environment and actual requirements. For small to midsized environments with normal uptime requirements (<250 users), SQL Standard is usually OK.  Consider the performance benefits vs the increased license cost.

The following resources will help:

http://www.microsoft.com/sqlserver/en/us/editions.aspx Comparison of the different version of SQL 2012

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=8438 Microsoft white paper that details how features like transparent data encryption and database compression can improve performance and make your data more secure.