So how much hardware can we get for $7,128?
I started with one of the more common 2-socket server models, a Dell PowerEdge R730, and then optioned it with:
- Chassis – up to 8 2.5″ drives (because 2.5″ drives aren’t just the future, they should be your default today)
- Two Intel Xeon E5-2637 v4 – quad core, 3.5GHz – I splurged $995.41 to get the second processor
- Four 32GB RDIMMs – that’s 128GB memory
- PERC H730P RAID controller – a $605.05 step up, and I felt a little guilty about this, but I’m assuming that you’re going to add more drives over time, and I want the best storage throughput I can get from the vendor
- Two 200GB SSD boot drives – which sounds crazy to do SSD on a boot drive, but c’mon, they’re only $174.31 apiece, which is less than the magnetics, and gives you enough space to house Windows Updates
- Two 480GB SSD MLC drives – at $376.22 each – as a mirrored pair for
- Redundant power supplies – $181.71, but a common sense safety measure for database servers
- Total: $7,196.71 (plus tax, shipping, etc)
That’s a lot of hardware horsepower for the cost of just one core of Enterprise Edition.
Wanna go wild and crazy and buy two cores worth?
Take that same starter box, and throw in some power-ups:
- Upgraded redundant power supplies – $60.58 extra to handle the…
- 512GB RAM – gonna need another 12 memory sticks for $5,806.92, which sounds like a lot, but now we’re caching pretty large databases in RAM, avoiding writes to TempDB, and giving queries plenty of room for workspace
- That brings us to $11,128.55 from Dell, leaving us $3,127.45 change left over, which I’ll use for…
- Two 800GB Intel P3700 PCI Express SSDs – each just $1,277.02, a crazy deal for their rockin’ performance, and we’ll mirror them together for even faster reads (and leave the two 480GB SSDs for TempDB or logs or whatever, hey, who cares, hardware is cheap)
- Total: $13,682.59
And take the remaining change and buy yourself some nice training and a tasty dinner.
SQL Server Enterprise Edition makes great hardware look cheap.
I’m not saying Enterprise Edition is overpriced – I think it’s completely fair given its amazeballs capabilities. The problem I have is with people who pour all their money into licensing and proceed to install it on something with less cores, memory, and solid state space than a Microsoft Surface.
When you’re struggling with performance management on a 4-core Enterprise Edition VM, wheezing with 16GB RAM, storing data on spinning rusty frisbees, spending weeks of developer time trying to rewrite legacy code, take a break and run some numbers:
- How much do your developers and DBAs cost per day?
- How many days have they spent working on the performance issue?
- How much have you paid in Software Assurance over the last couple of years?
- How much would your hardware cost today to replace? (Not what you originally paid for it.)