Pop quiz: what do these things cost?

It’s been a few years since we’ve stopped in for a sanity check. Quick: without searching the web for prices, put these items in order. Do it on a scratch paper, guessing how much you think each one costs, then arrange ’em.

  • SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores
  • SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core
  • 64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
  • 256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
  • A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs
  • One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)
  • One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)
  • One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA)
  • One week of a team’s time (4 people)

And I’ll make it a little easier for you: group them into these buckets:

  • Under $2,000
  • $2,000-$4,000
  • $5,000-$10,000
  • Above $10K

Without searching the web, write down on scratch paper what you think they cost, and put them in order. When you’re done, check yourself in the comments.

I find that if you haven’t been shopping for this stuff recently, you might be spending a little too much time slaving over a hot Pentium 4.

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42 Comments. Leave new

  • Joel Coehoorn
    March 12, 2019 8:29 am

    It’s a trick question. You can’t buy just one core of Sql Server 2017 Enterprise.

    Reply
    • It needs 4 core licenses (2 pack of two). 14256$ *2 i guess

      Reply
      • Randy in Marin
        March 12, 2019 2:48 pm

        4 cores is the minimum for a vm or container, but I think the point is that you can buy 4 standard cores for less than the price of 1 enterprise core. With a given budget and 3rd party product to be deployed internally, is a 4 core enterprise sql server “better” than a 16 core standard sql server? With application to be developed and deployed internally on a server with a fixed number of cores, is there an enterprise feature that will avoid one week of team development per core? If maintaining a 3rd party app using sql std that sells a million copies a year, is it worth doing the extra development Express requires to save 10 billion a year in licensing costs? (I’s be glad to help with the latter for a small cut of the savings.)

        Reply
  • TechnoCaveman
    March 12, 2019 9:16 am

    Skipping “That is hardware problem, not my job”
    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores – 10K
    SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core – 5-10K
    64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) under 2K
    256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) 2-4K
    A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs – Under 2K
    One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge) 5-10K
    One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC) Under 2K
    One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA) ( way under 2k)
    One week of a team’s time (4 people) pay is over 10K (double for FICA and benefits)

    Lesson learned – RAM is cheaper than the time to debug bad code. Hardware is cheap. Still we must venture out to slay that dragon!! There is joy in fixing issues and making things run faster.

    Reply
    • Hardware is cheaper in the short term, but it’s like the proverbial washer that could have prevented plumbing repairs. How many disruptions is the bad sprocket causing? How many outages? Decide to move to the cloud, and that poorly performing sprocket could become expensive.

      Reply
      • TechnoCaveman
        March 12, 2019 10:54 am

        I have heard the cloud does that. The cloud exposes heavy data I/O and bad code.
        The other suggestion is to do HA between Azure and AWS as no one guarantees 99.999% up time.
        There is joy and pride in fixing bad code. Long live the Joy.

        Reply
  • It’s a trick question altogether… Nobody understands the pricing models well enough to get the same price twice! But I would REALLY like to see your approach!

    Reply
  • Martin Surasky
    March 12, 2019 9:24 am

    Here is my gut feel, I swear I didn’t cheat (not looking online) although you can probably tell that because I’m pretty sure there will be a few misses there, for sure.

    Under $2,000
    * 64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    * A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs
    * One typical day of IT employee time

    $2,000-$4,000
    * SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores
    * 256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    * One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)

    $5,000-$10,000
    * SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core
    * One week of a team’s time

    Above $10K
    * One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)

    In my defense… I’m a poor/humble salaried DBA… I never owned a Corporate Credit Card and was certainly not involved in purchasing software/hardware. On the other hand, I think I can be pretty accurate if you want to know how much the 750g Nutella jar goes for where I live (hint.. is not cheap either)

    Reply
    • Not bad!

      Reply
    • TechnoCaveman
      March 12, 2019 11:18 am

      Martin,
      Here are my thoughts on “one week of a team’s time”
      $55/hr x 40hrs x4 peole is $8,800. Now add 6% unemployment tax + 6.2% social security + 1.45% medicare and you are at 9,988. Add in 4% state tax plus 1 % (Vacation earned) plus $734×4 dental and health coverage and it is over 12 grand. If they want office space at $23 per square foot plus phones well then the price goes up.
      Note: 10×10 foot work area is 100 sqare feet or 2,300 per month / 4 is only $575. Since each person gets a 10×10 cubical that is the full $2,300 or about $18k for the team of four per week.

      Reply
  • Breck Dahlin
    March 12, 2019 9:30 am

    Under $2,000 256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    Under $2,000 64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    Under $2,000 A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs
    Under $2,000 One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)
    Under $2,000 One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA)
    $2,000-$4,000 One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)
    $5,000-$10,000 One week of a team’s time (4 people)
    $5,000-$10,000 SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core
    $5,000-$10,000 SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores

    Reply
  • without by £ to $ hat on and guesses.

    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores
    $5,000-$10,000
    SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core
    $5,000-$10,000
    64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    Under $2,000
    256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    $2,000-$4,000
    A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs
    $5,000-$10,000
    One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)
    Above $10K
    One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)
    Under $2,000
    One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA)
    Under $2,000
    One week of a team’s time (4 people)
    $5,000-$10,000

    Reply
  • I bid $1.
    We’re playing by the “Price is Right” rules, right?

    Reply
  • Rafael Cuesta
    March 12, 2019 10:10 am

    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores 5k to 10k
    SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core 5k to 10k
    64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) Under 2k
    256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) Under 2k
    A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs Under 2k
    One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge) Above 10k
    One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC) 5k to 10k
    One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA) Under 2k
    One week of a team’s time (4 people) 5k to 10k

    Reply
  • Blindfold Budgeting !!!
    U2K
    1 sysadmin/DAY – internal cost, not consultant
    64GB RAM
    G5 – 1month

    2-5 K
    256GB RAM – assuming you paid Dell, not using a cheaper supplier
    SQL STD – 4core – depends on your subscription model
    I3 instance

    5-10K
    4TB SSD mirror – depends on your discount level
    SQL ENT – 1 core – damn that hurts

    10U K
    1 team week – even with internal cost, GOOD developers on a team will put you over the 10K mark
    interns will keep you under 5k, but you get what you pay for

    Reply
  • Brent is saying hardware is cheap
    people and software are not

    Reply
  • Richard Garrett
    March 12, 2019 11:17 am

    SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core
    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores
    256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)
    One week of a team’s time (4 people)
    A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs
    One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)
    One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA)

    Reply
  • Fernando Eggert
    March 12, 2019 11:26 am

    You can’t buy SQL Server Enterprise for 1 core, each license is for 2 cores, and the minimum is 2 licenses.
    This is for any core based payed edition of SQL Server.

    Reply
  • Laughing at the suggestion that a team of 4 is less than $10k… maybe if they’re all working remote, or they’re all Jr-mid, but 4 Srs on site, no way is that under $10k

    Reply
  • One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge) Above $10K

    SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core Above $10K
    *Switched it to the spirit of the game as 2 -2 core license pack and don’t get me started on SPLA

    One week of a team’s time (4 people) $5,000-$10,000

    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores $2,000-$4,000

    One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC) $2,000-$4,000
    A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs Under $2,000
    256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) Under $2,000

    One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA) Under $2,000

    64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) Under $2,000

    Reply
    • I forgot… nobody is talking about the Software Assurance (SA) add on. I didn’t factor that in b/c it wasn’t in the quiz but can we all agree its INSANELY expensive and just a way for MS to gouge us for way too much money?

      Reply
      • Randy in Marin
        March 13, 2019 9:54 am

        Try pricing the same system for Oracle if you want to be gouged – somebody has to pay for those yachts. Even better, get SAP on Oracle. Or even better, hire one of the vendors CA used to develop a court system that never worked. Anyway, the real cost of SA is not that easy to determine. How often would you upgrade? What is the long term cost averaged over many upgrades? For us, an enterprise agreement made it more reasonable. There is an initial hit, but after it’s not so bad. For a small shop, it hurts because there is no economy of scale. Looking back, it might have worked to go LINUX and open source, but it’s too late now. It would be far more expensive to switch horses, even if the new horse is free.

        Reply
      • SA is NOT expensive and for a large organization that knows it is going to be renewing their licensing every year, its incredibly expensive to not purchase it after only about 2-4 years. You cant save by running without it and using the same software for 8-10 years either, then your upgrade projects just exponentially become more expensive in labor costs

        Reply
  • I know it can’t just be me: $2,000 – $4,000 > $5,000 – $10,000 doh?!

    $10k
    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores – its about 1/2 an enterprise core per core, so $12k?

    Reply
    • Whelp wordpress doesnt like gt/lt symbols.

      I know it can’t just be me: $2,000 – $4,000 > $5,000 – $10,000 doh?!

      under $2k
      64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) – About £300 for ecc
      One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA) – $2k+ a day as a full time IT employee, we can dream.
      A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs – off the shelf an Evo Pro 4tb is about £830 so a pair would be just under $2,000 converted.
      $2-4k
      256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740) – I wanna say about £2,000
      One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC) – a guess
      $5-10k
      SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core – about $7k per core?
      One week of a team’s time (4 people) – depends on the team
      One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge) – from memory about $7k a year?
      over $10k
      SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores – its about 1/2 an enterprise core per core, so $12k?

      Reply
  • Mark Cooper - Sr. DBA @ Memorial Health System IL
    March 13, 2019 6:30 am

    What are the real answers?

    Reply
  • Gavin Fuller
    March 14, 2019 3:55 am

    In order:

    $under $2k

    • One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)
    • One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA)
    • 64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)

    $2k-$4k

    • A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs
    • 256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)

    $5k-$10k

    • One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)

    Above $10k
    • SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores (but still cheaper than the 1 Enterprise core)
    • One week of a team’s time (4 people)
    • SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core

    Some trick questions in there! The actual underlying charge for a cloud based VM isn’t very high, it’s the usage that costs. Also, the employee based questions depends on how generous your employer is!

    Reply
  • Under $2,000:
    256GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    64GB of memory for a modern server (Dell r740)
    One typical day of IT employee time (say, developer, sysadmin, DBA)

    $2,000-$4,000:
    SQL Server 2017 Standard Edition licensing for 4 cores
    One month of an 8-core, 40GB RAM Azure Managed Instance (G5 BC)

    $5,000-$10,000:
    SQL Server 2017 Enterprise Edition licensing for 1 core
    A mirrored pair of 4TB PCIe SSDs

    Above $10K:
    One year of an 8-core, 61GB RAM, 1.9TB SSD VM in EC2 (i3.2xlarge)
    One week of a team’s time (4 people)

    Reply

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