Pop Quiz: What Do These Things Cost Today?


Eyes up here, kidPrice check on Aisle 2021.

My main consulting job is a 2-day SQL Critical Care® where I help turn around slow SQL Servers. Companies come to me because they’re not sure if it’s a hardware problem, a database configuration issue, bad app code, or what, and they’ve been getting conflicting answers from different teams.

Before you spend money on consulting, though, stop to review what things cost.

Often, I find a whole team of people who have been struggling with slow performance – only to find they’ve got less hardware than my laptop, and it would only cost a few thousand bucks to make a really dramatic difference instantly.

So let’s do a price check. Without searching the web for prices, guess how much the below things cost – and you don’t even have to guess the exact price, just put ’em into buckets for perspective.

If you don’t see a form above, like if you’re reading the blog via RSS or email newsletter, you’ll need to visit my blog to take the quiz.

Got questions? Surprised? Leave a note in the comments.

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17 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi, Brent. I think the second question has a wrong answer… the question is for 1 core, and the answer is for the 2 cores.

    • Hi Vicente, SQL Server Enterprise license comes with at least 1 pack of 2 cores, you cannot buy just 1 core. Although I get your point, the question is about the cost of one core, and Brent says it himself in the answer “the sticker price is $13,748 for a 2-core pack, so each core costs $6,874”

    • Make sure to read the answer really carefully. Cheers!

      • The question is for one core, and “each core costs $6,874”. Yet, at least for me, it tells me I’m wrong (red X) when I choose $5,000-$10,000. And that I’m right (green checkmark) when I choose Over $10,000.


        • Sorry about that! Fixed.

          • Yay! My D just became a C. 🙂


          • Brian Boodman
            April 15, 2021 2:20 pm

            Funny, I had the opposite reasoning. Since Microsoft won’t sell a 1 core pack, you’re forced to pay for two cores, therefore operating a one core setup costs over $10,000. This does suggest changing the explanation (i.e., appending, “but you can’t buy just one” to “each core costs $6,874”).

            I suspect this is why the original quiz marked $10,000 as being correct.

  • Quiz Grade: D is for Diploma!

  • And I’m apparently worth more than I’m getting paid…. 😉

    • Same, accounting for benefits I am still significantly cheaper than what Brent expects. I let my Boss know what a high value asset I am of course 😉

  • Great stuff. What service/plugin did you use for the quiz?

  • Jeff Shervey
    April 8, 2021 5:20 pm

    Plus…. add some $1000’s per year for software assurance for that enterprise and standard core licenses. I guess Brent’s point is that if you hire him because your hardware is undersized or not enough cores available/licensed – he’s going to “possibly” recommend them anyway. (Depends locking can render any high-end hardware useless) So if you did that in the beginning – you might avoid Brent’s 2 day charge of $6995. Hey wait a minute… Brent your teaching us how not to hire you.

    • HA! No, but you’re on the right track: often companies will hire me when they’re considering hardware spends, and they’re interested to see if they can avoid those spends with query or index tuning instead. At the same time, sometimes companies have entire teams slaving away for weeks to solve something that could be solved with $2,000 of hardware.

      • On that note, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but Glenn Berry is regularly publishing best processors choices for SQL server based on TPC-E scores.

  • Adam C Jacobson
    April 8, 2021 6:10 pm

    Once upon a time I was consulting on a new ERP implementation. The consulting burn rate was at least $3000 – $4000 per hour. And each week, folks had to juggle development tasks because we were running out of disk space. New PM arrived and doubled or tripled the disk for about 2000 a month on the lease. And this was twenty five years ago.
    Still, folks don’t get that people are the most expensive resource

    • why spend 500 dollars on a new laptop or 5000 dollars on a new server that will provide you with ROI, when you can blow 50 thousand dollars of labor working around said 500 dollar laptop, or 5000 dollar server that provides no ROI at all, is just the dicking around that needs to be done to get to the part where your labor starts providing ROI.


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