Microsoft Docs has several articles detailing each SQL Server version’s compute capacity and scale limits. But unfortunately, there’s no single page that has these details centralized for all SQL Server versions and editions.
On several occasions, I have found myself in need of such “centralized” details when needing to remind myself at a glance of the differences between the Standard Edition of different SQL Server versions.
My current solution for this was opening one of my slides in the webinar How to Save Money on Your SQL Server Hardware, and reviewing the table with the limitations comparing each SQL Server version and edition over the years.
But this takes too much effort and is very inconvenient. So, I figured that I should create such a centralized page myself that would be easier and faster to find, and perhaps help more people that need something like this.
So, let’s start with the essentials. Here is a table detailing the differences in scaling limits of all SQL Server versions and editions. These limits changed over the years, and these changes are visible here.
|SQL Versions||CPU Cores||Max Memory||Max Memory||CPU Cores||Max Memory|
|2008 and older||4 sockets||OS Max||OS Max||1 physical core||1 GB|
|2008 R2||4 sockets||64 GB||64 GB||1 physical core||1 GB|
|2012||lesser of 4 sockets or 16 physical cores||64 GB||64 GB||lesser of 1 socket or 4 physical cores||1 GB|
|2014||lesser of 4 sockets or 16 physical cores||128 GB||64 GB||lesser of 1 socket or 4 physical cores||1 GB|
|2016 and newer||lesser of 4 sockets or 24 physical cores||128 GB||64 GB||lesser of 1 socket or 4 physical cores||1.4 GB|
- These limits apply to a single instance of SQL Server. They represent the maximum compute capacity that a single instance will use. They do not constrain the server where the instance may be deployed. In fact, deploying multiple instances of SQL Server on the same physical server is an efficient way to use the compute capacity of a physical server with more sockets and/or cores than the capacity limits allow.
- The Web Edition has the same CPU limits as the Standard Edition, but its memory limits are different.
- Scale limits for Enterprise edition are not listed since they’re all unlimited across all versions (except for limits by core-based licensing and OS limits).
- Scale limits for SQL Server versions 2017, 2019, and 2022 have all remained unchanged since SQL Server version 2016.
- Click on each SQL Server version name to open its source page.
Virtualized vs Physical
In a virtualized environment, the compute capacity limit is based on the number of logical processors, not [physical] cores. The reason is that the processor architecture is not visible to the guest applications.
For more details, check out my webinar on How to Save Money on Your SQL Server Hardware.