After reading my commentary, "SQL Server 2000 Licensing Changes—What You Need to Know," about SQL Server 2000's new pricing models, several readers were extremely upset by the price increase from SQL Server 7.0 to SQL Server 2000. The increase could drive up prices by several hundred percent for sites that use the Enterprise Edition on large SMP servers. Consider what one reader had to say:
"SQL Server 7.0 started making inroads into the enterprise, and it was an easy sell because SQL Server cost much less than Oracle or DB2. It was easy to go into companies that required four to eight processors and save the customer thousands of dollars on database software and licensing, while closely matching Oracle and IBM features. Now, with the huge cost increases, SQL Server's number one selling point—cost—is out the door.
"One customer was able to justify an initial SQL Server purchase because of the cost. The company already had enterprise Oracle agreements. But while purchasing SQL Server Enterprise Edition for roughly $30,000 wasn't a problem, a $160,000 purchase was a huge problem. The customer is deploying SQL Server 2000 Standard Edition rather than the Enterprise Edition, which is unfortunate because the company needs Enterprise Edition features and now has to explain why it didn't go with Oracle."
SQL Server is still much less expensive than its competitors, and I believe SQL Server 2000 pricing is fair. But if customers change their purchase or deployment decisions because of the additional cost, the pricing model might backfire on Microsoft. Will SQL Server 2000 pricing prevent you from upgrading or cause you to deploy the Standard Edition rather than the Enterprise Edition when you really need Enterprise Edition features? Let me know. I'll consolidate reader sentiment in a future column and send the most insightful comments to Microsoft for consideration.
Other readers pointed out that SQL Server 2000 Enterprise Edition's list price of $19,999 per processor is higher than the $15,802 quoted for Microsoft's recent record-setting Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) TPC-C benchmark. If you read the full Microsoft report, however, you'll find that the $15,802 price comes from a publicly available Microsoft Select licensing program, which provides volume discounts.
On a different note, have you ever dreamed of sitting on the board of directors for a rich company, with corporate jets and unlimited expense accounts at your disposal? If so, you might not be interested in applying for one of the director-at-large positions for the Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS). However, if you want to help shape SQL Server's direction by interacting with Microsoft and grow your SQL Server career in new and interesting directions, you should definitely apply. Elections will be held in October at the PASS 2000 North America Conference and Expo in San Francisco. PASS is in the final process of reviewing candidates, so submit your application immediately if you want to apply. You can find the application form on PASS's Web site.