Executive Summary: From Hot-Add CPU to Change Data Capture, these 20 important features found in SQL Server 2008 let DBAs do some pretty cool things. But what you might not know is that they're found only in SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition and SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition.

You can find many articles, white papers, and books demonstrating the myriad features found in SQL Server 2008. But you might not realize that there’s a big disparity in the features that the different editions support. Chances are that the exciting new features you’re reading about are supported only by SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition or SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition. (Although Enterprise Edition and Developer Edition share the same feature set, Developer Edition is licensed solely for development work and can’t be used for production work.) Here’s a list of the 20 most important features—yes, there are even more features than that—offered only in Enterprise Edition.

1. Hot-add CPU—recognizes newly added CPUs without a restart
2. Hot-add RAM—recognizes additional RAM without a restart
3. More instances—up to 50 named instances (other editions support only 16)
4. Data compression—automatically compresses database data
5. Transparent database encryption—encrypts databases without making application changes
6. Resource governor—allocates system resources per workload
7. Partitioning—divides large tables and indexes into multiple file groups for better performance
8. Partition table parallelism—uses separate threads for queries over multiple partitions
9. Asynchronous mirroring mode—SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition supports only synchronous database mirroring
10. More failover clustering nodes—up to 16 nodes (Standard Edition supports two nodes)
11. Database snapshots—for capturing point-intime database copies
12. Fast recovery—system availability at the end of the transaction-log roll-forward phase
13. Online indexing—rebuilds indexes while the base table is in use
14. Online restore—restores file groups while a database is active
15. Distributed partitioned views—creates scale-out clusters by dividing tables between multiple SQL Server systems
16. Filtered indexes—lets you selectively index column values
17. Oracle replication publishing—lets Oracle act as replication publisher
18. Peer-to Peer (P2P) transactional replication— replicates data changes to all nodes on the network
19. Advanced transformations—adds SQL Server Integration Services transformations such as Fuzzy Lookup and Data Mining
20. Change data capture—ability to track changes on a table and capture them to a mirrored table