Microsoft has announced four editions and pricing plans for SQL Server 2005. The company will offer three license plans for SQL Server 2005: processor licenses, server plus device Client Access Licenses (CALs), and server plus user CALs. Processor licenses require a separate license for each processor running SQL Server. You'll pay for a fixed server license plus additional CAL licenses for each device or user that connects to SQL Server under the server plus device CAL and server plus user CAL, respectively. Here are the four editions that Microsoft will release for SQL Server 2005. Note that all higher editions include the same functionality as the editions below it.

SQL Server Express

Built to replace Microsoft SQL Server Desktop Engine (MSDE), SQL Server 2005 Express Edition targets developers. The product will include the basic Express Manager (XM) management program and will support database-engine enhancements such as Common Language Runtime (CLR) integration and the new native XML and varbinary(max) data types. SQL Server Express will also support replication, include a report wizard, and a Service Broker client. Like MSDE, SQL Server Express will be available as a free download on the Microsoft downloads page.

Workgroup Edition

The SQL Server 2005 Workgroup Edition, a new addition to the product line, is designed for small to midsized businesses and departmental installations. The Workgroup Edition will provide relational database support without the business intelligence (BI) and high availability capabilities of the Standard and Enterprise Editions. The Workgroup Edition will support up to two processors and use up to 2GB of RAM (databases aren't limited). Licenses cost $3,899 per processor or $739 per server, and each license includes five CALs. Microsoft will also release a SQL Server 2000 Workgroup Edition this year.

Standard Edition

SQL Server 2005 Standard Edition has high-end features including support for clustering and database mirroring (previously found in only the Enterprise Edition). Microsoft will provide a 32-bit version and 64-bit support for both x64 and Itanium-based systems. The Standard Edition will support up to four processors, will impose no limit on database size or RAM, and will include the full range of BI functionality—SQL Server Integration Services, SQL Server Analysis Services, and SQL Server Reporting Services. The Standard Edition will cost $5,999 per processor or $2,799 per server, and each license includes 10 CALs.

Enterprise Edition

Targeting large enterprises, SQL Server 2005 Enterprise Edition will support data partitioning, database snapshots, online and parallel database maintenance, and the new end user–oriented Report Builder. Enterprise Edition will cost $24,999 per processor or $13,499 per server, and each license includes 10 CALs.