This SQL Server 2012 installation guide covered SQL Server 2012 64-bits fresh installation on a virtual machine environment. There are several editions of SQL Server 2012. All these editions have their differences in function and pricing. I will explain in more detail under the SQL Server 2012 Licensing session. This installation guide is using SQL Server 2012 64-bits Enterprise edition evaluation copy and installs on a Windows Server 2012 virtual server.

SQL Server 2012 Installation Preparation

Prior to the installation, there are several things that need to be confirmed and prepared. All these depend on the needs and purposes of the SQL Server being used. Either you are using it for Lab practice, for development, or for a production server. The basic hardware requirement and licensing structure are highly considerable.

To start the installation,

  • You should have the SQL Server 2012 installation DVD or downloaded MVL version copy (normally in ISO file format). You also can download the SQL Server 2012 180-days-trial evaluation copy from the Microsoft website. The evaluation copy can be upgraded to a licensed copy with a valid SQL Server 2012 Product Key.
  • You should have a minimum Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 64-bits installed on a physical server. Or, creating a virtual machine with Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 64-bits operation system installed. If you are installing SQL Server for development, you also can install on a Windows 7 SP1 64-bits operating system.

SQL Server 2012 Licensing Model

Before we start on the Licensing Model, let’s review the SQL Server 2012 available editions. Microsoft SQL Server 2012 comes with the following 6 editions. The first 4 editions are mainly for business use and involved costs. The Developer and Express edition are free to use with terms and conditions applied.

SQL Server EditionFunctions and descriptions
StandardThe Standard edition encompasses basic data management and BI capabilities. It is suitable for small to medium organizations that do not need large-scale data-warehouse and mission-critical performance. If you are looking for a database management system for the departmental application, the Standard edition is your choice.
EnterpriseThis is the uppermost and all-inclusive edition. It consists of all features available in other editions. It supports mission-critical features, virtualization environment, Business Intelligence capabilities, and fast performance.
Business IntelligenceThis is a new edition of SQL Server history. This edition is focusing on BI solutions, such as Reporting and Analytics, PowerView, and PowerPivot. This edition is suitable to the organization would like to achieve corporate BI capabilities, but do not require the full features in Enterprise edition.
WebThe Web edition is focusing on the web services environment. It has fewer capabilities compare to Standard and Enterprise edition, but it provides a lower total-cost-of-ownership option for web-hosters.
DeveloperThis edition is identical to Enterprise edition. However, this edition only for development and testing purposes and cannot be used in a production environment. This edition can be converted to Enterprise edition by providing a valid License Key.
ExpressThis is a lite and entry-level edition with basic data management capabilities. It is suitable for small application and development purposes. The data in the Express edition can be converted into other editions easily. This edition has a database size restriction to 10GB only.

The SQL Server 2012 Licensing Model is similar to the Windows Server 2012 Licensing Model. It is using the Server+CAL and per-Core calculation. The table below indicates the Licensing options available to each SQL Server 2012 edition.

SQL Server 2012 EditionServer+CAL Licenseper-Core License
Enterprise

 

*

Business Intelligence

*

 

Web

 

*

Standard

*

*

Now, let’s look into details what are the difference between these 2 licensing options.

Server plus Client Access License or Server+CAL is based on users or devices accessing the SQL Database Server. This License option is suitable for low user counts. The organization needs to purchase one Server License plus the number of users/devices license required to access the Database Server. The Server+CAL license option also suitable for departmental application which has fixed connections to the Database Server. However, if the number of connections or number of users accessing the Database Server is a lot or un-countable, using the per-core license option is more cost-effective. The per-Core license allows access for an unlimited number of users or devices connect to the Database Server.

By now, you might want to know how to determine the number of Core licenses required for a Database Server. I will cover this in the following session.

SQL Server 2012 Per-Core Licensing

You might install your SQL Database Server on a physical server or a virtual machine. You also might have multiple virtual machines installed with SQL Database Servers on a physical server. All these installation methods have different SQL Server Licensing. I will explain Server+CAL Licensing for both physical and virtual machines in the next session.

For a physical server, you must license all the Cores in the server, with a minimum of 4 CPU-cores licenses. Microsoft is selling the 0ne SQL Core License for every 2 CPU-cores. That also means, for every SQL Server 2012 installed on a physical server, a minimum of 2 SQL Core Licenses is required, regardless of the number of the CPU-cores of the physical server. The table below illustrates the number of SQL Cores Licenses required for SQL Server installed on a physical server.

Total CPU-cores in a physical server

1

2

4

6

8

Minimum Core licenses required

4

4

4

6

8

SQL Server Core License required to purchase

2

2

2

3

4

For SQL Server installed on Virtual Machine (VM), all the virtual-CPU-cores allocated to the VM must be licensed. Similar to physical server licensing, a minimum of 4 virtual-CPU-cores licenses per VM and One SQL Core License for every 2 virtual-CPU-cores still applied. The table below illustrates the SQL Core License required for a VM.

The Physical Server

4 CPU with a total of 16 CPU-cores

Virtual-CPU-core allocated to a VM

1

2

4

8

Minimum Core license required

4

4

4

8

SQ Server Core License required to purchase

2

2

2

4

 SQL Server 2012 Server+CAL Licensing

The Server+CAL license model is more straight forward. You required to purchase One SQL Server License for every SQL Server installed on a physical server or a virtual machine, regardless of the number of server CPU and CPU-core. For every device or user accessing the SQL Database Server, the CAL is required. Each CAL can access any number of SQL Server Database instances. For instant, if your organization has 5 SQL Server Business Intelligence Editions and 3 SQL Server Standard Editions, the CAL can access all these 8 SQL Server instances.

Similar to Windows Server CAL, each CAL can only access the current and previous version of the SQL Server instances. Unless you are purchasing License with Software Assurance (SA) model, which will continue to the latest version release. SQL Server also provides a Cloud-based and Appliance-based licensing model. You can refer to Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Licensing Guide at Microsoft product website for details.

Hardware and Software Requirements

The performance of the SQL Server 2012 or a Relational Database Management System (RDMS) very depends on the hardware specification, especially the system memory. Every edition of the SQL Server also required different minimum hardware requirements. In general, your server should meet the hardware specification on the table below.

Hardware ComponentRequirement
ProcessorIntel Pentium IV or AMD Athlon with 2.0 GHz of speed.
MemoryMinimum 1GB. 4GB or more is highly recommended.
Harddisk SpaceMinimum 4GB space for installation files excludes the Database and Log files.

As a good practice, a server with multiple CPU-cores and 8GB RAM will perform much better for a departmental application database server. The other criteria to consider is the server Disk I/O performance. If the server runs on heavy transactions and a high user access rate, you might consider using a higher performance I/O disk option, like RAID or more disk-array.

For the software requirements, the SQL Server 2012 can support the following operating systems.

SQL Server Editions

Enterprise

Business Intelligence

Web

Standard

Developer

Express

Windows Server 2012

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Windows Server 2008 SP2

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Y

Windows 8

 

 

 

Y

Y

Y

Windows 7 SP1

 

 

 

Y

Y

Y

Windows Vista SP2

 

 

 

Y

Y

Y

Apart from the operation system, the following software components also require for SQL Server 2012 installation.

  • .NET Framework 3.5 SP1
  • Internet Explorer 7.0 or later.