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We need to purchase two licenses for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 to upgrade Microsoft SQL Express 2008 so that we can mirror the two databases in two geographically dispersed locations. What is the least expensive licensing option, and where is a good place to buy the licenses? What do we need to consider for client access licensing, considering the data will be accessed via a website? The website has a potentially undefined number of visitors.

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Well, is it mirroring or is it replication?


If you want to have updates at both sites you'll need to use Peer-to-Peer Transactional Replication. Peer-To-Peer replication is only available on Enterprise Edition SQL Server and, since the nodes are active and not on standby, you need to buy EE per CPU licenses on both sides.

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Since he said "two geographically dispersed locations", that's probably going to be mirroring or log-shipping, not HA. Unless he's got geographically-dispersed shared storage, in which case he's probably not worried about the least-expensive version of SQL Server. – mfinni Mar 1 '10 at 19:22
Each database will be written to, so changes on one must be reflected on the other (ASAP) and vice versa, and yes, I don't want to pay for more than is necessary. – nbolton Mar 1 '10 at 21:05
@nbolton - OK, well, replication with merge is very different from mirroring, and you use both terms interchangeably in your OP, so you should research the technology and the terminology. Do you have multiple web interfaces? Your post only says one. – mfinni Mar 1 '10 at 22:02
I did not use the word "merge" in my question; I only say mirror. Please clarify. Do I mean "merge" instead of mirror? There is one web interface, and one desktop (winforms) interface. So there needs to be two databases; one on the web server, and one in their office -- and each needs to have the exact same data. So if one is updated, the data is replicated to the other, and vice versa. – nbolton Mar 4 '10 at 20:54
'Mirror' in SQL Server is one way only. Updates must be written to one database: the principal. The mirror database is unavailable, but it can be read using a database snapshot. The scenario you describe requires Peer-To-Peer Transactional Replication. – Remus Rusanu Mar 4 '10 at 22:49

Apparently I need to use processor licensing when I cannot determine how many users; which is pretty expensive.

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Yes it is, SQL Server is an expensive product when you take everything into account. – Richard Slater Mar 1 '10 at 19:19

Consider using SBS Server Premium which include SQL Server Standard with MERGE replication. We are using it to sync two SQL databases geographicaly dispersed and it works well.

Setting up the merge replication is a bit tricky task, but then works stable.

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Unfortunately it's a hosted server with windows web edition; but for the new office server they could use SBS, sure. – nbolton Mar 4 '10 at 20:57

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