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How much of a difference will there be (for speed and other benchmark results) for a database about 5 and even 10 GB to move from MSSQL 2000 to MSSQL 2008?

It's running on a Windows 2003 VMWare guest on a CentOS host.

Also, if someone can give more information about upgrading that would be great.

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When SQL Server 2005 came out, I was able to get in the lab (and in production) about a 30% performance increase over SQL 2000. I was using the exact same hardware for both SQL 2000 and SQL 2005. I don't have specific numbers for SQL 2000 to SQL 2008, but I would expect similar results (your mileage may vary).

Upgrading is pretty easy. Just launch the installer for SQL 2008 and point it to the already installed instance on the machine when you get to that page.

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Some of the benefits of SQL Server 2005, 2008 or 2008 R2 may not be realized until you begin to use the added features of the database system. Along the way, query plan generation greatly improved, and new indexing types and options opened up. Materialized views (indexed views), filtered indexes, sparse columns and other features can be used to reduce data or index size or drastically reduce scan or seek times.

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