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My company is considering purchasing software that requires "at least one instance of SQL". I'm not sure what that means. Would I have to buy SQL Server 2008 for example?

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have a look on here… – Jason Clark Mar 15 at 5:19

It's someone confusing the language with the software. It means an instance of MS SQL Server of some indeterminate version running on your network.

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So this is software I would load on the server - not on my PC? – Jenn Nov 23 '10 at 17:53
Generally database engines are meant to be installed on a server, not a client. There are a few exceptions (SQLite, MSDE, Access), but this is not one. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Nov 23 '10 at 17:57

Yes you would, basically when you install MSSQL2008 you are installing a single instance of that software, it'll have a name and can hold databases etc. You may find later that on the same machine you'd like to run more instances, each one is separate from each other - but running on the same physical server. You can think of it a little like a virtual machine you'll see in virtualisation. People usually use them to divide either customers or very separate systems (say finance dept and HR dept). There is a not-inconsiderate overhead incurred for every instance over and above the first one.

Basically just buy MSSQL2008 and don't worry too much more ok.

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if the software is capable of running on SQL 2008 Express, then there is no need to buy SQL at all...check with the software vendor to make sure you need a full version of SQL before buying it as it can get expensive depending on the version. – August Nov 23 '10 at 17:27

You would need to get SQL Server, yes. Note that there are free editions available, which may or may not be something you can use with that software.

An 'instance' just refers to a single, running 'copy' of SQL Server. It's a bit more involved than just running it twice like, say, Microsoft Word (including licensing requirements and network connectivity), but that's the basic idea.

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Also bear in mind if you are purchasing any edition of SQL Server apart from the Express versions that there are different forms of licensing.

Processor licences (one licence per processor in your server) which will allow any number of connections

CAL (Client Access Licences) where you buy the software and a number of licences equal to the number of users that will be connected to the server.

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