Rob Farley in SQL Server Developer Edition versus SQL Server Standard/Enterprise excellently summarizes:

Developer Edition is just Enterprise Edition without the license to be used in a Production environment. Also, it doesn't need to be installed on a Server OS (ie, you can put it on Win7, Vista, XP).

Also, my experience shows that Developer Edition outperforms Enterprise Ed in the same equal conditions (on the same machine, etc.)

Why cannot MS SQL Server be used (or, even, installed) on workstation Windows (XP/7) in production?

I am interested in technical aspect of the issue.
Plz put licensing and ethical aspects outside of this thread (open your own if you feel up to


It actually is only a licensing problem. There's nothing at all preventing the full SQL Server to run on a workstation O.S., unless you need some very specific features that are available only on it (like failover clustering).

As you said, "Developer Edition is just Enterprise Edition without the license to be used in a Production environment". Nothing else than a license problem. But the software is exactly the same (apart from branding and O.S. version checks during setup).

The only "technical" reason you can't run SQL Server Enterprise on a non-server O.S. is "because the installer will not let you do that".

  • My sysadmins needed urgently Enterprise Ed. (could not find it) and asked me for my Developer Ed. setup and happilly run it on Windows Server. What's the point in separate setup DVD and ISO downloads, etc.? – Gennady Vanin Геннадий Ванин Aug 27 '10 at 17:33
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    Per the license, you can run Dev SQL on Workstation or Server. Maybe you need to do Dev work on your laptop (running Windows 7), and maybe someone else needs to do Dev work on a QA environment that matches your Prod environment, which would be running on Server. The part that MS doesn't want you doing is running SQL Enterprise on Windows Workstation. That's the "Why." It's not ethics, it's their choice. They're the manufacturer. – mfinni Aug 27 '10 at 17:38
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    +1 SQL Dev and SQL Enterprise are binary equivalents. – squillman Aug 27 '10 at 20:39

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