We are migrating from a series of old Linux servers to W2K8, and are wondering if it makes sense to spend the extra money on the Enterprise version or just stick with standard. We run a small data center (8 servers) with manual failover and basic script based mirroring. We will have 3 web servers and 2 database servers. There is no current need for instant failover between servers, and I don't anticipate our company growing beyond ~200 employees within the next 10 years (we're at 50 now).

Beyond Failover clustering, what advantages would Enterprise bring us over Standard?


Unless you need clustering, more RAM than the Standard Edition x64 supports, the 4 virtual instances or to install an Enterprise Certificate Authority with Editable Templates, stick with Standard.

You dont need the Enterprise Edition just because you're an Enterprise (you'd be surprised how many think they do).


A few things more:

  • Enterprise supports more processors and RAM.

Technical Comparison

  • At first glance fail over clustering is all that is different in the feature list.

Feature Comparison

  • Also I believe that it also gives you licenses to virtualise up to 4 Windows instances per 2008 Ent server.

A Reference and Another Reference

So probably not much to entice you to grab Enterprise unless the VM license stuff holds interest.

  • +1 for the VM license info. That is my main decision maker with Std & Ent. – Aaron Jun 18 '09 at 14:42
  • Thanks, I'm thinking we'll get Enterprise for our Database Server since we may want to scale past 32GB. – Beep beep Jun 18 '09 at 20:28

Enterprise also covers 4 virtual machines on the physical host. With 2003, Enterprise allowed the 4 virtual instances using any virtualisation solution, for 2008 I'm not sure whether they have to exist under Hyper-V or if you could use something else, i.e. VMWare/etc.

See here.

  • I haven't checked it lately, but as of a few months ago you weren't limited to Hyper-V and could run your virtual instances under VMWare if you wanted to. – Ward - Reinstate Monica Jun 18 '09 at 5:06
  • @Ward - is that the case on Enterprise as well? – Beep beep Jun 18 '09 at 5:11
  • @Ward - That is still the case <br> @LuckyLindy - The Enterprise license allows you to virtualize 4 instances as Graeme said, Standard covers just 1. – Sean Earp Jun 18 '09 at 5:17

I remember that you explicitly could not set up automatically-renewing domain certificates (for EFS and cert-signed email) on a 2003 Standard server, the features were NOT available unless you set up a 2003 Enterprise box to be your CA.

That's the only thing you may be missing that I can think of that hasn't already been mentioned.

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