I have a customer who has an .Net application running on MS SQL Server 2008, supplied by our company as a part of Microsoft Small Business Server. He started off with around 5 users, and hence we had not sold any extra licenses. Today there are 40 users, and there's performance degradation. An MS Consultant said that to improve performance you need to buy extra licenses.

Is there a relationship. I am anyway planning to force the customer to buy extra licenses on legal grounds. But will there be any appreciable performance difference too?

  • 1
    Yeah. As Akedren says. I would suggest hiring a competent person to check the server. Likely - it is just overloaded or too small etc. - so a hardware upgrade is needed. MOST Likely the pathetic discs (SBS hints me to cheap hardware which has normally very slow disc setups compared to "real" database servers, so a SSD may be in order, but one needs to validate that).
    – TomTom
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 19:47

3 Answers 3


Adding more Licenses will not improve the performance of the server at all.

The licenses for SQL are not 'installed' nor is the server in actually aware of them, thus why the user is able to have a database with 35 unlicensed users.

See the SQL 2008 License Guide which could help.


The number of users licensed should have no bearing on performance. However, the version of MS SQL will matter. I'm guessing there was a communication breakdown with regards to user licenses vs server licenses. The lower end versions don't have slower performance per se but they do have arbitrary limits to things like database size and memory usage. If memory serves, the lower versions limit ram usage to 1 GB, that might be the wall you're hitting with your user base.

  • There is not a RAM limit on the express verson. There is only a 1 CPU limit, and in my experience its not much of a detrimental effect. You would need a VERY busy server to actually make multiproc necessary.
    – djangofan
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 23:52

For computers, never, ever, rely on any consultant. Most are incompetants, some are liars. Your can be both.

Adding more licences will never give more perfs.
If you have 40 users, the server may have more load than with only 5, no ? You have 8 times the load.

You have to dig to understand where is the bottleneck.
Mostly disk or memory. Rarely CPU, but this can happens.
So you have to look at the performances counter supplied with windows.

  • 10
    -1 for the first sentence. That's a pretty broad and bold statement there.
    – squillman
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 18:26
  • 3
    Terrible advice about consultants. Many of the top users on SF are consultants, for example. Just because your experience had been bad doesn't mean that it is normal.
    – MDMarra
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 18:52
  • 3
    Was this flame-bait to earn a Peer Pressure badge?
    – Zoredache
    Commented Apr 12, 2012 at 19:15

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