Determining what version of SQL Server is right for your firm

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Change to CS Support service hours

Our Support department is closed on Friday, April 28th for a company event. However, limited Accounting CS phone support is available on that date from 9 AM - 5 PM ET due to the approaching deadline for quarterly payroll tax forms.

Links to our most popular payroll tax processing topics are available in the Alerts and notices section on the right side of most pages.

Microsoft provides a variety of versions and editions of SQL Server to correspond with differing needs. While we find that SQL Server Express is sufficient for most firms, factors such as the number of concurrent users, the amount of data, any additional applications needed within your firm, and so forth, may require that you install and use an upgraded version of SQL Server.

Due to the complexity of setting up and maintaining a SQL Server environment, it is recommended that you consult with your firm's qualified IT professional or a SQL certified technician before you do so.

Cost and licensing

The Express edition of SQL Server is free and is included in the installation each of the CS Professional Suite applications that use SQL databases. However, the Express edition of SQL does have limitations (see SQL Server version comparisons table below). Many of these limitations are removed with the paid versions of SQL. These versions of SQL can vary in licensing options and pricing.

Accounting CS with Firm-Hosted Client Access requires Microsoft Volume Licensing that can be based on a "per server + Client Access License (CAL)" or "per core" basis.

All other CS Professional Suite applications do not require specific SQL Licensing and Support cannot advise on SQL Licensing. For more information, refer to Microsoft's SQL Server Pricing. External link

SQL Server version comparisons

Refer to the following tables for a comparison of the different versions and editions of SQL Server.

Feature Enterprise Business Intelligence Standard Express
Number of CPUs / computing capacity Operating system maximum Limited to the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores Limited to the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores Limited to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores
Maximum memory used Operating system maximum 128 GB 128 GB 1 GB
Maximum database size 524 PB 524 PB 524 PB 10 GB
Feature Enterprise Business Intelligence Standard Express
Number of CPUs / computing capacity Operating system maximum Limited to the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores Limited to the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores Limited to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores
Maximum memory used Operating system maximum 128 GB 128 GB 1 GB
Maximum database size 524 PB 524 PB 524 PB 10 GB
Feature Enterprise Business Intelligence Standard Express
Number of CPUs / computing capacity Operating system maximum Limited to the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores Limited to the lesser of 4 sockets or 16 cores Limited to the lesser of 1 socket or 4 cores
Maximum memory used Operating system maximum 64 GB 64 GB 1 GB
Maximum database size 524 PB 524 PB 524 PB 10 GB
Feature Enterprise Standard Workgroup Express
Number of CPUs 8 4 2 1
Maximum memory used 2 TB 64 GB 4 GB 1 GB
Maximum database size 524 PB 524 PB 524 PB 10 GB
Feature Enterprise Standard Workgroup Express
Number of CPUs 8 4 2 1
Maximum memory used 2 TB 64 GB 3 GB 1 GB
Maximum database size 524 PB 524 PB 524 PB 4 GB

For more information about the feature differences of SQL Server, refer to the following Microsoft articles

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Performance

Product-specific considerations

Accounting CS & Workpapers CS

While we find that SQL Express is suitable for Accounting CS and Workpapers CS, please keep in mind that the type of data typically stored in an engagement/workpapers environment causes databases to grow rather quickly and could result in a need for a full (paid) version of SQL Server.

Supported versions of SQL Server: 

Note: For performance reasons, SQL Server Express is not recommended for Accounting CS with Firm-Hosted Client Access.

Practice CS

The average database size for Practice CS ranges from 100MB to 2GB, though in isolated instances, firms have had larger databases. In most cases, as long as best practices are being followed to ensure optimal performance, SQL Express will be sufficient to use with Practice CS.

Supported versions of SQL Server: 

FileCabinet CS

Although the database limit for MS SQL Server Express is 10GB, FileCabinet CS is structured such that up to 100GB of data can be supported with the Express edition. For information on how the data in FileCabinet CS is structured, see FileCabinet CS: Data File Format Alternatives (Standard vs. SQL).

Supported versions of SQL Server: 

Related topic

SQL Server best practices for CS Professional Suite applications

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