Thursday, June 24, 2010

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) - Benefits And Tutorials

Window WorkFlow foundation (WF) has changed the way we code and manage our applications. It has revolutionized the concept of coding in which one can see the processes and logics involved. In this post I am going to discuss about Window WorkFlow Foundation and its benefits.


Everybody who writes code wants to build great software. If that software is a server application, part of being great is scaling well, handling large loads without consuming  too many resources.  A great  application should  also  be  as easy as possible  to  understand, both for its creators and for the people who maintain it.  Achieving both of these goals isn’t easy. Approaches that help applications scale tend to break them apart, dividing their logic into  separate  chunks  that can be hard to understand. Yet writing unified logic that lives in a single executable can make scaling the application all but impossible. What’s needed is a way to keep the application’s logic unified, making it more understandable, while still letting the application scale.

Achieving this is a primary goal of Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). By supporting logic  created using  workflows, WF provides a foundation for creating unified  and scalable applications.  Along with this,  WF can also simplify other development challenges, such as coordinating parallel work, tracking a program’s execution, and more.

WF was first released with the .NET Framework 3.0 in 2006, then updated in the .NET Framework 3.5.  These first two versions  were useful,  especially for independent software vendors (ISVs),  but  they haven’t become  mainstream  technologies  for enterprise developers. With the version of WF that’s part of the .NET Framework 4, its creators aim to change this. A major  goal of this latest release is to make WF a standard part of the programming toolkit for all .NET developers. Like any technology, applying WF requires understanding what it is, why it’s useful, and when it makes sense to use it. The goal of this overview is to make these things clear. You won’t learn how to write WF applications, but you will get a look at what WF offers, why it is the way it is, and how it can improve a developer’s life. In other words, you’ll begin to understand the workflow way.

A workflow based program is like traditional programs that allow you to coordinate work and perform operations but has some important differences:

  • Workflows use a declarative model (see Declarative programming) of writing programs by linking together pre-defined activities rather than an imperative programming model of writing each line of code
  • Workflows can handle long-running work by persisting themselves to a durable store, such as a database, when idle and loading again once there is work to be performed
  • Workflows can be modified dynamically while running when new conditions require a workflow to behave differently than when it was created
  • Workflows provide a distinct separation of business rules and host application code making it easier to modify the business rules
  • Workflows support sequential workflows for systems with sequential logic and state machine workflows for systems with event-based logic
  • Workflows usually have a visual counterpart that allows a flowchart-like description of their logic

Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) provides the declarative framework for building application and service logic and gives developers a higher level language for handling asynchronous, parallel tasks and other complex processing. WF is a set of tools for declaring your workflow (your business logic), activities to help define the logic and control flow, and a runtime for executing the resulting application definition.  In short, WF is about using a higher level language for writing applications, with the goal of making developers more productive, applications easier to manage, and change quicker to implement.  The WF runtime not only executes your workflows for you, it also provides services and features important when writing application logic such persistence of state, bookmarking and resumption of business logic, all of which lead to thread and process agility enabling scale up and scale out of business processes.

A Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) approach to workflow communication was added in .NET Framework 3.5. This functionality comes in the form of two activities, SendActivity and ReceiveActivity, which send and receive WCF messages respectively. Workflows which include a ReceiveActivity expose a selected interface method as a WCF service. This could allow external code to, for example, make a Web Services call to a running workflow instance. The WF Runtime provides infrastructure to ensure that if a WCF call is made to a workflow instance that is in a persisted state (i.e. waiting for some external event like a WCF call or a timer event), then the instance will be reloaded into memory so that the message can be delivered to the workflow instance. Workflows which include a SendActivity are able to call external services via WCF.

Tutorial Videos

A good video explaining the use of WF and its benefits is as follows:

A good video showing how to create a WF project is as follows:

Further Readings

For further reading refer to MSDN article.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

New Features in BizTalk Server 2010

New Features in BizTalk Server 2010
For more on this refer this msdn article and  What's New in BizTalk Server 2010 article on MSDN. The following points are picked up from these articles. Kindly refer them for more details.

With the release of BizTalk Server 2006, the fourth generation of the Microsoft business process integration server, customers gained the benefits of integration with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 and 64-bit support. BizTalk Server 2006 also enhanced the existing administration functionality, introduced new capabilities for business activity monitoring (BAM), and enhanced the core messaging engine. BizTalk Serveris built on the core architecture of BizTalk Server 2006 and made strides in all dimensions of application-to-application, business-to-business, and business-process automation.
BizTalk Server 2010 further enhances the user experience and introduces features that enable BizTalk Server customers to better manage and represent their businesses in a BizTalk Server setup. This release of BizTalk Server also provides key usability enhancements for BizTalk Server administrators and developers. This topic describes the new and enhanced features available with BizTalk Server 2010 .

BizTalk Server Settings Dashboard

The BizTalk Settings Dashboard in BizTalk Server 2010 collates all the performance settings and provides a central console to manage them. For more information about how to use Settings Dashboard for performance optimization, see Managing BizTalk Server Performance Settings.

Improved Management Pack

System Center Operations Manager (SCOM) provides capabilities that can improve the manageability of Microsoft products through centralized and proactive availability and health monitoring. The BizTalk Server Management Pack for Operations Manager provides comprehensive discovery and monitoring of BizTalk Server components and applications. With BizTalk Server 2010 , the following enhancements are introduced in BizTalk Server management pack:
  • Separate views for enterprise IT administrators and BizTalk administrators. There are two different personas that need to monitor a BizTalk Server environment, the enterprise IT administrator and the BizTalk Server administrator.

    • An enterprise IT administrator is interested in monitoring the state and health of the various enterprise deployments the machines hosting the SQL Server databases, machines hosting the ENTSSO service, host instance machines, IIS, network services, etc. In general, an enterprise administrator is interested in the overall health of the “physical deployment” of a BizTalk Server setup.
    • BizTalk administrator is interested in monitoring the state and health of various BizTalk Server artifacts and applications such as orchestrations, send ports, receive locations, etc. In general, a BizTalk administrator is interested in monitoring and tracking BizTalk Server health and if corrective measures are required to ensure that the applications are running as expected.
    The BizTalk Server 2010 management pack now provides two separate views to cater to both these personas.
  • Optimized discovery of artifacts across multiple machines. In a typical BizTalk Server setup, a BizTalk group contains multiple runtime machines. When such an environment is monitored using SCOM, monitoring agents running on the machines discover the same set of artifacts from the configuration database which results in duplicate artifacts getting displayed on the SCOM console. With BizTalk Server 2010 management pack, the monitoring agents discover the artifacts from a single machine.
  • Optimized discovery of relationships between artifacts. With BizTalk Server 2010 , the management pack optimizes the discovery of relationships between different BizTalk Server artifacts by properly sequencing the discovery of the artifacts before the discovery of relationships. For example, to establish the relationship between a receive port and a receive location, the management pack must first discover the receive port and receive location and then discover the relationship between them. In previous releases of the BizTalk Server pack, the ordering of discoveries was not proper.
  • Visual representation of health status. The SCOM implements color schemes to visually represent the health status of all BizTalk Server related artifacts. For example, the platform-level artifacts such as host instances can either be in a running or stopped state. This is represented with colors green and red respectively. Similarly, BizTalk application level artifacts can be categorized into three buckets: green, yellow, and red. If all instances of an orchestration are running and it is in a perfect running state, the health status is represented in green. If less than 70% of the orchestration instances are faulted, the health status is represented in yellow. If more than 70% of the orchestration instances are faulted or in case of critical errors, the health status is represented in red.

    The BizTalk Server 2010 management pack changes the parameters that are used for monitoring the health of a BizTalk Server deployment. While in the previous management packs only the configuration state (e.g. orchestration state) was considered for health monitoring, in BizTalk Server 2010 management pack the runtime state (e.g. the number of suspended instances) is also used to monitor the health status. For example, the visual representation of a send port may change to yellow or red not only if the send port is not properly configured but also if there are some suspended instances of the artifact.
  • Diagnostic support. In addition to exposing the artifacts with errors, the BizTalk Server 2010 management pack provides diagnostic support by including basic information about the error. For example, if a send port turns yellow from green, diagnostics is automatically run and the user can troubleshoot the reason for this change in the State Change Events tab of the Health Explorer.
  • Other performance enhancements. With the previous releases of management pack, when an artifact is monitored, even the smallest change to the artifact is written to the SCOM database. To avoid frequent calls to the database and to improve system performance, the BizTalk Server 2010 management pack highlights issue and changes to properties that require attention of an IT administrator and are less likely to be modified very frequently. The BizTalk Server 2010 management pack also fixes performance issues related to high resource utilization if the discovery intervals are set too low.
Where do I start? To start using the BizTalk Server 2010 management pack you must first install System Center Operations Manager and then download and install the management pack for BizTalk Server 2010 .

FTP Adapter Enhancements

The BizTalk FTP adapter exchanges data between BizTalk Server and an FTP server and enables integration of data stored on varied platforms with different line-of-business applications. With BizTalk Server 2010 , the FTP adapter is enhanced to provide the following feature additions:
  • Support for transferring data to and from a secure FTP server. The FTP adapter in BizTalk Server 2010 supports reading and writing data from a secure FTP server. The adapter provides support for file transfer from an FTP server over Secure Socket Layer (SSL)/Transport Level Security (TLS).
  • Support for downloading file from locations marked as read-only. In the FTP adapter available with the previous releases of BizTalk Server, the adapter deletes the file after downloading so that it does not download the file again in the next polling cycle. Due to this design, the adapter was limited to download files only from FTP locations that provide write access. With BizTalk Server 2010 , the FTP adapter is enhanced to support downloading of files from read-only locations as well.
  • Support for atomic file transfer in ASCII mode. The FTP adapter available with the previous releases of BizTalk Server provides atomic file transfer only for binary mode. With BizTalk Server 2010 , the FTP adapter is enhanced to support atomic file transfer for ASCII mode as well.
Where do I start? All the FTP adapter enhancements mentioned in this section are configured using adapter properties. So, to use these new features you must set the relevant binding properties while configuring the FTP adapter send port or receive location. For information on the FTP adapter features in BizTalk Server 2010 , see Enhancements to the FTP Adapter in BizTalk Server 2010. For instructions on how to configure the FTP adapter, see Configuring the FTP Adapter.

Enhanced Trading Partner Management

For more information about the enhancements to the Trading Partner Management feature in BizTalk Server 2010 , see Building Blocks of a Trading Partner Management Solution.

Enhanced support for HIPAA documents

For more information about the enhanced HIPAA support in BizTalk Server 2010 , see HIPAA Document Schema Version 5010.

Enhanced BizTalk Mapper

For more information about the enhancements to the BizTalk mapper feature in BizTalk Server 2010 , seeEnhancements to BizTalk Mapper.

Support for .NET Framework 4

For more information about how BizTalk Server 2010 supports .NET Framework 4 , see Updated .NET Framework Support.

Customer Experience Improvement Program in BizTalk Server

Microsoft introduces the Customer Experience Improvement Program in BizTalk Server 2010 . As part of this support in Beta, you are automatically opted-in to provide useful feedback to Microsoft regarding your usage of BizTalk Server. The data collected from you is anonymous and cannot be used to identify you. Microsoft collects feature usage statistics as part of this program.
By participating in this program, you can help improve the reliability and performance of various features of BizTalk Server. Post BizTalk Server 2010 Beta, you may also choose to opt out of this program. For more information about this program and its privacy policy, see Microsoft BizTalk Server CEIP Privacy Policy (

Updated Platform Support

BizTalk Server 2010 includes support for the following software versions:
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows Server 2008 SP2
  • Windows 7
  • Windows Vista SP2
  • SQL Server 2008 SP1
  • SQL Server 2008 R2
  • Visual Studio 2010
  • Microsoft Office 2007
  • Microsoft Office 2010
BizTalk Server 2010 also supports upgrade from BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and BizTalk Server 2009. For more information, see http ://

Updated .NET Framework Support
BizTalk Server 2010 supports building new applications only on .NET Framework version 4 . You can build both BizTalk applications as well as custom applications (such as custom functoids, custom pipeline components) using .NET Framework 4 . However, BizTalk Server 2010 continues to support the BizTalk Server 2006 R2 and BizTalk Server 2009 applications (BizTalk applications and custom applications) built on .NET Framework 3.5 SP2.
BizTalk Server 2010 supports both .NET Framework 3.5 SP2 and .NET Framework 4 only for Beta.
With support for .NET Framework 4 and improved integration with Visual Studio 2010, developers can now take advantage of BizTalk artifact property pages being integrated into Project Designer tabs, as well as migration with the Visual Studio Project Update Wizard.

Migrates the Existing Projects to BizTalk Server 2010

If you launch an existing BizTalk project in BizTalk Server 2010 , it automatically gets migrated, changing the .NET Framework version to 4.0. You cannot modify the .NET version number later in the Propertiesdialog box of the BizTalk project.
When you attempt to open any of the existing BizTalk Server 2006 R2 or BizTalk Server 2009 projects in BizTalk Server 2010 , the following warning message is displayed. Click OK to proceed with migration.
Warning message for migration
Also, you can silently migrate the existing BizTalk Server 2006 R2 or BizTalk Server 2009 projects to BizTalk Server 2010 using the Visual Studio 2010 command prompt.
To migrate the existing projects silently:
  1. Open the Visual Studio command prompt
  2. Type the following command and press ENTER.

    Devenv  /upgrade
    The command launches the existing BizTalk project and migrates it to BizTalk Server 2010 .
In .NET Framework 4 , you can reuse the application DLLs which have been built for .NET Framework 3.5 SP2. You need not modify the DLLs and rebuild them for .NET Framework 4 . When you migrate BizTalk applications from BizTalk Server 2006 R2 or BizTalk Server 2009 to BizTalk Server 2010 , the application DLLs, such as schema DLLs and orchestration DLLs, automatically get upgraded for .NET Framework 4 at runtime.

Launches MMC from All Programs Only

In BizTalk Server 2010 , you can launch the BizTalk Server Administration Console only from Start > All Programs > BizTalk Server 2010 > BizTalk Server Administration.
In BizTalk Server 2006 R2 or BizTalk Server 2009, you could launch BizTalk Server Administration Console also from <drive>:\Program Files\BizTalk Server \btsmmc.msc. This is not available in BizTalk Server 2010 any more.

No Access to BAM Interceptors

In BizTalk Server 2010 , the Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) interceptor will not work with the new WF engine in .NET Framework 4 . The WF interceptor will continue to work in .NET Framework 3.5 SP2.
The Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) interceptor works with the new WF engine in .NET Framework 4 .
For conceptual information about BAM WF and WCF, see What Are the BAM WCF and WF Interceptors?

Deprecated Features, Tools, and APIs
The following features are deprecated in BizTalk Server 2010 . Deprecated features should not be used in new applications. For a list of changed features and tools, see Changed Features and Tools.


EDI PipelineSome EDI pipeline properties are fully supported with no feature enhancements in BizTalk Server 2010 but are planned for removal in future versions. The properties are now available as part of the Trading Partner Management user interface in the BizTalk Server Administration console.
EDI Context PropertiesThe following EDI context properties are deprecated in BizTalk Server 2010 .
  • DestinationPartyID
  • DestinationPartyName
SOAP AdapterThe SOAP adapter is deprecated in BizTalk Server 2010 . You should use the WCF-BasicHttp to communicate with Web services and clients that conform to the WS-I Basic Profile 1.1. To communicate with Web services and clients that conform to WS-*, use the WCF-WSHttp adapter.


BizTalk Web Services Publishing WizardThe BizTalk Web Services Publishing Wizard, a graphical user interface for communicating with or exposing BizTalk process as Web service, is deprecated. In BizTalk Server 2010 , you should instead use the BizTalk WCF Publishing Wizard with the WCF-BasicHttp and WCF-WSHttp adapters to provide Web Services communications.

Changed Features and Tools
[This is prerelease documentation and is subject to change in future releases. Blank topics are included as placeholders.]
This topic describes features and tools that were available in BizTalk Server 2009, but are replaced by new features in BizTalk Server 2010 .


BizTalk ExplorerThe BizTalk Explorer view in Visual Studio is removed in BizTalk Server 2010 . You should use the BizTalk Server Administration Console instead.
SQL AdapterThe SQL Adapter is removed in BizTalk Server 2010 . Consider using the Microsoft BizTalk Adapter for SQL Server provided in the Microsoft BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0.


Add Web ReferenceThe option to use Add Web Reference to consume a Web service within a BizTalk project is removed. In BizTalk Server 2010 , you should use the Consume WCF Service Wizard to consume a Web service from a BizTalk project.

What's new in Biz Talk Server 2009

Ever since the launch of Biz Talk Server 2009 there has been some confusion over the features and functionalities that were in Biz Talk Server 2006 and those that are in Biz talk server 2009. Here I am going to touch upon some important points which would make clear that what all has changed or have been upgraded.

The following component/feature has been deprecated and no longer available in Biz Talk Server 2009:

  • BizTalk Deployment Command Line Tool
  • HWS Design Tools
  • Human Workflow Services Runtime Components
  • Human Workflow Services Base Assemblies
  • Human Workflow Service Administration Tools
  • BAS Schema Editor Extension
  • BizTalk Message Queuing
  • Deployment Wizard
  • Health and activity monitoring tool (Moved to BTS Admin Console)

Also the following features/Components has been deprecated:
  • VS ExplorerUI (BizTalk Explorer)
  • Web Services Publishing wizard (ASMX)
  • Line of Business Adapters for SAP/Oracle DB/Siebel
  • The old SQL Server Adapter
  • Base EDI Adapter(exists as Standard EDI Adapter)
  • BTS Accelerator for HIPAA (exists as EDI feature)
  • Web Services Enhancements adapter WSE (Replaced by WCF)
  • MSMQt Adapter (newMSMQ adapter)BTSDeploy.exe Utility (replaced by BTSTask.exe)

From now on there is support for Windows 7 and windows 2008 r2, also support for Visual Studio 2010 as expected, from the previous release a platform shift is required.

The BizTalk Administration console has gone for a few enhancements, making it easier to use particularly in live production environments, where lots of things might be happening at once, adding to the cool things in 2009, when HAT went away and tracking was available from the administration console.

The BizTalk mapper has had a few enhancements, things you would have thought should have been there long ago, and there are still many improvements here that never made it out of the product group that would make life much nicer.

FTP you say, we have been asking for SFTP for a long time, I hear whispers that it might be in this release… along with a whole bunch of new FTP features, keep your mouth open for this one, it looks good to me.

There are some new features introduced, and some enhancements to existing features, not as many as I would have liked… These lie round EDI, there is a focus on making this better in each release as we saw in 2009. EDI is not dead, just as Cobol is not dead.

There are plans to deprecate some features, why you would want to do this? However there are plans, not major or drastic, and you will have to wait and see all of them.

The SOAP Adapter is on the cards for removal, replaced by the WCF-BasicHttp, there is some contention amongst the industry as this adapter still provides some features not found in WCF.

SQL Adapter, this has been coming for some time and nothing thats not expected with most adapters, the old SQL Adapter may go and be replaced by a WCF SQL Adapter.

New Web Services Registry UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, Integration) includes a UDDI 3.0 registry which provides support for registry affiliation, extended discovery services, digital certificates and extensibility for a subscription API.

New Messaging Changes

Recoverable interchange (XMLValidator, map – SuspendMessageOnMappingFailure property)
Choose the transaction isolation level in the WCF-Custom Send Adapter

Support for .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and Visual Studio 2008 SP1

Support for Windows Server 2008 , and for sure support for the Hyper-V virtualization that provide the meaning of reducing the costs through lower hardware, energy, and management overhead, plus providing a dynamic IT infrastructure.

Improved Failover Clustering, By taking advantage of Windows 2008 clustering, BizTalk Server is now able to be deployed in multi-site cluster scenarios, where cluster nodes could reside on separate IP subnets and avoid complicated VLANs.

Support for SQL 2008 has also been included in Biz Talk Server 2009.

New Adapters have been introduced:
  • Oracle E-Business Suites
  • SQL Server (much improved over the existing SQL adapter)
Host Integration Server 2009 & BizTalk Adapters for Host Systems (BAHS) 2.0

New WCF WebSphere MQ channel to integrate directly with WebSphere MQ.
New WCF Service for Host Applications has been added to expose the traditional Transaction Integrator to .NET Framework developers.
Support for the most recent versions of CICS, IMS, CICS HTTP transport, DB2, DB2/400, DB2 Universal Database, and WebSphere MQ.

Support for Team Foundation Server (TFS), now the development teams can automate builds, bug tracking, Project Server integration, source control and team development support

Standard used for creating Web service registries.

Provide new ESB Guidance plugins inside Visual Studio 2008, ESB Guidance 2.0 that is used for applying ESB usage patterns, improved itinerary processing, itinerary modeling using a visual Domain Specific Language (DSL) tools approach also it comes with enhanced ESB management portal.

BizTalk 2009 has the same failover clustering capabilities as Windows Server 2008 for greater reliability

Enhanced Business Activity Monitoring , the combination of BizTalk 2009 and SQL 2008 provide support for UDM cubes and scalable real-time aggregations which enhances support for Microsoft PerformancePoint Server 2007

Connectivity with intelligent RFID devices:

  • Support for RFID 1.1
  • BizTalk RFID extended to Mobile Devices
  • Support for key industry standards
  • Enables using new readers with LLRP (Low Level Reader Protocol)
  • Machine readable tag data standards (TDT for EPC)
  • Web Services for device management and Discovery, Configuration, Initialization (DCI)
  • WS Discovery and partial EPCIS support

Enhanced support for EDI and AS2

BizTalk Server 2009 is the sixth formal release of the BizTalk Server product. This upcoming release has a heavy focus on platform modernization through new support for Windows Server 2008, Visual Studio.NET 2008, SQL Server 2008, and the .NET Framework 3.5. This will surely help developers who have already moved to these platforms in their day-to-day activities but have been forced to maintain separate environments solely for BizTalk development efforts.

The new WCF Sql Adapter

The BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0 now contains five system and data adapters including SAP, Siebel, Oracle databases, Oracle applications, and SQL Server. What are these adapters and how are they different than the adapters available for previous version of BizTalk?
Up until recently, BizTalk adapters were built using a commonly defined BizTalk Adapter Framework. This framework prescribed interfaces and APIs for adapter developers in order to elicit a common look and feel for the users of the adapters. Moving forward, adapter developers are encouraged by Microsoft to use the new WCF LOB Adapter SDK. As you can guess from the name, this new adapter framework, which can be considered an evolution of the BizTalk Adapter Framework, is based on WCF technologies.
All of the adapters in the BizTalk Adapter Pack 2.0 are built upon the WCF LOB Adapter SDK. What this means is that all of the adapters are built as reusable, metadata-rich components that are surfaced to users as WCF bindings. So much like you have a wsHttp or netTcp binding, now you have a sqlBinding orsapBinding. As you would expect from a WCF binding, there is a rich set of configuration attributes for these adapters and they are no longer tightly coupled to BizTalk itself. Microsoft has made connection a commodity, and no longer do organizations have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to connect to line of business systems like SAP through expensive, BizTalk-only adapters.
This latest version of the BizTalk Adapter Pack now includes a SQL Server adapter, which replaces the legacy BizTalk-only SQL Server adapter. What do we get from this SQL Server adapter that makes it so much better than the old one?
Classic SQL Adapter
WCF SQL Adapter
Execute create-read-update-delete statements on tables and views; execute stored procedures and generic T-SQL statements
Partial (send operations only support stored procedures and updategrams)
Database polling via FOR XML
Database polling via  traditional tabular results
Proactive database push via SQL Query Notification
Expansive adapter configuration which impacts connection management and transaction behavior
Support for composite transactions which allow aggregation of operations across tables or procedures into a single atomic transaction
Rich metadata browsing and retrieval for finding and selecting database operations
Support for the latest data types (e.g. XML) and SQL Server 2008 platform
Reusable outside of BizTalk applications by WCF or basic HTTP clients
Adapter extension and configuration through out of the box WCF components or custom WCF behaviors
Dynamic WSDL generation which always reflects current state of the system instead of fixed contract which always requires explicit updates

Video Tutorial

A good video tutorial that describes the changes is as follows :

Further Readings

For further readings refer to the links below:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

SQL Server 2008: Editions

Note that SQL Server 2008 has been replaced by SQL Server 2008 R2, which has different editions and price points. For more information, see SQL Server 2008 R2 Editions

SQL Server 2008 is the latest release in Microsoft's enterprise relational database platform series. In this substantial upgrade, they've packed the new database engine full of new features, but fortunately it doesn't pack any additional punch in your wallet: SQL Server 2008 is available at the same price points used by SQL Server 2005.

Let's take a look at the seven different editions of SQL Server 2008 that you can use:
  • SQL Server 2008 Express Edition replaces the Microsoft Data Engine (MSDE) as the free version of SQL Server for application development and lightweight use. It remains free and retains the limitations of MSDE with respect to client connections and performance. It's a great tool for developing and testing applications and extremely small implementations, but that's about as far as you can run with it.
  • SQL Server 2008 Workgroup is billed as a "small business SQL Server" and it offers an impressive array of functionality for a $3,899 price tag per processor. (It's also available under a 5-user license for $739). Workgroup edition maxes out at 2 CPUs with 3GB of RAM and allows for most of the functionality you'd expect from a server-based relational database. It offers limitedreplication capabilities as well.
  • The workhorse SQL Server 2008 Standard Edition remains the staple of the product line for serious database applications. It can handle up to 4 CPUs with an unlimited amount of RAM. Standard Edition 2005 introduces database mirroring and integration services. It's priced at $5,999 for a processor or $1,849 for 5 users.
  • The big kid on the block is SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition. With the release of 2005, Enterprise Edition allows unlimited scalability and partitioning. It's truly an enterprise-class database and it's hefty price tag ($24,999 per processor or $13,969 for 25 users) reflects its value.
  • Developers needing the full features of SQL Server 2008 Enterprise Edition for use in a non-production environment may find SQL Server 2008 Developer Edition the right tool for the job. This product has the exact same functionality as Enterprise Edition and only differs in the license. (Oh, and by the way, it's $24,949 cheaper at only $50 per license!) Microsoft also offers a direct upgrade path to convert Developer servers to production licensing
  • SQL Server 2008 Web is a specialized version of SQL Server for use in web hosting environments. Like Standard edition, it has no limitations on the amount of memory used and supports the use of up to 4 CPUs. Pricing for web edition runs $15 per processor per month.
  • SQL Server 2008 Compact is a free version of SQL Server for use in embedded environments, such as mobile devices and other Windows systems.
That sums up the licensing options available for SQL Server 2008. As you've discovered, Microsoft offers a wide variety of licenses and choosing the correct one for your environment can save you thousands of dollars.

For more details refer Microsoft Sqlserver article. Some points from this article are as follows:

Choose the Right Edition for Your Needs

Business today demands a different kind of data management solution—one that offers excellent performance, scalability, and reliability, but is also easy to use and maintain. SQL Server 2008 delivers on this by providing a Trusted, Productive and Intelligent Data Platform that can solve your data management needs.
SQL Server 2008 is available in many editions to help meet the needs of your organization.
Core EditionsSpecialized EditionsFree Editions
EnterpriseStandardWorkgroupWebDeveloperExpressCompact 3.5
Target ScenariosEnterprise workloads that need redundancy and built-in Business IntelligenceShared data scenarios in departments and small to large businessesRemote offices that need local instances of company dataFor web application hostingFull featured edition for development and testing onlyEntry level database, ideal for learning and ISV redistributionEmbedded database for developing desktop and mobile applications
CPU8 CPU4 CPU2 CPU4 CPUOS Maximum1 CPUOS Maximum
Memory2 TB Ram64 GB Ram4 GBOS MaximumOS Maximum1 GBOS Maximum
DB Size524PB524TB524TB524TB524TB10 GB4 GB


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