Performance Issue with ACT, should we upgrade to ACT 2011 Premium for better performance ?

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I was being contacted by one of my customer, who is currently having some performance issues with ACT 2007 application which was installed MS SQL Server 2005 Express.

At backend, SQL Server Express was hosted on a Windows Server 2003 STD R2a 32-bit on a dual core Intel Xeon system with 4G RAM.

Client wanted to upgrade to SQL Server 2008 thinking hardware is issue and planned to buy a Windows Server 2008 32 bit which supports 32 GB of RAM. Prior to finalize these orders, my Client contact me and to answer some basic question.

Question:  Can we install more then the 4G currently used in the Server 2003 32-bit system?

Answer: No, you can use more than 4 GB of RAM on Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 2 (SP2), Standard Edition.

Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition can not use more than 4GB of RAM on 32 bit (X86) based system. But on 64 bit system, Windows Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition can use upto 32 GB of RAM.

Windows Server 2008 R2 Standard edition supports upto 32 GB of RAM

Question: Is the 2005 SQL server Express configurable with the /PAE /3G boot.ini switches?

Answer: Using /PAE /3G boot.ini switches will not help as SQL Server Express to use more RAM. SQL Server 2005 Express edition can not use more than 1 GB of RAM.

Detailed Description:

By default on a 32 bit platform, no single application can use more than 2 GB of RAM. If a user wanted to change this configuration so that any application (SQL Server / Microsoft Exchange Server etc.) should use more than 2 GB of RAM then user have an option to use /PAE /3G in boot.ini switches to tell OS that any application can use beyond 2 GB of RAM but provided application can use that much of RAM.

In your case you are currently using SQL Server 2005 Express Edition, which has the following restrictions

  • CPU 1 CPU
  • RAM Maximum 1 GB
  • Database Size Maximum 4 GB

Question: Can I install SQL Server 2005 Express Edition on 64 bit system?

Answer: Yes, you can install SQL Server 2005 Express Edition on X64 based windows system.

Detailed Description.

SQL Server Express will support Windows on Windows (WOW) on x64 platforms. WOW essentially means running a 32-bit Express on 64-bit machines. SQL Server Express will not install on IA64 machines.

SQL Server Express is supported on x64 and EMT64 systems in Windows On Windows (WOW) but SQL Server Express id not supported on IA64 systems

But there will not be any performance benefit on running SQL Server 2005 Express Edition on Window 64 bit as hardware limit of 1 CPU, 1 GB RAM and Database Size 4 GB will be still applicable.

Question: Whether to go to 64bit Server 2008 or stay with 32-bit Server 2008?

Answer: Looking at Microsoft strategy, Microsoft is focusing on 64 bit application down the line so if you are planning for a solution beyond 5 years, please plan for 64 bit else you can still host your application on 32 bit, if application up gradation cost is crossing your budget.

Microsoft has ended Mainstream Support for Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2 on July 13, 2010 but Microsoft if going to provide Extended support till July 14, 2015 and currently there is no planned date for Windows Server 2008.

When I called my customer, to know, why you want to upgrade, what is the current bottleneck? is that SQL Server Performence or is that application / Windows support issues ? Please state me, what is the primary objective for this upgrade, solution will be based on that requirement only. Looking at your last Email , I am assuming that, SQL Server Performance is the bottleneck area, than look for upgrading a SQL Server than other options.

NOTE : Currently your SQL Server is only using 1 GB of RAM out of 4GB on Installed memory. There will not be any use of keep adding memory on windows box as SQL Server Express edition will not use more than of 1 GB of RAM. Now the question arises,

Question : How can Increase RAM for SQL Server Performance?

Answer: If you are looking increased memory should be used by SQL Server than think for upgrading SQL Server version than upgrading other components. Here is brief costing and resource limitation for SQL Server Editions.

Deciding Factor Express Edition Work Group Web Edition Standard Edition
Cost FREE Per Processor: $3,743.00
Server w/5 CALs: $730.00
Add’l CAL: $148.00
Per Processor: $3,500.00 Per Processor: $7,171.00
Server: $898.00
CAL: $164.00
CPU Limit 1 2 4 4
Maximum Memory Limit 1 GB 4 GB 64 GB 64 GB
Maximum Database Size 10 GB 524 PB 524 PB 524 PB

*** These are retail pricing, contact Microsoft for actual pricing.

EOF - Performance Issue with ACT, should we upgrade to ACT 2011 Premium for better performance ?, SQL Server 2012 , 2008 R2 , 2008 , 2005 , 2000

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