Which MS SQL versions should you use with ACT! 2010 (#ACT2010)

There have been some changes to the supported SQL versions with ACT! 2010 and some users may need to look at which version to use in order to maximise the performance or scalability of ACT!

The standard ACT! by Sage 2010 only supports SQL 2005 Express as per: ACT! 2010 System Requirements

The Premium and Corporate versions support SQL 2005 Standard and now even MS SQL 2008. For a full list of supported versions, see:

While ACT! is only shipped with MS SQL 2005 Express, you can set the Premium version up with SQL 2008 Express (x32 or x64)’ and the Corporate versions with those and also SQL 2005/2008 Standard (x32 or x64)

Note: You must purchase SQL CALs for Standard separately from Microsoft

But, should you change the version of SQL and, if you chose to, how do you do it? To make this decision, you should have a look at these:

From these, you will note that the advantages of Standard over Express are:

  • Express is limited to a 4GB database size – There are very few users that will reach this limit. It’s only the ACT! ADF that’s limited, it doesn’t include attachments
  • Express is limited to 1 CPU and 1GB RAM – If your server machine doesn’t have multiple processors and 3GB (or more) RAM, you will not see a benefit to ACT! in using the Standard version. But, on a machine suitably configured, there will be a performance advantage in using Standard.
  • Changing to Standard on a suitable server should definitely be considered for 25 or more users.

Here are some useful ACT! Knowledge Base articles on installing ACT! with different editions of SQL:

There are a couple of additional points to note:

  • While having Standard (2005 or 2008) on the server and Express on the workstations is ok. If you upgrade to SQL 2008, you must also upgrade all systems sharing the database via Sync to 2008
  • You can upgrade the SQL 2005 instance of ACT7 to SQL 2008, you can’t upgrade to the x64 versions. You would need to uninstall the ACT7 instance and manually create one using the x64 edition of SQL.
  • While I have not tested these personally, I have been told by Sage that there is no noticeable advantage to ACT! in using SQL 2008 or the x64 versions. So the only reason to implement these would be to comply with a current infrastructure where these are already implemented.
  • While the Enterprise editions are not officially QA tested or supported, I have heard from a number of users that these work with the Premium and Corporate versions of ACT! as per the SQL Standard editions with the additional performance levels they provide. The same applies to using SQL 2008 Express with the standard version of ACT! by Sage – not supported, but should work if required.