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Upgrading from SQL Server Evaluation Edition

This article will provide you with a step-by-step set of instructions on how to upgrade a SQL Server 2012 or 2014 evaluation edition to an Enterprise edition. Similar steps can be used to upgrade to any other licensed editions, Developer, Standard or Enterprise.

Long story short, changing an edition from an evaluation version to another one does not require either building a new server or migrating to another server with the anticipated edition. As stated in an earlier article, the evaluation edition is a 180-day trial edition of Enterprise version and there can be some issues when changing the edition to a non-Enterprise edition due to incompatible features used. This article will assume that any features used in the sample SQL Server Evaluation edition are non-Enterprise only features.

My environment conditions

  1. A SQL Server 2012/2014 instance in Evaluation mode needs to be upgraded
  2. A license key or the ISO file of the SQL Server 2012/2014 installation that contains the license key for either a Developer/Standard/BI/Enterprise edition

Steps to resolve this issue for SQL Server 2012

In the sample below, the SQL Server instance is running on Evaluation mode, and it is to be upgraded to the BI edition. None of the Enterprise only features are installed.

1. Launch the SQL Server 2012 ISO

2. Choose Maintenance >>> Edition Upgrade


3. Click Next on Setup Support Rules (Extra Steps in 2012)


4. Follow the Upgrade the Edition for SQL Server 2012, which starts with Setup Support Rules


5. On the next screen, choose Enter the product key or type in the product key of the new license. Normally, this is prepopulated if the licensed ISO file is used


6. Accept the License Terms on the next screen

7. Select the instance that needs to be upgraded

8. The installation will then continue with running Edition Upgrade Rules. This is where feature compatibility is being checked

9. Click Upgrade on the next screen

10. Once the upgrade is successful, click Close

11. Verify that the existing SQL Server instance has been upgraded to the correct edition by checking via SQL Server Management Studio

Please note:
You will need to run this command to get the information mentioned above:

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY('productversion') AS VersionNumber,
SERVERPROPERTY ('productlevel') AS ProductLevel,
SERVERPROPERTY ('edition') AS Edition

 

Steps to resolve this issue for SQL Server 2014

Here is the same process for SQL Server 2014, which actually involved less steps than SQL Server 2012

1. Launch the SQL Server 2014 ISO

2. Choose Maintenance >>> Edition Upgrade


3. On the next screen, choose Enter the product key or type in the product key of the new license. Normally, this is prepopulated if the licensed ISO file is used


6. Accept the License Terms on the next screen.


7. Select the instance to be upgraded to the new edition.


8. The installation will then continue with running Feature Rules. This is where feature compatibility is being checked.

9. Click Upgrade on the next screen.


10. Once the upgrade is successful, click Close


11. Verify that the existing SQL Server instance has been upgraded to the correct edition by checking via SQL Server Management Studio


Please note:
You will need to run this command to get the information seen above:

SELECT SERVERPROPERTY(‘productversion’AS VersionNumber,

SERVERPROPERTY (‘productlevel’AS ProductLevel,

SERVERPROPERTY (‘edition’AS Edition

Conclusion

As you can tell, this process is pretty simple and allows you to do it on the fly without the need to do a re-installation or new server/instance build out. Well, I hope this article helps you in case you ever get stuck with this particular situation.

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