What database support is needed
I get this question a lot and I thought that it was a good one to address here in the blog.
If you look at the PowerPivot for SharePoint architecture, you know that we use several SQL Server 2008 R2 components within the architecture, but how about SharePoint itself . . . What RDBMS does PowerPivot with SharePoint 2010 use? and does it need to be R2?
The answer is that we use the farm’s regular SharePoint RDBMS database instance. We do NOT need SQL 2008 R2 relational engine support for the SharePoint farm. SharePoint 2010 requires 64-bit SQL Server 2005 SP3 or later (yes, 64-bit is required), see http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc262485(office.14).aspx for more details. And PowerPivot lives quite happily in that environment.