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SQL Express Database Development

For many years a major argument against utilizing Microsoft SQL in small to medium sized businesses has been concerns regarding the initial investment. Microsoft SQL is a rather expensive piece of software and in many instances the desire to save money by going with a free open source alternative such as MySQL has won out.

In an effort to compete, SQL Server Express (a free Microsoft product) was developed as a no cost database alternative. Originally stemming out of the need to find a replacement for Microsoft Access that could support large datasets, SQL Express was file system based and was definitely a product with limitations. As MySQL has gained market share though Microsoft has been forced to expand the features of SQL Server Express in order to stay competitive.

Many organizations are unaware of recent developments but the latest version of SQL Server Express (r2) is very compelling. Instead of being a file system based product it is now a full blow database server utilizing the same SQL engine as Microsoft's Enterprise versions and supporting almost all the same features. For the majority of users the limitations are hardly noticeable and include:

  • 10 gig limit on database size
  • Ability to utilize only a single processor
  • No support for maintenance plans (these can however easily be scripted as scheduled tasks) 

SQL Server Express is completely interoperable with other versions of Microsoft SQL Server allowing easy upgrades in the future. Because the feature sets between editions are no so similar we have yet to run into any issues moving database backups between Microsoft SQL editions. SQL Server Express coupled with low cost Microsoft Server options like Server 2008 Web Server Edition can allow companies to get up and running utilizing Microsoft server technology for much less than most people would think.

To download SQL Express 2008 r2 visit Microsoft’s download page: http://www.microsoft.com/express/database/




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