SQL Server Express: overview and features of SQL Server Express

Each of Microsoft SQL Server products released over time comes in several versions and is directed for different user populations. However, what they have in common is that each new release of SQL Server always contains a version named SQL Server Express. In the 2014 version it is a free product that allows users to download and become familiar with the capabilities of the SQL Server. The SQL Server Express versions do not incorporate the full capabilities of the other commercial versions but do content the main features available for that particular release.

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The SQL Server Express product has been available since the release of the server 2000. This particular variant of the SQL Server was specifically addressed to embedded and small scale applications acquired the brand ”Express” since its release with the sql server 2005 bundle. The restrictions imposed on the SQL Server Express versions include a maximum size of 10 GB per database. This limit has progressively increased through the product revisions. It was originally 2 GB in the first avatar of the product as released with the MSDE (first version of the SQL Server product). The database size limit increased to 10 GB from SQL Server Express editions of 2008 R2, 2012 and the SQL Server Express 2014. One is not allowed to use more than one CPU for the SQL Server Express edition products. You could use multi-core devices though. Analysis services or SQL Server agent services are not available for the SQL Server Express product variant (some variants of the Express version are available). Some usage limits exist. The SQL Server Express product variant will not be able to access more than 1 GB of RAM, even though the machine physically has more availability. The SQL Server Express variant with advanced services must have 4GB per instance of the reporting services.

The SQL Server Express editions do contain some of the very useful GUI tools. These include the

  • Management Studio Express version,
  • Configuration and Surface Area Configuration Tools.
  • Business Intelligence Development Studio is also made available with SQL Server Express editions to let the user carry out BI related work comfortably.

However some useful services that are excluded (compared to Standard and other higher level editions) from the SQL Server Express editions include Integration Services, Notification Services. Analysis Services also are not included. All of these are included in higher versions as SQL Services Analysis Services (SSAS). This service enhances the capabilities of OLAP and data mining features. These capabilities thus are going to be limited in capability in the SQL Server Express products. Analyzing and spotting the trends that can only be discerned across tables could not be done in the Express edition. Integration, reporting and analysis services are part of this SSAS package. OLAP, data mining, data warehousing and overall business intelligence capabilities will be limited with these products.

Overall, even though SQL Server Express edition has its limitations, it is a great tool to start to get familiar with SQL Server and its features.

At SQL Server Tutorial we are always happy to help with any questions regarding SQL Server Express or any other related topics. Please don’t hesitate to contact us!


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SQL Database: overview and six editions of SQL Database 2014

The main product from Microsoft in the RDBMS category has been the SQL Database. The main query language supported is T-SQL which is the ANSI standard SQL extended by MS. MS SQL Server was first created for the PS/2 systems in collaboration with Sybase and Ashton Tate. The first release was in 1989, an updated version was released on average every two years. By the time the SQL Database 2005 version became available, the code base was completely owned by Microsoft and the SQL Database was offered as an independent product. Sybase developed a similar product with a similar sounding name.

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Microsoft offers the product in a number of editions, including an Express version that is available for free. It is limited in features but does give you a good feel of what the SQL Database can do. The latest release has been Community Technology Preview which have been made public in April 2016. SQL Server 2016 became generally available on June 1, 2016

The SQL Database 2014 editions have changed over time. The different editions of the SQL Database in any specific release are addressed to different usage scenarios. There are six editions available with the SQL Database 2014. These include an Express edition, Enterprise edition, a Business Intelligence edition, Web edition, Developer edition, and a Standard edition.

  1. The Express edition provides all the the necessities to get started with SQL Server. It is free and easy to use.
  2. The Enterprise edition is intended for enterprise level applications. These typically have demanding and mission-critical services from the database and business analysis needs.
  3. When you have a need for building secure BI applications that are scalable as well as manageable, you need to invest in the Business Intelligence (or BI) edition.
  4. The Standard edition of the SQL Database is useful for BI and core database functionalities.

The latest SQL Database 2014 has incorporated in-memory that improves performance significantly by letting users’ process complete tables to in-memory. This feature is available in all the editions of the sql database and allows minimizing the time for transporting data back and forth from disc. Even if the applications need to be disk bound, performance is enhanced through the use of extension of SSD buffer pool in the sql database. These solid-state drives can act as a cache between the hard drives and main memory. Full text search capabilities incorporated into the latest editions of the sql database.

  1. The “Web” edition is meant for SQL Database integrated into web applications, and only available for service providers hosting public websites that use SQL Server.
  2. The “Developer” version is meant for application development, test and roll out of sql database applications. It has all the capabilities of a full SQL Database.

Please contact us at SQL Server Tutorial if you have any further questions regarding SQL Server or SQL Server 2014 in particular. We are ready to help!


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T-SQL Tutorial: Where to Find T-SQL Tutorials

One of the best places to start looking, if you decided to learn T-SQL, is at its source or Microsoft’s resources. Microsoft offers T-SQL for querying its database, the SQL Server. Thus, one of the first places to look for T-SQL Tutorial would be the MSDN page. These resources have been updated for supporting T-SQL Tutorial for the latest SQL Server 2016. This T-SQL Tutorial takes the approach that the learner is new to writing SQL statements. It teaches such users write simple statements for creating tables in a database and how to insert data into such tables.

Transaction-SQL or T-SQL has extension to the standardize query language. The MSDN tutorial pages or the other popular T-SQL Tutorial pages available on-line focus on all the features of T-SQL. However, they do not focus on any comparison between the extended language and the standard one. The MSDN tutorial clearly declares its aim as giving the user an introduction and feel of the language only. The T-SQL Tutorial coverage does not include the production database complexities. In actual use case, it is recommended to use the SQL Server Management Studio. After going through the T-SQL Tutorial, user can start using the database references to find detailed information.

While practicing this particular SQL database you will learn how to create a database, create and delete tables. Insertion, deletion, updating, reading and deleting data pieces are another set of exercises in this T-SQL Tutorial. Configuring a database, creating a view and developing stored procedures are other functions that one can learn in these T-SQL Tutorial pages. While it is not necessary for the user to know SQL, basic database concepts need to be understood to assimilate the T-SQL Tutorial .

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While this is a good starting point, there are several high quality tutorials available on-line that offer a very detailed information. These tutorials give you a complete overview of the T-SQL language.

  • First of these T-SQL Tutorial gives an overview of the SQL in a way that user gets a whole perspective on the database query language vis-a-vis the extended form of it, the T-SQL language.
  • The Techonthenet Tutorial – another one of in-depth T-SQL Tutorials that covers all aspects of the language. This particular T-SQL Tutorial does not require any pre-requisites. After finishing it, the user will become proficient not only in the query language but in SQL Server basics and features as well. Introduction to the SQL Server is provided so that it is clear how data is retrieved and manipulated in the database. The T-SQL Tutorial then progresses to creation of users, their log-ins. Creating tables, functions and procedures are also covered. This T-SQL Tutorial has a separate section on those specific T-SQL functions that are not part of the standard SQL. No pre-requisites are required for this T-SQL Tutorial; rather a structured approach is taken so that learner improves as the he-she goes through the lessons.

If you interested in learning more about T-SQL Tutorial please don’t hesitate to contact us!



What is Microsoft SQL – Compare different versions of MS SQL

Microsoft SQL is a relational database product from Microsoft Corporation. Any large application required by businesses and other organizations need a large amount of data to be stored and manipulated. Databases, working in tandem with a suitable application, have been the model used in such situations. Classical hierarchical and network databases have been replaced by the relational model. Today, RDBMS is the predominant version that is in use. MS SQL Server is one such product that can handle industrial-strength data storage and manipulation support for applications.

There have been several major upgrades to Microsoft SQL since its initial launch.

  • Microsoft SQL Server, 2005
  • Microsoft SQL Server, 2008
  • Microsoft SQL Server, 2008, r2 (released in 2010)
  • Microsoft SQL Server, 2012
  • Microsoft SQL Server, 2014

Microsoft offers different versions of each of these products so that users could invest in the product edition whose capabilities, and the cost of ownership makes sense for them. For example, the SQL Server is available in 4 main versions/ editions. These are the Express, Standard, Enterprise and the Business Intelligence versions. The express edition is available free from users to get a direct feel of the product. The express edition also allows users to start developing applications using SQL Server data tools. Developers are able to use their T-SQL (transact-SQL) skills to get started with applications. T-SQL is Microsoft’s own version of SQL language that has extensions beyond the standard/core SQL functions. Close integration with tools like the SQL Server Management Studio, Visual Studio and Visual Web developer will be handy.

The Standard edition of Microsoft SQL 2014 product lets an organization implement basic database. The reporting and analytics that will be needed are also supported. Features offered by the standard edition include better uptime and effective recovery. Data being a critical resource in any organization, these are some very useful features. This edition includes features to make application testing and deployments simpler. Integration Services enhancements help comparatively simpler data integration from many dissimilar sources. Some main features of the SQL Server reporting services are made available in this product. Some of the analytics are supported through export capabilities to Microsoft Excel 2010 and Microsoft Visio 2010. The standard edition of the Microsoft SQL enhances the availability and performance. Data quality services offered help cleanse data easily. Testing of applications in a scaled-up situation is a challenge. The data replay services helps a user do the scaled out testing quite easily.

Microsoft SQL database in it enterprise edition offers features that help enterprise run real-life applications with high scalability and very high availability and strong disaster-recovery capabilities. The business intelligence edition (no link) introduces tools/features that help meaningful BI. Features include tools and services that help visualization and exploration of data, self-service BI that can be easily managed, reporting and analytics at the corporate level. The Microsoft SQL, Business intelligence version ensures the data used in creating inferences of BI are clean as well as credible. Besides uptime and performance issues, this version has a greater emphasis on security issues in addition.

Check out SQL Server 2014 Tutorials for FREE resources.


SQL Server 2014 – What are the new features in MS SQL 2014?

Microsoft’s SQL Server 2014 was released to the public on April 1 2014. This version of SQL Server has quite a few new features, the biggest one is by far the In-Memory OLTP engine that makes performance boost by up to 20x times. Get the latest version of SQL Server 2014 here:

Noteworthy product features as announced include the following,

  1. The MS SQL 2014 enhances mission-critical support for the enterprise applications. These cover extended in-memory processing capabilities, including in-memory OLTP, higher performance, increased availability and manageability of the mission-critical applications. Enhancements in query processing helps.
  2. SQL Server 2014 backup solutions in the cloud are through Microsoft’s Azure service; business continuity solutions in case of disasters are offered.
  3. Enhancements in scalability and security are available on the MS SQL Server 2014 version.
  4. Higher availability is ensured and enhanced in the product.
  5. Performance increase of 10 to 50 times of your existing applications can be expected.
  6. Big data support is built-in and helps get insight into big and small data, including un-structured ones. 
  7. Self service BI tools introduced in 2012 version are enhanced in SQL Server 2014 for quicker business intelligence gathering.
  8. A complete Business Intelligence solution is offered that lets you scale the model and secure it at the same time. You could easily obtain quality and accuracy of your BI truths. Power Query and Power Map features in Excel processing help enhance the BI capabilities in SQL Server 2014.
  9. The Microsoft SQL Server 2014 also offers means of implementing a hybrid on-premises and cloud solutions for the most optimal IT solutions.

Some of the limitations indicated for the CTP1 version of the SQL Server 2014 are listed below.

  • The SQL Server 2014 CTP1 will not be supported by Microsoft’s customer service. Support from the community is all that is available.
  • This version is 64 bit only for the time being. 
  • This SQL Server 2014 CTP1 is only for evaluation and should not be used in production environment. In fact, it is suggested that the software should be installed in a clean machine.
  • The MS SQL 2014 CTP1 will not support upgrade from earlier releases or work side by side with earlier versions, including the latest 2012 version. Visual studio, SQL Server data tools and application framework too will not work with this CTP release.
  • SQL Server Management Studio that is shipped with the product should only be used to manage the database system.
  • The Azure virtual machine software can be used for development and testing. Performance testing cannot be supported.

Downloading of the product and installation is easy. There is only one downloadable package at the site so simply download and install it. The installation is straightforward too. If you are from the early adopter community, this will give you an opportunity to get a good feel of the SQL 2014 version early on. By the time the production version comes along, you could be completely ready for moving your production applications to the new platform that is faster, more secure and has higher availability. If you want to learn more check out our SQL Server 2014 tutorials.

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