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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MS SQL Server: A Glance at the History of MS SQL Server

Microsoft has a database offering for quite some time. Their product, the Microsoft SQL Server, is a RDBMS (relational database management system). In the early days of the PC (PS/2 and OS/2 combo) era Microsoft SQL Server product was offered in collaboration with Ashton Tate back and Sybase. However, from 2005 Microsoft provides SQL Server product completely independetly. Initially Microsoft SQL Server was the database product with which a large number of clients could connect and transact database operations. After that a number of versions have followed. Latest being the SQL Server 2016.

By the time Microsoft SQL Server 2000 came out, it was extended to the 64 bit architecture of the Intel processors. Supporting tools such as an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), an ETL (Extract-Transform-Load), etc. were added. A Reporting Server has been added to the Microsoft SQL Server portfolio as has the OLAP and data mining functionalities enhancing the analysis services. OLAP or the on-line analytical processing capabilities provide data analysis feature on multiple dimensions. Trend analysis and data modeling capabilities also become available to the Microsoft SQL Server. This feature helps discover patterns from large data sets where these patterns may not be easily discernable.

There have been several major versions released for Microsoft SQL Server since the SQL Server 2005. Next versions of the product came in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and now in 2016. While the general naming pattern of the Microsoft SQL Server is SQL Server 2005 (year of release), the version released in 2010 was named SQL Server 2008 R2.

The 2005 version of the Microsoft SQL Server added the support of XML data in addition to the relational data. While Microsoft SQL Server supports an extended form of SQL, the T-SQL, XQuery based query feature was added to support the xml data. This version added some extensions to the T-SQL itself so that XQuery queries could be embedded in the T-SQL queries. Data mirroring support added in this Microsoft SQL Server 2005 helps implement high availability solutions with support of automatic or manual fail-over configuration. Support for working with web services was introduced in this version too.

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Version 2008 introduced support for structured and unstructured data. Support for multimedia data in the form of BLOB (binary large objects) and “filestream” type provided support for semi-structured and unstructured data. This Microsoft SQL Server version also has support for spatial or location based data. Full text search features got integrated in this version of the Microsoft SQL Server 2008. Later Microsoft SQL Server kept introducing features that make it suitable for handling larger data analytics. In-memory execution feature already exists in the latest Microsoft SQL Server product that make execution of large data analytics quite quick.

If you have any questions or would like to learn more about Microsoft SQL Server please contact us at SQL Server 2014 Tutorial for a free consultation. We are looking forward to hearing from you.


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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.


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