Microsoft, Oracle and IBM – all have released an Express Edition of their RDBMS offering. It is a great way to learn about the RDBMS, a great way to develop your demos, your proto-types and in some very small applications, a good way to put them in use mostly for in-house applications though with SQL Server, I have seen some production worthy applications using MSDE (Microsoft Desktop Engine) and Express Edition. Some of the issues that used to plague MSDE like the governor limit, the absence of a GUI to manage the instance and the databases etc. have been now removed with the SQL Server 2005 Express Edition.
You can download SQL Server 2005 Express Edition and additional documentation from here.
Here is a high level summary of what you can expect from SQL Server 2005 Express Edition:
- CPU: Even though it can be installed on a multi-CPU machine, it can take advantage of only one processor.
- Memory: It can take advantage of up-to 1GB.
- Database Size: Max database size can be 4GB.
- Number of Users: Unlimited.
- Query Governor cap: There is no restriction.
- Pricing model: FREE :-)
- SQL Server Features : You can get that list from here.
- GUI tool: You can download it from here.
- Jobs: SQL Server Agent support is not present in Express Edition. You can use SQLScheduler if you want to schedule jobs and it is a free utility as well.
- Replication Support: It has support for distributed transactions, it can act as a transactional replication subscriber, merge replication subscriber and also as a client for the service broker.
We have used the express edition for proto-types and for sales/demo applications for some of our clients and in one scenario, also in a production environment for distributed applications. Know it’s pros and cons and then decide whether you can stay with this edition or whether you need to move to some other edition of SQL Server.