Systems Engineering and RDBMS

Differences between different SQL Server 2008 Editions

Posted by decipherinfosys on September 28, 2008

Choosing the right SQL Server 2008 Edition is something that requires a bit of a research. The first step is of course to become familiar with the available options. We have seen this question pop up a lot of times at client sites as well as in newsgroups and the e-mails that we get from the readers. Microsoft already has very good, concise and to the point information on the different editions, their capabilities as well as a comparison matrix between Enterprise & Standard Edition as well as a comparison matrix between Compact & Express Edition. There are a lot of choices available for you and depending upon your needs, you can choose from (all the details on these can be obtained from the link above):

  • Enterprise Edition
  • Standard Edition
  • Workgroup Edition
  • Web Edition
  • Compact Edition
  • Express Edition
    • SQL Server 2008 Express Edition.
    • SQL Server 2008 Express with Tools.
    • SQL Server 2008 Express with Advanced Tools.

A full comparison sheet for Enterprise vs Standard is available over here and a full comparison sheet for Compact vs Express is available over here.


Thanks to Prashant for notifying us that the link that we had above points to an older document from MSFT which had the Compant and Express editions switched.  Here is the new link that he has provided:

Thanks Prashant 🙂

22 Responses to “Differences between different SQL Server 2008 Editions”

  1. a said

    what’s the difference between SQL 2008 Workgroup and SQL Standard?

  2. Difference is in terms of feature sets that are available in both. You can see the differences in terms of feature sets here (link is for SQL Server 2005 but the differences are essentially the same):

    If your application needs Integration Services, then workgroup is not a valid choice for you since it does not have Integration Services support. If the least common denominator features that you are looking for (like supporting only up-to 3GB RAM, only using log shipping and backups etc.) are available in the Workgroup edition, it will be a viable option for you. Also, SQL Server Profiler support is not available in Workgroup edition though one can use the profiler tools from Standard or Enterprise Edition to profile the Workgroup Edition install.

  3. […] by decipherinfosys on November 9, 2008 We have blogged before about the different editions in SQL Server 2008, their differences and the feature sets available in them. In this post, we will provide some links […]

  4. Prashant said

    The comparison between Compact vs Express shown here are in reverse order as shown on Microsoft Site. Kindly be careful while posting such articles as these might prove as guidance (or misguidance) for numerous people.

    Refer this:

    • You are right Prashant. However, you have to look at the date of the post. The previous links that were posted in the article were also from Microsoft themselves and that document from them had both the Editions switched in the header. And as MSFT has pointed out at the bottom of those documents:

      This document was developed prior to the product’s release to manufacturing, and as such, we cannot guarantee that all details included herein will be exactly as
      what is found in the shipping product. The information contained in this document represents the current view of Microsoft Corporation on the issues discussed as
      of the date of publication. Because Microsoft must respond to changing market conditions, it should not be interpreted to be a commitment on the part of
      Microsoft, and Microsoft cannot guarantee the accuracy of any information presented after the date of publication. The information represents the product at the
      time this document was printed and should be used for planning purposes only. Information subject to change at any time without prior notice.

      We have added an update to the article with the new link. Thanks.

  5. Varinder said

    Difference B/W the SQL Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 R2

  6. Hello,
    My query is can i use SQL 2008 R2 Express in VS 2008. I upgraded from SQL 2005 Express and now i am not able to acces it via server explorer in VS2008….somebody pls reply me..
    Thanks in advance.


  7. Argie said

    What’s the difference between SQL Server 2008 SP1 and SQL Server 2008 R2?

    Thank you!

    • There are lots of differences Argie. New Editions have been introduced and R2 has a lot of new features and enhancements. We have covered several of them in our blog posts as well (you can search for SQL Server 2008 R2 on our site and find them). Though there are a lot of very good articles/posts on the net about the new features, this is a very good starting point if you want to learn more about them:

  8. José Luis said

    Hi. What are de differences among: Express, express with tools and express advanced? Thanks

  9. suresh challagundla said

    difference between sql 2008 and sql 2008 SP1 full

  10. Kurt said

    Is it possible to create maintenance plans in SQL2008 R2 Workgroup edition ?

  11. Walt said

    This appears to be rather old information. The link to Express vs Standard gets you nowhere. Also I thought SQL Express R2 was limited to 8 GB of Database size not 4 GB.

    It would be nice to be able to do a comparison on the various options in a chart.

  12. Ramakrishna said

    Hi this is Ramakrishna, I am currently working with SQL server 2008 r2 and the main thing which I need to know is about the SQL auditing feature. I am unable to generate the sufficient events for this feature, and when ever I get some events I am unable to understand actually on why the event is generated in the Audit, the description does not give much information about these things. Can anyone help me find out a way so that I can identify the action that was performed looking at the event.

    Thanks in advance

  13. Anonymous said

    The above link is not working please check the same and do the needful.

  14. Anonymous said

    Above given link is not working please do the needful

  15. Anonymous said


    Would there be effects if you attach an mdf file from a work group edition to an express edition with advance services like the db becomes read-only?
    I’m having this problem and the only difference from the two sql server 2008 r2 are:

    – language
    – product
    japanese languange is work group edition and the english one is express edition with advanvce services

    I’ll be really greatful for your help. Thank you

  16. yjreddy said

    can u tell me requirements how to install sql server 2008 enterprise and i want business intelligence studio along with ssis,ssas and system’s os is
    windows 7,4gb ram…

  17. This link was removed, for those who still need this information can access to this link

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